Monday, July 29, 2013

What's a normal person supposed to do if they're hacked?

Today I had to do some quickie malware clean-up for my daycare provider... she's a sweet woman who doesn't much about technology much less the complex cat-and-mouse game of security.   Like many of you,  I am the one who has to step in and clean friends-and-family computers when this happens.   But if wasn't for us volunteering our services, what are these people supposed to do?

I'm well versed in the organizational response and the accompanying responsibilities.  But the ordinary Joe is left to the mercy of trying to figure out themselves.   I'm betting many of them end up going to a computer repair shop (big or small) and paying hundreds of dollars for clean-up.  And honestly, maybe that is a fair price for the level of expertise required to fix things.   Provided they do a good job.

But even the simple basics of prevention aren't making it down to the street level.  After I did the clean up, I ended up doing a whole round of patching and anti-virus updating.  Then a short lecture on choosing good passwords and being careful about what one loads.  Yeah, anyone under the age of 25 probably knows this stuff already.  But how many over the age of 50?

At a recent security seminar,  TJ Campana of Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit said something that really resonated with me.  He said good or bad, there are millions of Windows users out there counting on them for protection.  And realistically, whatever software update gets automatically pushed down to those thousands of infected boxes is probably the only help these people may get.

I'm hoping with all the hoopla and sploiting and games going on in Vegas this week, someone is thinking about how we can do a better job of reaching out to the technically challenged.

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