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Older Means Wiser To Computer Security 181

Posted by Soulskill
from the get-off-my-lawn dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Growing up in the digital age, 18 – 25s may appear to be a more tech-savvy generation, but that does not translate into safer computing and online practices. A new study reveals that they are the most at-risk group, and prone to cyber-attacks. That makes this group even more vulnerable to online security threats. Younger users tend to prioritize entertainment and community over security, perhaps due to overconfidence in their security knowledge. For example, they're more concerned about gaming or other social activities than their online security. They also have less sophisticated security software, and hence, have reported more security problems than other groups."
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Older Means Wiser To Computer Security

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  • Shocking... (Score:5, Funny)

    by NicBenjamin (2124018) on Friday June 22, 2012 @04:26PM (#40416165)

    18-25 year olds don't think bad things could happen to them.

    On the bright side an 18-25 year old probably doesn't have much worth stealing.

    • by seepho (1959226) on Friday June 22, 2012 @04:28PM (#40416187)

      perhaps due to overconfidence in their security knowledge

      Also arrogant, don't forget arrogant. Consequently, they should get off my lawn.

      • by ackthpt (218170) on Friday June 22, 2012 @05:04PM (#40416595) Homepage Journal

        perhaps due to overconfidence in their security knowledge

        Also arrogant, don't forget arrogant. Consequently, they should get off my lawn.

        It may look like an iPod they're plugged into at their desk, but it's an industrial grade SEP Field Generator, going full tilt.

        and pull your pants up

      • Re:Shocking... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by sdnoob (917382) on Friday June 22, 2012 @11:15PM (#40418679)

        overconfident... arrogant... yup.. don't forget naive, and well, a lot of them are just plain dumb, too, and lack even basic common sense. including many that hold degrees, diplomas or certs (that often leads to the first and second parts.. overconfidence and arrogance) .

        although on the other side, some folks that have been around awhile also think they know everything, know the absolute best way to do something, and are so set in their ways they dismiss better ideas simply because they do come from younger or less-experienced people or because they weren't the one to come up with it.

        • Re:Shocking... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by rtb61 (674572) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @04:06AM (#40419489) Homepage

          Let's be a bit more honest about it, one bitten twice shy and for many older people involved in security, twice and even thrice bitten. Security consciousness is more unfortunately largely driven by security failures. Even when an individual is more security conscious the rest of the company bucks and baulks at the security requirements, routinely finding ways to get around them, until of course the company network is compromised a few times as a result. Security reduces productivity and is an inconvenience but it does not reduce productivity as much as a security failure.

    • by sneakyimp (1161443) on Friday June 22, 2012 @04:30PM (#40416201)

      Yeah who needs those youngsters' data? It's all just music/video/games stolen from someone else anyway -- and all they have is that noise the kids are listening to these days -- none of that Clapton or Floyd we veterans need.

      We in the older crowd, on the other hand, know that LawnSentry is important to keep your lawn free of those virus infected younglings.

      • Re:Shocking... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by NicBenjamin (2124018) on Friday June 22, 2012 @04:43PM (#40416351)

        I was actually referring to bank accounts.

        If you got access to my Huntington account today, at 31, you'd be able to transfer $1,000 to your shady Russian money-laundering operation, and I'd be screwed. If you got access to my account when I was in college you'd be lucky to get $300, and it would have been no skin off my ass because Daddy would have made it better.

        • I figured you might be referring to money. If anyone got access to my 21-yr old bank account, they'd probably find a negative balance. My assumption was that the only thing valuable on such a machine today would be all the pirated music and video.

          • by ackthpt (218170)

            I figured you might be referring to money. If anyone got access to my 21-yr old bank account, they'd probably find a negative balance. My assumption was that the only thing valuable on such a machine today would be all the pirated music and video.

            You probably should change your voicemail password from 123.

            BTW, you sure have a lot of people trying to reach you about your collection of something or other.

            • by PNutts (199112)

              You probably should change your voicemail password from 123.

              How stupid do you think I am??? It's the numbers in the corners that make a square. I don't know what they are but they're easy to remember.

          • You do realize that if anyone gets access to your bank account, they then can use the details their to actually just walk into a branch pretending to be you, get a credit card issued in your name, then use that to transfer $10,000 in money you don't have to the aforementioned shady Russian bank.

            People keep assuming that the internet is the only place cyber-criminals operate: identity theft was big business well before the net, what the net has done is decentralized it.

      • by Eponymous Hero (2090636) on Friday June 22, 2012 @05:04PM (#40416585)
        A few weeks ago, I foolishly setup a "Stay Off The Lawn" sign that a home security company sent me by mail. As someone who doesn't know much about home security, at the time, I thought nothing of it. "Why would a home security company want to hurt me?" Following this line of thought, I put up the sign without question.

