The Internet & Computers

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Wise One
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Re: The Internet & Computers

Postby Wise One » 2010 May 15 17:18

Dangers there surely are, Moose, but they pale in comparison to those posed by the evil parties who would shut down the neutral internet as we presently know it.

One of my side interests is computer security, listening frequently to the very best podcast on this subject. Steve Gibson and Leo Laporte have convinced me that security concerns are manageable, although some effort and discipline is required. For example, techniques exist for making your email absolutely unreadable by anybody you don't want to see it, but we don't use them -- only because a simple and user-friendly platform has not yet been implemented. It will be. Right now, only Geeks are using these techniques.

Learn defensive techniques, implement reasonable defenses, and there is nothing much to worry about from hackers.

Let me assure you that the parties who want to shut down the neutral internet do NOT have your security interests in mind. They have only your pocketbook in mind, and will trade your personal information away in a nanosecond if they think they can get away with it.
'
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like Donald Trump."

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Uji
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Re: The Internet & Computers

Postby Uji » 2010 May 18 11:35

Wise One wrote:Learn defensive techniques, implement reasonable defenses, and there is nothing much to worry about from hackers.'


Got any suggestions along those lines, WiseOne? Can we count on a regularly updated virus-protection program and occasional scans? Or should we be doing more?
:hiding2:

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Wise One
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Re: The Internet & Computers

Postby Wise One » 2010 May 18 22:55

I ain't no expert, and there are many ways to approach this, but here are a few things I do:
  • Use Firefox ... it's a lot safer than Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • Use a Router, wireless or wired, even if you don't run a network. There is a remarkable amount of very hard security built into that hardware. We use the Linksys (Cisco) WTR54GS. Bonus ... if you have a laptop with wi-fi, you can use it anywhere in the house.
  • Use a virus scanner periodically and keep it updated. I've been using the free AVG for years and it's caught bad guys hundreds of times.
  • Use strong (long) passwords for sensitive sites like your life savings bank account and don't use them anywhere else.
  • But they are a royal pain. So I use RoboForm which remembers all my dozens of different long and secure passwords and automatically types them into any form you want. It stores them encrypted and securely and you need only enter one password a day to activate it.
  • I always run things I have the slightest queasiness over inside of Sandboxie, which creates a bulletproof sandbox that fools malware into thinking they have written trash and erased your files even though they haven't because they are not allowed outside a very hard sandbox.
  • Finally, don't fall for the "social engineering" exploits that trick you into providing personal and financial info. Nobody who is legit will ever ask for such info.
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like Donald Trump."

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Uji
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Re: The Internet & Computers

Postby Uji » 2010 May 19 12:46

Thanks. I might try that Sandboxie. How does it work?

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Wise One
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Re: The Internet & Computers

Postby Wise One » 2010 May 19 21:43

It was written by an Israeli genius, and seems to work pretty well to confine all of a program's actions to a hard sandbox. You can delete the sandbox and all it contains, or retrieve files that you really want to keep after all.

For example, a browser running in Sandboxie can safely peruse the most abominable of Russian xxx sites packed with malware. Nothing makes it out of the sandbox. One can also configure the sandbox to bar internet communications ... to stop that Chinese spambot from sending off your bank records behind your back.

I'm very impressed. The only negative is, although the author is working hard at it and has made great progress, it's still a little geeky/complex to use.

:coffee:
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like Donald Trump."

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Uji
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Re: The Internet & Computers

Postby Uji » 2010 May 20 11:24

That's sounds like just the thing. So, I downloaded it. It sits there in my "tray". Now I'm working on what to do with it...

(Last virus scan showed a couple of malware items that the scanner was able to disable. But, I don't know how they got there! So, I'm guessing Sandboxie might help with that sort of thing.) :hmm:

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Uji
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Re: Cyber Wars

Postby Uji » 2010 Jun 12 12:31

Hey, WiseOne... I've been reading Richard Clarke's new book on Cyber War. Man, if I weren't paranoid enough... It's a great read, though. :hiding2:

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Wise One
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Re: The Internet & Computers

Postby Wise One » 2010 Jun 12 17:27

I heard a nice interview, Terry Gross interviewing him on Fresh Air.

He's a good guy and is usually reliable. On this subject I confess to feeling he's tipping just a tad toward alarmism, not horribly so, just a tad.

Many of the trumpets sounding over "cyberwarfare" are sound and fury signifying not very much. This issue looks increasingly like a lot of vested interests clamoring for protection money when the existence of a "threat" is highly debatable.

Too many trivial misbehaviors are been hyped into threats for my taste. I'm not saying there is nothing there, but I am saying that this problem needs to be assessed soberly and then addressed with a sense of proportion.
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like Donald Trump."

