Internet Street Smarts Tip: Always fly with your wingman

In military aviation, specifically in relation to combat fighter pilot theory, a “wingman” protects the pilot of the lead plane, while in formation/pair flight, from adversaries. Although a simplification, a fighter pilot’s blind spot is their rear position of the plane, aka the six o’clock position in military parlance, and phrases such as “watch my six” have become common even in non-military popular culture.

Using this analogy within the context of building Internet Street Smarts you, too, have one or more wingmen as you fly through the digital world. These wingmen come in the form of software applications, software upgrades and frequent security updates from operating system vendors, to name a few. But why are wingmen even necessary in the digital world?

Nefarious entities and individuals continue to use digital world scam tactics but with improved resemblance to the “real thing” that makes it difficult for a regular person to discern a legitimate message from a scam such as a phishing attempt. Phishing is when an email message with a link is sent so the unsuspecting recipient will oblige to the message and supply the information requested by the scammer by clicking on a link that may look like the real website but the only function is to collect your credentials for said nefarious use.

So make sure you have these wingmen protecting you so if you do have a slip in your otherwise stellar Internet Street Smarts, aka good usage habits, they can hopefully stop you from being a victim:

  • Subscribe to anti-virus and anti-malware software
  • Apply application and system/security updates
  • Secure your wireless network

Remember that these are only your wingmen. As we identified in the last issue, the gray matter between your ears is the single most powerful tool you possess and is where good habits are cultivated for Internet Street Smarts foundation.

Tak Sato

Business and technology strategist/consultant with 25 years of experience. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and MBA from Cleveland State University.

As founder of geek with a heart, "Hand-holding You in the Digital World", Tak helps Individuals, Seniors, Families, Small Businesses, Schools, and Non-Profits utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives.

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Volume 7, Issue 9, Posted 9:13 AM, 05.05.2015