        How naive I was. Despite having what was supposedly the best "Stay Off The Lawn" sign out right then, a young whippersnapper stepped on my lawn and held my attention hostage. He was pretending to be a messenger from the National Security Agency telling me to buy some strange lawn sign I'd never heard of from a company I'd never heard of to remove this same young whippersnapper.

        This immediately set alarm bells off in my head. "How could this happen? My 'Stay Off The Lawn' sign is supposed to be second to none!" Faced with this harsh reality, I decided to take my "Stay Off The Lawn" sign in for repair. They gladly accepted the job, told me it'd be fixed in a few days, and sent me off with a smile.

        A few days later, they called me and told me to come pick up my sign. At the time, I noticed that they sounded like whimpering animals, but I concluded that it must just be stress from work. When I arrived, they, with tears in their eyes, told me that the young whippersnapper was so awful and merciless that they were unable to remove him. "Ah," I thought. "That must be why they sounded so frustrated and pathetic over the phone. Their failure must have truly ruined their pride as professionals." I later found out that two of them had committed suicide.

        After returning home, I tried to fix it myself (despite the fact that even the professionals couldn't do it). After about a day or so, I was losing my very mind. I stopped going to work, stopped eating, was depressed, and I would very frequently throw my precious belongings across the room and break them; that is how bad this young whippersnapper was.

        That's when it happened: I found GetOffMyFuckingLawn.com [getoffmyfuckinglawn.com]! I installed the "Trespassers Will Be Shot" sign from GetOffMyFuckingLawn.com [getoffmyfuckinglawn.com], faced it toward the street, and let it remove all the young whippersnappers! They were removed in precisely 2.892 seconds. Wow! Such a thing! I can't even believe this as such never before! GetOffMyFuckingLawn [getoffmyfuckinglawn.com] is outstanding! Those young whippersnappers are running faster than ever! GetOffMyFuckingLawn [getoffmyfuckinglawn.com] came through with flying colors where no one else could!

        GetOffMyFuckingLawn [getoffmyfuckinglawn.com] totally cleaned up my yard, and increased my property value! If you're having young whippersnapper problems, or even if you aren't having any obvious problems, I recommend that you use GetOffMyFuckingLawn [getoffmyfuckinglawn.com]. As a cranky old vet, it did more for me that any so-called "professional." It'll even boost your firearm accuracy & aim-down-sight speed!

        Now with LawnSentry! [http://www.wimp.com/lawngenius/]
    • by mlush (620447)

      18-25 year olds don't think bad things could happen to them.

      On the bright side an 18-25 year old probably doesn't have much worth stealing.

      Their credit rating is probably worth a bob or two

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SonofSmog (1961084)
      Young people engage in risky behavior? Indeed shocking...
    • by ackthpt (218170)

      18-25 year olds don't think bad things could happen to them.

      On the bright side an 18-25 year old probably doesn't have much worth stealing.

      Sometimes it's the age and wisdome of the project management...

      You can have it done on schedule - OR - you can have it done right.

      To make stockholders, executives, etc, happy it's usually the former, with the belief anything which is a problem can be dealt with later.

    • by jd (1658) <imipak&yahoo,com> on Friday June 22, 2012 @05:06PM (#40416615) Homepage Journal

      Back when I was 18, I found a library computer had been infected by a virus. I copied the infected program and found a clean version off the local public domain archives. Wrote a binary diff and extracted the inserted hook plus the attached virus. Looked at the code through a disassembler. It was ok, but that wasn't the important bit. The important bit is that I'd done software gene splicing.

      • I did that once, back when the old "Naples High Sneakernet" turned into our own little Typhoid Mary with the old "November 17" virus (thankfully, this is in april).

        Back in those days, you knew you had something nasty because EMM386 would get infected and not work, and none of your games would run.

        Hm? When the hell did I get a lawn?!

    • by kelemvor4 (1980226) on Friday June 22, 2012 @05:38PM (#40416867)

      18-25 year olds don't think bad things could happen to them.

      On the bright side an 18-25 year old probably doesn't have much worth stealing.

      If they're in I.T. then they probably still have their virginity. You could steal that.

      • by sconeu (64226)

        Who would want to?

      • by Zakabog (603757)

        18-25 year olds don't think bad things could happen to them.

        On the bright side an 18-25 year old probably doesn't have much worth stealing.

        If they're in I.T. then they probably still have their virginity. You could steal that.

        Like the previous post said, not much worth stealing...