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Uji
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Re: The Internet & Computers

Postby Uji » 2010 Jun 15 10:32

I finished the book, and it's certainly alarmist. There's clearly a lot of room for abuse since cyber-space is wide open -- by design. Using it as a weapon, though, has become a kind of WMD; and it's use would probably have the same consequences -- which, I guess, makes it sort of its own deterrent. But, on the other hand, as a weapon in asymmetrical warfare, it looks pretty useful... :dontknow:

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Wise One
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Re: The Internet & Computers

Postby Wise One » 2010 Jun 17 08:50

Interesting. Dangers there are, aplenty, so I guess it boils down to which defensive measures are practical, minimally intrusive, and economical. If we allow events to play out as they did in the hysteria after 9/11 then we will surely get overkill.

In today's news is bill Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act proposed by Joe Lieberman. When I heard who is behind it, I had to worry that skulduggery is afoot.

Indeed there is, even although the text of the actual bill is mostly benign. I had to search very carefully to find the clause that is the barn door through which the government can drive anything it chooses.

We have something to worry about if this bill has legs. Unless that clause is stricken.

:coffee:
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like Donald Trump."

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Juggler
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Hey Yellow Pages, It's Time for You to Die!

Postby Juggler » 2010 Jun 19 00:02

Image

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Wise One
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Re: The Internet & Computers

Postby Wise One » 2010 Jun 22 11:08

Sad, sad, sad.

:coffee:

PS: Here's more on the dirty work that is taking place behind closed doors using money that telecom subscribers thought was buying them media content. Your dollars are being used to strong-arm Congress into turning over the now-open internet to the telecoms so they can operate it just as they operate cable TV. Price gauging, choking off competition, impossible-to-understand pricing and byzantine "plans" that rob you of choice.
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like Donald Trump."

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Trend Setter
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Re: The Internet & Computers

Postby Trend Setter » 2010 Jul 03 09:41


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fangz1956
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Re: The Internet & Computers

Postby fangz1956 » 2010 Aug 03 06:24

Corporate Destruction of Privacy


This is creepy as hell. I knew entities such as this existed....but not at this level. While I may be a relatively compliant soul when it comes to rules, regulations, and the law in general, I can't see myself living out the rest of my days in fear. Fear of being tormented for every idea, thought, and belief that I choose to express in any kind of forum. I'm pretty open to the folks who are closest to me......but some parts of my life are seriously off-limits to anybody else. That is how it should be.............but the Government and their assorted spies seem to feel differently about that.

And as for everybody's darling boy O................he's just asked to be vested with the power to snag my internet activities at will....without just cause......without a warrant. This is just too much power and control from a Government who likes to espouse the "fact" that all these unwinnable wars are really our way of establishing bastions of democracy and civil liberties in the rest of the world.

What about my civil liberties? What about my right to privacy? Where does the power of Government end?

Sitting here and thinking about this, it boggles the mind as to just how much these spooks really do know about my life. They know where I shop, what I eat, what I watch, what I read, who I correspond with, and good God............they know my medical history. There is apparently no limit to their power.

This makes the concept of disconnecting everything.....tv, internet, phone........and moving to cave very appealing right about now.

Sad part is that the vast majority of citizens will roll over and meekly comply.


:hail:
Ever looked at someone and thought "the wheel is turning but the hamster is dead"?

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Uji
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Re: The Internet & Computers

Postby Uji » 2010 Aug 03 12:42

When I try to define the term "fascist," it's hard to pin down. Most folks simply use it as an epithet for whomever they dislike.

It seems to me, though, that historians tend to define "fascist" not so much as a form of government, but as a special sort of link between government and corporations, using totalitarian means to insure profits under the guise of -- what else -- "national security." This was what made National Socialism in Germany such a foul beast: the government used its power to assure the profit of large corporations who were quite happy to ignore the Nazi's idiosyncrasies (like gassing folks they didn't like) since their stock-holders were happy. (And making them happy is their only ethical obligation, right? That's the way our tycoons talk.)

It's for this reason that what has been going on since 2001 -- the "privatization" of war and security -- is doubly disturbing. The "failure" of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is only a failure of the governments expressed policy: to bring liberal democracy to the middle east, etc. The policy has been a raging success in terms of the its true goal: to establish empire (the Neo-Con's goal) and to shrink real public-service government and replace it with corporate (for-profit) government. Thus the horrors of the Iraq and Afghan excursions are, to those in power and with money, unqualified successes: Trillions of dollars in public funds have been transferred to private coffers. The link between corporate and federal has been forged; the welfare of one is the welfare of the other.

This sounds a lot like fascism (at least as historians seem to define it). But that's nonsense, right? Where are the horrors, the abuses, associated with fascism? There aren't any concentration camps, etc.

True, but if one looks at the extraordinary inequalities of the economy ( http://www.hightowerlowdown.org/node/2330 ) and the incalculable slow destruction being wreaked on the lowest half of our economy... When the government can put out a death-warrant on a citizen without any process ("due" or otherwise), I begin to wonder...

That said, what are we gonna do about it? These seem to be the options:
  • Stop voting? (That'll show em!)
  • Vote for someone without a chance of winning? (Which has the advantage of making you feel better but accomplishes nothing else.)
  • Vote Republican and hand the rest of the government over to corporations without even worrying about it?
  • Or, vote Democrat (and be disappointed that they aren't ________ enough for you)?

