December 07, 2006
Secure Sockets Layer
Today while doing my online banking, I saw the word "SSL" at the bottom of the page, and being a curious person that I am, I went online to search for it. So here is a little bit of what I have learnt about it.
SSL is Secure Sockets Layer, and it provides another layer of security to internet users as to help prevent other people from tampering or doing all those bad stuff. It basically needs 2 different accesses: the public key that everyone can see, and the private one that only you can provide.
These are the 3 basic phases:
- algorhithm support
- public key encryption
- symmetric cypher
The cool thing is, many sites are SSL, and you can know when it's "https:" instead of "http". I became so much more aware of the sites I enter after I learnt about it. Well, now you'd feel a little more at ease if you see that little "s" behind.
December 06, 2006
I was wondering how secure is online shopping, because it can get pretty addictive. I used to go to the store to buy clothes because that's the fun of it, to try them on and to make that decision right on the spot... Walking around department stores... But I started buying online items especially from Victoria's Secret, because they offer crazy sales when you buy them in a bulk.
But they get addictive not only because they offer those sales, but once you buy them, they will keep sending you offers and other sales that entice you to buying more products from them. I love VS flannel pajamas - they are really comfortable, and their online store people NEVER fail to email me stuff about offers related to them. And this caught my attention: why do they keep sending me emails, and how do they know?
Today we learnt about how companies have our information and our spending habits, and I got scared because they have much more information about me than I would like them to have. I don't care if they have my home address because I keep moving in and out of apartments anyway, but the fact that they have my spending habits and other detail information will drive me crazy.
But I think it's okay as long as they keep these information to themselves. If they ended up selling my information to other companies, that will be VERY bad. That's unforgivable. That's violating my privacy right as an individual customer.
But the again, even if they were to sell my information to other companies, how would I know, until I start receiving weird emails and such? There are many instances when customers don't know what's going on at the other side, and I think that companies easily can take advantage of this to make more money for themselves.
So how is it possible for me to stay safe, even though I'm legally protected by laws and such? I don't think there's any one straight-cut path, and I don't think it's sensible to not do online shopping anymore just because of this. I guess it all comes down to the company's integrity and my (or the customers') alertness towards this matter.
December 03, 2006
Email Via Cellphone - Secure?
In Japan, for the older generation who are not familiar with computers, "emailing" pretty much means using the phone to message someone. You type in your message in your phone, and send it to another person's phone, or computer email. For example, if I have a cell phone, I will be able to send an email to your Umich webmail account. I don't know how that works, but it does, and I thought that it was pretty cool.
My friend who didn't have a phone will just use her computer to email her friend's phone before they were to meet up. It's definitely convenient. And I don't think there are extra charges for this function.
However, how safe is it to use an email account to send a message to a phone? After all, it's through internet connection and such. You know, when your friend was about to send you an email from her computer to your phone, if someone was actually hacking her computer, your phone information might be revealed. And these things are inevitable.
I'm not saying that it's dangerous to do that, but it's the "what if" that caught my attention. The hacker will be able to sell your information to sales marketer and other companies, and you might need to change your phone number in the end.
I don't know how much more secure the internet connection needs to be before you shouldn't use this function, and I think it's a problem in US because that function has just been introduced really recently, and who knows what might happen. It's new, and there's no complaints or bad things that happened yet, but I think those who are using this function should really be careful. After all, we're talking about internet security, who's constantly being abused everyday.
November 22, 2006
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
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
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:
1. Only access bank accounts, or other bank/bills/credit card accounts with my main computer, or laptop at home.
2. Always be paranoid when I'm done and try logging in after I log out, to make sure I have properly logged out of the site.
3. When I'm shopping online, I make sure that they are big companies that people have heard of, hence reducing the risk of giving your credit card information away to random companies.
4. Update my Norton anti-virus AND firewall, and make sure that they block the pop-ups too. Try to get it as secure as possible, even if you're spending lots of money on them.
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.
October 29, 2006
Many years ago, I started by using Yahoo.com to do research in the internet - all kinds of searching at all. It is easy, you just go to the website, and type in anything that you want to know in the space provided, and after a few seconds, whatever that you are trying to find will come out.
Now, the catch: re-read the last paragraph and you'd find the word "a few seconds".
That's one main reason why I am using Google right now, because it redirects you to many different links within a second. This is, of course, really depending on your computer and internet connection. But let's say everything else stay the same, Google still saves your time, by a few seconds, that is. I mean, it does get really irritating to be waiting for the result of your search, especially when you are in a hurry.
My current PowerBook also has this little bar at the right corner of my Safari, allowing you to type in whatever that you want to search in there without having to go to Google's website - how convenient! You can be reading something online, and opps, you find something that you don't understand, and hey, your search is just an "enter" away. I thought it was the best invention ever, when it comes to searching.
On the right corner of my Safari, there's also a drop down menu that shows your previous search, so therefore if you searched for something that you have never heard of, or even something that you don't know how to spell, you are sure to find records of it, and you never have to know how to spell it (this is really useful for weird medical, or technological terms).
