If Satan started a new FaceHell Buzz social media site, thousands would join simply to be among the first. When Google committed the sin of auto-follow with Buzz, the outrage was venomous. Yet people open their address books to LinkedIn and other such sites that want access. You can’t have it both ways.
The most valuable resource in the world today is personal information.
Being the first to join any new thing, buy any new product is not a good idea. I have never understood the psychological of being first. You get all the problems with few rewards. Why not let someone else take the risks? Obvious observation – risk and security are mutually exclusive.
So, what else can I do besides ignoring first?
Don’t use Windows.
A lot of people say they can’t afford to buy a Mac. I wonder how much these people have spent with downtime, protection software and inherent Windows problems over the years? The TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) from this study works out about the same for either a PC or a Mac. Macs are more secure out of the box. You do not have to add any antivirus protection, there is a built in firewall and the system is built on a safer platform (BSD UNIX).
Oh, but this is because there are more PCs than Macs. The old argument – if the situation were reversed Macs would be infected too. It isn’t reversed. Maybe, there would be more viruses for Macs if there were more Macs. Right now this is a moot point.
Linux has developed to a point where most people could use it with no problems. If you use the latest Microsoft or Adobe products you’re out of luck. In fact, 99% of users could do well without MS Office. OpenOffice and a number of other similar suites will work as well or better.
Don’t use Internet Explorer.
Incredibly, there are still a few sites that require IE. Wal-mart was this way until a couple of years ago. Some banking sites require IE. If you must use a site that requires IE, keep it handy only for that site.
Do use Firefox.
Opera and Chrome are nice – Firefox has more versatility. Along with Firefox use a plugin called NoScript. This combination is about as safe as you can get. With noscript you can allow certain sites to run scripts (think of these as little programs) on your computer, and deny sites that are suspect. It takes getting used to, and will annoy you in the beginning. Taking your computer in for repair is much more annoying.
Be suspicious of all email.
Never click links and avoid HTML formatted mail if possible. Use a client such as Thunderbird. Like Firefox, Thunderbird gives you a lot of options, to ensure safety.
Use throwaway accounts for social media, or anywhere you don’t want your personal email compromised. Numerous other free webmail sites are out there – pick one. I strongly recommend Mailinator. You don’t even have to create an account.
Incidentally, if you are inclined to follow the leader of Hell, you can find them here. You can follow the Devil on Twitter, @devil or @satan