November 28, 2006
New Security Products- What's Next? (9)
Newest Security Releases
In the past, computer security software has aimed to stop viruses and other malicious programs once they enter your personal pc; not anymore my friends. Newer software is aiming to prevent the interaction between you and harmful programs altogether, essentially snipping the weed at its bud so to speak.(See Story)
Currently, McAfee and other well known businesses tailored to your security needs (i.e. Microsoft and Mozilla Firefox) are coming up with new ways to avoid this contact. Some of these tools include "phishing" blockers within the new Internet Explorer and Firefox web browsers, along with a "SiteAdvisor" blocking any known threat and prompting users for access for potential threats.
Each one of these new enhancements will be included on top of the normal antivirus software and pop-up blockers normally included in a typical software package.
Lastly, and perhaps one of the more spoken about privacy issues, is that of spam email. Currently, GMail (Google Mail) has created and even more efficient way to recognize spam email from illegitimate providers. In a recent article titled Google’s Gmail Learns How to Spot Spam Google claims that it has "gotten 15 times better at distinguishing legitimate commercial e-mail messages from spam." This is good news for GMail users, and bad news for spammers. Google is also giving credibility to "Techies" that locate and report bug huntersChalk on their webpage... Chalk another one up for the good guys.
November 22, 2006
Increasing Insecurity in Mac (8)
Increasing Insecurity in Mac
While doing my weekly tagging, I came across a site that talked about how Mac, compared to Windows, has less virus and problems with security in general. But these things are going to change, and that hackers and those people who've got too much time in their hands will start attacking Mac.
This is a very disturbing thought. I have always found comfort and security in Mac, knowing that there are not many virus or bugs created for this system. I guess it's because of the rise of the number of people using Mac that makes the market for creating virus that's Mac-compatible very interesting and hot.
If Mac were to become very similar of that to Windows, with all those anti-spam and anti-virus updates that need to be done every year, it will suck. If that were to happen, I think I'd switch to Windows, because it is more compatible with many other softwares anyway. Updating Mac's system will be so much more costly than that of Windows, just because Windows has all the compatible system available in the market but not that of Mac. Also, Apple is always costly to maintain anyway. That means that Mac users will burn more holes in the pockets.
Also, the fact that Mac has done the whole Intel core-duo thing, which means that Mac users can use Windows as well in their MacBook, increase the potential risk in terms of internet security and virus protection.
This is very intimidating, may it be just a rumor or a thought.
November 21, 2006
Norton Anti-Virus (7)
Since I am a computer illiterate, my brother usually will update all these things for me, and I will just happily use my PC for the year (Windows only lasts a year with me, for some reason...) And ever since I got myself a PowerBook, I've never had to do all those things, until my brother graduated and he passed me his Dell PC. Then the problems arose.
After using my computer for 1 year, Norton told me to update my registration, since it's expired. It took me about 2 months before I got down to continue my subscription, because I doubted the use of it at all. After using the computer for a month, I almost killed my computer because it kept bugging me to continue my subscription. It was surprisingly irritating that it almost became a bug by itself.
Other than Norton (ironically), there were so many pop-ups in many sites that I visited that I have never encountered before - apparently Norton built a firewall of some sort that will block pop-ups. Also, it has built such a strong and secured firewall that I kept getting asked if I really wanted to read a file, or to download a file, in case there's bugs or hackers on the move.
I was amazed that the internet that we use are pretty messed up nowadays (forgive my ignorance, since I'm a Mac user and I'm computer illiterate); there are many pop-ups, irritating advertisements, automatically download-able files when you enter a site, etc. There is no way that you can call this secure. We have come to a point in time where a system, or a firewall, is necessary to protect our privacy.
I felt safe using my computer with Norton, but at the same time cynical. Did people invent these firewalls to overcome those problems, or did they invent these problems to invent the firewalls for us to purchase?
