Thursday, December 9, 2010

CRAZY TIMES CALL FOR CRAZY MEASURES

CRAZY might be an over-statement. Depending on who you speak to Wikileaks is either serious, dangerous, or the proverbial Robin Hood. I'm not here to debate the pros and cons, but do say that maybe it's time to reevaluate online security. While this Wikileaks issue continues to escalate, various high profile websites have been forced to shut down. Why not take the added precaution and backup everything you store online onto your computer? Just in case those host sites do close down and leave you unable to access your blog or sites.

The experts say it's time to make a more secure network. Unsure what that even means, I'm going to backup my computer onto an external drive at the end of each day. It may seem like overkill, but I for one would be devastated if my blog, online photos, and files suddenly weren't accessible. With a backup, I'd know they were still there.

I wasn't actually concerned until yesterday morning when I received an email from Paypal saying my payment of $93 had gone through. I was awake enough to remember I didn't buy anything from this particular seller. Instead of canceling the transaction and using my password to do so, I had the good sense to forward the message to Paypal. They emailed back to say they were taking immediate actions and thanked me for the alert. They went onto to say that I was saving a lot of unsuspecting clients the same problem. Paypal is one of the sites Wikileaks has targeted.

So, why not take added measures today to make certain your gems are safe. Here's a checklist:

1. Save a backup copy on all: external drive, cd, flashcard.
2. Print out a hard copy of the most valuable. 
3. Download your blog to your computer as often as you deem necessary.
4. Double backup.
5. Advise your friends and colleagues to do the same.

* * * * *

Update on the contest to win an autographed copy of my suspense thriller Dead Witness, the lake hasn't frozen over yet! Sorry to all those who guessed a date prior to December 9th. December 10th isn't looking any better. At least that's what the swans are saying.




--
joylene

22 comments :

  1. I don't know what Wikileaks is, but this sounds very scary.

    Going to start looking around at security for myself.

    Thank you for the advice!

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  2. Hi Carol. Wikileaks is a group that are targeting big sites and trying to shut them down. If you google Wikileaks you'll find lots of references. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I had no idea until I read your post. But you're right. We can't take anything for granted. Thanks, Joylene.

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  4. I'm glad, Dennis. It never hurts to be prepared. Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. Very timely post, Joylene. Quoting Wikipedia, WikiLeaks is "an international new media non-profit organization that publishes submissions of otherwise unavailable documents from anonymous news sources and leaks.... The organization has described itself as having been founded by Chinese dissidents.... Its director Julian Assange, is an Australian Internet activist."

    At its beginnings Wikileaks uncovered some human injustices and even won some awards, but its present activities, releasing secret documents that breach national security in various countries are way beyond creating "transparency". Several servers have shut them out, but they are on multiple ones in various countries and are still publishing.

    The problem with internet security is that no matter who is a smart enough programmer to devise a "foolproof" system, an equally smart successor will come along to hack it. I have always been convinced that at some point the World Wide Web will outgrow itself and crash big time, but my DH calls me a pessimist. :)

    I usually compose my blog posts in MSWord first, so they're all saved on my hard drive and backed up along with everything else. I don't consider them terribly valuable -- like letters I write, they're mostly "mental meanderings" -- so I wouldn't care if they went missing in cyberspace, but certainly, if someone didn't want to lose theirs, now would be a very good time to get them saved somewhere more tangible. (Any photos I use are already on my hard drive and thus backed up both on our 'Time Machine' drive and memory sticks.)

    Had to chuckle at your PayPal story. We, too, were advised of a payment that had been made yesterday. Since I've never used PayPal I knew it had to be junk mail. I *never* click links imbedded in unsolicited e-mail... I'm paranoid about that!

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  6. P.S. Sorry about the length of my comment. As you can tell, it's something I feel strongly about! I should have climbed off the soapbox sooner. That's *very* long!

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  7. I love hearing from you, Carol. And I posted my comments because you're not alone. I remember the power outage in Ontario that everyone said would never happen. Anything can happen and being prepared is logical. Thanks for contributing.

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  8. I have stuff saved on thumb drives, but need to go to the next step in the technotransformation. Deb just mentioned getting a separate hard drive on the drive home so she can store her pics. Timely post - good advice. D

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  9. Hi Dave. I bought an external drive at Costco last year and I can't tell you how many times I was so glad I did. Your wife is one smart cookie!

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  10. Ugh! I mentioned timely. Got a phone call last night at 2:35 AM. We're HOME in St Augustine, but the alarm went off at the house in Ft Lauderdale. Didn't bring the big-screen computer with us since we're here for only 2 days. Hoping it was a false alarm. Now we've decided, if the computer is still there, to bring that one back here & get another laptop & use the external hard drive to back up everything. I also have the Mobile-Me app for my iPad which is supposed to sync everything - haven't done anything with that yet. Guess we'll see what's up when we go back.

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  11. Dave, does that mean if you're not there, the security won't go in to see if everything's okay? Remember the old folk tale about an intruder who broke into a house only to be found two weeks later, guarded by a Doberman? The biggest issue about the external drive is remembering to backup. What I like about mine is you can even go in and restore one particular item like your desktop or itunes without having to restore everything else. Mine works with Mac's Time Machine.

    I'm going to backup right now.

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  12. The security company dispatched the Police. They THINK it was a malfunction. We'll find out tomorrow.

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  13. Sure hope it was a false alarm, Dave. We rely so much on our technology now and assume it's foolproof and tamperproof. Unfortunately it isn't. Plus, when there's the possibility of breakins, fires and floods it reinforces the importance of backups that aren't stored near the computer. Keeping my fingers crossed for you.

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  14. Dave, I'm crossing my fingers. Don't like hearing bad things happening to good people. Safe trip home.

    Carol, you just reminded me that I should keep my backup near the back door. Along with my flashdrives and photo cds. Can't imagine losing something that important.

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  15. Joy,
    I also got an email about my "payment received". The person put money into my account and then tried to take money out of my account. I also notified Paypal who was all over it!
    Great post!
    Hugs

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  16. Sometimes I feel very naive. It's sad that people believe scamming others is the only way to make a living. I wonder how they live with themselves. I'm glad you were one up on them, Katt. Merry Christmas, dear lady.

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  17. Hi Joylene,
    Sorry for my late arrival in regards to this posting. You have given some sound practical advice in regards to protecting yourself against the potential perils out there on the internet.
    I get loads of scam emails. It's amazing the number of times some Nigerian 'princess' had offered me millions of dollars if I forward 'her' my bank details. Yeah right.
    And I'm sure those scammers sleep quite soundly. No moral conscience, whatsoever.
    Take care and have a lovely week.
    In kindness, Gary

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  18. You're not late, Gary. Ever. Have you tried bouncing the email back to them. Sometimes that tricks them into thinking your email addy is no longer active.

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  19. It was a false alarm - A shutter banging in the wind against the window. All is cool. Still going to do a better job & backing up & taking this computer home. Just in case.

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  20. Smart move, Dave. Glad nothing was wrong.

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  21. Joylene, thanks for this reminder! I need to get on this and back some things up. I appreciate the info.
    Blessings for your week,
    Karen

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  22. You're so welcome, Karen. Truth is someone on a list brought it to my attention first. I've got the external drive, but had only been backup my stuff once a month. Not near enough.

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