Internet safety advice for home users

Simply..don’t go on the internet. Unplug your router from the telephone socket. This is the only way home users can safely use their computers. Scratch that.. this is the only way even expert users can safely use their computers. A year or two ago, I thought that while the average user was a “sitting duck” to hackers, viruses and other attacks, the experienced IT experts and security specialists were savvy enough to harden and protect themselves against such attacks.
Since then, we have seen successful attacks on Google, LastPass, Sony, the IMF, the Iranian Nuclear Plants and many many more organisations who employ teams of IT experts. In truth, no-one is safe.

OK, of course to stop going on the internet for most people now is like saying, don’t exist, stop breathing.. so it isn’t going to happen. Here are some ideas.

Firstly, what do you use the PC for? If you use as a toy for Facebook, You Tube, Watching illegally downloaded movies and listening to illegally downloaded music because your children say “its what EVERYONE does”, stop and think. It’s a common avenue for viruses. If you use the same computer for doing your accounts, on line banking, buying stuff from Ebay, then you should stop now.
Get a separate computer for important financial stuff, and don’t allow your kids on it.

Secondly, I have given up on anti virus. The anti virus vendors are losing the war against the bad guys. Every machine I find that has some nasty “fake antivirus” on it still has a genuine antivirus on it. In a lot of cases, this anti virus is completely up to date. It really doesn’t matter if you are fooled into installing something bad. The antivirus can’t stop you installing some programme that some random webpage has fooled you into thinking you need it.
Motto of the story: stop installing random crap onto your machine.
Alternatively, download Ubuntu onto a boot DVD-R and start from it every time. You can at least be confident the when you start up, it is clean, as the DVD can’t be written to. Just be sure not to spend time on porn or gambling sites/illegal downloads etc from your Ubuntu before you do your Internet banking.

In conclusion. Forget the Internet, yes it was exciting in the year 2000. Now, why not take a walk in the woods, or by the beach or the mountains. Get out and remember that the world is a beautiful place, and that humans should remember not to lose their humanity to tech. If you have to use the Internet, imagine you are wearing a huge pair of asbestos gloves. Oh and don’t forget the webcam in your children’s laptop, the bad guys could be looking through it and you wouldn’t know a thing. (Put a piece of blu tack over the lens or regard it as a pubic CCTV camera like you would see in the street.)
[edit, there is intended to be an element of black humour here, although the warnings are real]

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