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Optimizing best use of resources (time) for family security....

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  • Optimizing best use of resources (time) for family security....

    The winter holidays are nearly upon us, and many of us will make a trek to visit family members. Some of us will be asked, "what are you doing at your job?" and when we try to explain our roles to family members, our specialization will be reduced to, "ohhhh, you work with computers. I'm having problems with $something on my computer. Why?"

    If you care about your family, you probably want to help them help themselves be more secure. Many people are not technically skilled with security, and are only able to learn a limited number of tasks in the short time you visit them over the holidays.

    "Wants" to improve security are infinite. Resources (such as time) to dedicate to improving security are finite. What are the most important suggestions for security advice you will give to your family members over the winter holidays?

    * Advice on personal information and avoiding identity theft?
    * Safer web browsing with less common web browsers, or enhancements with plugins?
    * Disabling features in software?
    * Dangers of open WiFi, and value of Tor, or VPN?
    * Trust models? (Do not open files people send you at attachments. Do not blindly run programs downloaded from the Internet. Do not trust flash from any site. Do not trust JavaScript or Java from any site. etc.)
    * Warn about inadequacies of AntiVirus software?
    * Warn about Social Engineering and scams?
    * Always update to latest? What about Apps for mobile devices that demand more access with new updates like flashlisght app that wants GPS location, address book contacts, and camera/images access? Do you explain when upgrades are not always good ideas? How?
    * Something else?

    How will you choose to spend your time educating people you care about, on how to increase security in their lives?

    How are the topics you priorritize for family similar to those you prioritize as most critical at work or in your life? How are they different?
    Last edited by TheCotMan; November 26, 2014, 17:04.

  • #2
    Re: Optimizing best use of resources (time) for family security....

    I have tried this with numerous family and friends, what I found is it opens a whole can of worms, as their interest grows or their IT fears become paranoia, they always return to you with questions and the 'can you do this for me..." task.

    I say, I have opened the IT door for you, now educate yourself, make mistakes and learn from it, buy a book, download a PDF, dive into online resources.

    Do it yourself.


    • #3
      Re: Optimizing best use of resources (time) for family security....

      I have found that whatever you do to try to teach someone gets 10x harder for every level only one step above your current instruction. Let's use AV as an example. Teach then to install anti-virus is easy. teach them how to maintain updates is 10x harder. Teaching them what to do if they get a positive is 10x harder than that. And if they get a false positive, 10x harder again.

      Conversely, if you accept that you will be something for them all the time, like have them call you when they get a false positive, then the user's abilities deteriorate to one level BELOW that of which you expect them to maintain. So they will call you for all positives. If you say call me for all positives, they will not do the updates.

      Add to the complexity if, God forbid, you have more than one program for them to worry about. Add in something not user friendly like Sophos, MalwareBytes, and HiJack This, and forget about it. The user will give up altogether.

      Too bad skills and attention span gathered in Angry Birds and Candy Crush do not transfer to maintenance.

      To show the ridiculousness of how fat this knowledge loss can descend, tomorrow I am driving 150 miles to unstick the N key from a laptop keyboard. I'm pretty sure canned air and a toothpick will take care of it. I really doubt it needs a new keyboard. I've also changed out ink cartridges, toner cartridges. Also I need to learn more about Word because someone wants to change fonts and does not like how the layout changes as a result.

      And to think I built the entire WAN from scratch.