Educationing Our Communities

Published: 2009-12-19
Last Updated: 2009-12-21 15:04:07 UTC
by Deborah Hale (Version: 1)
4 comment(s)

A few weeks ago it was my pleasure to talk to a group of young people who were participating in a program through Iowa State University School of Engineering.  This program is designed to get children interested in and excited about science, technology and engineering.  The group was preparing for the regional Lego League competition and the project that they chose for the competition was how to safeguard their VIrtual Community.  They asked me questions about what we see happening on the Internet and how it effects them as individuals as well as the businesses that are connected to the Internet.  I explained to them the dangers of illegal download activity, clicking on links in emails, messages and websites, etc.   They asked what could be done to improve the condition of the virtual world.  I told them how we often times joke about creating a "test" and that everyone would have to pass the test and receive a driver's license before they were allowed on the Internet - the World Wide Superhighway.  The group took this to the next level and created a test:

Facts to Know to Keep Your Computer Safe from Viruses

A virus is a computer program that is intended to do harm. A virus can delete information on your computer or use your e-mail to send viruses to other computers.

Malware is a computer program such as a Trojan Horse or a Worm.

A Trojan Horse is when a computer virus pretends to be something that it is not. EX: screen savers or computer games.  If something sound too good to be true, then don’t trust it. 

A Worm is a computer virus that moves through ports and uses the computer network.

A DNS code is an address that changes the number code into words so we can remember them.

A router is a device that ships and delivers information and a router switch is the same thing but it is more efficient.

If you get an unexpected email from somebody you don’t know don’t open it.

If there is an attachment to an email you can open it as long as you have the file checked with Anti-Virus protection software.

There are many ways to be protected from a virus like thru a firewall and anti-virus programs like Norton, and Mac-Updates that are already on a Mac.

Firewalls don’t accept some things because they don’t fit the criteria.

Be careful when going to game sites or other sites that let you download things because you may get a virus.

Remember, nothing is free.  Beware of free stuff, programs, games, etc. that are offered on the Internet.  These usually contain viruses.

Anything that connects to the internet can contact a virus this includes your cell phone and Xbox.

Are you prepared to protect your computer against a virus?  Earn your Internet User’s License

Take this quiz to see if the internet is a safe place for you to be. Get a piece of paper to write your answers down. 

1. What is a virus?

            A. an illness causing you to become sick

            B. An uncommon program that goes into your computer to help

            C. A malicious computer program intended to do harm.

            D. None of the above

2. What is Malware?

            A. A malicious program such as a worm or Trojan horse.

            B. A kind of Anti-virus program.

            C. A new style of clothing that is in fashion.

            D. A newsletter on the internet providing information about viruses

3. What is a DNS (Domain Name Server) code?

            A. It changes numbers into words so we remember them

            B. It is a program protecting your computer.

            C. It turns your name for your computer in to a number address.

            D. None of the above

4. How do you know if you can trust the source of an email, im, etc?

        A. If the source looks somewhat familiar just open it.

        B. The email will check it anyway so you can open it.

        C. If you do not know the source and was not expecting a message do not trust it.

        D. None of the above

5. What is a Trojan horse?

            A. A virus that hides your files

            B. A moving virus infecting many computers

            C. A mystical being  

            D. A virus that pretends to be one thing that it’s not. i.e. screen saver.

6. What is a worm?

            A. Something crawling through soil.

            B. A computer virus moving through ports.

            C. Something that is tracking the computer

            D. None of the above

7. Which of these are not computer protection programs?

        A. Firewall

        B. Norton

        C. Plato

        D. Mac-Updates

8. If you get an unexpected e-mail how should you open the attachments?

            A. Don’t open it all.

            B. Have your antivirus program verify it.

            C. Go ahead and open it

            D. None of the above.

9. Why don’t fire-walls accept some ports?

            A. Because it doesn’t meet it’s criteria

            B. It doesn’t like them.

            C. It is too much work.

            D. None of the above

10. How is a router switch different than a router?

            A. It’s not different at all.

            B. It’s more efficient

            C. It’s less efficient

            D. None of the above


I want to say to my young friends...  Good job.  I was selected to be a judge for the Regional competition and was very impressed with not only how this group did, but on how creative and energetic all of the participants were.  My congratulations to all involved for an outstanding program.

And to all of you that are out there working to educate your community I say thanks so much.  It is with all of us working together that we can improve the future of all technology.

Deb Hale Long Lines, LLC

4 comment(s)


"Remember, nothing is free. Beware of free stuff, programs, games, etc. that are offered on the Internet. These usually contain viruses."
Poor kid, stuck in Windowsland without Source.
While I do not want to come across as the Grinch there are some issues I have with the above list.

1) Norton is not a security product. Peter Norton was the person who created Norton antivirus. which was bought by Symantec.
2) Xboxlive is a closed network run by MS so while it is technically possible to get a virus from Xboxlive the virus author would first have to penetrate the live network.
3) If there is an attachment to an e-mail scanning with antivirus software does not guarantee that it is safe to open. Your antivirus program needs to be up to date and even then there is a possibility that the program will not catch it. My rule of thumb decide if you want to chance opening it and if not delete it.

I would also like to commend the children for at least giving this some thought and effort. With the younger generation working on this things are sure to get at least a little better.
Well, I applaud the effort. However, these are engineering students? The definitions and questions seemed a little elementary. My children know more that this and the oldest one is 15. I'd like to think these (and all) engineering students could come up with something a little more robust than this, even if it is impromptu.
I am late coming to this discussion but I think my comments may still have merit.

I worked for over 6 years in the computer based training (CBT/IBT) industry. I think the definitions are on par with the reading and comprehension level of the target audience (think that this would be given to a 12 or 13 year old child.) While my children would understand earlier, the majority of children would only understand at this level at that age.

I know of several individuals over the age of 40 that would have a hard time understanding the definitions given. (My mom, father-in-law, mother-in-law, a groundskeeper at work, etc.)

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