Archive for the Category ◊ cybersecurity ◊

Another Creepy FaceBook Feature – Spy Cam
Monday, August 13th, 2012 | Author:

Facebook has developed a camera so it can detect users when they go into a store. All under the guise of providing targeted information.

Yeah, right….

I had a hard time coming up with a title for this blog entry, but I wanted to focus on the latest threats from cookies and also a basic rundown on what cookies are and what they do.

What is a Cookie

A Cookie is a small piece of text that a website will “drop” onto your computer and it is stored on your hard drive.

The text includes a small bit of information basically to remember you the next time you go back to that website.

For example, I like Weather Underground as I have a weather station there and I like the website. I go there often.

When I go there, a cookie is put on my computer so the next time I go back, it remembers me so I don’t have to log back in every time. It always remembers the location that I have in for weather.

The same thing with eBay or Amazon or any site you like to go to. It seems pretty harmless and can be helpful for most people.

All Cookies not Created Equal

But there are different kinds of cookies, and even the basic cookies can be “read” by other websites and information gleaned.

For example they can see some of your browsing habits and focus ads specifically targeted to you from what you have been doing on the Internet.

The interesting thing is, this is done by many Internet providers also. I know that Comcast does this. When I go looking at B&H Camera at some cool new camera stuff, tomorrow, when I go looking at a website I suddenly see B&H Camera ads, and possibly even of the product I was looking at today. No kidding.

Some of this is done with cookies, and some is just done because they know where you have been as your Internet provider.

Back to Cookies, so there are good and bad ones, and some really bad ones. Some that are put on the computer by a company, and it is not even their cookie. Tracking cookies can actually be an invasion of your privacy.

New Cookies, so Yummy – Maybe not so much

Recently there is a new type of cookie called a Flash Cookie, and another called Beacons. Some of these can actually tell that you are a Female, 26, from Oregon who likes the movie Sleepless in Seattle.

Basically this is demographics, just like your cable or satellite TV does, and you probably don’t even know it.

Did you know in your contract for TV service that part of it allows them to gather your viewing habits and use the statistics and share that info with other companies?

So basically it is up to you what cookies you keep or delete, or do not even allow on your computer.

If you would like to read some more about what cookies are, here is a FAQ to explain more.

Next Time

In part II I will cover how to clean up your cookies and combat this new Flash Cookie that even the Whitehouse Website is using!

I know my head is going to explode one of these days. I hate that I even feel compelled to say anything about the programs the government is trying to implement. I can only take so much without yelling, “STOP THE MADNESS!”

The Federal Government is launching a huge program called “Perfect Citizen” to detect assaults on private companies and government agencies with critical infrastructure such as the power grid and nuclear power plants.

On the surface that sounds great, keep us all safe and the Internet safe. Of course the government says this is an important program to protect the security of the Country.

But others, myself included, see this as a huge threat to privacy, and I can see it leading to things that would be just like tapping someone’s phone. Watching websites, email, any internet traffic in and out of your home. You name it, they are going to be able to watch over it.

Raytheon won a contract worth up to $100 million for the initial phase of the project, and they are not talking about this project. Funny thing the National Security Agency won’t talk about it either.

This is the third huge program the government is trying or has implement recently, and the others include Net Neutrality and the cyber security bill that gives the President the power to pull the switch on the Internet.

Regulation, after regulation, the government continues to chip away at the “Freedom” of the Internet. They want to control it, and they are going to do it at any cost, including our privacy and rights.

For my loyal readers, I apologize for these rants recently, but no one in Washington is listening to you and me, average citizens. We need less government intrusion, and more protecting our rights as citizens of the United States.

Here is a link to the Wall Street Journal article that has more of the story.

Yes they are at it again.

Last week a US Senate committee has approved a huge cyber security bill that some people say will give the President the authority to shut down parts of the Internet during a cyber attack.

Sponsors of the Bill, Including Joe Lieberman refute this and explain that it gives the president a “kill switch.”

Section 249 (a) 1.

“The President may issue a declaration of a national cyber emergency to covered critical infrastructure.”

This bill was introduced earlier in the month and would create a White House Office for Cyber Security.

This is just another power grab by the government to control more things in our lives.

The bill says that the government’s jurisdiction would be over the “critical infrastructure.” It is not defined, and very open ended what it really includes.

It goes on to say that the term “Cyberspace” includes “communications networks, computer systems, embedded processors and controllers in critical industries.”

The part that scares me, is that with power like that, an “emergency” can be declared, and if the President wants to shut down the Internet he can. Of course, this is all tied in to the department of Homeland Security.

With much of the talk that I have seen in this administration about Silencing Conservative talk radio, and wanting to regulate blogs and news online. I would say this is a bit unnerving.

Cyber Security is very important, but giving the President all of that power, without any consultation or approval of Congress or the Senate is dead wrong.

Am I the only one that sees that the government (both Democrats and Republicans) are doing things that are continuing to give them more power and us less freedom?

If you would like to read the bill for yourself, here is the Link, just click on the Full text and you can download the .pdf file.

Cyberspace Act of 2010