Basic Security Questions in Context

Over the years I have received common questions regarding security, typically from people not familiar with computers. Some questions are pointed and direct. Others… more vague than they realize. To help non-security people understand these questions, let me put them in a context you can understand.

“Which anti-virus do you use?”
“Which brand of plastic silverware do you use at picnics?”
(Ultimately, they are all about the same and minimally do a job. In the long run, it is the plate, food, and your effort that satisfy your hunger, just as other things in conjunction with the anti-virus keep your system safe.)

“How do I secure my system?”
“How do I fix my car?”
(Computers are complex systems. There isn’t a magic switch to make it secure. Like a car mechanic, they have to figure out what you have going on under the hood, then make recommendations.)

“How do I hack?”
“How do I cook?”
(Yes, parts of cooking are simple. Becoming a chef is a process and very time consuming. Like a chef must learn different cooking styles, practice with ingredients, and learn by trial and error, a hacker must basically do the same.)

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