How Technical Should You Be?

From time to time I write about techie topics here, or over on Safer Computing. But a level up, the question that occurs to me is, how technical should I be? More to the point, how technical should I have to be?

There are a lot of things we are told to do to protect our online safety. Check links before clicking them. Use a VPN in a coffee shop. Make sure you are patched up to date. Block ads to prevent malvertising.

But... what are you checking for? How do you tell for sure a link is safe? If you use a VPN how can you tell if it's doing anything other than taking $75/yr of your money? Are your patches coming from the manufacturer's certified repository? Are you sure?

My point today is not to teach these skills. But these things make me think that a certain amount of technical knowledge is important. And not the kind you pick up on the streets of Reddit. Real solid knowledge that is based on current technology, and kept up to date.

I do this for a living, and I find it challenging. I know many people my age (young Boomer) don't have a chance at this. The shame is, the current atmosphere of denigrating knowledge and any hint of regulation on rapacious corporate greed mean that effective protections for people unable to defend themselves will only occur fortuitously.

My next project should be, making some of that fortuitous occurrence happen.

This article was updated on May 9, 2023

David F