The Zen of Internet Safety: Patience, Little Grasshopper *


The two best things you can do to stay safe on your PC (as long as you insist on being internet-connected) are:

a.)    make friends with your anti-virus and

b.)    cultivate an attitude of patience.

In fact, we could call this the Zen of Computer Health and Internet Safety.  Your AV is the equivalent of a security guard, a Rottweiler, and a good alarm system.  If you don’t sit back and let them do their work, you may as well save your money.

I might say that it’s really surprising that people will install AV and then argue with it.  But that would be dis-ingenuous of me, because it really isn’t surprising at all.  We are an impatient species, made even more impatient by a culture that insists on as much stimulation and instant gratification as possible (note Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO telling college grads to “unplug” for a whole hour a day!).  I get all that, but I suggest that in the case of our PC’s AV, we fight these proclivities.

Let’s review some of the AV Commandments:

  1. You know you need to be careful of viruses in your email.  So when your AV says “please don’t open this file”, DON’T!
  2. You do realize how important it is to be sure your antivirus is updated constantly, right?  AV needs new vaccines to be downloaded every day to fight new infections.  When it tells you to reboot your system to activate new protection, DO IT NOW!
  3. Your AV knows a lot more about which websites are infected than you do.  So don’t try to override the warning which says, “are you SURE you want to go to this website?  We don’t think you should.”  Just DON’T GO.
  4. Your AV also sometimes knows “something wicked this way comes” because of the way the mystery code is behaving.  If a stranger hops the fence and tries to jimmy the back door, your Rottweiler is pretty sure they’re up to no good.  Likewise, your AV knows malevolent code when it sees it.  Do what it says!

And last but not least – none of us are an island.  Remind everyone in your household of the same rules.  Teenage boys have a bad habit of turning off AV so they can download infected hacks and game software.  Please don’t ask me how I know this 🙁 !

*Does anyone still remember the old Kung Fu series with David Carradine?  As a little boy he follows the master monk all over the place trying to learn wisdom (and how to properly kick butt).  The old guy calls him Little Grasshopper.  Naturally being a kid, Keith is exceptionally challenged with being patient. 



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