Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

“Shadow Profiles” and “zombie apocolypse” — business as usual?

There have been several tech news headlines of late that everyone should be aware of, so you may want to “forward” (some of) these to friends and family..

You probably already know about Verizon (a cellular provider [a big one]) and the gov’t, but did you hear about Facebook’s “shadow profiles”? (if you didn’t think the Internet companies were doing this ‘profiles’ stuff, you must’ve had your head in the sand like the ostrich. It’s why it’s called “The Information Age”!)

Anger mounts after Facebook’s ‘shadow profiles’ leak in bug

Facebook said Friday it fixed a bug that exposed contact info for over six million accounts. The admission revealed its ‘shadow profile’ data collection activities, and users are furious.

The personal information leaked by the bug is information that had not been given to Facebook by the users – it is data Facebook has been compiling on its users behind closed doors, without their consent.UPDATED. Read more..

[note: If you only read one of these, read this one; and, the Comments are a good read in themselves, too .. if you’ve time. (Even better today..[Thurs]).]

New plan to stop leaks: Squeal on your cubicle mate who may or may not be a whistleblower

An investigative report shows the Obama administration’s insider threat program is far more expansive, and troubling, than even critics had thought.Read more..

*  The approaching datacenter zombie apocalypse

 “If IBM’s recent workforce rebalancing act is any indication of future trends, then we’re going to see an awful lot of vacant datacenter space and vacant datacenter jobs.Read more..

More users than ever experiencing phishing attack attempts (87% increase..)

* and last but not least.. Dangerous waters..

*     *     *

Today’s quote:I am glad I’ve never used a Facebook app or allowed Facebook access to my contacts in any way whatsoever. (Yay paranoia.)” ~ Violet Blue

[note: it’s the “yay paranoia” part I liked best.]

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

Yippee yahoo.

June 25, 2013 Posted by | cloud computing, computers, consumer electronics, cyber crime, Cyberwarfare, hackers, Internet, News, privacy, security, tech | , , , , | 2 Comments

Naked Online Sunday Beauty

Former White House CIO: You Are Naked Online

A former White House CIO and security consultant says people are giving away too much data and personal information online — to the point where the average American is stark naked in a digital sense.

Payton described one consulting client that actually thought its offices were bugged by competitors — but then realized that employees were spreading too much confidential information through social media. “Nobody needs to bug you,” she said. “They just follow you around on FourSquare.“” Read more..

Humans are funny.

The dark side of geo:

You know all those people who push their Foursquare and Gowalla locations out onto Twitter? Now there’s an aggregator for aspiring crooks who want to rob their houses.Read more..

And, for those of you who are curious, yes. I want to see what having the word “naked” in my title does for my ratings. But here’s your Sunday Beauty..

Click on image to see more by this artist

“Garbage Only” by Peter Kaminski, courtesy of Flickr Commons.

So that wasn’t “beauty”. But it is visually interesting (I think). Hope you are all enjoying the holiday.

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<

All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

September 2, 2012 Posted by | advice, computers, Internet, security | , , , , | 5 Comments

How To Remove Your Name From Search Engines and Social Networking Sites

Your Private Information Made Public

Folks, sometimes it is best to not reinvent the wheel; so today I am going to refer you to three excellent resources for the methods you need to know about if you are concerned about your personal information, and how websites (and the Gov’t) are collecting – and posting – it on the Internet.

If you are serious about protecting your identity and personal security, you should take actions now to block your personal information from public viewing.

Remove Your information from People Search Databases, Social Networks, and Search Engine ResultsJessicaM

Do you know what kind of personal information about you can be found from Internet? Do you know how to remove your name, address, phone number, pictures, bad comments and negative reviews from Google and other search engine results? Do you know how to delete your personal information from online people search database records?

I am putting this one first as it is comprehensive and well researched. It is four pages long, and packed with good info.

How To Permanently Delete Your Account on Popular Websites — Cameron Chapman

What we often don’t realize when signing up for all these accounts, though, is how difficult it can be to permanently delete our accounts when we’ve had enough. Some require complicated, multi-step processes that can stretch over the course of days (or weeks). Others take less time, but still require multiple steps by the user.

This article outlines the steps for removing your account/profile on:
Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, Google, Ebay, Wikipedia, Flickr/Yahoo!, Windows Live, StumbleUpon, WordPress, Amazon, YouTube, and PayPal.

