Giving "Casuals" the Virus-Metric

Daniel C. dcrookston at
Sun Feb 8 11:53:39 MST 2009

I have, somewhere in my brain, a metric that I use to determine
whether downloading and installing software is going to be hazardous
to my computer.  I acquired it by working in tech support for many
years, one of which was spent at Sento on the McAfee account.
Apparently it's very good because, although I have used Windows for my
desktop machines almost exclusively, I do not make it a habit to use
AV programs and I have not been infected once since I got the job at
Sento back in 2001 or so.

But for most people - my family members specifically - putting in a
year working tech support just to learn how not to install stupid crap
on their system isn't practical.  I've tried communicating my
virus-metric to them, but have so far failed completely.  (Usually I
say things like "If it seems suspicious, don't click it."  We clearly
have different standards for suspicious.)

I'd like to put together a short article or white paper that will give
casual computer users the tools to tell what's going to mess up their
system and what isn't.  The problem is that, while I can tell what's
dodgy and what isn't, I don't know how I can tell.  Can anyone here
help me out with this?


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