      • by Burning1 (204959)

        If they're in I.T. then they probably still have their virginity. You could steal that.

        It's impossible to steal something that is being freely offered.

        • by bky1701 (979071)
          Well, presumably, they still have some standards, or they would already be frakking each other.
          • by Burning1 (204959)

            I assume, same species, living/breathing, and not same gender are typically on that list.

    • by Phoghat (1288088)

      18-25 year olds don't think bad things could happen to them.

      On the bright side an 18-25 year old probably doesn't have much worth stealing.

      Thought I was immortal at that age, but did have stuff worth steealing

  • by sneakyimp (1161443) on Friday June 22, 2012 @04:26PM (#40416169)

    This seems like a good place to ask: What is the best firewall and antivirus software available for Windows? For Linux? I've been a Mcafee customer by default but suspect there's something better for Windows. I also use linux a lot more now and, beyond a custom hosts file, don't have any active antivirus software beyond what comes with Ubuntu. Advice?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 22, 2012 @04:32PM (#40416225)

      The best firewall for Windows IS Linux!

      • by s.petry (762400)

        And here I was thinking the post was going to be marked as flame bait and vanish.. :D

    • by heypete (60671) <pete@heypete.com> on Friday June 22, 2012 @04:35PM (#40416263) Homepage

      Windows: Microsoft Security Essentials. It's free, non-obnoxious, and works well. The Windows Firewall is fine. No need for extra stuff.
      Linux: There aren't really any noteworthy Linux-specific viruses that affect desktop systems. Keep things up to date. For server systems, things like tripwire are handy to see if things are getting modified. The built-in firewall is again excellent.
      Hosts File: DO NOT SUMMON APK.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Hosts File: DO NOT SUMMON APK.

        It is too LATE for that because he has already been SUMMONED. It is too late for you to stop the POWER of the ETC/HOSTS file which I have used for the past fifteen years to protect my COMPUTER by linking to

        0.0.0.0 instead of 127.0.0.1 which is faster for resolution times

        A
        P
        K

        +------ P.S.
        |
        |
        +------> /etc/hosts FILES ARE SECURE AND CHECK OUT MY links [slashdot.org]

        Furthermore, studies have shown that one sentence per line i

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Microsoft Security Essentials + Windows Firewall is a good choice for windows.

    • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Friday June 22, 2012 @04:38PM (#40416289)

      This seems like a good place to ask: What is the best firewall and antivirus software available for Windows?

      For home users, there's little reason not to go with Microsoft Security Essentials as your antivirus: it does a good job of detecting most malware, it's free, and it's faster and less intrusive than most third-party solutions.

      Regarding firewalls, I've heard good things about the Comodo firewall, but personally I've never had a problem just using the standard Windows firewall in conjunction with a NAT device.

      Make sure to keep Windows Update set to automatic, and install the security updates when they become available. More importantly, be sure to update Flash and Adobe Reader, since these are actually a bigger vector for infection now than Windows and IE. Don't install Java unless you really need it, and even if you do need it for a desktop app, make sure the browser plugin is disabled, and that you keep the VM up to date at all times. It's a big attack surface.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jd (1658)

        Security Essentials detects a lot of malware that you really don't care about and misses the really nasty stuff. It's considerably slower than either of the anti-virus toolkits I've mentioned elsewhere (Dr Web, Kaspersky). The most recent Flash is broken for Firefox, no date set for the fix, so keeping it up to date depends on what you use. Java isn't a big deal, provided it is only enabled for trusted sites. Java applications only have the same power as regular applications if signed, unsigned Java code is

      • I have used the AVG free suite for years with the more obtrusive stuff turned off and have had no problems...

      • by CAIMLAS (41445)

        For home users, there's little reason not to go with Microsoft Security Essentials as your antivirus: it does a good job of detecting most malware, it's free, and it's faster and less intrusive than most third-party solutions.

        It's also the one which seems to most likely be "broken" at this point in time without bricking the system, so the user never notices unless tehy're security conscious. Little things don't work, but for the most part things keep working when it's been intentionally broken. In that regard, Symantec might actually be better: you at least know when someone's trying to take your banking info.

    • Use a hardware firewall, and MSE on Windows boxen.

    • Just throwing in my vote for Microsoft Security Essentials and built in firewall, as well. As long as you couple it with a decent adblock/script blocking program on your browser of choice, and use a modicum of common sense, you should be fine...
    • by MrSenile (759314) on Friday June 22, 2012 @04:46PM (#40416389)

      For windows.

