Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Another checklist of ten tips

This morning, Tech Republic issued its “internet safety tips” with a blog entry by Debra Littlejohn Sinder (with Jody Gilbert, Senior Editor” called “10 Technologies that cybercriminals love to exploit.” The link is here. The title of the piece somehow reminds me of the 2001 indie movie “13 Conversations about One Thing.”

She makes a number of good points. For one thing, consider Broadband connectivity. It’s become practically required because that’s the only way a “serious” home hobbyist, blogger or small business owner can get the massive security updates and anti-virus updates that companies send automatically. (That’s an irritation, isn’t it: How often does mcAfee replace it’s whole security center infrastructure. Too often.) She mentions the risk of “drive-by uploads.” Maintenance of a firewall from a major security vendor, or proper use of the Microsoft firewall is essential.

She gives some specific tips on safer W-Fi computing, especially making sure you have access to newer encryption tools. She recommends special care if you have both a conventional WAN and use wireless.

She talks about UC, of unified communications, which can create security exposures even for ordinary phone service. She distinguishes this concept from universal connectivity, that incorporates household appliances.

E-banking could actually be safer than conventional banking if you check your accounts regularly. She recommends not savings credit card numbers with cookies for e-commerce sites. Of course, you shouldn’t respond to requests for personal information from such sites, as these requests are usually spoofed and represent phishing attempts, which can even mimic ISPs.

She recommends that only the most sophisticated and serious professionals use P2P, because many home uses of it (illegal downloading) are illegitimate and might even expose someone to framed charges for someone else’s activity. We know that from the Grokster case that the courts tend to view P2P as based on an illegitimate business model (infringement), but in principle there is no reason why P2P could not become a desirable way for new artists to distribute their work legally.

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