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Monday, September 19, 2005

There Should be a Test

From time to time I do a little computer repair work in and around the Chicago area. I get to see first hand what the "average" computer user with a new broadband account can do to a PC.

Most of the time when I first visit a new client they have similar setups. They usually have a newer PC - Dell seems to be the most common. They have a broadband connection that is less than month old. If the computer actually has any sort of anti virus protection it's a trial version of the worst software known to man, Norton. 9 times out of 10 it's using an old virus database and isn't set for any type of autoupdate or scan. I'm sure it goes without saying, but there's no anti spyware solution installed. Like the anti virus software, if it is installed, it's not configured properly and is basically just taking up hard drive space.

While the above is bad it's not the most common element all these folks share - that would be the complete lack of any sort of firewall - the exception being the Windows Firewall in XP's SP2. Basically what the "average" user has is a nice Dell zombie spam machine infested with virus and spyware exploits. It's usually bad enough that the machine is running like a 10 year old box running Windows 3.1 that hasn't had a ounce of maintenance performed on it....ever.

The whole point of this rant is that I think there should be a test people have to take before they can get a broadband connection. You have to pass a test to drive a car...why not to own a broadband connection? Some of these people just have no clue that they are one of the reasons it's so easy for spammers and virus authors to operate. They are quite simply, fucking up the Internet for those of us who took 30 minutes to educate ourselves on what our computer can actually do and how to prevent some common problems.

Ok, so the odds of a test ever being implemented are tiny but there's another solution...ISP's should require that users have a hardware based firewall. It should come as part of the install/setup package.


At 4:30 PM, Pastyface said...

I do agree. Most broadband users are the definition of computer illiterate. Although some of my protection is a little risky(free)it still does one hell of a job over my old norton trial.


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