Today a news item that caught my eye was particularly relevant – we organised our finances online on Saturday and heartily congratulated ourselves for the extra time this will save us.
I can manage shareholdings, home mortgage, personal credit cards, bank accounts, and superannuation accounts online now.Â This is to save us time since we can’t make it to branches during the 9-4 bank hours most banks and branches are open.
And of course the banks would appear to have been refusing to put in higher levels of security to get that last 10% or so of fraud that is occurring, and have been merely investigating and covering client’s losses when it occurs.Â According to this news item, though,Â you’ll find yourself having to cover your own losses when they occur if the banks and ASIC have their way.
NowI hope it is a ‘reasonable precautions’ approach – I can theoretically understand why the person who has the most control should be responsible for any losses arising from a weakness in that control, but if I have antivirus and spamguard-type solutions in place, and I still get caught, I could get taken for quite a bit even if I am careful.Â And the level of sophistication of many home users (still) is such that they can’t possibly put in place antivirus, and make sure that it is working.Â I have seen a number of antivirus solutions that are confusing to the novice user, where the system for updating and maintaining the software is just not clear.Â And let’s be clear:Â these are smart intelligent people – people who know how to do things that I don’t, such as paving, chocking a mitre joint, and welding – who just aren’t across the 101 things you need to have right.Â Things such as firewalls (router or software-based?), antivirus (how do I keep it up to date?Â Or even realising it needs to be kept up to date), spamguard (that email’s not from my bank?), Windows patches (you need to keep installing, every month, to keep it up to date?), spyware (I’ve got nothing to hide, have I?).
And unfortunately,Â I think people do tend to overestimate their sophistication with computers – computers seem to fall in the same category as sex, driving, and being ‘a good judge of character’.Â 80% of people think they have above-average computer skills, which is patently not the case (I am reminded of my wife, with two degrees and an eminently sensible person, who struggled over the weeekend to copy files from one directory to another without losing track of what had been copied; she also once put a floppy disk in upside down and back to front in a computer of mine – very helpful for a floppy drive I don’t think).
So in sum – I’m agin it.