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  • Geebo 11:08 am on September 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Yahoo hacked again. What you need to do 

    Yahoo hacked again. What you need to do

    Yesterday, Yahoo announced that 500 million accounts had been stolen by a state-sponsored hack back in 2014. So if you use Yahoo Mail, or any other of their services like Flickr, it’s time to change your password once again. Even if you’ve changed your password since the hack took place it is recommended that you update your password again. This inevitably brings out the articled and blog posts about how to keep your passwords secure, and this is one of them.

    First, you should try using a passphrase instead of a password. Also you should really consider enabling two-factor authentication for most of your accounts. Some tech experts also suggest using a password manager. Personally, I don’t care for password managers for one reason, they require a master password. That means that all your passwords can have a single point of failure. If you lose your password manager’s password then all your passwords could be lost. Conversely, if someone were to access your password manager’s password they’d have access to all your passwords. However, your results may vary.

    A great resource to see if any of your accounts have been hacked is the “have i been pwned?” website. At their website you can enter your email address to see if any of your accounts associated with your email address have been compromised in the most infamous hacks that have taken place on the internet.

    Lastly, and this one can’t be stressed enough, don’t use the same password for all your accounts. That is how most accounts get hacked. Hackers will get an email address and password from one hack, such as Yahoo’s, and then will try them on other services like Facebook to try to gain even more of your personal information.

  • Geebo 9:51 am on September 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , school,   

    Do you know how your kids’ school monitors them online? 

    Do you know how your kids' school monitors them online?

    These days a number of schools issue Chromebooks or iPads to their students to in order to assist the students with online learning. These programs are also often seen as a boon to families who may not necessarily be able to afford to provide their kids with electronic devices for school. But did you know that the schools can access those computers at almost any time?

    Usually when a school checks a child’s activity on a school issued device, it’s either to make sure the device isn’t being used improperly, or to make sure a student isn’t getting behind in their work. However, there have been incidents of abuse in the past where schools have used the devices’ cameras to allegedly spy on students in their homes.

    So what kind of privacy can you and your kids expect on these school issued devices. Well, according to TechCrunch, virtually none and the schools aren’t exactly forthcoming with that information. However this lack of privacy can be used as a teaching opportunity for your kids and how to behave online. It can teach them that their online activities can have real world repercussions and can prepare them to protect their own privacy for when they become adults.

  • Geebo 11:28 am on September 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ATM, atm skimmer, debit cards, , ,   

    New type of ATM skimmers appear in US 

    New type of ATM skimmers appear in US

    In case you’ve never heard of an ATM Skimmer it’s normally a device that a suspect will insert into the card reader of an ATM. This device will read all the information off your ATM card,including your PIN. It’s not just ATMs though, these skimmers can also be attached to gas pumps and any other stand alone machine that accepts debit cards. These type of skimmers can be usually thwarted by firmly pulling on the slot where the card is inserted, If a part slides out, it’s probably not safe to use that ATM or other machine.

    Recently, the Secret Service released an announcement to financial institutions that a new type of skimmer has shown up in the US and isn’t as easy to spot. The skimmer, called a periscope, is a piece of hardware that is installed inside the ATM. According to the announcement, the suspects access the ATM from the top in order to install the skimmer. The Krebs on Security blog post that’s been linked to recommends that you should only use ATMs that are embedded into the bank’s walls and can’t be accessed from the top.

    Unfortunately, there’s no absolute way to always protect yourself from ATM and debit card fraud. However, you can avoid problems by just using some common sense and if a ATM machine or any other card reading machine feels shady or unreliable just pass it by.

  • Geebo 10:28 am on September 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: hp, ink cartridges, , printer ink   

    Printers start rejecting low budget ink alternatives 

    Printers start rejecting low budget alternatives

    We’ve all heard the joke when it comes to computer printers. It’s cheaper to buy a new printer than it is to buy the ink. Even though we all joke about it, but this is the printer companies business model. They sell the printers at a loss and make up the difference on the expensive ink. Even though you can buy a decent printer from places such as your local drug store for around $20 bucks, most people would not just throw out their printer when it runs out of ink.

    Printer ink is so expensive that there is a cottage industry of services that either teach you how to refill your own cartridges or will refill them for you for only a fraction of the cost of regular printer ink, much to the chagrin if printer companies. One printer company, possibly the most famous one, has allegedly decided to put a stop to that.

    Many users of Hewlett-Packard (HP) printers, have recently complained that an aftermarket brand of printer ink cartridges have stopped working in their printers. HP hasn’t commented on this specific issue but it’s believed that HP allegedly stopped the non-HP cartridges from working after a firmware upgrade.

