Geek Language Results in Less Secure Users

BBC News has a piece up that suggests that the overuse of computer “geek speak” in news items and warnings to the public can actually result in a decrease in overall security.

According to the article, the problem is that terms like “phishing” (fake emails designed to defraud someone of valuable information) or “trojans” (malicious programs hidden inside other programs) can confuse average computer users and leave them uninformed of the true nature of the danger described.

The solution is obvious, though made difficult out of habit. When speaking to the general public about a growing risk, technology and computer professionals need to be aware that using industry terms that aren’t obvious in their meaning, such as the term “pharming” to describe the process of redirecting unsuspecting users to fraudulent websites, can be counter-productive for the average computer user and that clear, simple and most importantly, accessible language will do more good than an in-depth technically orientated discussion.

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