15 Years Later and Your Computer Still Won’t Bite
The world has changed more in the last 2 months than it has our lifetimes. No one saw the COVID-19 pandemic coming – but many people predicted it. Our computers have because more important to us than ever as we stay in our homes during the pandemic.
But some things have hardly changed at all. We wrote our first “Your Computer Won’t Bite” e-book back in 2005. Windows XP was just a few years old and some folks were still hanging on to Windows 98 and Windows ME.
Nearly fifteen years ago we told you that your computer won’t bite, and though technology and the world have changed a lot in those fifteen years, the basic theme of our old, outdated e-book is still true even though almost 15 years have passed. Sometimes the adage that the more things change, the more they stay the same is true.
The following excerpt originally appeared in the introduction to our 2005 “Your Computer Won’t Bite” e-book. Let’s take a look back nearly 15 years to what we wrote in July 2005:
1. ) You control your computer; your computer doesn’t control you.
2. ) A good working knowledge of computers can help keep you safe.
3. ) No software program in the world is going to provide you with 100% protection from every evil on the Internet.
4. ) No software program can or will ever replace your brain.
5. ) No software program can or will ever replace your common sense.
6. ) The bad guys rely on the trusting nature of people. Whatever sounds too good to be true most always is.
7. ) You don’t need to be a computer guru to avoid someone taking advantage of you on the Internet.
8. )Continuing education is a must. You don’t need to be a guru to stay safe, but you must continue to learn about your computer and the Internet because its always changing and evolving.
9. ) Don’t give your trust away – make those who want you to trust them earn your trust. Don’t trust strangers on the Web. Be wary.
10.) The Internet can be a magical, fun and wonderful place. On it you’ll find the sum total of humanity’s knowledge; it’s an invaluable source of entertainment, knowledge, beauty and fun.
11.) If you are constantly worried about the boogeyman lurking in the hills and canyons, you’ll never get much enjoyment from your computer… or the Internet.
12.) Your computer is your window to the world regardless of your age. It can take you backward or forward into time; it can take you on incredible journeys from the depths of the oceans to breathtaking nebulae thousands of light years away. You can learn to sail, to fly, to write; you can learn a foreign language or get a college degree.
13.)And the most amazing thing about computers and the Internet? You never even have to leave you home. You can explore the entire world and tap into the knowledge of humanity all without leaving your home.
14.) While it’s a shame that there is so much trickery and deceit on the Internet, it’s not exclusive to the Internet. Actually, ,when you think about it, it isn’t any different than the world has ever been. There have always been scams and trickery; there have always been bad people who are out to steal what you have. There is one big difference between trickery and deceit on the Internet and deceit and trickery in the “real” world though – and that difference is you.
15.) If someone came to your door and offered you a little box that promised to fix every problem with your house – from a broken window to a broken.water heater – with the click of a button. And you could buy that magic box for $49, what do you think the chances are you’d buy it are? Slim and none, right? Exactly. Because why? Because you know better. You know it’s a scam because your common sense and your knowledge tells you it’s a scam. But if someone on the Internet or television tells you that their product can fix whatever is wrong your computer and make it run like new with just a click of you mouse – and for only $49 – you might buy it. You might not know enough about computers that you’d know that one-click-fixes work about as well on your computer as the little magic home repair box would work on your house.
16.) Somewhere between the real world and the Internet, our common sense meanders and our intellect dulls; things we’d never believe in the real world, we believe when we encounter them on the Internet. And that, in a nutshell, is why trickery and deceit abound on the Internet. That’s why there is so much malware. That’s why there is so much money stolen from people’s bank accounts. That’s why almost all freeware you download now comes in the form of bundlers – software installers loaded with malware and hijackers right along side the program you really wanted are everywhere.
17.) People’s tendency to forego common sense while on the Internet is also why there are so many rogue security programs and why such things as cryptolocker-type programs “FBI” scams (Ramsomware) are so ubiquitous.
18.) Your computer won’t bite but there are a plethora of things on the Internet that will bite you if you leave your common sense behind when you turn on your computer and venture out on to the Internet. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can learn to take your common sense with you on the Internet; you can protect yourself by educating yourself and training your brain to come with you when you open that browser of yours. Just a little bit of education and some plain, old healthy wariness are essential to staying safe when you travel on the Web.
(Darcy & TC, July 2005)
We wrote that almost fifteen years ago in our first “Your Computer Won’t Bite” e-book, published in July 2005. Things change and the wheel goes ’round and ’round. More people access the Internet today with smartphones and tablets than with PCs. But other than that things are pretty much as they were 15 years ago. The crooks may be more sophisticated, but the one thing you can count on is that there will always be people trying to make an easy buck by preying upon the kindness, naivety, and generosity of trusting people.
And now during the pandemic when we can’t safely leave our homes, our computers have become our lifelines to the world, our families, and our friends. And we have to be more careful than ever because we are using our computers more than ever.
But fifteen years later, we still don’t want you to be afraid – we just want you to be careful. Your computer still won’t bite.
Be well, be wary, be safe – and have fun.