      McAfee I'd not select. It's an absolute pig on resources.
      Norton is ok, but also rather piggish.
      AVG is actually not bad, or Avast I hear is pretty good.
      Windows 7 antivirus that they include also isn't too bad.
      kaspersky isn't bad either.

      You'd also want an anti-spyware/adware. My suggestions:
      spybot search & destroy
      malware bytes
      ad-aware

      For manual checking/removal:
      hijack this!
      wireshark

      For firewalls:
      I'd honestly set up a linux box as a firewall proxy for your windows system. But if you must have a windows firewall:
      zonealarm - free, and it 'works', but not the best
      Comodo is actually pretty nice and I believe their firewall is free

      For Linux:
      Generally, you don't need to worry much about viruses, but I won't be so arrogant to say Linux can't get them. A PEBCAK error makes Linux vulnerable like any other OS, so with that in mind, my suggestion:

      samhain -- this is very nice protection against rootkits as it does md5 checksums of all your binaries/libraries and alerts you of any system changes.
      clamav -- antivirus for linux/unix
      iptables -- this is your built in linux firewall. Very very powerful.
      fail2ban -- this (or other software like denyhosts, blockhosts, etc) good for brute force attacks on your services (like ssh, httpd, etc)
      ACL -- check into setting up acl restriction on binaries as well as mounting partitions nosuid or noexec.

      You can find various graphical/web frontends for iptable configuration. It's pretty complex so if you're a newbie to Linux or unix in general you may want to search around for a good front end. Otherwise, I suggest just doing it by hand and set up your own iptable rule sets as it gives you more flexability.

      Make sure to also apply all the recent patches, disable any services/daemons you don't need running, and for any remote access you enable to your system, lock it down to the specific set of users you want to connect to your system.

      Hope that helps.

      • Awesome post. I've used all those linux tools except ACL. Will look into that. Given that I'm using Ubuntu and browsing the web a lot, I'm mostly concerned about infection via web browser -- clicking on a funny link or something.

        I'm not sure how to set up a linux box as a firewall proxy for windows, but I suspect my router (running DD-WRT) may accomplish more or less the same thing. My LAN connects to my router which connect to my cable modem.

        • A very simple way of doing this is with Putty/SSH. Basically, you open a SSH connection with a tunnel. Then you use something like FoxyProxy, point it at the SSH tunnel you opened. I'm sure there are better solutions for opening the SSH tunnel or Proxy. This works as a quick & dirty solution. And it's a great way to get around certain firewalls, if your proxy lies outside the firewall(ie home server while @ work).
          • by heypete (60671)

            OpenVPN is another option, and that works quite well. It can also be configured to route all traffic, not just things which support proxies.

            Setting it up the first time is not the most trivial thing in the world, but it's not hard. Just be sure to change the RSA and DH-parameter scripts to generate 2048-bit keys (or higher, if you feel the need) rather than the default 1024.

        • by s.petry (762400)

          A side note among all the others is to never ever under any circumstances run a web browser as someone that can have their privileges elevated to root, or more obviously a root user.

          That one simple thing is the reason you will be hard pressed to find any viruses for Linux in the wild. Conceptually possible of course, and that should not discount the threat of brute force attacks or buffer over flow attacks. Root is the only thing that can mess with system level functions.

          If you are using Ubuntu, it's impo

    • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Friday June 22, 2012 @04:52PM (#40416447)

      OK, here's my 54-year old doddering answer.

      For important things you can sign up for an instance of Linux on Amazon, connect, do whatever you need to do, and throw the instance away. For stuff that requires only minimal security, cough up some bucks, put on your big boy pants, slap 16 Gig of EE3 RAM into a new HP laptop and run a Linux VM web appliance on VMWare's free player or Virtual Box. Throw a keystroke encryptor on your windows host too. Sure, it's not perfect, but a dang good cheap firewall. Make sure you add Ghostery, first thing, or you'll be tracked by hundreds of different sites. The government/corporations may not come to track you down today, but your comments, even the innocent ones that mention your name, address, friends or family members may come back to haunt you in a few years.

      Or maybe next year. Because maybe you're just not paranoid enough yet.

      Now, (and it feels good to say this), "GET OFF MY LAWN!"

    • by jd (1658)

      Dr Web and Kaspersky seem to be the two best choices. Both'll run under Linux and Windows, which is good. I am unsure of the value of personal firewalls on Windows, as it is unclear as to what they're supposed to stop. There ARE Windows versions of AIDE (which will tell you if any file has been modified) and Snort (which will tell you if there is any suspect network traffic, especially any that fits known malware patterns), but it's unclear whether they'd do what you'd want.

    • NOD32 from ESET is cheap and works without crushing your computer.