If you want to stay inconspicuous while online, here are some products, services, and best practices to put to use.
How to Stay Anonymous Online — Erik Griffith

Some might say that the Internet was built on anonymity. Without it, the Internet might not have become what it is today—a place where free speech reigns supreme (maybe to a fault). However, as social networks prevail—and über-companies like Google do all they can to market to you more effectively—your privacy on the Web comes into question. The good news is that you can take back control of what others see and know of you online. Here’s how.

Subtopics: Safe Surfing, Anonymous E-mail, Social (Network) Security

The article contains links to programs and tools you may be interested in.. if your privacy is a concern to you.

Update: Here is another resource, brought to my attention by Rick Robinette:

I came across a really cool site that, if anything, is a real education about online accounts and profiling. The site is called AccountKiller.

AccountKiller – Do you care about your personal data? We provide instructions to remove your account or public profile on most popular websites, including Skype, Facebook, Windows Live, Hotmail / Live, Twitter, MSN / Messenger, Google and many more. Want to create an account somewhere? Check our Blacklist first to see if it’s even possible to remove your profile!

What AccountKiller specializes in is collecting direct links and deleting instructions to make account termination an easier process.Read more..

*     *     *

Bonus: additional recommended reading: Does a Blogger’s Opinion Really Matter?

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.

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June 15, 2010 Posted by | computers, how to, Internet, privacy, security | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

$1 Million Reward Offered

As so often happens when the Powers that establish Law and Order fail to protect us, folks take matters into their own hands. It’s only natural, I think.

One doesn’t really need to study, or be particularly tech savvy to know that there really isn’t enough being done to prevent

And, I think we understand that there are aspects to this *new* “shadow economy” that make it very difficult, if not impossible, for the Powers That Be to be effective, should they even try to do something about cybercrime.

The other day, when a person called me (at Aplus Computer Aid) for my help “to make these porno popups go away”, and I had to tell them that they had been tricked into installing a rogue antivirus.. and explained all the implications.. they were somewhat stunned, and muttered, “I’d like to find the guy who did this to me..”
His was a typical reaction.

(For more on rogues, and to see an instructional video, please see my article, Scare Tactics.)

Almost everyday, someone asks me, “what is being done about this?”, and I tell them the truth; basically, nothing.
How would you find the guy? And when/if you did track him down, in the Ukraine, or China, or Bangladesh, or Peru.. how would you prosecute him?

I am pleased to report that cybercrime is being taken more seriously by the Powers, and the laws are changing. International cooperation is starting to happen. But that didn’t stop an estimated $105 Billion dollar loss last year.
(Hey, that’s what insurance is for.. right?)

But let’s get back to today’s title, shall we? I just read that recently a company had received a blackmail threat:
St. Louis-based Express Scripts disclosed last week it received an anonymous letter that included the names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and, in some cases, prescription information of 75 members. The writer or writers threatened to release millions more of similar records if the business failed to pay an unspecified sum of money.


After following proper procedures (such as notifying law enforcement), and looking at all their options, a new — and I hope effective — strategy was decided upon. This company has decided to offer a $1 million reward for information leading to the conviction of these extortionists.

They’ve posted a bounty.

History has shown that where’s there’s a bounty, there’s going to be bounty hunters.. and so I hope that this is just the first such offer of reward. Somebody needs to go after these guys, before they make the Internet so unsafe it’s unusable (and at the present rate, that’ll be next year).

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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November 13, 2008 Posted by | computers, cyber crime, hackers, Internet, Internet scam, Phishing, phraud, security, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Why do we compute?

What do you use your computer for the most?
* Communication: E-mail, Instant Message/Chat, VoIP (telephony), video conference/chat, blogging, social networking, presentations, creating documents for distribution, participate in Groups?
* Entertainment: (video) games, online videos/YouTube, IPTV/webcasts, online radio, play music, watch DVD’s?
* Information/Education: obtain news items, research Knowledge Bases (Wikipedia, WebMD), virtual classrooms, Search Engines, product reviews, public opinion, get directions and/or find businesses with Maps, math, read RSS feeds/blogs, check sports scores?
* Business/Commerce: buy/sell items online (Ebay, Craig’s List, Amazon…), collaborate, advertising/marketing, host a Website, research the competition, solicit, documentation, payroll, taxes/banking, perform required duties (yes, that’s kind of a catch-all; but what I mean is your job requires you to use a computer)?

