Brian Krebs, over at the blog Krebs on Security, has posted 3 Basic Rules for Online Security. From his perspective, and I agree, just about everything can be distilled into these three guidelines. To read the more detailed explanations, head on over to his post. Keep these three rules in mind, day in and day out, as you work on your computer and your kids work on their devices.
- If you didn’t go looking for it, don’t install it
- If you installed it, update it.
- If you no longer need it, remove it.
For those of us who wish we possessed a bit more of the “geekiness” factor (a term I use affectionately), these three rules, especially numbers one and two, should be household digital policy. While Krebs’ three precepts are broad, they will, if followed, prevent lots of computer trouble.
I will add a fourth rule for families. Digital parents, not their digital children, should administer the computers in a household, at least until a child has demonstrated a fair understanding about potential security problems. In my household this included the ability to explain the basics of avoiding virus, spyware, malware, digital citizenship and digital footprint issues (also see rules one and two) and the ability to appreciate potential consequences. A child can learn a lot while administering a computer, however before taking on the task, he or she needs to possess a strong sense of responsibility and and the knowledge of what can go wrong.
Krebs is a journalist, formerly of the Washington Post, who writes on security issues.