Of course, there is the Advanced Search, where you can narrow down your search in many different ways. It can be found on the right side of the space if you were to go in to Google's website. And then there's the Preference option, where you can even choose which language you want your result to be in.
You can also type anything at all, and as many words as you want, and they will figure everything out for you, even if you have some spelling mistakes. Example: you heard a nice song but you haven't a clue as to what the title is? Catch some of the lyric and type them in, and in a second, you'd be directed to links as to where to get the lyric, the chords, etc.
Since the homepage of Google.com is solely for the purpose of searching, you don't have to try figure out where to type in your search, it's there right in front of you. This is different from other search engines, like Yahoo or MSN, where their homepage include everything else that they have, and you know, too many stimulation can confuse you at times.
The best about Google: you just have to say, "Google it!" and people know what you mean. You don't have to take the trouble to say, "Go and use the search engine!" because Google has successfully branded the whole idea.
October 21, 2006
Apple and Motorola on Cell Phone
After hearing about this gossip for so long, I thought that I should put down some of my thoughts. For those who don't know what it is about, Apple is thinking of making a cell phone with Motorola.
Some of my concerns:
1. Touchpad like iPod, or buttons?
If it is a touchpad, it will be too much like Chocolate, unless they made sure that everything, including the number pads, are all touchpads. That will be cool, though pretty irritating at times when you need to use the phone while driving (I know you're not supposed to do that, but who doesn't?) because you can't feel the buttons. If it is buttons, then it will be too conventional - hey, after all we're talking about Apple, the logo that we relate to the word "innovation". Unless of course, they come up with something totally new that is not in the market yet.
2. Which provider?
Verizon? T-mobile? It will suck if they choose only one provider, because it will be limited to those people with those provider only. I wonder if they will sell the phone in the market without the provider just like that. Some people don't buy phones through the provider anyway, like me and my Chocolate.
3. International market?
Will it go international, or is it going to be available in the US? Apple is never big in Asian countries, and I, perhaps, am one of the few Indonesians currently using a Powerbook. It will be a pity if Apple's cell phone comes out after my graduation when I'm never going to be back here until a few years later, because I really do want to try that electronic device; hey, I'm a big Apple fan.
4. Built-in iTunes = iPod substitute?
So many phones have mp3 function in them, but if similar function is to be built into the new cell phone, will not it be like another iPod, and more useful actually. Will that be an iPod substitute, crashing the iPod market? Or perhaps they have already made some plans to ditch iPod and move onto cell phone that has more useful functions, like camera! Oh yes, camera - I wonder about the quality if they do have that function.
5. Will it "burn" like Macbook?
No pun intended. What I mean by burn is flopping down the drain. Sure, Macbook is cool, and I'm still dreaming of it even after I've heard about all the bad stories, like keyboards falling apart, and the heat burning your lap... Getting an Apple device fixed costs a lot of money, and if there is going to be a lot of problems with the cell phone, I'd think twice about making the purchase. If Apple can mess up a laptop, an industry that it's been competing in for many years, what about a cell phone market that it has never been in?
But I guess there's only so much that my anticipation can lead me to. Perhaps Apple will monopolize the cell phone market - who knows, they've got the cool image, the innovativity and creativity, and who doesn't know that they spend a great fortune of their profit on research and development? We'll wait and see. Well, at least I will.
October 05, 2006
I've always wanted to get myself one of those black MacBook since it came out, just because it's cool and hey, it's Mac - it's THE technology for technology retards like me. The PowerBook G4 I have right now never bothered me with anti-virus updates, and they have automatic update installation system. That's great, it's hassle-free.
Then MacBook came along, with the whole Core Duo and Intel Chip (I have no idea what they are, but I do know that they use Windows) and that means that I will be able to play a lot of games with that (finally!), and sell the currect Dell PC I have that is used solely for the purpose of gaming. They also have the magnetic power outlet, something that's very innovative. I've always tripped myself because of those cords that are lying around in the house (very common, especially when we have 4 laptops plugged to the same outlet), and I certainly do not want my computer to come crashing on me when, and if, I accidentally were to trip on it.
Though I haven't figured out what are the differences between MacBook and MacBook Pro except that the MacBook Pro doesn't come in the 13-inch size, I really want to find someone who knows about this. Oh, don't forget the student discount that you get when you're buying it, and especially if you get it in the Union (do they sell it there?), get yourself the student bundle discount; it's worth it. I remembered getting my 12-inch PowerBook G4 with 3 in 1 HP laser printer and 20 gb iPOD for about $1600 or less (of course with all the rebates and such).
One concern about MacBook though, what if it starts getting messy and I start getting all the virus alert system, just like my Dell PC? I also have heard cases where the keys on the keyboard fall off (!!?!?!?!?) and being an Apple customer, you have to be ready to spend a lot on these kinds of problems. They want your money all the time, other than the fact that the services that they provide are not all that great, or so I've heard.
Check it out at APPLE STORE
September 20, 2006
Body goes here
Headings are cool!
I can use text links... Visit Dave's Site!
and Image Links...