November 17, 2006
I have started using online banking to free myself from all those paperwork and hassle. But my Safari wouldn't let me log onto the account, and I have always used my friend's Internet Explorer (I don't like the IE on Apple, but preferred the IE on Windows). I downloaded the latest version of FireFox because one of my roommates told me that it is possible to log in with FireFox.
I was glad that I downloaded FireFox - I think it is one of the better system; I like the tabs, I like the layout, I like how it helps you retain your username and password if you give the permission to.
But there's the problem - it helps you retain your username and password. I got used to clicking on "Yes" everytime it asks me whether I want my username and password saved. I do that out of convenience, and because I don't think the other passwords are that important - I'm pretty sure that my roommates know those passwords too, out of convenience to shop online, etc.
The first time I log into my bank account, it asked me whether I want to save my username and password, and I almost hit a Yes, but I caught myself on time, fortunately. I was shocked, because I thought that they would know to never ask when it's something important like that. I therefore chose "never save for this site", which I was glad that they have that option. But the fact that they couldn't make that connection between a bank account and any other stupid accounts just shocked me. That just proved to me how insecure the internet security is.
Perhaps it's the bank that lacks the security measures needed, and perhaps it's FireFox that lacks that recognition system. Nevertheless, I was brought to the reality of how internet works: no matter how secure you want it to be, there is just a limit to it. Our technology is not that advanced yet as to be able to replace humans' brain.
I guess this will be a warning to me, and to everyone else, to be really careful at all times, especially those little things that you do out of habit.
November 07, 2006
Internet Security and I (5)
Internet Security and I
Our lifestyle has slowly moved away from the traditional way to a very modern and fast-paced environment. I, for one, have done extensive online shopping, and even to the extent of paying my bills online. I also check my bank statements through the internet, and manage my various credit cards online. We have become so dependent on the internet, but with the convenience, comes along risk and danger. How safe is that, you might ask.
This is what I would normally do:
When it comes to password, you know what you should do - change them often. But how much longer can you keep track of all the different passwords? Use a program for password manager, I assure you, it's easy. But it always comes down to this: how safe is that?
As technology advances, there are more hackers and smart people out there who get around doing illegal things. People hack your internet connection, get access to your personal information - this is the price of being in a very computerized world and conforming to it. I'm sure many people have told you to be careful with your information when it comes to internet, because really, it all comes down to trust, and maybe luck.
November 05, 2006
Windows XP Exposed (4)
For a number of years, the Windows Operating System has had the reputation of being inferior to other operating systems when discussing user security. Being the most widespread and widely used operating system in the world today, it's easy to see why safety and security amongst window’s users is so important.
This year has been no different; in a recent article , yet again Windows has been scrutinized for its security vulnerabilities with its XP operating system. Security researchers say hackers have published code allowing hackers to disable the XP firewall on computers running the XP system. This would give hackers the opportunity to plant malicious code via the internet.
For consumers, it is always troubling to hear that sensitive information is not always 100% secure when signing on to the internet. AIM, Google, EBAY, Windows, Mac OS X and YahooMail all have become household names across the world, and each one of them relies on premise that they can safety provide their service to their customers. So what can consumers do to help themselves? Here is a short list of what users can do to help protect themsevles when using the internet:
- Do business with reputable companies- Before providing any sensitive information, make sure the company asking for your personal information is an established company.
- Take advantage of security features- If your computer comes with antivirus or firewall software, make sure to keep these programs up to date and running at all times when using the internet. Download any necessary patches as soon as they become available and do not download any unnecessary programs that you think are unsafe.
- Be aware of your account activity- Check your online accounts periodically to make sure that everything is in order. Many times, if personal information has been stolen, checking your accounts is a way to freeze your accounts before a lot of damage is done
- Check Privacy Policies- Yes, this is the fine print that no one spends much time looking over. However, websites must spell out how the information they collect will be used, how the information is encrypted and where the information will likely to be sent. If you find out that your information may be sent without an encryption, you may want to encrypt it yourself before sending it via the internet.