For me, that's a simple choice.

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fangz1956
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Re: The Internet & Computers

Postby fangz1956 » 2010 Aug 03 15:25

To vote or not to vote=you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. Voting seems to have become a lose/lose proposition for John Q. Public. We've all seen how easily the system can be rigged, manipulated and elections stolen. Money definitely talks and carries a big stick.

Several years ago, I read Michael Parenti's book Against Empire. It was eye-opening to say the least. What you described above is the core theme of that book. In the first few pages of his book, we find this:

Given its expansionist nature, capitalism has little inclination to stay home. Almost 150 years ago, Marx and Engels described a bourgeoisie that "chases over the whole surface of the globe. it must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere....It creates a world after its own image." The expansionists destroy whole societies. Self-sufficient peoples are are forcibly transformed into disenfranchised wage workers. Indigenous communities and folk cultures are replaced by mass-market, mass-media, consumer societies. Cooperative lands are supplanted by agribusiness factory farms, villages by desolate shanty towns, autonomous regions by centralized autocracies.


Sounds like America to me. There is no way to argue to the contrary that we are an empire building corporation nation state.

The only solution may just come right down to a class war. Not the best choice, but there may ultimately be no other alternative. WO, my apologies in advance, but God helps us all if they succeed in barring the right to bear arms.


:sad:
Ever looked at someone and thought "the wheel is turning but the hamster is dead"?

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Wise One
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Re: The Internet & Computers

Postby Wise One » 2010 Aug 05 08:30

Privacy is indeed taking on a certain quaintness and it's tough to see it go. Striking is the cleavage in attitudes between young and old people, about whether its loss matters.

I haven't had a land line for over ten years and yet if you look me up on whitepages.com, there I am listed by age and most places I've lived. My cell number isn't listed yet, thankfully, but again Googling my name will reveal it because organizations I'm active in have. For a few bucks, you can purchase complete personal and credit history on anybody from dozens of sites on the internet ... the cat is out of the bag and it is nearly impossible to stuff it back in.

This recent letter is charmingly quaint. I'm sympathetic to his point, but cannot help noting that it reveals both his age and a certain disconnection from the reality of the times. Perhaps tens of thousands of people, most of whom I do not know, have my email address. I've found practical, if sometimes inconvenient, ways of dealing with it and no longer perceive it as threatening.
WOODY MUMMA, in the News-Gazette, July 9, 2010 wrote: Editor, The News-Gazette

I learned on the local news that the Rockbridge Alert notification system can give out e-mails of those who have subscribed to receive their alerts. According to Claire Collins, county administrator, under the Freedom of Information Act, they could turn the e-mail addresses over to anyone, including VMI, to be used for research. Which they did. I received the survey but deleted it thinking it was scam. Now I know differently.

I re-read all I could about the Rockbridge Alert and nowhere does it state that they can or could give out e-mail addresses when asked. I deleted my account and didn’t want to because I enjoy receiving the alerts, but not when my e-mail address can be given out without my permission. There should be some disclaimer regarding this action when one signs up for the alerts.

I am deeply troubled by this action.


But there is something I am genuinely alarmed by, the impending breaking of the internet as we know it. The big telecoms will do everything they can to extort money from you and internet content providers, if we and the Federal Communications Commission let them get away with it. The internet will have tiers, pay walls, complex "plans" just like cable TV, privileged users, and an underclass of have-nots, if these guys get their way.

I knew it was coming, and today's news announces the first loud cannon shot.
And here's more on the scoundrels.

:thumdwn:
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like Donald Trump."

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Wise One
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Re: The Internet & Computers

Postby Wise One » 2010 Aug 09 19:14

Here's a late-breaking analysis of the Verizon/Google conspiracy to break the internet.

It's reasonably sober but scary as hell. Our last chance to keep these anything-for-a-buck bastards from breaking the internet and turning it into the analog of a horrible and expensive cable TV subscription lies in the Congress and the Federal Communications Commission.

The former has a record of doing whatever the moneyed interests pay them to do, and the latter has an uneven record. (Thankfully the FCC finally got slapped down for fining folks whenever a word some bluenose doesn't like is uttered.)

So its tough times ahead, and the bastards may steal it from us after all unless we all scream to our Congressmen and Senators.

:coffee:
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like Donald Trump."

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Wise One
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Re: The Internet & Computers

Postby Wise One » 2010 Aug 12 00:23

So if my prior alarms don't sound like much, here is a look forward that will curl your hair, spelling out exactly what the bastards will do to us unless we can find a way to stop them.
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like Donald Trump."

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fangz1956
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Re: The Internet & Computers

Postby fangz1956 » 2010 Aug 12 07:45

I read the previous links you posted. I signed up and sent letters to my Congressman and Senators. I also signed the FreePress letter being sent to the Chairman of the FCC..............and shared all of those links on Facebook.

Whatever gets the word out is what works.....and let's hope they take us seriously.

:hiding:
Ever looked at someone and thought "the wheel is turning but the hamster is dead"?


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