Thursday, January 25, 2007

Why in the world am I writing this?

You will see what I mean in a bit.

It received a subscription to Popular Science for my birthday and I got my first issue recently.  It was pretty interesting.  This was the February 2007 issue and I came to page 74 with a section called Ask a Geek, the article was called "How can I guard against spyware?"  The article is written by Ben Edelman which they say is a doctoral student at Harvard University, where he researches spyware, Internet advertising and online fraud.  I thought "This should be interesting". 

It was a very interesting article but not in the way I expected.  I expected a few product tips or computer setting tips, and there was a little bit but what is said was so simple and I thought intelligent.  Why did I find it so insightful?  Because it is exactly what I have been saying for a long time.

First of all he says that according to a recent study (not sure from where) that 89 percent of consumer PC's are infected.  Wow can you believe that?  I don't think I do but still it is a big big problem. 

So next he lays the wisdom on us and says, "Normally, you can clean your computer with programs like Microsoft Windows Defender (free; microsoft.com/spyware), but it easier to avoid getting infected at all." 

Next he says (paraphrased but not much) before you install free programs find out how they make money.  And don't trust a site that has a logo that says "we are safe".  I also add to this advice that if you do want to load a program make sure that you test it on a computer that isn't important to your daily function (non-production).  If you load any program from any source on your daily used computer you risk loosing a couple of days of productivity.

If people would follow this simple advice of doing a little research first and then test in non-production environment they would lower their support bills.

Did you hear what I said?  Why did I just say that.  What you should know is that I make money by supporting computers so why in heck would I give you any advice that would lower my income?

Here is why as much as I would LOVE to make all kinds of money fixing computers people screw up by loading stupid programs I have experienced the opposite.  If I am in charge of a network, even if I have given people this advice they still seem to blame me when it goes wrong.  So even though my last post was on a very similar topic about prevention rather than cure, I thought I would say it again just to make sure it gets through all those layers of brain matter. 

Fact is I will probably have to say it 100 more times within this next year but because I don't like the results after the fact I am going to keep saying it...in this blog and to my customers directly. 

This is one step in something I feel is very important in Network Administration and that is Policies.  This would be one policy and there should be many more.  I will probably write about more of them at some point to give you more details.  After all another very important part of Network Admin is Education of users (all people).

Hope you enjoyed the education and now it's not just coming from me but also from a Doctoral student at Harvard.

No comments: