My pledge: no more security software company surveys
It’s been a tale of two PR pushes this week, from McAfee and arch-rival Symantec.
Yesterday, McAfee got a lot of soft coverage for its completely unquantified, dpress release about the most dangerous celebrities to search for (its company blog includes the gem “Searching for Latinas is Risky”). The survey has all the hallmarks of an antirus classic: fear, self-interest and a near complete lack of detail on how its information was compiled.
Today InternetNZ CEO Vikram Kumar questioned the methodology behind vendor-backed surveys – particularly those involving cybercrime. Victims are more likely to participate, distorting results, Mr Kumar says.
The result is a savaging for Symantec’s latest survey, which claims cybercrime is costing Kiwis nearly half a billion a year.
Security software companies are spewing out an endless series of surveys these days (recruitment and real estate companies run a close second), taking advantage of news websites stretched resources and endless need for clicks
I’ve had enough.
Cyber risks are real, but the advice is always the same: Keep your security software up to date, use different passwords for different sites, don’t click on links from strangers, download stuff from unknown sites, or give out your personal details by email or phone (real companies do call. ASB phoned about my credit card after it got caught – without any loss – in a carpark payment machine scam. If you’re not sure if you’re talking to a fraudster or a real company, hang up and call them back through their main desk). And remember the worst will happen to your data some point, so always backup. The worst might happen to your credit card, too – which is traumatic, but also your bank and credit card company’s problem, not yours.
Personally, I’ve been using the freebie Microsoft Security Essentials on my laptop for the past three years or so.
I’ve never been hit by a virus, and my cheque account balance seems no lower than usual.
And you can’t beat that price.