    • by PNutts (199112)

      The original Windows Security Essentials was a well regarded AV program, but 2.0 has a very low detection rate and shouldn't be used.

      Virus Bulletin [virusbtn.com] rates programs by platform and has a top 100. I was surprised that a free version (Avira) is one of the best.

    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      I'm a big fan of ESET for Windows. It may not be bulletproof, but in terms of preventing infections without breaking the system, it seems to be the best out there. Kaspersky comes in a close second, being stronger on detection and removal than prevention. Same goes for Avira.

      Semantic is worse than running the system while infected with credit card stealing trojans. McAfee isn't as bad, but I'd still rather run without either. They're like a fat, sleeping security guard. He's just in your way when you need t

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Anyone here surprised that the youth are not really tech savvy? No? Didn't think so.
    • by Skapare (16644) on Friday June 22, 2012 @04:36PM (#40416267) Homepage

      Being "tech savvy" has lost it's meaning these days. People are considered "tech savvy" by just being able to use a smartphone. And that is effectively increasing the pool of people called "tech savvy". But the number of people that genuinely understand security is not growing. If anything it is shrinking.

      • Indeed. Technological education is, IMHO, somewhat 'sick' these days.

        • by s.petry (762400) on Friday June 22, 2012 @05:08PM (#40416637)

          Much of the reason for that is difficult to blame on the technical people. Companies no longer have budgets for training, let alone following best practices. Compound that with expectation that a technical person can handle any gawd awful technology you tell them they have to support.

          5 years ago, I was much better with security than I am now. 5 years ago, I handled Solaris (2 versions), Redhat (2 versions), Sun and HP hardware, 2 vendors HBA cards, and 2 SAN vendors.

          Today, 47 operating systems, 3 different PC hardware vendors (unfortunately much is from a home grown slap it together cheap shop), Sun (equipment dating back 12 years to present). OSes must include Windows, ESX, Citrix Xen*, Solaris 8-11, disparate versions of Ubuntu, CentOS, RHEL, Fedora, Gentoo, NetBSD, FreeBSD, plus many tasks that 5 years ago were the job of a staffed Network person. That's in addition to Netapp and some other cheap NAS vendored gear.

          I generally laugh when I get recruiter postings for jobs demanding candidates be senior level SAN admin, Unix Admin, Windows Admin, VMWare admin, Cisco Admin, and what ever else they can stick on to a single person's job the sounds technical. I also cry because nobody can be an expert with anything in a market making those demands.

          Security has to take a back seat. I just make it a point of telling people when they are demanding insecure solutions to cover my ass.

          • They have become cynical people who essentially care about Money first, Money second and Money third. All what facilitates the nice inflow of money is being done. Security - it only costs money and it will never generate revenue. The cost of your corporate secrets being exfiltrated to an asian competitor - who cares. There is no way beancounters can properly account cost for that, so it is assumed to be zero, by means of ignorance. The western world has grown into a morally rotten bunch of muppets, pretty m
      • by geek (5680) on Friday June 22, 2012 @04:53PM (#40416453) Homepage

        I disagree. I'm old enough to remember when "tech savy" was someone that could set the clock on a VCR. It's always been this way.

        This website is older than a lot of the people who visit it now. I've been here since the very beginning. This site, like many others, began catering to larger populations by dumbing down the content. This of course ups page views and ad clicks. Then the "tech savy" folks move on to other "tech savy" sites and the cycle continues.

        I'm just the old guy that kept coming back every few months to check on things and feeling nostalgic.

        But I digress. People in the 18-25 age group feel immortal. I know because I was one of them not too long ago. This feeling of youth and being impervious seeps into everything they do, including computer usage. Who needs an AV program? Software updates? Nah I don't need them. It's just how it goes.

        They get a little older, a little wiser, life takes a few chunks out of their asses and the cycle continues. It's all just a big joke as the Comedian would say.

        • by slew (2918)

          I'm old enough to remember when "tech savy" was someone that could set the clock on a VCR. It's always been this way.

          What's a VCR? (just kidding)... Every generation has their "tech savy" litmus test, it's always been this way, but today it's not setting a VCR clock. Maybe today it's setting a non-default password for your wireless router or something like that...

      • by sco08y (615665)

        People are considered "tech savvy" by just being able to use a smartphone.

        Reminds me of the News Co scandal where they "hacked" some phones by dialing the standard numbers for voicemail, which worked because the victims hadn't bothered to set a password...

        Being "tech savvy" has lost it's meaning these days.

        I suspect any type of savvy has been fairly meaningless when used by mass media for a while now.

