“Welcome to the network. Before you can go any further, we have to make sure your anti-virus and all your patches are up to date. Sorry if this causes you any inconvenience.”
I recieved this article from Security Wire Perspectives, an email newsletter I receive regularly, and I thought it to be worth your time to read. We are implementing portions of this in our corporate network, but I’m actually suprised it’s taking this long to catch on. I guess it just makes too much sense for this idea to have been implemented before.
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SecurityFocus HOME Columnists: A Polluted Internet
Reading this article reminds me of a phone call from my father the other day. He and my step-mother upgraded from a 56k modem to DSL recently. I asked him if SBC had installed any hardware for him, and I realized I’d already reached the limits of his technical knowledge. Asking about his anti-virus and personal firewall were clearly out of the question.
It’s been nearly two weeks since that conversation, and I still haven’t made it down to see them. The only consolation I have is that they rarely use their computer. I know they haven’t installed Ad-aware or AVG anti-virus. I doubt they know how to update XP home edition with the latest service pack. And turning on the built in firewall is probably out of the question.
I’m the security professional in the family, and I need to help them on this, but I hate supporting computers for friends and family. My main problem is two-fold. First, it’s nearly impossible to know what you’re going to find on a home computer and how important it really is (or isn’t). Second, the expectations people have are often completely out of proportion with reality. I get very frustrated when I have to tell a friend that what they want is technically possible, but that they’d need to learn how to do more than turn on the computer and open Explorer to do it. Sometimes I even have a hard time supporting my wife’s computer; at least she understands that when I say she can’t do something, it’s because of the computer’s limitations, not mine.
I’m scared by what I expect to find when I finally arrange a time to visit my father’s house. If they’re lucky, they’ll only have one or two spybots installed. If they’re not lucky, I may have to burn down the computer and reinstall the entire OS. Wish me luck.