Wednesday, September 24, 2014

More new tips to avoid hackers (mostly with smartphones and home routers, and appliances)

Here's the latest set of "seven tips" to fend of hackers, by Jose Pagliery on CNN, link here.

Generally, I follow most of these, with a major caveat.  I don't do any banking on my smartphone.   I suppose that as time goes by I'll come under more pressure to use my phone to pay for things by phone rather than using credit card stations, will-call's, or print-at-homes.  Getting a taxi is sometimes easier if you have the taxi software and can pay with it -- but that's also an exposure.  (It's also a security plus -- if anything happens to you physically, police could find you,)

Web sites on cell phones are always asking for location.  That could lead a stalker to know where you are, if you think you could be a mark.

I don't think you need https if you're not going to do any business -- if you don't have to log on to the site to see the content.  I NEVER have required users to do this (log on ) for my sites, because I don't want the risk -- but I can see how there could be a point -- if there is new content only for some people to see.  But then, you can set up private Vimeo instead (if it's a video).

It is true that even if you don't log on to see a site, your visit is recorded on server logs.  There was a case in 2005, when I was substitute teaching, when I needed to know which views of a controversial screenplay of mine had been made from school servers, and I was able to determine that easily.

But MOST people probably aren't in a situation where anyone cares where they logged on, if from home.  From work (where an employer cares), that's a different matter.

No, I really don't need Internet-smart appliances.  But I can see that as home security systems (and security cameras) get more sophisticated, and controlled from smart phones (like what Comcast XFinity sells now), there could be new issues with hackers -- when you're on vacation.

Practically everyone has a home router, as cable companies promote them, and many modern laptops don't have Ethernet ports (you can buy one with a USB adapter).  The biggest concern would be misuse for copyright infringement or child pornography, and the murky liability and maybe police work.  Yet EFF has written before that all WiFi connections should be public.  No, when I see a neighbor's unprotected connection, I don't use it-- just my own.  But I can see that families could be leaving themselves exposed.

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