Tag Archives: experience

Does a Blogger’s Opinion Really Matter?

image As social beings, it seems to me that we have an insatiable need to offer our opinions (often unsolicited opinions), on virtually any topic – whether the topic is open to discussion, or not.

In an ideal world, one would form opinions based on experience, knowledge, and thoughtful consideration of the question at hand; without interference from any built-in prejudices.

But, the very definition of “opinion”, indicates that opinions are not always based on experience, knowledge, or thoughtful consideration.   The question of “who is right, or who is wrong?” is often not addressed – and prejudices, unfortunately, do get in the way.

We deal here frequently, with the state of Internet security, and I rarely hesitate to offer my opinion on this issue – it’s a mess, and it’s getting worse. And yes, I’m prejudiced. But that prejudice  is the result of years of experience, knowledge, and a developed analytical process dealing with the state of cyber space.

But, does my opinion really count? Is any one really listening? And, if so – who?

Recently, I wrote a piece – Canada’s Super Spies “Discover” Cybercrime is a Threat, a satirical article, which pointed fingers at the Canadian Government. A government, which continues to be lackadaisical in implementing a robust plan to address cyber crime; an industry of crime which is continuously being taken to new levels.

Not surprisingly, a combination of regular readers, and casual readers passing by, offered an amazing assortment of thoughtful and supportive comments. I can clearly state, that my opinion had impact with these readers. The question of “who is right, or who is wrong”, was adjudicated in my favor. And, that’s enough for me.

But, can a Blogger’s opinion have broader impact? In this particular case it seems it may well have.

In the weeks following the posting of “Canada’s Super Spies Discover Cybercrime ……”, the article was accessed by a surprising number of Members of Parliament, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (and a number of other International Police agencies), but most surprising of all – the Privy Council Office, which, “provides essential advice and support to the Canadian Prime Minister and Cabinet.”

As to what whether the article had the hoped for impact, there is no sure way to know. But, as I stated earlier, my readers were very supportive and shared my opinion – and that’s enough for me.

If you’re already a Blogger (no matter the audience you write for), keep on blogging – you’re making a difference. Your views and opinions do matter; they do count. If you’re not yet a Blogger, consider becoming one – make your views and your opinions, count. Get them out there for others to consider.

WordPress, which offers perhaps the easiest, and most robust free Blogging platform available, makes it easy to blog. Check it out here.

Just a quick note: I noticed that the Mounties continue to use IE 6 – often referred to as the most hacked application of all time. Sad!

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Filed under blogging, cybercrime, Personal Perspective, Social Blogging, Windows Tips and Tools, WordPress, Writing

Internet Dangers – Real Life Stories

image Many of my friends think that I lean towards a “scare them to death” philosophy, when it comes to the Internet. I often get badgered with “friendly” questions such as – “Don’t you ever see anything good about the Internet?” Or, “Don’t you get tired of scaring people with all your talk of the dangers on the Internet?”

Frankly, I find it enormously depressing writing on malware, scareware, Browser exploits, and all the other exploits that continue to threaten our enjoyment of the Internet. Testing and recommending new software, is much more appealing.

But, when all is said and done, I’m left with this question – if I don’t educate my friends, and by extension, my readers, who will?

Just to be clear – there is no doubt that the Internet can provide a rich educational and cultural experience, at a minimum, but at the same time, it is virtually impossible for users not to be exposed to the underbelly of the Internet.

The sad reality is, the majority of computer users are undereducated when it comes to recognizing the dangers, and threats, that the Internet poses to their computers and to their personal privacy. This is a case where, what you don’t know can hurt you – big time!

For this article, rather than me get up on my “the Internet can be a dangerous place” soapbox, one more time, let me offer you two edited comments from readers following recent articles.

The question that arises from both these comments might be – if a technically sophisticated computer user finds navigating the Internet hazardous then, is an average user now essentially at the mercy of cybercriminals?

The first comment is from Mark Schneider, a high level “super user”, who occasionally guest writes on this Blog.

I agree with you about personal responsibility being paramount; even the careful user can get into trouble. My daughter borrowed my old ThinkPad recently – she needed it for doing research for the colleges she’s applying to. Everything seemed fine when I used the machine again.

