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Archive for the ‘Computer Security News’ Category

PostHeaderIcon If You Think You’re Anonymous Online, Think Again

I’m a little behind in my podcasts, but today I listened to a Fresh Air broadcast from 6 weeks ago about all the data that online services know about you.

Investigative reporter Julia Angwin was curious what Google knew about her, so she asked the company for her search data. “It turns out I had been doing about 26,000 Google searches a month … and I was amazed at how revealing they were,” she tells Fresh Air’s Dave Davies.

From NSA sweeps to commercial services scraping our Web browsing habits, to all kinds of people tracking us through our smartphones, Angwin says we’ve become a society where indiscriminate data-gathering has become the norm. Angwin has covered online privacy issues for years, and in her new book she describes what she did to try to escape the clutches of data scrapers, even to the point of creating a fake identity.

“I want all the benefits of the information society; all I was trying to do is mitigate some of the risk,” she says.

Angwin’s book is called Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance. She considers dragnets — which she describes as “indiscriminate” and “vast in scope” — the “most unfair type of surveillance.”

If you are interested in this sort of thing, I highly recommend that you listen to the podcast

PostHeaderIcon NTFS Permissions Reporter

I work as an IT Manager at a company, and we have a mixed Novell/Microsoft network. We are slowly phasing out the Novell portion of the network, and are dealing more and more with Microsoft permissions. The permissions options used to be complicated, but as new generations of server operating systems come around, things get easier. However, even then it is good to use some third-party utilities.

I haven’t tried it yet, but NTFS Permissions Reporter (hat tip to ghacks) looks like a good one.

NTFS Permissions Reporter is a modern user friendly tool for reporting on directory permissions on your Windows file servers. It lets you quickly see which groups and users have access to which directories and allows you to export this information to CSV or HTML file for further reviewing.

As our network gets bigger, it is sometimes hard to keep track of who has access to what. This seems like a nice/quick way to report on permissions. I’ll definitely have to check it out!

PostHeaderIcon NPR reporting on cyber security

For the last few days, NPR correspondent Tom Gjelten has been reporting on cyber security. It has been a three-part series that started with this:

Americans do not often hear that someone has found a way to overcome U.S. defenses, but military and intelligence officials have been sounding downright alarmist lately with their warnings that the country is ill-prepared to deal with a cyberattack.

I’m a tech guy to begin with, so some of the information being shared seemed pretty simple and basic, but there was some interesting information shared in each piece. Check it out:

PostHeaderIcon Can’t Open Your E-Mailbox? Good Luck

From the New York Times:

Logging on to Gmail or other e-mail service has become a routine of daily life, completed without a thought. What would you do, however, if you woke up tomorrow, plugged in your user name and password as you always do, but then received an unfamiliar message: “User name and password do not match”?

If you’re a Gmail user, what you’ll want to do after a few more unsuccessful, increasingly frantic attempts is to speak with a Google customer support representative, post haste. But that’s not an option. Google doesn’t offer a toll-free number and a live person to resolve the ordinary user’s problems.

Discussion forums abound with tales of woe from Gmail customers who have found themselves locked out of their account for days or even weeks.

PostHeaderIcon NASA finds nasty virus on space station

From The Great Beyond (a “Nature” blog):

Ok, the headline is a little misleading. But it’s still a bit worrying that NASA has found a computer virus on the space station.

Astronauts onboard the International Space Station are now running anti-virus software on their systems, following last week’s detection of an unwanted computer-guest.

According to Space.ref a ‘W32.Gammima.AG worm’ was detected on the ISS.