Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Online Privacy

The article I read laughs about the term "Online Privacy" - calling it an oxymoron.

When you're active on a network that is known as the "world wide web", you're taking a big risk in issues of privacy.

In the article I found it mentions a bug on "TweetDeck" that allowed a user to gain access to a handful of accounts that did not belong to him. I hadn't heard about this situation when it happened, but that's what makes it even scarier - the unknown. It's often that people even realize that their information is being used, or their accounts are being hacked. On my computer settings, as a default, it saves passwords and login information - by doing that, when my friend signed onto their facebook account it saved their username and password and logged onto it every time I went to Facebook.com. I was unintentionally hacking their site. Imagine if that had happened on a public library computer, or at the hands of someone who wasn't their friend? Trouble.

I also had another privacy issue that I experienced with Facebook a while back. Someone was hacking into profiles and messaging friends asking for their log-in information, e-mails, etc. As a friend, many people were giving this information up - and their accounts were then being hacked and used to message friends into the same scam. I had to change my password and information several times!

With social media these days, people of all ages are giving up information that we don't even realize can harm us. Addresses, e-mails, birthdays, workplace, phone numbers, interests - someone could easily pretend to be me with the information I have posted.

We run into a lot of scams with Craigslist.org - I've been looking for houses to rent over the last few weeks, and contacted a post via e-mail. When I got a response the person sent me a long story about being out of town on business, they had just bought property up north, and if I would provide them with information (Name, Address, Current Rent, Birthday, etc) they would get in touch with me with instructions on how to look at the house. They made it clear that I should NOT contact the number on the sign at the house, it was the old realtor and they no longer wanted to do business through them. Sounds sketchy. I didn't respond, and they quickly were flagged for removal on Craigslist. Turns out they Google mapped the house that's for sale and posted a picture from the "live street view" on Google. They also used pictures from the realtor's site to show interested tenants the interior of the home. It was as simply as Googling an address for these people to scam renters into giving up information.

I don't blame the internet, nor do I want more "privacy". I enjoy the never ending amounts of information, and the listless things to do and learn. I blame it's users for being ignorant about what they share. You should think about what you're doing, and know the extent of it and it's consequences. Just like the real world, there are bad people on the internet. It's like a stranger pulling up and offering candy to a kid - don't be so quick to jump in the van.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Blogpost #3 - Conflict and Warfare in the Digital Age

According to the Congressional Service, "US officials now consider cyberspace to be a domain for warfare, similar to air, space, land, and sea."

After reading this article, I got a better understanding for the topic "Conflict and Warfare in the Digital Age".

I was one of those who listened to the lecture on cyber-warfare and thought to myself "all this hacking stuff is done through computers, and I could careless who hacks into it, or sends a virus". That thought quickly upgraded when I read the line "If these things [talking about railways and electrical systems] were threatened, some commentators believe it is not just the internet at threat, but many lives."

So many people, like myself, don't understand the extent to which these hackers can reach. Almost every system we control these days is run by technology and can be hacked. With technology, military literally wouldn't even need to step foot into the country they were attacking - they just hack a system and start shutting down power grids, disrupting public transportation, or water systems. The article points out that there's no "Red Cross" or "FEMA" for the internet. Who do we send to help the aftermath of a cyberwar?

My point is that this conflict has the ability to grow larger than just web vandalism.

In 1998, we had the digital power to hack into air trafficking systems to hide incoming planes on a radar. That was almost 15 years ago! Imagine the capabilities hackers have now.

I agree with Frank Coggrave, vice president of digital investigators Guidance Software, as he believe these sorts of comments are "edging towards hysteria", because simply by reading this article I started to run through all the cyber warfare possibilities. It's scary.

The problem now is how do you prevent it?

"There is no clear, internationally agreed upon definition of what would constitute a cyber-war," said a report released at the Munich Security Conference by The EastWest Institute. To begin with, the internet was designed to be a free country. When it turns into a cyber war, who is to determine territory or boundary lines? And how will anyone be able to pinpoint one organization or country to blame, when we have such interconnectivity? Also, Viruses tend to be indiscriminate, they are not like soldiers who you train to attack certain things. How will a virus know what computer or system belongs to whom?

For me, these questions are hard to answer, but for people and organizations who study and live in this information, the answers might be in their hands, and they may be holding more power than we imagine. I think it's time we stand at our digital frontline and build our online security, before we find ourselves on a very different type of battlefield.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Digital Divide - Blogpost #2

The Digital Divide is increasing as new technologies are on the horizon and the people who were already on the other side of the gap are getting left behind. This gap that was discovered in the 90's, has since gotten bigger as more and more computers, smartphones, tabloids, media sites, and technologies have hit the markets. It came to my attention as I read the article from LiveMint.com.

One quote in the article mentions that "Six Months ago Pinterest wasn't on everyone's radar." This made me realize that even people, like myself, who have access to computers and the internet 24/7, and are knowledgeable in the technologies , are divided from a group of people who are ahead of me in what the "latest" is in the digital world.

Social media and digital literacy are becoming required skills for people seeking jobs in any area of work. Just about every industry has jumped on the social media bandwagon and registered for Facebook and Twitter accounts. They are also using sites like this to find out information about potential employees. It's a huge disadvantage, these days, not to be tech savvy.

As we were asked on our web-publishing exam, what can we do to close the gap in the digital divide? My first response is to make people aware that there is a gap. After reading this article, I realized we need to actually go forth and close the gap by taking action. By offering guidance and courses to those with less knowledge and capability, we can get others caught up with whats going on in the digital world.

It's kind of like those religious people who walk around trying to spread the word of God, but spreading the word of the divide, and how important it is to close it. If we can educate people on whats going on in the digital world, it will start to help educate people in all kinds of ways. For instance, digital literacy can increase skills in reading and writing, and expose people to an infinite amount of information, connecting them with all sorts of people and industries around the globe.

We mentioned multiple ways that closing the divide helps the world, such as economic equality, social equality, social mobility, growth, and national security to name a few. If we make people aware of the positive affects of closing the gaps, there's a possibility that there would be more drive to fix it.

If we can catch people up on digital literacy through tutorials, classes, and such, it will allow us to move forward into figuring out what our society needs, what the next step forward in the digital world should be, and how to improve our position in society.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Online Identity

I read an article from Colorado that had to do with Internet Bullies. The students at the school think bullying is heightened because people use Facebook to pick on people. It gives them more power, and adults are less likely to catch on to it, and it continues from the website into the hallways and classrooms. One girl made a good point that I strongly agree with. The fact isn't so much that a person is "hiding behind the keyboard" but it's that they can't see the emotion or the reaction to know whether or not they've taken their jokes too far. It's not Face to Face anymore, it's become Facebook to Facebook.

The internet has actually given more people the ability to become a bully. People who would regularly keep their mouth shut, and walk away get the courage to comment, and even become online Trolls.

There's a lot of talk about how people don't communicate in person anymore. People will "chat" or exchange messages and comments online, but when they see them in person, they act differently. Internet Identities have changed the way we interact with people and affect how we see others.

We've put a lot of emphasis on the internet having "Great Anonymity". Users have the ability to hide behind anonymous comments and make up "screen names" to hide who they really are, but can they really hide? After reading
this article,I came to realize that if someone really wanted to know "who you really are", it's actually pretty simple. I've watched every law and order episode I could get my hands on, and I've seen them go through and connect locations, with screen names, and IP addresses. I know that might be "television", but I also know it's possible. Every time a person signs up for a website and enter information such as birthdate, zip code, security password, etc., all those things can be linked and sorted through to narrow down who you really are, and where to find you. Or at least the computer you've been using. Pretty Scary -- THAT'S what we're calling anonymity.

(In all reality, if you're simple using an anonymous screen name to go on random chat sites and pretend to be someone you aren't , you'll have to really upset someone for them to want to go through all the trouble of actually finding you.)

While discussing the different types of identities that affect a person's actual identity, I began to ponder the way they interact and connect.
With the advances in social networking, such as Facebook, I believe a person's online identity must mix with what we know to be an "ascribed identity" to get an actual perceived identity. A user might have more "guts" to express themselves differently through a keyboard, but when they are doing so on sites where people in their daily lives, such as classmates, can view it, it transfers into how they are perceived in the real world.
For example, a girl that I follow on Twitter goes to Flagler, but we're not friends. The way she expresses herself through what she tweets, is one of her "online identities". They way I see her in person and judge her by what she wears, how she talks, and acts on campus is known as her ascribed identity - But now I'm combining those separate identities. Now, what kind of Identity is that? Hm.