Dyed All Hues

Thinker and Experimenter,


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Where can information be extracted from our technologies and should we be concerned?

Have you ever wondered how safe you are on your phone, internet, etc. and if someone could steal this information directly from your computer. I don't know much about technology, but I do know that I am ignorant to the capabilities of technologies.

Could someone use your email and pose as you, but not be detected?
Could information you save on your phone be accessed in remote locations?

What are the basics of technology and what are signs that an individual can look up to figure out a specific issue one is vunerable to, like checking your ip address on your email for inconsistencies.

I want to find out more about technologies, but I also want to learn how to feel secure and safe while sharing my information. Ignorance is bliss, but knowledge is power, so I want to inform myself and other individuals who have the same questions.

  • Apr 2 2012: Hi Derek,

    Your common sense is your best tool for keeping your information secure. And don't kill yourself. Putting a $1,000 lock on a glass door does not make you more secure.

    Here's where I'm at.

    Don't talk to strangers.
    Lot's of people ask you to do something. Think about it before you let an app see your location/contact list/facebook password. Do they have a reason to do that? Do you want them to? Don't just automatically say yes. No one will be offended if you don't open that suspicious email.

    Don't post anything you wouldn't want made public on public sites.
    That includes email, facebook, google+ and about a bizallion other places. Their privacy policies are written to suit their interests, not yours.

    Don't use mundane passwords.
    People are always surprised that someone would guess that they used "password" to get to their bank account.

    Use an anti-virus and firewall.
    Basic stuff. I use Microsoft's "security essentials". It's free and seems good enough for what I do.

    Encrypt any wireless you don't want to share.
    It's a radio for heaven's sake. All routers let you do this fairly easily. If you can't do it, say at a coffee shop, you need to think about how you're using it.

    Log out.
    Aside from the obvious, being logged into a website (for instance, facebook) makes it much easier for those websites to track your activity. Use the log-out feature, and set your browser to delete cookies and temp files when you close the browser.

    Keep your software current.
    Updates are a pain, so is going to the dentist. Doesn't mean we can skip them.

    Security and privacy are real issues. You really can't be 100% sure you're protected. However, with a little effort you can protect yourself from the vast majority of threats and probably convince the bad-guys that it's easier to go elsewhere. Not all that different from the "real-world".

    Best wishes,
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    Apr 2 2012: Gadgets

    They are small moveable graphical objects that sit on your desktop or your main screen that you use to access your windows.If your using a Mac then i can't help you as i've never had a Mac but Mac should have the same equivalent as most of win7's design has been created from the Mac community.Heres a link for you to see what's available

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    Mar 31 2012: These are free to use progs and don't give full 100% coverage or take responsibility for a user that clicks a popup that will allow something in past your firewall and in behind the antivirus prog though they will generally be picked it up there is the risk that you will run into a piece of bad software that the antivirus has never encountered before so it won't recognise it and let it in.

    I only surf so using these progs gives me a level of safe protection but for those that use the net more intensely then professional coverage would be better.

    I use firefox for my browser as Internet Explorer is the most cracked of them all,i think young guys train themselves by cracking it,the others i don't know much about as i find for me firefox meets all my needs in a browser and plus it's community based addon system allows one to customise it to ones needs as it's security addon section is incredible for browser protections.i.e redirect remover(stops redirection to a possible bad location),Noscript(Kills all flash objects on a page or you choose what gets loaded up)WOT ratings Web of trust (Community based rating system that allows users to rate a site if they have had a bad experience and warn others through the system)Browser Protect(Warns of a possible hijack of your homepage)Adblock plus(Blocks popups)Adban(does the same thing) there's too much so i go by what is most popular.

    All this though doesn't mean squat if someone is out to crack you and if you're on wireless then it gets even worse because they can download company specs progs written to scan for specific Wi-Fi signatures that recognize router makes and then checks if it's secure which 9 times out of ten isn't.

    Free is cool but checkout what everyone says about them first,I'm just one out of millions so what works for me might not work for anyone else.
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      Mar 31 2012: So if someone has Wi-Fi, then they are more likely to have their info taken?

      How would you prevent this from happening?
      If you were cracked, then how can you tell from your wireless mechanism, or you will never know?
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        Mar 31 2012: This is where i fall down in my knowledge base.

