Note: I learned a lesson today: This post was originally titled “warnings are worst than viruses”. Many thanks to the people who told me that it should be “worse” instead of “worst”. The lesson is: check your grammar, then check again. And when you are sure everything is ok, check again.
When was the last time you had a virus on your computer? I mean a real one, not just “something” that was detected as virus by your SuperVirusShield2000 but a real virus that really harmed your computer.
The last time it happened for me was in 1999. I reinstalled my OS and that’s it. Since then I never had any antivirus software (even on windows) and everything has been fine. Now I did get a lot of virus warnings shared by fellow friends. The ones like” don’t open this ‘olympic games’ email because it will burn your hard drive with an olympic torch” . Yes, an “olympic torch”… really! Just google it. I can’t believe people fall for this one. You know what I mean? I don’t know if it is because I am a computer guy and people feel like they are helping me sending me these emails but it’s really annoying. More than actual viruses. When I ask people why they send me these warnings, they usually tell me “better safe than sorry”. (and I’m not even talking about the warnings and annoying ‘beeeeeps’ you get when you try to open something you have just downloaded).
The only thing you do when you send a warning like this is sharing fear. You think you are a hero because you warned everybody but let’s be clear: no olympic torch will burn my hard drive. Plus, I have a backup.
Here is my approach to viruses: yes they exist and they can harm your system. Now if you don’t do anything you don’t try to understand and don’t click on any advertisement pop-up, you are pretty safe. If it happens, always have a backup, so you can reinstall your system and have your data secured. All that you would lose in case your computer gets infected is a couple of hours.
Now you could get in the fear mode that is induced by these emails. You would spend money on a software that is not guaranteed to protect you and comes with a subscription for updates or any other plan that would make you spend more than you should.
Just let your computer be infected. Learn from what happens (if it ever happens). It’s really easier than you think to reinstall a system (you basically press next several times). And also think of backing up your data. Read the previous sentence again.
It’s also valid for your every day life. People will tell you to watch for terrorists, be careful with your credit card on internet or be wary of cheap indian restaurants. But really can you influence that? I can’t even think of a method to be in a plane taken by terrorists, so how can I try not to? What is this warning about: feeling like a warning hero? Everybody is gifted with common sense.
Next time you are warned of something, just think of it. What does the person warning you really want?