Digital Darwinism

Following a conversation on someones status a week or so ago, I am now a firm believer in Digital Darwinism.

For those of you that somehow don't know, Darwin is the chap that pushed evolution, survival of the fittest and all that stuff.  Weak species either die out or evolve to adapt to their weakness; the strong ones survive, the weak ones don't, simple as that.

So, with the world being pretty much digital, it STILL amazes me how many people don't have a basic grasp of online safety.  Since I started playing online, being aware of flaws in the system, it is clear the biggest flaw with the internet is the users themselves.  It's the users that exploit holes in operating systems (ie, Microsoft constantly fixing flaws in Windows), it's the users that try to steal peoples data (PSN, anyone!), it's the users that write viruses to steal/destroy, and, perhaps most importantly, it's the USERS that spread all these viruses around.

Facebook is no longer new by any standards, and those on there should be well aware that there are knobheads constantly trying to steal your personal details or infect your computer with viruses or other malware, yet every day, I log on to find a dozen or more people have "shared links" that are so blatently dodgy, I don't understand HOW they have fallen for it.


I have always banged on about internet security.  A decent Anti-Virus, a decent Malware scanner, and the Windows Firewall enabled, and you're good to go.  No, you don't need to pay for any of these things, they are all free online.  I've gone on and on about it, but clearly, the message is NOT getting through.

And thus begins the Digital Darwinism.

No longer am I going to tell people there's a good chance they have a virus or malware on their computer.  No longer am I going to tell people the links they are clicking are taking them to a site that is putting data-stealing stuff on their machines.  No longer am I going to tell people that the "Really Urgent Warning About Something" they are forwarding to all their friends (just because it says so) is actually a hoax, and all you are doing is annoying everyone.

My theory is this.  Eventually, these people are going to have so many viruses and shite on their machines, they won't be able to load windows, and thus won't get online to spread more crap.  They are taken out of the Digital Ecosystem, and no longer able to spread their rubbish around.

I know, one down, a billion to go.  BUT if everyone that KNOWS internet safety were to remain silent, eventually, all the spanners will disappear off the internet.

Want to be spared the cull? It's simple:
Download and install Avast Antivirus Free Edition
Obviously, you need to keep it up to date, and register it once a year with a valid email address. No, they don't spam you or sell on their info. BEFORE installing it, ensure you have uninstalled any other Antivirus software. Before you do this, DISCONNECT from the internet.

Download and install MalwareBytes Anti Malware
Keep it up to date, scan every week or two.

Download and install cCleaner
Run it once a week - it will remove dead files, old files, unused system files and keep your hard drive in good working order.

Enable Windows Automatic Updates
If it's up to date, it's harder for people to use the flaws in windows to get to your personal data.

Enable the Windows Firewall
A final line of defense against any intrusion onto your system.

Ignore ANY message that tells you to forward to all your friends
If something says "THIS happened!" and asks to be sent to everyone, don't do it - you're just gumming up facebook/email servers with something that invariably is false. Five weekends in a month every 800 years, apparent virus warnings, scary stories...

Ignore ANYTHING that tells you to do something before you can view/read something else
Especially on Facebook, but generally - installing software before viewing a page, referring five friends before viewing a video, posting something to your wall to see that shocking article - there is usually nothing there but bad news.

If you like a quote, VERIFY IT before spreading it
When Osama was offed, everyone was forwarding various quotes, especially "I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy."  You were had - MLK never said it. Just because a friend did it, doesn't mean it's true.

If something seems to good to be true, it's probably a scam
Billionnare sharing their wealth? Charity donation of eight figures for you to help clear? A large corperation donating everyone time you forward an email? Sorry, all lies.

If you're in doubt, the final four can be EASILY checked.  There's this thing called "Google" you can use.  Best bet, type in what it is you are reading.  If you put it into the search box and hit enter, go through a few results to see just what it is you are forwarding.  Otherwise, the best three places to look online are Snopes, About Urban Legends, and Sophos.  All three sites are up to date, and full of info about scams, viruses, and let you know what happens if you DO click that link three friends sent you apparently out of the blue.

There are other things you can do for safety.  Changing from Internet Explorer to Firefox, using Gmail for your email, run Facebook in secure mode... Additionally, Sophos have a Facebook page that has lots of warnings of virus-apps, scams and outright lies. Become a Fan, and you will get updates from them when the proverbial crap is circulating.

By all means, you can ignore this, you can disregard all this information, but when your computer falls over and your personal data is going down the loo, remember, you COULD have stopped it - you just chose not to. And eventually, when you're offline, the internet is minus one user spreading crap!

Newer Post Older Post

One Response to “Digital Darwinism”

Adullamite said...

Well said that man!