    So what’s a consumer to do? You can either sell a kidney and buy your printer’s brand of ink, just kidding sort of, or you can wait for the aftermarket brands to circumvent the firmware upgrade. Neither situation is ideal, unfortunately, and could potentially make or break a business that’s dependent on printing. Unless you’re a design or printing company, maybe it’s time to start going paper free. With the expense of ink and the fact that reams of paper are environmentally unfriendly, maybe it’s time that we start kicking our printers to the curb.

  • Geebo 12:22 pm on September 19, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    When did we give up our privacy? 

    When did we give up our privacy?

    Tech blog Mashable recently posted a listicle entitled “6 ways you’re being too open online”. It has some good tips like not accessing sensitive information over public wifi and the mandatory tip about keeping strong passwords. One tip they share is one that not too many people seem to want to follow and that’s “Posting too freely on social media.”

    Services like Facebook and Instagram seem anathema to not only privacy advocates but they fly in the face of most if not all security protocols. Back in the days of the early web in the late 90s, most tech experts would say not to post any personal information online. Then somewhere in the mid 2000s with the advent of social media, we all started posting our personal information online so we could reconnect with old friends. Then it got to the point where we document our daily lives online with endless selfies and detailed descriptions of our daily minutia. It has become so accepted that we don’t even think twice about it anymore.

    A lot of the information that we share openly online can be used by bad actors to socially engineer their way into your personal accounts. Facebook tells everyone when your birthday is, and your birthday is often used an identifier to access your accounts. When you post pictures on Instagram of being at a party or on vacation people can tell when your home is left unprotected. Even posting pictures of your kids at their soccer game or whatever activity they enjoy can give predators information on how to approach your children.

    Have we become so narcissistic as a society the we crave likes and follows so much that we disregard our own safety? If so, maybe it’s time that we started re-thinking our safety priorities.

  • Geebo 10:06 am on September 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , toys   

    Your kids’ toys are tracking them 

    Your kids' toys are tracking them

    As adults, we realize we’re being tracked online by companies like Facebook, Apple and Google. A adults, not only do we know the benefits and drawbacks of being tracked like that, but we can also take steps to also protect our privacy online. Our children, not so much, and some toy companies have been caught using their products to track children’s online habits.

    Mattel, Viacom, parent company of Nickelodeon, Hasbro and Jumpstar have been fined by the State of New York, hundreds of thousands dollars apiece, for using internet connected toys and services to track children. Granted, the information gathered is more than likely used for marketing purposes, it doesn’t make it any less disturbing.

    In today’s climate kids are marketed to almost from birth and while US law states that children under 13 can’t have their personal information collected without parental consent, it obviously hasn’t stopped some companies from trying. As parents it’s up to us to protect our children from being targeted by unscrupulous businesses.

  • Geebo 10:02 am on September 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , web kiosks   

    NYC to revise position on web kiosks 

    NYC to revise position on web kiosks

    New York City’s free web kiosks are a great idea, in theory. Instead they’ve become the textbook definition of ‘the best laid plans’. The kiosks, first introduced to the Big Apple in February, were installed in the places of old phone booths, have 911 and 311 capabilities, can be used as a free wi-fi hotspot, and have web enabled touch screens. As is with most free gifts given to the public, the kiosks were abused.

    The kiosks have led to people camping out at the kiosks all hours of the day, which has led to drugs, noise complaints and other nuisances that have concerned business owners and residents. While the kiosk touchscreens had filters to prevent from explicit sites from being displayed, it didn’t take long for some users to circumvent the filters. This led to explicit content being shown on the kiosks at all times of the day to any passer-by.

    Because of these abuses the city is disabling the touchscreens’ web access. While offering free web access to natives and tourists is a fantastic idea, but as with most great ideas the city leaders didn’t consider one thing, people are the greatest variable in any equation. Or as to put it in internet terms, ‘this is why we can’t have nice things.’

  • Geebo 9:56 am on September 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Supreme Court rules Backpage must turn over sex trafficking records 

    Supreme Court rules Backpage must turn over sex trafficking records

    Yesterday, the Supreme Court refused to block a Senate subpoena that had requested Backpage turn over its internal records regarding its alleged role in online prostitution and sex trafficking. In case you haven’t been following the story, back in August, a federal judge gave Backpage ten days to turn over its records to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The subcommittee has been investigating Backpage for some time and has been attempting to get these records for almost a year. Backpage was given a stay after that ruling, but soon afterwards the stay was lifted. This prompted Backpage to appeal to the Supreme Court, which as was just mentioned refused to block the subpoena. The Supreme Court’s ruling makes Backpage’s deadline to turn over records effective immediately.

    Backpage claims that they are being cooperative withe the Senate’s request but would like to receive more time to gather all the records requested.

    Backpage lawyers said Tuesday night they were turning over more than 38,000 pages immediately, but they also filed a request with the judge asking for a delay in the deadline.