        Wireless routers/dsl's should give you two choices in their option windows or settings windows.These two choices should be a choice between one type of encryption or another type of encryption but it will usually tell you which is the best for that wireless device.Once selected it locks up your wireless device from unsecured to secured which will come up on a listeners phone/laptop if they are scanning for unsecured devices to use to gain access to the net or your machine if it is on.

        A person would have to be within a hundred meters of your wireless or within a strong radius of a tower and actively scanning for your signal and pick you out by the name you have assigned to your wireless.These days everyone is on wireless so the chances of you getting a hitchhiker on your signal is rare.

        I don't have Wi-fi so i don't know the level of sophistication when it comes to the wireless devices onboard encryptions being used these days but i would say they would be pretty good.Most people these days are moving to the cloud but that to me is entrusting your data to a system that is great but in a way is far more easier to crack.

        Watchout for popup windows in facebook that tell you your password is weak or any other site you are linked to,if it asks you to input your current password then asks for a new one then something isn't right.I haven't come across this yet but i'm sure my friend wouldn't lie to me.

        I'm hoping someone else more knowledgeable will come on and pick the crap out of what i've said
        and give a more indepth description as i only know my two machines and how i've set them up.
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          Apr 1 2012: Thank you very much for you insight Ken. That seemed very thorough on your behalf. I feel we are just scratching the surface, which is kinda scary, but amazing at the same time. They say, one fears the unknown, so that means the more I know, the less "fear" that will arise. =)

          Thanks for sharing you thoughts again, and feel free to chime in again! =D
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        Apr 1 2012: I didn't actually finish answering your question

        "If you were cracked, then how can you tell"

        It's quite simple,if the light on your wireless goes to a constant on without blinking off for a longtime,say for an hour then something is either taking your bandwidth,scanning your system or using your wireless to access the net.It could be anything from a bot to an actual hack.There are gadgets that you can download from microsoft that are called network gadgets that will monitor your bandwidth while on your desktop,the default gui for them are bar graph with two colors,red for upload or green for download or some other colors but easy to workout.

        There are other ways but i lack the technical language skills to describe them.
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          Apr 2 2012: Sorry Ken, and thanks again.

          So wait are these network gadgets free or are you referring to the wirless modem itself?
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    Mar 30 2012: That is a tough one Derek

    One can only minimize the chances of being hit but eventually it happens.

    I use freeware antivirus,freeware adware,freeware cleaners,freeware process watchers and firefox and it's freeware security addons.All these combined give me a fair sense of protection but it doesn't rule out something getting in as i flit all over the place online even if the WOT ratings of a site says it's bad then i'll go in to see why just out of curiosity and yep i've been hit with keyloggers but since i don't do online banking i consider myself low risk.
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      Mar 31 2012: First of all, could you define what you mean by freeware, then define WOT ratings and where do I find these ratings? I hear a lot of technology lingo, but I know nothing about it.

      What is a keylogger?

      How does online banking put someone at a higher risk?
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      Mar 31 2012: Oh, and thanks for taking the time to respond to my question Ken.

      Thanks for reading my thoughts and sharing yours. =)
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        Mar 31 2012: The freeware antivirus programs i use is a cutdown basic version of a companies full version that it hopes you will one day purchase but will act as a basic cover,sort of like a test drive with out bringing the car back with a fuel card thrown in but it won't let you use the lights or the radio.

        Not all antivirus companies do this, instead they will give you a month to six months trial period before the program shutsdown or if you like it you buy it.I use to use cracked versions of everything on my machines but got tired of continuously waiting on the crackers to issue out new fixes on windows to office 2007,i just went and paid for the most important things like win7.I got rid of office 2007 and replaced it with OpenOffice which does everything that office does but is free and is the most used of the freeware office suites.

        I use Avg free antivirus but that's all it gives you just free antivirus nothing else and it gives me adequate protection with "UPDATES" for free,so i back this up with another free antivirus program called Ad-aware Free by lavasoft which takes care of adware software(advertising supported software) keyloggers and malware and spyware.Sort of like two loose nets crossed over to make one good net and the two don't clash as some antivirus progs register each other as viruses if both are running at the sametime.I was thinking of using a third freeware called Spybot as that is popular aswel but it seems a bit of overkill and a waste of memory usage.

        Keyloggers are progs that record your every tap of your fingers on your keyboard and transmit it across the net somewhere to be analysed for passwords or credit card numbers but even the free stuff i use generally grab them if it thinks something is acting suspicious.

        One also must have a good cleaner,I've found Ccleaner to be fast and comes with the usual of registry cleaner,uninstaller to startup program organizer.