      • by ackthpt (218170)

        Being "tech savvy" has lost it's meaning these days. People are considered "tech savvy" by just being able to use a smartphone. And that is effectively increasing the pool of people called "tech savvy". But the number of people that genuinely understand security is not growing. If anything it is shrinking.

        Youth? I've known a few 40 year old women who have left their purses in their cars in parking lots. Shocked when they come back, find a big hole in their window and no purse. Sometimes it's simply a matter of haste.

        Back in the day, when I was learning programming I had some hard-nosed profs pound into my head the concept of ELSE. If this then do something ELSE do something .. No drop-through logic allowed, period! Amazing how much code I see with drop through logic.

    • by tverbeek (457094) on Friday June 22, 2012 @05:02PM (#40416567) Homepage

      This cannot be a surprise to anyone familiar with either the Dunning-Kruger effect, or the tendency of adolescents/young adults to act in denial of their own mortality.

      Young people (as a group) do not understand technology better than older people (as a group) do; they just aren't afraid of it. That makes them better at figuring out how to use it, but worse at figuring out how to use it wisely.

      • by Belial6 (794905)
        The idea that older people are more afraid of technology than young people is a stereo type that once was true, and really isn't anymore. It makes sense though. back in the 70/80/90's the old people had grown up in a time when pushing the wrong button could take your arm off. When they were kids, you either approached new technology with caution, or you didn't survive to be old. Today, the old people grew up in an environment where pushing the wrong button meant you had to reinstall.
        • by tverbeek (457094)

          How old are you... 12? I'm 47 (not young, but still not quite ready to be lumped into "old people" just yet) and I grew up in an environment when "install" still implied the use of a screwdriver. Seriously: I first encountered the word in reference to software when I was 19 years old; I remember that it struck me as a rather odd use of the verb.

          • by Belial6 (794905)
            When discussing "old people" and "young people" in relation to tech, 47 is WAY into the "old range". You are old enough to be someone's grandfather. I love the fact that we live in an age that being old doesn't mean being decrepit, but you should be aware that if you start asking 18 year olds out, there is going to be a lot of "Ewwww.....That old guy was hitting on me." going on.
  • Give it to anyone under 25.

  • ...as they get off my lawn!

  • by Freddybear (1805256) on Friday June 22, 2012 @04:31PM (#40416217)

    When I was 18 I knew everything. Now that I'm older I know better. :)

    • by SirGarlon (845873)
      I prefer the formulation, "When I was 18, I knew everything." (pause) "What the hell happened?"
      • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

        by lightknight (213164)

        You found out that despite reason and logic's many virtues, some people will purposefully blind themselves to them, if only to win an argument; that even though you may be correct, and the other person wrong, the other person will deny the correctness of your position if only to deny you hearing them say you are correct? That some people think that yelling, screaming, and violence are valid substitutes for leadership? That corruption is institutionalized, and couldn't be wiped out even if humanity were redu

    • by oddaddresstrap (702574) on Friday June 22, 2012 @04:45PM (#40416379)

      "When I was fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have him around. When I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years."
      -Mark Twain

      • by tverbeek (457094)

        You need to adjust those figures up by 30-50% to accommodate the delay of social maturity in modern times, but yes, it's still true.

  • by foniksonik (573572) on Friday June 22, 2012 @04:33PM (#40416237) Homepage Journal

    The last statement is a false positive. Reporting more issues is not the same as having more.

    Maybe just maybe the older generation fails to report their issues and continue to have them.

    This would fall in line with the older, "wiser" generation being less savvy, so much less that they don't even recognize a security issue that needs reporting.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      These days odds are the older folks that now anything about computers were at least one point interested in them. These days kids no nothing about them but use them all the time.

    • by jd (1658)

      Or perhaps the older generation is just tired of complaining and getting nowhere, so have given up. (It is ALWAYS bad news when the customers are apathetic because of poor service.) However, older generally also means not updating as often and one thing I have definitely seen is that there has been a sharp deterioration in the quality of products.

  • lack of theory (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 22, 2012 @04:38PM (#40416285)

    Us old folk had:

    * No home computers to start with, because they didn't exist until we were about 35
    * 8 bit computers when those arrived
    * etc up through the present day

    Younger folks were dumped right into a world were "using" a computer means being far, far away from the actual machine, above a huge number of software abstraction layers and interacting with it like it was a glorified television. The younger folks who "get" security are the ones who have taken the initiative to learn how their machines work, but those folks are rare-ish. Most of them are quite happy to treat the machine like a "magic" device, or at best, learn some simple scripting language and figure they have "leaned computers!". Us old folk, on the other hand, did not have that choice. We had to know how the machine worked, because that KIM-1 didn't program itself. We had to learn from the CPU on up. Lots of young folks don't even understand how protection rings work, or the difference between an executable and a text file: to them, it's all just "icons you click on and stuff happens". There's also very little understanding of things like the concept of a virtual machine, and what it's limitations to encapsulation might be. It's no surprise to me that they get jacked on a routine basis, with the way I see most of them operating their devices. They'll click on anything they're told to without any apparent thought.

    Lawn.

    • by Belial6 (794905)
      Your second sentence made the point stand out to me that the definitions of "old" and "young" being used are not the same for everybody. You say that "Us old folk had no home computers to start with, because they didn't exist until we were about 35".

      I was counting myself as one of the old folk, and I got my KIM-1 at 9. Ahhh.... The youthful days of my siblings calling out pages of hex from the manual while I typed on the little hexadecimal keypad.

      It's is an interesting point though because it sounds
    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      I just turned 30 this past month. I'm not (that) old, yet. (Or, at least, the 18-22 year old women I attract don't think so...)

      There is a technologically/scientifically inclined kid in the neighborhood who's going to school for EE. He just turned 18. He comes by to talk on occasion. He will occasionlally say, "back in your day" when he wants me to explain something. He can't comprehend a world without universal broadband Internet or free wireless. The concept of dialup - internet over two copper wires! and

  • Computer illiteracy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Elbereth (58257) on Friday June 22, 2012 @04:39PM (#40416293) Journal

    Do these sorts of "adults are computer illiterate" stories bother anyone else? It can't just be me. I've been hearing them since the 1970s, when I was kid. Back then, I was apparently a computer genius. In the 1980s, when I was a teenager, I suddenly became a dangerous computer hacker. In the 1990s, my computer skills were apparently starting to falter, as I had hit my 20s, and I was no longer hot shit. Still, I was a dot com millionaire, and that's got to count for something. In the 2000s and 2010s, I've become a doddering old fool who can't even click his mouse on an icon. Wait, "icon" might be a bit too complex. Let's just call it "the little picture on the TV part of the computer".

    I can only imagine what doddering old fools my parents must be. I mean, they're almost retirement age. I bet they can't even figure out how to turn on their computer. Nevermind that they've been using Linux exclusively for over ten years now, without any tech support from me.

    • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Friday June 22, 2012 @04:41PM (#40416327)

      LOL. Yes, at 54, the 20-somethings are always surprised when I can figure out how to do something much faster than they can. Of course, I've been doing it since the 1980s as have many of my cohorts. Experience does count for something.

      • by CAIMLAS (41445)

        I'm only 30, but I've noticed that I can accomplish, while drunk, exhausted, and not really paying attention, the 'difficult' tasks you can find tutorials for on the internet which these young kids are lauded as being awesome for accomplishing. I can also do them in a lot less time: I've BTDT, and know how to not do it. Computers: ithey're the same thing they were then, just much, much more complex (and at the same time, much more abstracted to simplicity).

        Add another 24 years, and it could be scary. Even p

    • by couchslug (175151)

      "Do these sorts of "adults are computer illiterate" stories bother anyone else?"

      No, because I grew up before the PC era and plenty of adults then as now were "illiterate". I don't expect folks not motivated enough to learn to read to care about computers.

    • by Belial6 (794905)
      It stems form the fact that accurate stereo types frequently out live their time. When we were kids in the 70's, a lot of the older people at that time grew up in an world where you didn't just go randomly fiddling with new technology. Do so could lose you an arm if not outright kill you. They grew up in a time when being afraid to press the wrong button was a rational life saving fear. When the shift came and a majority of the new tech did not kill you for making a mistake, these people had 40, 50, 60
    • by slew (2918)

      Do these sorts of "adults are computer illiterate" stories bother anyone else?

      No, these stories don't bother me as I know many adults that although use computers daily, are practically illiterate about computers.

      Still, I was a dot com millionaire, and that's got to count for something.

      No, it doesn't have to count for anything. It is these types of stories about winning the lottery must mean I'm somehow superior than the average joe that bother me ;^) I'm sure there are plenty of dot-com millionaires that didn't know much about the computers that ran the websites which made them accidentally rich.

  • I wonder... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mordejai (702496) on Friday June 22, 2012 @04:42PM (#40416337)

    Wouldn't it be terrible if 18-25 year olds behaved the same way in other aspects of their life? Like sex, studies, personal security...

    Oh, wait...

  • I'm a gamer and even when I was in that age group I was very security conscious even more-se than today. If my computer took a hit from a virus or malware it meant no gaming.
    • by 0racle (667029)
      Yes really, I'm not surprised at all. Taken as a group, gamers are not knowledgeable about the machine they run. They don't really understand it any more then someone who just checks their e-mail from time to time. They are squarely in the users group. This is the group who will tell you that you have to reinstall Windows every 3-6 moths or you're going to have lower frame rates. They really don't care about some downtime not playing because they've convinced themselves that it is the best way to get maximu
  • Let me be the first to say that old age and treachery overcomes youth and skill.

    That's not to say a thing about dumbing down of the newer generations, bla bla bla get off my lawn!

  • "They also have less sophisticated security software, and hence, have reported more security problems than other groups."

    Strangely, my copy of Foocom Antifail Pro flagged that sentence as 99% full of fail.

  • by MacTO (1161105) on Friday June 22, 2012 @05:21PM (#40416753)

    People seem to forget that learning continues after a person has reached adulthood. Among other things, this means that they will learn to appreciate and implement security measures as they get older. It isn't an odd generational thing.

  • by multimediavt (965608) on Friday June 22, 2012 @05:25PM (#40416785)
    Replace computing with driving and you have an old problem that just carried over from one area to another. I'm sorry, but with age comes experience and those of us that got our hard knocks in the 1990s when the Internet was new (and honestly a lot less scary) know better because we *KNOW* what can happen. Why does it surprise anyone that inexperience and hubris would lead to problems like lax security? Wow!
  • Awful story (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FrootLoops (1817694) on Friday June 22, 2012 @06:29PM (#40417221)

    There are so many problems with this story. It should never have been posted.

    1. It's sponsored in part by ZoneAlarm, and it repeatedly says people should use more security software without discussing the efficacy of that software.
    2. The opening sentence is stupid on two fronts:

    [A new] report found that 18 – 25s are more confident in their security knowledge than 56 – 65s, but have experienced more security issues in the past two years compared to older users.

    People's subjective measure of their confidence in security knowledge is a worthless statistic, and younger people use technology far, far more than older people so of course you'd expect them to experience more security issues.

    3. "In comparison, 56 – 65s are more concerned about security and privacy and are twice as likely to protect their computers with additional security software."
    The implication being more security software = good. Like if you have MSE already you should really get Norton or maybe buy ZoneAlarm.

    4. "Computer security increases in priority with age"
    This is completely irrelevant without further discussion (that's not provided). Older people might overprioritize just as younger people might underprioritize, but they jump to the second conclusion since it suits their advertisement.

    5. "respondents aged 18 – 25 are less likely to use paid antivirus, 3rd-party firewalls, or integrated security suites than 56 – 65s. 45% of 18 – 25s view security software as too expensive in comparison to 37% of 56 – 65s."
    Yet again, conflict of interest, and even then the percentages they do list are not terribly dissimilar and with smallish sample sizes could be statistically indistinguishable. Of course no error bars were reported.

    All in all, this is basically an advertisement for ZoneAlarm with irrelevant and questionable statistics (that to be fair are probably not technically wrong) that should never have been posted to /. Again! Bad editors.

    • by Kaalel (2658797)
      Yeah I'm not exactly shocked that Zonealarm believes that more 18-25 year-olds should be buying their product. Do I have security and privacy issues? Absolutely. I use Facebook and Google and a host of other vulnerable avenues. Now if you asked some of my aunts and uncles whether they have security issues, they'd say, "No we took good care of it, we use Norton Security and AOL." But that feeling of security doesn't make them "wiser".
  • Twice shy... The older users are just the younger users that have gone through some bad times.

    You have experience failing... failing hardcore. Everything going wrong. You know things like "why to back up" because there was that time you didn't and it was a fairly traumatic experience.

    That's all is...

    What might be helpful is communicating to younger would be IT professionals what is really a real problem that they have to really take really seriously... really. Different organizations have different ways of

    • --There probably should be some sort of hazing ritual in IT.

      We used to use WinNuke on the 'SalesTech' trying to sell new computers and internet service. Nothing like hearing them almost having the sale wrapped up, then bang BSOD!

  • by bky1701 (979071) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @12:57AM (#40419009) Homepage
    Older people using computers have likely been doing so for much longer - meanwhile, nearly everyone below some certain age makes heavy use of computers and other devices. If the level of competence is the same among both the old and young (probable), then it stands to reason the narrowed down group will perform better. Nothing to do with age - just adoption of technology by increasingly incapable users.
  • Oscar Wilde (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NewYork (1602285) <4thaugust1932@gmail.com> on Saturday June 23, 2012 @12:41PM (#40421615) Homepage

    "Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes." --Oscar

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