PCs infected everywhere

  recap 09:31 01 Nov 2004

AOL in conjunction with the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) have recently conducted a study into online safety. Results from the survey are quite worrying in terms of the naivety and lack of knowledge with regards to online safety.

Some of the results from those surveyed include:

Up to 213 viruses present per computer. Nearly 30 per cent of users updated their virus definitions less than 13 times a year 90 per cent of computer users did not understand what spy ware actually does.

The study entitled AOL/NCSA Online Safety Study can be downloaded in PDF format from the NCSA website. click here

Quite a lot of people say it is irresponsible not to keep up to date with an anti virus program.

What are your thoughts on this subject?

  g0slp 10:01 01 Nov 2004

To me it is irresponsible not to have up to date AV, Firewall etc.

The trouble is that very few people these days are prepared to take PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for their actions.

A common response I get is "well, the ISP should do it". Not good enough.

  Dumble452 10:13 01 Nov 2004

After my son's computer became infected by a virus last year, because he had not downloaded Windows critical updates quickly enough, I have set Windows to download updates automatically. I also run Trend Micro Internet Security which contains a firewall and antivirus software. This updates with startling frequency. In addition I use SpywareBlaster, AdAware, SpyBot Search and Destroy plus "A Squared". I have also installed a second HDD and run Acronis True Image on a regular basis, but I still feel concern regarding the security of my computer! It never ceases to amaze me how many users just cross their fingers and hope it won't happen to them.

  recap 10:15 01 Nov 2004

I agree with you g0slp, it should not be left up to the ISP.

I know some ISP's are promoting the security side of their product, but they cannot cover every eventuality. This is why I think it is important for the individual to protect their own system/s.

I recently visited an IT centre which has 15 computers for their local communty to use freely (an average of 250+ users per week). The only protection they have is an anti virus program that WAS only updated once per week on a Monday morning.

  sean-278262 17:11 01 Nov 2004

I still cant get over the fact people cant be bothered to update this software. (and those stats are frightening)

In a world of one (often no) click wonders what is so hard about before you set in to an evening online just opening zone alarm or whatever and click the check for updates button. Only three things need to be done

Windows Update - Can be set to automatic

Firewall - Can be gotten free and has a one click checker

AV - again can be gotten for free and usually with a one click checker.

Again all of these can be set up to automatically check. We look at posts here and most are how to fix hardware problems or solve a BSOD, how many of these people even know how to use their firewall?

I try to keep the computers running smoothly at home, I tell everyone after I install and update zone alarm to read how to use it tutorial (it take only 3 or 4 minutes) but do they ever.... my ass they do. As soon as I leave they are clicking the finish button.

Maybe computer manufacturers should include links to forums such as this to try to get people to stop blaming manufacturers for their own stupidity in not takin 5 minutes to learn how to protect themselves.

On a similar par a number of friends own credit cards and often buy online. It shocked me to find that none looked out for the encryption of the page as they gave their details. I wonder how much information is held on them that they dont know about. I know not all information retrieved is used maliciously but whats to stop it being.

In this lightening fast world with manufacturers shooting new hardware at us faster than we can install it. Why cant people slow down pay attention and most of all protect themselves.

They dont go down a dark alley on a Saturday night alone, so why do the same on your computer?

Nuf said


  Mr Mistoffelees 17:40 01 Nov 2004

to determine if there is a similar level of ignorance on this side of the pond.

  sean-278262 17:50 01 Nov 2004

Wonder if there is any correlation between the lazyness on computing as said in this thread and the level of obesity in the same people (ie not being active in exercise or computing)?

Would expect it is probably similar over here also.

  josie mayhem 18:02 01 Nov 2004

Ah, we don't go down dark allies, because we've been told since childhood that this isn't a wise idea!

But how many shops tell customers that even though there is an anti-virus on your computer when you pick it up, that it needs up-dating as soon as you get it home, because it was all loaded at the factory, and the kit has been travling and sat in store rooms for several weeks before it arrives with you.

When my friend was tellling me about her new computer, and the anti-virus program on it. It was so good that when she was on the net, it would show her a warning box, and not only stop the connection, but shut the computer down completley, she was suprised with my reaction, it was a hard job convincing her that she actualy was infected by the Blaster worm virus, and it had nothing to do with her anti-virus program at all!

She was convinced that because the computer was only a week old that she would be completley protected, surley the shop wouldn't have sold it to them, without up-dating it first!!!

Back to dark allies, not everyone follows the adivce concerning dark allies?

  Giant68 18:58 01 Nov 2004

I think that josie mayhem has a point. As I have a little knowledge of PC's, I have become the pC Guru to family, friends, and their friends.I seem to get calls all the time from people asking me to look at their PC as it is slow, not working, giving error messages etc. 99% of the time I find that they have a virus, or several. They are not stupid people and not the type to ignore warnings, but they have never been told the dangers of net surfing, downloading or whatever. They have simply bought a computer which they assume they can take home, plug in and use just like a TV, Playstation etc.
I think that manufacturers and retailers should take some responsibility to inform their customers that they need to update their AV software as soon as they get home or to install some if none has been provided. Unfortunately they are not going to let people know that they can get Avast or AVG free as they are in the business of making money, but if people buy AV software they are at least protected and they can find out about the free ones at their leisure.
I make a point of taking a document I have created to all the people I visit explaining the dangers of surfing the net and leaving a copy with them. Sometimes it still doesn't work, their kids will still use Kazaa, but there will always be people who won't listen!


  sean-278262 19:24 01 Nov 2004

Josie you make a very valid point. Maybe I should stop talking and start to update my site which aims to do just that... explain the dangers of the internet among other topics.

I believe that others should also do the same if enough people manage to get the information out there we wouldnt have to talk about such topics in the future.

I think that the hype of superfast computing has spurred on the failure to transfer of this vital information to people new to computers.

Look at microsoft they moved developers off longhorn to xp sp2 and what happens later, gates is so obsessed with making money that instead of pushing back the release date of longhorn that he just shruggs his shoulders and says lets not include all the features...basically meaning lets make longhorn (missing loads that we promised them) and a few months later longhorn 2 and fleece em for all they have.

It really is a joke computing has gone from consumer quality to making it quick(er), making a bigger profit and forgetting about customer service.

There was once a time that people like xxxx Computers (no firm specifically) would pride themselves on their service quality. Now your lucky to get connected to more than an answer machine for customer complaints.

The age old example is the mp3 player I tried to buy from xxxxxplayers.co.uk they shipped it and it was sent a few days late (never told us it was sent late), I accepted it was being sent to ireland so expected it to be a few days more but after over 8 working days later I called and asked where it was and they told me it had been attempted to be delivered on a day when I was home and at a time when I was at the front of the house (impossible to deliver unless there is a magic van). After this they refused to accept that it was their responsibility to get it to me and not a deal between me and their courrier to sort out. In the end I canceled and 27days later the card was refunded and I lost £25 due to exchange rates. Now I only advise Advancedmp3players and warn of the poor service from mp3players.co.uk

So if computer companies are listening get your act together save people like us having to spend time fixing problems for your customers, that you should address at the point of sale. Start trying to stop hackers adware malware spyware viruses worms and all the other rubbish we have to put up with. Its for the good of all mankind.

And I think thats officially the longest post by yours truly


  keja 02:21 02 Nov 2004

I was surfing this afternoon when my McAfee AV popped up a message that it had stopped a trojan.

Thing is, I was reading an old thread on one of the anti-spyware forums at the time...

Coincidence or?

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

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