    The lawyers said complying with Congress’ request that personally identifying data be deleted will take longer. They said they’ve already spent nearly 3,000 hours of work, involving 34 lawyers, to try to process information.

    “The volume of documents and data required to be processed, reviewed, redacted and logged renders production of every last responsive document and complete privilege logs by September 13, 2016 impossible regardless of best efforts,” the company’s lawyers said, adding that they hoped the tens of thousands of pages they were producing would be evidence of good faith.

    Congressional lawyers have said they would oppose any such request.

    Whether this will be an eventual legal victory for the victims of Backapage’s alleged role in US sex trafficking remains to be seen as Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer has already shown to be sort of a slippery eel by previously fleeing the country when subpoenaed to appear before the Senate. However, it does appear, for now, that the victims are one step closer to finally receiving the justice they deserve.

  • Geebo 3:36 pm on September 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , data caps, , ,   

    Netflix wants ISPs to chill on data caps 

    Netflix wants ISPs to chill on data caps

    Whether you realize it or not, your internet service provider (ISP) may have a cap on how much data you can use. They usually don’t talk about it and they make it almost impossible to find if they have one, and if they do have one they make it difficult to find how much data you have used. While most users never reach their limit, there are many power users who do, and a lot of them reach their limit by streaming video over services like Netflix.

    Because of that, Netfilx is petitioning the FCC to make data caps illegal. In their argument, Netflix says that data caps are arbitrary and are only used for ISPs to be able to squeeze more money out of their customers, and they’re not wrong. Most ISPs are run by cable companies. Even the ones that are run by phone companies, like AT&T, usually have some kind of deal with satellite TV. So in either case they really don’t want to see their services used for things like Netflix since that cuts into their business model. By instilling data caps, there’s an air of intimidation to those who use their internet to stream their entertainment rather than paying an expensive cable bill, so in that way data caps can also be seen as anti-competitive. Data caps are also a throwback to the early days of the internet when dial-up providers like AOL charged by the minute.

    This is just another example of the cable companies refusing to innovate and desperately clinging to their decades old business model that doesn’t fit into modern demands. However, if the cable TV side of their business collapses where do you think they’ll try to make up the difference? That would raise the prices for internet services into the realms of what cable bills are today. That also could be rectified if there weren’t so many municipal monopolies for cable companies and ISPs, but that’s another rant for another day.

  • Geebo 10:00 am on September 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 9/11, , Napalm Girl   

    Facebook is having trouble pleasing all the people all the time 

    Facebook having trouble pleasing all the people all the time

    It’s been said that heavy is the head that wears the crown, and despite some reports Facebook is still the king of social media. With over one billion users, Facebook has the daunting task of trying to keep all of those users happy. The problem is that it’s almost impossible to make every user happy, especially with how fickle the internet in general can be. So it should come as no surprise that Facebook made headlines over the weekend for not just one controversy but two of them.

    The first one came when a Norwegian newspaper used the famous image of a young girl during the Vietnam War who had removed all her burning clothes after a Napalm attack. It’s an iconic photo (WARNING: Link contains photo that some may consider graphic) that personified the horrors of the Vietnam War. Facebook had a judgement call to make. Should they let the photo remain or should they remove it since it violates their policy on graphic or explicit images. At first, Facebook removed the photo which led to worldwide outcries of censorship. After much deliberation Facebook reversed their decision with the following statement.

    “An image of a naked child would normally be presumed to violate our community standards, and in some countries might even qualify as child pornography,” Facebook said in a statement Friday. “In this case, we recognize the history and global importance of this image in documenting a particular moment in time.”

    Their second controversy of the weekend came once again from their trending topics section, this time it revolved around the 15th anniversary of 9/11. It would be no surprise that 9/11 would be a top trending topic over the weekend, however the fallout came from one of the top articles they promoted. The article, entitled “September 11: The Footage that ‘proves bombs were planted in the Twin Towers'”, was from a British tabloid that appears to be just a short step up from the infamous Weekly World News. The conspiracy laden link was eventually removed with Facebook once again releasing another mea culpa.

    “We’re aware a hoax article showed up there,” a Facebook spokeswoman said in a statement on Friday, “and as a temporary step to resolving this we’ve removed the topic.”

    Due to the massive audience of Facebook it relies on algorithms, and no matter how complex the algorithm might be, it’s not going to be perfect. These are not conscious decisions as much as they are glitches. Even if human curation is restored to the back-end of Facebook mistakes will be made. The problem is our reactions to these mistakes, as they are almost always met with outrage. With a platform that is so ubiquitous mistakes will be made and they will continue to be made. Instead of the weeping and gnashing of teeth, maybe we should reserve our outrage for situations that really deserve it, instead of a website that basically amounts to a water cooler.

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