Tag: internet

Guest Post – Cybersecurity PSA

Credit Ben FrantzDale – CC-BY-SA

Guest Post

From time to time I will be publishing posts from guest authors whose writings I think will interest people. Of course, all opinions and assertions in these posts belong solely to the authors and do not necessarily agree with mine. Please direct your praise and criticism to the author. — rjb

Today’s guest author is Graham Salwell

Before I begin I would like to remind you to check out the free novels and audiobooks while you’re on the Green Comet website.

In the past year alone, 23% of Americans either fell victim to identity theft, phishing scams, and credit card fraud or personally know someone who has. According to the University of Maryland, every 39 seconds, a hacker attacks an unsuspecting victim. That is an excessive amount of people targeted, and the statistics look equally grim for virtually every area in the world.

Image by ItNeverEnds from Pixabay

What can we do about this? We can protect ourselves against these attacks by exercising smart cybersecurity etiquette. Here are some good tips for you to apply moving forward:

• Use protective software for all of your devices

First thing’s first – invest in some good anti-virus software. That goes for your phone and your tablet, as well, not just your computer. Every device that is connected to the internet can be a target, so you don’t want to mess around with this. Thankfully, if you’re cheap, broke, or simply can’t be bothered, there are lots of free trials for anti-virus software, so you can just use those for now. Some of these trials allow you to set up multiple devices, so you may just be able to cover your phone, as well.

• Don’t connect to unsecured Wi-Fi networks

We all love a bit of free Wi-Fi, right? But that sweet, sweet Wi-Fi can be your downfall, if you’re not careful. The great thing about unsecured networks is that anyone can connect without a password. The awful thing about unsecured networks is that anyone can connect without a password. That includes people who are out to steal data from unsuspecting users who don’t know that any sensitive information they send across via this network can be intercepted by third parties. It’s always best to go ahead and ask for a password from a business or institution or travel with your own data, to avoid issues.

• Do not open emails from addresses you don’t recognize

Did you know that a lot of these scams are perpetuated via email? That’s right, the infamous Nigerian prince scam is still kicking. Amazing, isn’t it? To be fair, most of these sketchy emails end up in your Spam folder, where they are easier to avoid. But every once in a while, they make their way through the spam filter and into your inbox. If you see a weird email in there, hover over the sender to see the email address. Does it sound familiar? Do they have a reasonable way they could have gotten your email address? Is the subject something that concerns you directly? If not, you can safely ignore or send it to Spam purgatory.

• Learn how to recognize phishing scams

The reason why these attacks make so many victims is that phishing scams are getting cleverer. They are often disguised as emails from friends, from your bank, or from other institutions that may reasonably contact you. They will usually ask you for sensitive information, such as your bank details, or passwords. They may even require you to click through and sign in again on a fake website that looks exactly like the legitimate one. Remember that legitimate businesses and institutions never ask you for this kind of information over email, especially your bank.

• Look for the signs that a website is legitimate

And speaking of sketchy websites that look legitimate, if you’re ever in doubt, there are ways to verify whether the website you’re on is real or not, and if it’s safe.
First of all, make sure to double-check the URL – is it correct? Is it spelled right? Sometimes, fake sites will have a very similar, but different URL to the legitimate one. Does the site have an active SSL certificate? You can verify that by checking if there’s a lock next to the URL. That indicates that it’s been verified and encrypted. It’s very important that if you have any doubts about the legitimacy of the website, that you don’t use it. Don’t input your details, don’t click on anything. Just click away.

• Set strong passwords

Passwords are still super important for security in 2020. With the sheer amount of cyberattacks taking place every day, there are hackers trying to break into your accounts everywhere. A weak password only makes it easier for them.

Image by TheDigitalWay from Pixabay

A solid, strong password must be at least 7 characters long, and feature a mix of lowercase and uppercase characters, as well as special symbols. That will make it harder to guess or brute force-hack. We have so many online accounts, each with their own password that it’s often tempting to just use incredibly simple passwords that are easy to remember, like birthdays or names. But that’s like offering your information on a platter for hackers to take. At least make them work for it.

