Internet Karate – Defending Your PC Against Malware

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This is Matt Wilkinson’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

Several years ago, I thought it might be a fun project to develop a presentation that could be delivered to non-technical PC users about the basics of PC security. I’m not talking about a simple “Dumbing-Down” of a very complicated topic, but rather an approach that would allow the average PC user to gain a better understanding of the everyday threats their PC faces. In other words, give them a fighting chance at keeping malware at bay.

The catch phrase “Internet Karate” quickly came to mind, combining the famous Martial Art with using the Internet. Karate is a means to defend yourself in the physical world — Internet Karate is a way to defend your PC from the never ending parade of bad guys that would otherwise attack and overwhelm it.

So I set out to develop a presentation that met these criteria:

  • It can be delivered in less than two hours, which leaves plenty of time for Q and A.
  • Keep it as non-technical as possible, while still keeping it as informative and engaging as possible to the target audience.
  • Make it as interactive and fun as possible; get people interested in a topic that would normally bore them to tears.
  • Not to push any specific security products or brands; warn people about the many fake security products out there.

Like most people, speaking in front of an audience is a personal phobia, and I freely admit that I am using this project as a means to overcome that phobia. But more importantly, I am doing this as my little contribution to combating malware. My philosophy is that the more educated people are about PC security, the more likely they are to stay on top of it. I have personally profited from malware — though not in the way that malware developers themselves do — but rather by earning cash from rebuilding PCs that have been gutted by malware. I like to think of it as my own little way of giving back (I don’t charge anything to present the material, but I don’t turn down lunch if offered).

I’ve delivered the Internet Karate Presentation to several groups since I first developed the material, and it’s been very well received. Keep in mind, if you are a registered user on geeks.pirillo.com, the material is anything but earth shattering. Nor is it particularly hard for anybody with web access to find out on their own (remember one of my goals is to get people interested in it) . I am not claiming to present anything revolutionary with Internet Karate, just to package a complex (and dry) topic in a way normal people can understand. If I could, I’d cultivate a small army of like-minded IT professionals that would offer similar presentations to small audiences in their particular neck of the woods (think “Dojo”).

If you’ve been in the IT game anywhere near as long as I have, I’m willing to bet that people often turn to you for advice on all things technology and computer related. This is your audience calling you. As far as groups go, there are PTA’s, professional organizations, church groups, community colleges, public library programs, the possibilities are endless.

Now, without further adieu, I bring you Internet Karate. (Requires Google Account)