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The problem with the car analogy, as TallGuyShort points out, is that cars are not capable of having as strong an influence over our lives as computers are. When I think about how this used to be done before, usually finances were done over phone where people got to talk to other people who explained to them things that they did not understand.

I agree that learning about SSL is probably overkill; but we do need more computer literacy among the general population. Think of it like this: finance is something that is hard, yet people learn about the basics so that they can keep their money safe. Basic computer literacy should have a similar status as a skill that is required to, say, keep your information safe.




I think the analogy is better than you are giving credit. I would say cars can in fact have much stronger influences in our lives than online banking can. For example, cars are much more likely to kill you. It's a much more important skill to recognize when your brake pedal is getting squishy so that it doesn't fail when you are careening down a mountain road, or recognize that an oncoming car is swerving erratically, than it is to realize you are logging in to an insecure phishing site. In the former case you end up dead, in the latter case your checking account gets wiped.


To clarify, when I say "learn about SSL", I mean people should know how to tell if the connection is "secure" or not, and that secure ensures that there is an extremely high probability that the domain they are talking to is who they say they are, as verified by some people that Google / Microsoft / Mozilla decided were trustworthy. Similarly, I think people should understand that emails can travel unencrypted between sites and are easily spoofed. I'm not saying they have a working knowledge of the RFCs for SSL and SMTP. I agree with the way you worded it - perhaps I made it sound too involved.

edit: another, perhaps more humorous example. How many times have you heard about people "hacking" their Facebook accounts and getting "viruses" on Facebook. I've been asked by multiple people to fix their computers, when the real problem was they had no idea what they were doing on the Internet.




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