I did a routine scan and MalwareBytes found 15 Trojans and at least one rootkit. I was not amused, and when I checked the browsing history, virtually every site (she visited), had been an .edu site. I looked into it and found out many .gov and .edu sites have been compromised.

I’ve gone to using “No-scripts” extension with Firefox as well as the usual tools. And frankly, outside an enterprise firewall I’m beginning to question running XP at all anymore. Many applications don’t work well when running as a limited user so, you end up running as admin.

With the number zero day exploits these days, and the state of the Internet, (with the use of JavaScript everywhere), it’s getting tough to stay safe even when following decent security protocols.

I’ve begun test running Open Solaris, in a virtual machine, to do online banking and going to my eBay account. I don’t want to sound paranoid but, Windows users are at risk every time they go online. I think Vista and Windows 7 are more secure than XP if you turn the (much hated) User Account Control to maximum protection, but then people complain about convenience.

Unfortunately convenience and security are two diametrically opposite realities – it’s very difficult to have both while running Windows online in 2009.

Sorry about the rant but I guess I’m a little frustrated as well.

The second comment is from reader RHH who occasionally comments here.

As a recent victim of an infected link on Goggle, and having previously installed the new Panda Cloud anti-malware service, I wonder why Panda could not stop the auto loader malware as the malware certainly was in circulation longer than the 6 minutes Panda touts as their ability to mark a malware and neutralize it. I would add that not even the WOT had marked the infected link as unsafe.

Also, I hope Firefox can give us a way to selectively stop the browser from restoring a session and restarting an infected web site after having shut down a computer.

I also wonder why Goggle cannot get the links in their system screened to prevent, or at least minimize, malware from being passed forward to the users. If Cyveillance Blog can screen and find 250,000+ problem sites, cannot Google do the same and counter attack somehow?

It honestly seems like major players like Google, and others, also have a stake and responsibility to work at getting the malware out of their links before we run into them – no matter how hard we work at avoiding problems.

So what do you think? Has the Internet now reached a critical mass in terms of cybercrime?

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Filed under Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Interconnectivity, Malware Advisories, Online Safety, Personal Perspective, Safe Surfing, Windows Tips and Tools

Be A Guest Writer On Tech Thoughts

guest 1 All of us have stories to tell, or ideas to exchange when it comes to technology. With that in mind, one of the goals for this site, during the coming year, is to provide a more diversified reading experience for visitors.

As one step in this process we have developed a new page “Guest Writers – The Reading Room”, where the main focus is the publishing of articles from either established, or new writers, whose views on technology or experiences with technology, are not necessarily aligned with this site’s content.

So, if you have:

A favorite application/s you’d like to share with others

Found a solution to a common computer problem, that works for you that you would like to share

Discovered a Windows tool, or a tip, that you think others would be interested in

Discovered a computer tech news story that you’d like to share

Sought an opportunity to add your own views, and insight, to a topic covered on this site, particularly if your views run contrary to mine

A need to just let the world know of your tech opinions or experiences

– then consider submitting your views, news, and application reviews, for publication on this site.

writer 2

Writers who submit an article for publication will receive full credit for the article on both the main page, and in “Guest Writers – The Reading Room”. Tech Thoughts is consistently in the top 40,000 sites on the web with 5,000+ daily readers, as directly measured by Quantcast, so a link pointing back to the writer’s site will generate additional exposure, more traffic and more readers for the writer’s site.

Here are some of the writers who currently contribute to Tech Thoughts:

TechPaul – Tech–for Everyone

Rick Robinnete – What’s On My PC

Glen Taggert – The Crazy World of G

Holly McCarthy – Great ISP Deals

JR Bombadil

If you are interested in submitting an article to Tech Thoughts, follow these simple steps:

Advise me by email of the planned content and theme of your submission at billmullinswp@gmail.com

Write your submission in your own words with a minimum word count of 500

Email me the completed article complete with your “bio”, and if you have a site or Blog, the details of the site for linking purposes

I’m looking forward to your submissions. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me at the above email address.


Filed under Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, Living Life, Personal Perspective, Social Blogging, Writing Aids