Ask Leo: Are computers simply too unsafe to use?


By Leo Notenboom

I’ve received a bit of feedback in recent weeks, that boils down to “how can you say it’s ok to do X when you just described that X remains fundamentally unsafe? Doesn’t that mean that there’s no hope? How can you remain online or hope to ever use a computer safely?”.

The comments arose mostly in reaction to two articles: one that stated that avoiding the keyboard does not necessarily avoid keystroke loggers, and the other that says simply that there’s simply no way to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that your computer is not infected.

I’ll readily admit that out of context those are two fairly disturbing statements – accurate, but disturbing.

They’re not meant to make you stop using your computer – far from it.

They’re meant to make you more mindful of exactly how you use your computer.

They’re meant to make you think.

The days have passed where just anyone can mindlessly start using a computer – any computer – online and not be concerned about security.

“Today you ignore computer security at your own risk – and often at the risk of your friends and family.”And yet many, if not most average users out there, don’t think about security one whit. They don’t act on it and don’t operate in what you or I would consider to be even a moderately safe way.

That’s what has to change.

Article continued here…

[This post is excerpted with Leo’s permission from his Ask Leo blog.]

Leo Notenboom has been involved in the tech industry for nearly 30 years. After retiring from an 18 year career as a Microsoft Software Engineer Leo went on to create Ask Leo!, a free web site where he answers real questions from ordinary computer users.

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2 thoughts on “Ask Leo: Are computers simply too unsafe to use?”

  1. I believe Microsoft and Intel and AMD don’t want to make a secure system. There is too much money in fixing problems caused by the unsecure setups.

    I also believe the security software manufacturers support the spyware and virus industry to keep them selves in a profitaable situation.

  2. I started with IBM in 1966. I worked on the IBM 1401 and went through the different operating systems and hardware architectures from no operating system in the 1401 to the latest (2010) IBM operating system for mainframes, which was ARCHITECTED to protect itself from errors. (both it’s own and from external programs). Viruses and spyware are unknown..
    The proper architecture in the Windows environment CAN make viruses, etc. etc. an impossibility IF Microsoft and hardware (CPU) designers got together and designed a secure architecture. The latest IBM mainframe operating systems are all immune.
    (Please note that even the most sophisticated solution cannot protect itself from human stupidity, but it could make a good effort – that is a proven solution.)

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