Are you the type of person who is convinced that surveys accurately depict the reality behind the analyzes of the information gathered, or are you like me, thoroughly fed up with the type of pseudo surveys that we seem to be exposed to more and more, and that simply confirm the obvious.
For example, in the past week alone we have been exposed to surveys that purportedly prove that alcohol can:
Reduce the effects of dementia in the elderly
Decrease the incidence of heart disease
Increase the incidence of breast cancer in women
The value of these types of surveys, in my view, is questionable, since they simple repackage information that we have had access to, in some cases, for years.
Now we have another questionable survey; one from the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), which states “U.S. consumers don’t understand botnets; networks of compromised computers that have become one of the major methods for attacking computer systems”.
Ron Teixeira, executive director of the NCSA, said in a statement. “Consumers’ unsecured computers play a major role in helping cyber criminals conduct cyber crimes not only on the victim’s computer, but also against others connected to the Internet.” Teixeira went on to say that it is “alarming” that people don’t know how to keep their computers secure.
I think that one would have to have been on an extended vacation on Mars, not to have an understanding that the Internet is now the playground of cyber criminals and has been for a considerable time. This survey discloses no new information of any consequence, but instead rehashes information we have been aware of for years. In fact the statements in this survey can be applied to worldwide Internet users’ and are not restricted to those in the U.S.
Trying to determine why average computer/Internet users have little knowledge of computer/Internet security, does not require one to be a profound thinker to arrive at a number of hard and undeniable conclusions.
A reader of this Blog, commenting on a previous article on this Blog “The Unsecured Internet Super Highway – Are You Licensed to Drive?“, an article which deals with these surveyed issues, summed it up particularly well when he stated, “most people still see the computer as a kind of entertainment device… Computers are for playing, chatting, and watching short clips; listening to tunes…. people don’t take internet security seriously because they don’t think of the computer as a serious device”.
He went on to write – “Some of this is related to our cultural laziness around safety and prevention. People are routinely reckless with automobiles, decline to clean out the lint catch, and mishandle loaded guns. My frustration is with government, health and educational institutions that push people to use the internet as though it were as secure and straight forward as a hard-line telephone”. A factual and precise comment, I think.
And so we arrive at the crux of this matter: No one wants to take responsibly for the abysmal state of Internet safety and security. Not governments; not software developers; and least of all Internet users’. While there may be some level of comfort, for some, in continuing to do surveys on Internet and computer safety issues; we need to stop just talking about it, stop being part of the fear campaign, and develop solutions.
All Internet users’ need to come to the realization that we all have a shared responsibility to offer mutual protection to each other, by ensuring our individual machines are not part of the problem but instead are part of the solution.
There are some obvious solutions; some draconian, some less so, but those are issues for a future article.
The following tutorials are offered free of charge on CNET, one of the most widely respected sites on the Internet. If you are unfamiliar with basic computer security issues, I highly recommend that you visit this site.
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