The Rules of Net Surfing

It’s not pretty, but minds are changing, with regard to what needs to be done about spyware.

While I think that the programmers that came up with the grande scheme that is spyware should likely have their keyboards crushed beneath the tire of a 747 as they look on, it doesn’t mean that what they did was necessarily illegal if you clicked that silly “I agree” button.

I hate to say it folks, but.. um.. I’ve never had problems with slowdowns or crashes as a result of spyware. I’ve never opened e-mail from people I didn’t know. I’ve also run all those emails from people I don’t know through a spam filter so that if I get email from that person again, I won’t see it in my inbox. In fact, I’ve had one computer virus in my history of computing, and that was sent to me by an IRCop on a chat network… someone I knew and trusted at the time.

In 10 years of surfing the net, one virus/trojan horse (it was back orifice) no spyware.

What am I doing right? Well… read above. There are some simple rules of surfing the net, let’s go over these together and if you have questions, feel free to ask in the comments there are many computer savvy folk who read this blog and don’t admit it:

1. Don’t open e-mail from people you don’t know. IMO, this one should be obvious. If you don’t know the sender, then they must be sending you one of two things. Spam, or a virus/trojan horse/exploit. In either of these cases, why would you want to see what the email has to say?

2. Anti-virus software is a must for surfing the internet these days. Surfing the net without having anti-virus software installed on your machine is akin to leaving the house and forgetting to put on pants. It’s dangerous, and people should point and laugh at you for it.

3. Internet Explorer is a dangerous tool that Microsoft will never fully fix. If you’ve paid attention to how many patches have been released for Windows XP Service Pack 2, you’d realize that Microsoft does not understand or comprehend the most basic computing concept of “bug testing”. For those of us who prefer security, safety and sanity when we surf the net, we have switched to browsers such as Mozilla Firefox and Opera.

4. Outlook Express is an equally dangerous tool that Microsoft will also never fully fix for the same reasons as Internet Explorer. Those of us who prefer sanity, safety and security on the net have switched to using M2, the email client build into Opera, and Mozilla Thunderbird.

5. Instant Messenger clients are great, but don’t accept messages from people you don’t know and most especially, do not authorize people you don’t know to be on your buddy/friends list.

6. If you are going to break these rules, at least download Lavasoft Adaware, Spybot Search and Destroy, and AVG Antivirus to periodically mow back the mire of technological badness that you are doing to your machine.