The highlights of this article are that if you haven’t had a virus, or been hacked, or fallen victim to some type of Internet scam, you’re either very careful or very lucky. The majority of Americans (and most likely other people in the world) don’t even realize that there is a threat out there. And, they don’t keep their antivirus, antispyware, and firewalls updated (if they even have one at all).
It gets better (or worse).. Have a myspace or facebook profile? You can get viruses and other nasties there. Use Bittorrents or P2P software? Ever notice the extension of the file you’re actually downloading, before you click it? How many mp3’s end in .exe or .scr or .vbs? NONE. The average person stops reading at the . and doesn’t bother to see if it’s what they really want.
Consumer Reports suggests that users make sure their antivirus, antispam, antispyware, and firewalls are up to date. And, they also mention that you should consider a mac. Since 95% of the users online are on Windows, the majority of the attacks are aimed there. It doesn’t make mac’s or *nix computers safer, just points out that right now they’re not good targets for mass destruction. But, they will be….
Probably the most sobering quote out of this entire article is this…. “Consumer Reports believes that, over the past two years, malware infestations have resulted in 1.8 million households replacing their PCs in order to free themselves of viruses and the like. “ Think about that for a second….. 1.8 million households. Not because they wanted a better gaming PC. Not because they wanted Vista. Because they messed up their computers so badly that they had no other alternative.
And, consider that the 1.8 million is just the worst-case scenario. There’s about 50 million others who were able to clean their computers. Microsoft though put it out best in one of their Technet Documents. Once your computer has been infected, how can you be 100% sure that you got everything? Their recommendation is to take an old (clean) backup, and do a complete restore from that. Wipe it out and start fresh. We ALL back our data up right?
For the 1.8 million people out there, here’s something to consider. You were using Windows 98 SE, and were happy with it. Then you got some nasty, and it trashed your computer. Now, you have to buy a new one with “Vista” on it. Imagine THAT learning curve. Having beta tested Vista, I can tell you there’s a learning curve just going from XP to it. Imagine the people who are using 95, 98, or ME.
So, update your antivirus, antispyware, antispam, and firewalls. And practice ‘sceptical computing.’ Don’t click it until you think about it (or at least read it carefully). If it sounds too good to be true, it is. And remember NOTHING is free.
Until next time, have a great week everyone.