My name is Ulrich Brandes and I am the owner of this website
about Internet safety and security. I would like to tell you a story
about myself that is even relevant to you.
My passion for computers started in 1982 after my dad bought one of the first original IBM computers available in Germany for our family. Inspired by the possibilities of this combination of hard- and software started to be my hobby at the age of 14.
While still in school I finally made the decision that this hobby should be become my profession and I started to support my family and friends in their computer problems. After a while a friend came along and asked me if I was interested in a one week part time job in a small company that was facing massive computer problems. Without thinking further I said yes.
One week later I was hired and I spent the first day in the company with talking to every of the 21 employees to understand if their problems were somehow related and indeed this was the case. The issues started after the setup of the company´s network (which was not connected to the internet at this time).
I examined one of the computers in the company and noticed that there was no antivirus software installed. I asked the owner of the company if this was the only computer without an antivirus program and he told me that none of the computers had antivirus software installed as their network was a closed system from his perspective.
Being alarmed I went home and prepared a bootable 3 ½” floppy disk with an antivirus program (at that time those programs still fitted on a single floppy disk ;-) ) and the latest virus signatures. I inserted the write-protected floppy disk the next day into the floppy drive of the previous checked computer, booted the systems and was not surprised. The antivirus program found more than 75 infected data files on the computer’s hard disk including a boot disk virus.
I presented my initial research results to the owner of the company later that day who was totally shocked.
As consequence I spent the next 4 weeks (!!!) with cleaning up all computers and checking all existing floppy disks & CD-ROMS in the company. The results were stunning. All computers suffered from a boot virus and 3.700 data files were infected in total by one of 78 different type of malware I found.
After completing this task I spent an additional week with the installation of security software on all existing computers and from this time on all previously existing problems were gone. Later on we found the root cause for the infection. One of the employees worked at home on some of the company files and his computer was totally overcrowded with all kinds of malware.
You might ask yourself how does this story affect you as you only have one or two computer at home? The reason behind that is simple.
The owner was not aware of the possible hazards his company computer network and sensitive data could face. Nowadays mostly all home computers are connected to the internet which is not only a great place for various opportunities (e.g online shopping or online banking) but also a place which could cause life altering consequences.
One malware infection on your computer may be enough to cash down your bank account or to ruin your credit reputation. One mistakenly opened email attachment may cause that you become a victim of identity theft or that all your personal data on your computer’s hard disk are gone. Internet safety and security are important to all of us.
The owner of that company was not connected to the internet (imagine what could happened if that was the case) but while you read this page you are for sure!
I´m very grateful for the fact that my dad bought this IBM computer in 1982 for our family as this event had life altering consequences to me. My biggest hobby became my personal profession (I work fulltime in IT business since 1995 for small companies up to major global players like the Vodafone, German Telekom and many others).
For that reason I decided to create this website to share my collected knowledge about computers, internet safety and security with others..
I hope you will find it useful.