This week I had the opportunity to take a look at my mother-in-law's computer, after having gone over it pretty thoroughly 6 months ago to make sure some basic security measures were in place, to make sure she was safe on-line. I was talking to her about how she accessed the internet and browsed web pages, as well as using her digital camera to create photo pages. She told me that when she accessed the Internet, she has to disable 'that ZoneAlarm' program so that it wouldn't take as long...and sometimes it stopped web pages from loading altogether! This really suprised me, as I thought that I had explained the situation better than that. Her firewall was being disabled at the time she needed it most.
My mother-in-law is running Microsoft Windows 98 and has been using it for nearly 7 years. She knows how to get around and sees no reason to upgrade to Windows XP or Linux. As security people, I believe that we need to advise people to use systems that are as secure as possible...especially since Microsoft does not, and cannot, maintain the security of it's Operating Systems. The real answer here is to use an Operating System that is more secure so that the users do not have to understand so much about how the technology works to be secure on-line.