Of course, I have omited plenty of things in this quick list, and other reasons don’t easily pigeonhole — like “to save trees by using less paper”, and “because everyone does”. A highly scientific study I just now dreamed up concludes that people use their computers for a healthy combination of the things I mentioned above, (although all my 12 yr-old nephew does is play video games..) and that they do some of them “online” and some of them not.
This highly scientific study also shows a direct correlation between the rise in global broadband availability and people’s using the Internet– more people are going “online” everyday. (I know of at least six.)

And, computers aren’t as new and frightening to us as they once were, nor do they require aquiring and mastering a foreign language.. like DOS or Unix. Why, just the other day I caught my father (most definitely not a member of the Computer Generation) watching a video on YouTube  (“Why, father, how Late 20th-Century of you!”). No, he was not watching a Smashing Pumpkins music video, but rather, some travelogue of Eastern Europe, but still, you see my point.

Tip of the day: Be nice to you computer and take good care of it. Protect it from viruses and spyware, and keep it clean and well-cooled. Be nice to it, and it’ll be nice to you. I’ve created a 10-point checklist to help.

Today’s free link: There are several things a PC owner should do to have a healthy computer and be safe(r) from online cyber criminals when they browse the Internet. I have compiled a short checklist that you can quickly run down and “check off” the items; and I have provided links to the tools and How To’s for those items you find that need mending– Top 10 Things You Should Do To Your Computer

[Addenda: One of the most common uses for computers falls into my list under “Entertainment”– the viewing of pornographic pictures and videos. (Does that surprise you???) If you (ahem) know someone who uses their machine for this activity, please read Like Porno Sites?–They LOVE you! by Bill Mullins]

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanixpost to jaanix

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June 24, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Internet, PC, security, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Positive meaning to word “geek”+spyware

I want to apologize to you in advance for a word I will use in this blog from time to time, and that word is “geek.”

When I was a boy–many years ago now–“geek” was a completely pejorative and insulting word. A “geek” was typically a socially inept, small, quiet, know-it-all (who usually wore glasses) kid who couldn’t connect his bat with the softest-thrown baseball or catch a football to save his life…and he used big words all the time. Perhaps in your day you referred to ‘him’ as a Pointdexter, nerd, dork, or wimp. Back then there was no doubt or question about it–“geek” was a put-down: a derogatory statement. Period.

Today, I proudly declare: I am a geek. When I do, I am not broadcasting my pride in my inability to catch a football. (I can catch; and, even throw a tight spiral.) I am saying that I’m “into” computers and electronic gadgets, and I know a little about how they work.

At some point and time our common usage of the word “geek” has changed. It is no longer used strictly as a ‘slam’ and a put-down (however, if that is your intent, I believe the other words I listed above are still 100% negative…although Bill Gates may have softened the word “nerd” some…). If, in the course of reading this blog, you see me use the word “geek”–please rest assured that I am always using it with the nicest of meanings. I even use “geek” as a compliment. Really.

Tip of the day: lotu mentioned in a comment to yesterday’s post on defragmention that spyware, if it gets onto and runs on your machine, will cause it to (amongst other unpleasant things!) suffer performance degredation and make it run slower. I intend to spend a fair amount of time discussing malware, and spyware in particular, and how you can combat and remove it. I will return to this topic in the future. But for today I just want to make this point: If you connect to the Web, you need to run anti-spyware programs. Notice I that I wrote programs. Plural.

That fact is, no one anti-spyware application is 100% effective at stopping and removing spyware. There are many anti-spyware programs available and some are more effective than others. Some are great at stopping keyloggers but fall down when it comes to Trojan Horses, and others are visa-versa…as an example. So I strongly recommend running two anti-spywares, in the hopes that one will catch what the other missed. (There are many free anti-spyware applications [and some are adware disquised as anti-spyware] available. For my more detailed descriptions and fuller listing, click here.) I cannot stress to you strongly enough to install and run some kind of anti-spyware program…and preferably, two. In that vein, today I will provide not one, but two, Today’s free links.

Today’s free link #1: AdAware SE Personal from Lavasoft. “Ad-Aware 2007 Free remains the most popular anti-spyware product for computer users around the world, with nearly one million downloads every week. Our free anti-spyware version provides you with advanced protection against spyware…”

Today’s free link #2: SpyCatcher Express from Tenebril. “Allows novice PC users to remove aggressive spyware . Stops next-generation, mutating spyware. Blocks reinstallation of aggressive spyware. Removes spyware safely and automatically.”

Copyright © 2007 Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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June 13, 2007 Posted by | advice, anti-spyware, antivirus, computers, how to, PC, rootkits, security, tech, Vista, Windows, XP | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment