Do technology shows harm the internet

Some may see this as an odd question. They would say that technology shows empower users and help them learn to better use software or hardware. I'd agree with this to a point. Why? Because just like in online forums tech shows can cause confusion. This can lead to bad decisions being made in regards to the security of a persons machine or their online security. In many cases that would be both.

I've often felt that TV tech host don't take their responsibility to the overall community as seriously as they should. I feel this way in online forums I frequent from time to time as well. Show host and those who post online seem to forget that they aren't just communicating with hardcore geeks. That the everyday common consumer is reading or watching what is being said.

Many times we see the very people we are trying to help become confused. Do to the overload of information and differing opinions on how things should be done. A very recent example of this can be found here Do you need a software firewall or is a router enough – Iggy Uncensored.

This is an example of one popular technology show host causing more harm than good. Because they haven't been clear in their message. One minute they state a router is all you need. But in the next breath or show they tell you a software firewall is just fine. Examples of this can be found here Leo Laporte does recommend software firewall use Photos  Iggy Uncensored

In Episode 252 of Call For Help this once again became a problem. Leo clearly states that they are big fans of routers and they promote them heavily. During the discussion about how to use P2P and Skype with a router. Leo and Steve Gibson discuss inbound protection. But outbound protection is never mentioned. Nor do they mention that it is possible for hackers and malware writers to piggyback on legitimate traffic through the router. These are two key reasons that having a software firewall installed on your pc is important.

I also have a concern in regards to Steve Gibson. This man was originally one of the key reasons users started to use software firewall products to protect themselves. He was also a key reason I feel ZoneAlarm free became as popular as it did. During this recent episode of Call For Help he made a very negative comment in regards to software firewalls. His comment was that during normal operation of a software firewall the product would in fact be constantly alerting you to incoming traffic. He neglected to mention that for several years now this hasn't been an issue with this type of software. With newer versions of software firewall products this is even less of an issue. With the proper settings applied before or after installation. You can have a software firewall work almost completely silent. Which is almost exactly how a router operates.

The other thing that disturbed me during this episode is this. Leo Laporte kept raving about how Steve Gibson was the inventor of the term spyware. I'll leave it up to the internet historians to determine this. But if my memory serves me right. Steve Gibson only started doing research into “spyware”. Because he was alerted to what he felt what was a program asking for accessing out to the internet that he didn't recognize. How was he alerted to this activity? By his using ZoneAlarm at the time. This is a key example of why outbound protection from a software firewall is important. Originally years ago Steve Gibson even touted this as a key reason to use such a security product. So you have to wonder if his opinion has changed? Or has he just forgotten his old opinion?

This is a key example of how your everyday internet user can get confused. Because the people they look up to for advice aren't consistent or don't explain why they have changed their minds. These people also sometimes forget that what might be an optimal setup for a power geek. Isn't what is best for your average internet user.

So this is why at times I wonder if tech show host do more harm than good. Yes I'm aware that they have a limited amount of time in which to help callers and to share their opinion. But when your talking about securing someones machine. You should take the time to cover all the details, pros and cons. A confused user is a dangerous user. Instead of telling viewers they need to have 8 different software products that are the same. Why not focus on the methods and tools to stop them from becoming a source for infection in the first place? One of those key components along with a NAT router would be a software firewall. For all the reasons I've discussed in my previous article on this.

To me the very fact that this major online discussion hasn't been addressed on the show makes me think less of it and the people who produce it. If your really about helping and educating end users. This is a perfect opportunity to take the time to explain why your show never mentions outbound protection and why it isn't important. Although I'd find it odd if they stated it wasn't important. Especially since the security expert Leo raves on and on about previously has stated this is something users need to consider in regards to online security. Again – I have to wonder what has made Steve Gibson forget that in the past he has been a major advocate of software firewalls and their benefits.

Test your antivirus firewall and pc security

AntiVirus Protection – Virus news and help links page 1

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ZoneLabs ZoneAlarm IMSecure Help

ZoneAlarm earns a “Four & A Half Moes” rating! Shields UP! — Internet Connection Security Analysis

Steve Gibson NAT Picking – Call for Help  –  Show Notes #252

File Downloader Spying – GRC

Call for Help  –  Welcome to!

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