• Keep your sensitive information in cloud storage

Proper data storage is a hot topic right now, as data breaches are happening more and more often; and to big companies, too. It obvious we are not doing a good job of storing our data securely, so what’s the best way to do it, in order to make sure that you’re keeping your sensitive info as safe as possible? The best way to do it is to put it up in cloud storage. Yes, there are still some security concerns – mainly related to entrusting a third party to protect your data – but it’s safer than just keeping this information on your computer. Having the info on your device means it can become corrupted if the device breaks down, if it’s stolen, used by someone else, if someone manages to connect to it without your knowledge, or if it becomes infected by malware, spyware, or ransomware.

What’s the bottom line? All in all, cybersecurity is an important – and relevant – topic for all of us. Unless we actively take measures to protect ourselves, we’re all sitting ducks for the hackers who infect our computers and steal our data. Whether it’s setting a better password or becoming more aware of spam emails and fake sites, we can all do a better job of protecting our data.

Graham Salwell

Security Certificate Restored

credit Alvesgaspar – CC-BY-SA


Good news! The missing security certificate has been applied and you need no longer fear visiting the Green Comet website. I scolded them for their lapse and they promised that it would renew automatically next time. No harm done, I hope.

rjb

Top 10 Posts of 2018

Credit Marjaree Mason Center – CC-BY-SA

Here is the list of the ten posts on Green Comet that got the most visits in 2018.


1. Spanking for Love

Once again Green Comet seems to be a gateway for people who want to learn about spanking their women. Humans are funny little things, aren’t they?


2. Bipedal – The Savanna Theory

Judging from the pattern of hits, I’m guessing that a lot of children find this post after getting a school assignment.


3. Home Page
This makes sense, since it’s the landing page for the site.


4. Ants in the Devil’s Garden

It’s a fascinating story, so I’m not surprised at the interest in it. It’s interesting to speculate about the search parameters that led here. There are some good comments, too.


5. Most Unpleasant Sounds

Once again, how do people end up here? What is the interest in unpleasant sounds?


6. Downloads

This is gratifying. Since the purpose of the Green Comet website is to provide a home on the internet for the Green Comet trilogy, I am pleased that so many people go to the downloads page. In fact, you should do that as soon as you finish reading this post. Download everything. It’s free.


7. Bipedal – The Aquatic Ape Theory

This one is probably linked to #2. They are closely related ideas.

Credit Craig Sunter – CC-BY


8. Cirrus Homogenitus

Everyone loves clouds, and this one is probably particularly interesting because it’s one of the rare new ones designated by the World Meteorological Organization in their International Cloud Atlas.

Photo credit – Ross Cooper


9. Altocumulus Lenticularis

More clouds, and these ones are popular for their striking appearance and their counter-intuitive behavior.


10. Altocumulus Castellanus

More clouds, and again very distinctive in their appearance.

So, that was 2018. I think I’m safe in predicting that the list for 2019 will be similar.

rjb

Original unattributed on TechnoLlama

Andres at TechnoLlama has written a blog post that explains how the internet is making us stupid, and it’s not just because we spend too much time on it. I’ll put a few quotes from his article here, and then you can follow the link to read the whole thing.

The flat Earth phenomenon is just the tip of the iceberg. We seem to be regressing in almost all aspects of knowledge and public discourse, from political discourse to climate change, easily-accessible and authoritative information is swept away by a torrent of fake news and falsehoods.

… media platforms have been designed to cater to what they think we like …

… social media presence is confused with expertise.

… in the era of Brexit and Trump, all pretence that reporting truth is an achievable goal has disappeared.

In some debates, even a mention of any traditional media source will be met with derision and incredulity.

So, is the internet making us stupid, or is it merely exposing our propensity for stupidity?

via The Internet is making us stupid – TechnoLlama

rjb

Connection is not Secure


You might be wondering why Green Comet is reported as an insecure website even though it has gone SSL and has that reassuring “https” up there in the address. (Note the yellow triangle superimposed over the image of the lock.) There is no conflict in those two facts. Green Comet is secure and if you were to use a password to log in it would be encrypted. Your precious data would be hidden from that sneaky man-in-the-middle who apparently goes skulking about the internet stealing that information.


While the Green Comet website is secure, though, some of the links on it might not be. If an image links to an original on an unsecured website, for example. Or if any of the links on the page start with “http” instead of “https.”


Here’s what it looks like when there are no insecure links on the webpage. (Note: these pictures are taken using the Firefox web browser. Other browsers have other ways of indicating whether or not a web page is secure.)

So, do not fear. Your secrets are safe on Green Comet.

rjb

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