Can a computer ever be secure enough for Grandma?

Has this ever happened to you? No matter where you are in your career, you still get unscheduled support calls from your mom, asking for help with her latest computer gremlin.

I’m sure I’m not alone in experiencing this phenomenon. Over the years, I’ve even come to calculate the probable causes of her troubles: 45 per cent stemming from opening the wrong email, 40 per cent are the result of unconstrained surfing and some 15 per cent from a miscellany of issues related to laptop batteries or network connectivity.

What would you do to resolve these two issues: Grandma’s latest security issue and more to the point, your own productivity problem?

Luckily, options abound. From remotely accessing her computer – assuming it still has connectivity – to paying for an on-call computer tech visit. The best option so far has been lending her my new NPC laptop. No Panic Computing has kindly allowed me to borrow a test unit and to ‘try to breach its security’, so I couldn’t think of a more rigorous testing procedure.

As mentioned previously, the unit comes priced for individual consumption and includes everything busy professionals – and savvy retirees – need to stay productive, connected and secure. I’m happy to report that the unit passed with flying colours and I even received a special commendation in appreciation of the great experience she had with it.

For those in similar situations, here’s what Grandma enjoyed about the NPC laptop:

1. the Internet was FAST!

2. logging in is as easy as swiping your index finger – no more remembering passwords

3. at about 3.5lbs, it’s almost eerily light for its size

Grandma was also surprised that I would suddenly encourage her to click on everything, which I have never done before. To her credit, she didn’t unleash her best efforts, but she put the machine through paces that would most certainly have populated a regular commercial laptop with a Biblical Ark-full of malware.


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Claudiu Popa
Claudiu Popa
Claudiu Popa is a security and privacy advisor to Canadian enterprises, associations and agencies. He is an author, speaker and lecturer. Connect with him on Twitter @datarisk, Facebook, G+ or LinkedIn.

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