Little Rant by Eightball & Thundercloud
From InfoAve Premium Issue #64 January 7, 2005
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Greatest Security Program Ever!
While we were discussing Internet security, spyware,
adware, viruses, Trojans, worms, hackers and the like one day, it suddenly occurred to us
that we had, by accident, found something that could protect our computers better than any
single software program, hardware device or operating system. We couldn't believe it when
we discovered it. It was so simple, so compact, and completely free! We found a program
missing from seemingly millions of computers and had we not stumbled on it by accident it
may still lay dormant in some far-off place. But, serendipity prevailed and we discovered
GOCS ..the single greatest program to keep your computer secure and your data safe! In
fact we discovered it many years ago but just now realized the importance of our
Like all great discoveries; hamburgers, hotdogs, Grip-N-Flip,
etc., this one just came to us in a flash of inspiration. If we could sell it we'd be
richer than Bill Gates. If we could get everyone in the world to use it, the world would
be a better place. Our discovery, you see, not only works in the cyber world, it works in
the 'real' world as well. If used correctly it would revolutionize the world.
We can't sell GOCS. We can't even give it away free. You already
have it. And many of you already use it. But a lot of people in the world don't. I am not
sure they even have it.
What is GOCS? It's Good Old Common Sense.
The conversation we had which gave birth to this great discovery
centered around a bet. I bet I could remove all my anti-spyware, anti-virus, and security
programs and still surf the 'Net, use email and not get any viruses or spyware on my
computer. I would be protected by good old common sense and using a computer updated with
the latest security patches. But wait, don't try this at home. I'm not really going to try
it either. The gist of my statement was that by using nothing more than GOCS and Windows
updates to protect me I would be fairly safe on the sea of scum.
Every morning when I scour through the hundreds of emails that
come in overnight, I see a plethora of emails with worms attached. I wonder how could
someone have been so naive as to have be induced into clicking on an attachment and
infecting themselves? Or, how could they still be prowling the Internet without keeping
their computer updated with the latest security patches and without an updated anti-virus
program (or worse, an outdated anti-virus program). Where's the common sense in that?
Here's another example. This one deals with identity theft.
Identity theft is a growing threat, I'm sure you're all aware of that. One thing I don't
think many people are aware of though, is that identities are rarely stolen they're freely
given away. It seems to me that "identity theft" is more theft by deception than
out and out robbery. CNN, Fox News, CBS, NBC, ABC, and other news organizations make
identity theft seem like it happens because hackers break into your computer and glean all
your personal data from it; then merrily proceed to become you. This is not how it usually
happens. Here's how it really happens.
John Doe receives an email from his bank, "Citibank".
The letter is addressed to his email address and looks just like an official Citibank
Email. It starts with:
"Dear Citibank Customer:"
OK, let's use an analogy. Let's say you had a regular (snail
mail) letter addressed to "occupant" from your bank. Then, you opened it up and
it said "Dear (name of your bank) Customer". And, this letter told you they were
updating all of their accounts for security reasons and needed you to complete the
enclosed form and mail it back to:
Some City, Some State, USA
And the enclosed form asked for your name, your social security
number, your driver's license number, your spouse's name, your credit card numbers, your
date of birth, your account passwords, and your current address.
GOCS tells you that your bank wouldn't send official and
important and sensitive email addressed to "occupant" nor would they begin
the letter with "Dear (name of your bank) Customer". It would be addressed to
you and it would say "Dear Mary Jones:" or "Dear John Smith:" Yet,
everyday on the Internet, thousands of people give personal and confidential data to
unknown entities in "Phishing" scams. The information that these people freely
provide is the information used by criminals to steal identities. Why do intelligent
people who have lots of common sense in the "real" world suddenly become bereft
of common sense and intelligence when they traverse the Web? Do you think it's screen
Finally, let's discuss something more and more of you are hearing
about lately. If you have been on the Internet in the past three months at all you've
heard about it. I'm talking about "Firefox" (the browser). News reporters,
geeks, and techies of all types would have you believe that Firefox is almost as important
as the abolition of the income tax (please!).
Facts: Firefox is a nice browser. It's probably as good as
Internet Explorer. It does things that Internet Explorer doesn't do. And, Internet
Explorer does things that Firefox doesn't do. Firefox is not going to protect you from
viruses and security holes. Firefox was created by The Mozilla Organization. They have
twelve paid employees and rely on volunteers to fix bugs and security holes. There are
currently four unpatched security holes in Firefox (see www.secunia.com
). Firefox is used by approximately 15 million people. Internet Explorer is used by 150
million or more.
Those are facts. We are not against Firefox. We are against
people installing it because someone told them it would keep them safe. It won't. We are
against people installing it and using it as their default browser and installing the
email client "Thunderbird" and then writing to us and wondering why we don't
make stationery for Thunderbird. Or why our stationery doesn't work in Thunderbird. Or
what's wrong with our stationery ..all of a sudden it doesn't work? (because they changed
to Thunderbird). If you like our stationery, Funletters, and QuickNotes, don't switch your
email client to Thunderbird, because it won't work. That's just "Gold Old Common
No program, browser, operating system, or computer is going to
keep you safe and secure. You wouldn't leave your doors unlocked at night, you wouldn't
leave your keys in your unlocked car in a large city, you wouldn't stand in the bathtub
and plug in an electrical appliance, you wouldn't light a match if you smelled gas fumes;
we use our common sense in "real" life every day. But, for some reason, when
some people get on the Internet they don't have any common sense at all. So they look to
one program or another to fill in the gap that was created when common sense was thrown to
wind. They look for the magic panacea to make up for their own carelessness.
But, there is no
magical program that is going to save you from yourself if you don't use the same common
sense on the Internet you do in your life in the "real" world.
The single most important thing you can draw upon to protect
yourself on the Internet is the same thing you have (hopefully) been drawing upon for
years to protect yourself in the real world: Your own "Good Old Common
Keep your computer updated with the latest Windows updates, use a
good anti-virus program and keep it updated; install a good third-party software firewall;
use a good anti-spyware program (or better yet - two or three good
anti-spyware programs); and above all, bring GOCS with you when you are on the
Tell us what you think! Please
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