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Articles in Home | Computers & Technology

In Reality-There Is Always Spyware

I received a spam email the other day and the subject said "Tired of reality shows? Make your own!"

Of course I deleted it and proceeded to go about my online chores, but later that email got me thinking, what if there was a 'Online Safety' reality show? Hear me thru ok?

There would be contestants.... Say on a sunny south sea island beach, and each contestant has to accomplish a variety of tasks to win. You would get to vote one or more contestants off the show if they were too good or maybe a ringer. The same for the really dumb ones,after all, it would have to be exciting to keep the viewers interested.

So the basic task would be to succeed in staying safe online while surfing the web, and completeing various online challenges. For example, they would have to insure the computer given them was secure.... Ya know, updated with the latest from Microsoft, etc. Then they would have to get online and insure their provider was also credible and choose which browser they want to use too.

Oh, don't forget their anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall programs, gotta make sure those work.

Now they are ready for the competition. They would have to send and receive, and reply to emails.

Hopefully they would know how to set up their email program to protect against attachments and pictures infecting them, and if not they would have to learn. Not only that, but in addition they would have to know weather or not to reply to a email, because in today's game it could be a phish or worse, a scam to get them to enter their personal info at a fake bank site.

Ok, on to the rest of the challenges, like buying a product and insuring the website used is safe.

If the checkout does not have that lil' lock icon at the bottom right, they could be in for trouble. Continuing on, they have to visit a variety of websites to gain knowledge about a given subject, hopefully they wont pick up a 'drive by download', resulting in a keylogger or a bot being installed on the computer used to compete.

Another task would be to register at a forum or blog and participate. Some programs that run forums and blogs are susceptible to hacks, hopefully they wont lose their personal info they gave when they registered to nefarious users set to sabotage their computers.

Then it gets tough. They have to download and install a program, something like a weather update service or maybe one that tracks favorite sports scores. A lot of these are loaded with spyware, adware or even malware.

At this point, some will have failed. They will have forgotten to update their antivirus or said yes to a popup that allowed some evil program to glean their passwords or such. The show will be down to a few who were knowledgeable enough beforehand or will have learned sufficiently while on the show to stay in the running.

After the last commercial, its only a half hour show ya know, it all climaxes with them visiting their bank to pay bills and access their account balance. If they can safely do this and not have given up their holy grail of information, the bank account info, they will be the winner.

The prize? Vegas of course. After all, not insuring your online security is gambling, and the house always wins. By the way, who do you think they would pick to be the host of the show?

Me of course, I wrote the article! My lovely wife would be the Vanna White style woman wearing my "Spywarebiz" t-shirt, and telling the contestants what they have won. - All Rights Reserved.