Security awareness is more important than antivirus programs | News

A big part of my job is helping my clients deal with virus-infected computers. All the antivirus programs in the world won’t help you if you click on the wrong thing, and some people, believe it or not, will click on anything.

The need to explain that antivirus programs aren’t perfect often comes up.

Somehow, many people have been tricked into thinking that just because they installed an antivirus program, their computer is protected from all internet threats forever and ever, amen. Sorry, folks: that has never been true and probably never will be.

I remember one particular person who unknowingly spammed me. Many computer viruses are designed to turn your computer into a spam transfer center, sending hundreds or thousands of spam emails around the world without your knowledge.

When the messages arrive, they will have your email address listed as the sender, and if the worst turns out badly, you will be accused of sending spam messages designed to scam people out of their money, or even distribute other nasties, like child pornography. .

It’s a bit like having your kids selling drugs in your backyard. Maybe you didn’t know they were selling drugs from your backyard, but, because you’re the parent and it’s your backyard, you could ultimately be blamed for the trafficking. drugs, because you are responsible for what happens in your own backyard.

“How”, wondered my client, “could my computer have been infected?” I am using an updated antivirus program. I ran a scan and it found nothing. How could a virus get through?

The sad truth is that no antivirus program is perfect. They all fall to work somewhere, especially when you purposely click on the wrong thing and, in essence, tell the antivirus program to let it in.

There is no “set it and forget it” IT security solution; it just doesn’t exist. Many studies have been done that prove this point. Unfortunately, due to massive advertising and marketing campaigns, many people refuse to believe it.

Good IT security is layered, like the layers of an onion.

Many components must be in place before any level of trust can be achieved. Expecting a simple antivirus program to provide perfect security is like expecting a new set of tires to keep you from wrecking your car. Your car also needs things like brakes, wipers, and mirrors as part of its car safety package.

Even with all the right layers, such as antivirus, antispam, firewalls, browser protection and security updates, computer security cannot be guaranteed to be 100%.

Maybe you’ll surf the internet, forever trouble-free, or, like most of us, you’ll have the occasional flat tire or fender bender.

Just keep in mind that internet safety depends on your knowledge of your online environment and the potential dangers that exist.

Just like being “weather aware”, train yourself to be “internet safety aware” and you’ll probably be fine.

Dave Moore, CISSP, has been repairing computers in Oklahoma since 1984. Founder of the non-profit Internet Safety Group Ltd, he also teaches community training workshops on Internet safety. He can be reached at 919-9901 or

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