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November 25, 2012

Good outweighs the bad to keep us techno-thankful

NORMAN — I have a strange job. As a computer repair guy and computer/Internet security consultant, I am often the bearer of bad news. I do not like bearing bad news, but, sometimes, I have no choice.

“Your irreplaceable family pictures are gone forever.” “Your company’s financial database must be rebuilt from scratch.” “Your accounts have been hacked, drained, and your identity stolen.” Who enjoys delivering tidings like these? Not me.

Having a computer on the Internet is not unlike fighting a battle; a veiled battle, often an unseen battle, but a battle, nonetheless. Maybe I’m a bit like a grouchy old drill sergeant who, in preparing his troops for war, does not try to sugarcoat the grim realities that lay ahead.

Every year, about this time, I try to reassess my situation and decide how the past will affect the future. Are things better? Are they worse? Are the Internet bad guys winning, or is real progress being made in the war on Internet crime?

For the most part, there are many things about computers and the Internet for which I am very thankful, and about which I am quite positive, upbeat and cheerful. I love my job fixing computers, I enjoy helping people and I think that using the Internet can be lots of fun.

More specifically, I am:

Thankful for free Internet security programs. Computer security programs essentially do one thing: plug holes and protect flaws in operating systems and programs that have been discovered and exploited by the bad guys. If it weren’t for free antivirus programs like Avira and Avast, updating programs like Secunia and maintenance programs like Ccleaner, things would be much worse than they already are. In addition, people would be wasting money on paid programs when there are free programs that get the job done.

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