Thursday, May 28, 2009

Watch out for the muppets :)

Muppets. They're everywhere.

I don't mean Jim Henson's friendly bunch, but the English term for someone lacking a bit of skill or intelligence. Though it's an insulting term, it's rather mild and quite cute - and the topic for today's blog post.

Why are muppets relevent to security?

The internet has democratised communications. Anyone with a keyboard and a thought can combine the two and reach people all over the world. Sometimes this is a good thing. Other times - not so good.

Anyone on twitter can shout out a thought - and have it reproduced. Businesses or indidivuals can communicate - and say things that are true, not true, right or wrong - and people will read it and disseminate it. How many internet hoaxes have you read about recently?

The problem arises when people say things with an air of authority that they know nothing about. For example, a muppet tweeted out a security alert yesterday saying that Online Armor contained advertising software. Obviously, it doesn't.

Rather than get upset, I did the right thing - tracked him down and told him about his mistake.

His reply was basically "McAfee alerted". I advised this was a false positive.

His response was "Hmmm, can't find that term in any McAfee help or support groups. Good luck with that!".

Be careful who you listen to

Typing the words "false positive" into google (without the quotes) finds multiple definitions, and quickly. So, we have some Jason Remington issuing public security alerts about our product - yet he has never heard of a false positive and couldn't find it on the internet. I think we have our first "Muppet of the Day".

When you read something, give consideration to the source.

The text of the tweet was "QZVX WARNS OF ONLINE THREAT:(Online Armor) Firewall FREE download contains ADWARE and other nuisance software that may harm your PC ."

I looked up the site in question - it's here. Hardly credible.

Get advice from the right place

There are a multitude of sources of good advice on the internet - techsupport alert,spyware hammer, wilders security forums, calendar of updates, smokey security forums, vendor forums - and many more.

Where do you go for security advice? Have you any entries for the "Muppet of the day"? Let me know.


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