Helping with Internet Sustainability

canstock8165132When Windows XP was released in October 2001 it was available in 25 languages.  So as I read a recent article by Tony Bradley of TechRepublic stating that the Windows XP Operating system poses a greater risk than Heartbleed, I wondered how many of those XP users had upgraded their operating system. Continue reading

What Are Strong Passwords?

 As we consider time, and time again  how to protect our on-line privacy, one of the more important aspects of using the Internet’s, Email, Banking, Shopping, Twitter, LinkedIn, FaceBook websites is our Passwords. These are the keys to accessing our ‘private’ information. But, what is  a strong password? How do we cope with the fundamental need to create complex ‘passkeys’ ? How do we avoid  having ‘unauthorized’ sources acquire this information?  I searched the Internet. Below is a summary of  what some experts think:

  1.  create complicated passwords.
  2.  passwords should be longer than six characters.
  3.  passwords should be changed frequently.

Additional Suggestions

  • Updates: The longer you keep the same password, the easier it is for someone to get access to your private data.
  •  Change your passwords every six months (recommended by  The Information Technology Department at Utah State University)
  • Complexity: According to, passwords should be at least eight characters in length, preferably 14 characters or longer. The more complex the password, the less likely it is to be stolen. Read more about this by checking this link – via How Often Should You Change Your Password? |

For those of you who find it difficult to create complicated passwords, there are websites that you can use to help you with this task.  Use the links below which may help you get this done is an easier fashion.

 iphone –

How should you keep track of your passwords?

A more secure way to keep track of your secret code is to download one of the many password managers available online. Two of the most popular are RoboForm and LastPass. These are plug-ins that collect your passwords as you make your way around the Web, encrypt them and store them either on your computer or on the company’s servers, or sometimes both.

If you come up with a complicated password that you are likely to forget immediately, no problem. The password manager will remember it and automatically fill it in when a pass code is requested the next time you’re on the site. Many of the password managers even generate obscure passwords for you.

Security experts said a password manager is a good way to secure your codes from most hackers, but there are downsides you need to consider. There is still the risk that sophisticated hackers can come after your password manager and get all the stored pass codes in one swoop. via Three easy ways to keep track of your passwords –

 Most of us are keeping our passwords on post-its, little slips of paper, and in our head, and often we even forget what the last password we created was because we are moving so quickly trying to get the task done.

 If you are the pen and paper type, you can keep a notebook handy and write down all the websites you visit as well as the user names and passwords. Do not forget to update the notebook when you visit a new site. via How to Keep Track of Passwords |

I hope this is helpful 🙂

How to Manage your Digital Identity

“You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it”.
Scott G. McNealy CEO of Sun Microsystems Inc. January 26, 1999

Browsers & your Digital Footprint – I don’t think tech4boomers can cover the privacy on-line topic too often. In fact, in March 2012 we published a post “The Scoop About On-line Snooping”) where we covered this topic.

Every time we  revisit this topic, there are new techniques and products, which claim that they can “fix” this very perplexing issue of how to protect our identities and the information being gathered by browsers (e.g. Google) on the World Wide Web (www).

Nowadays, every time we use the Internet our “habits” (e.g. places we like to visit, and spend money and time) are being recorded by “cookies”.

Cookies are messages that web servers pass to your webbrowser when you visit Internet sites. Your browser stores each message in a small file, called cookie.txt. When you request another page from the server, your browser sends the cookie back to the server. These files typically contain information about your visit to the web page, as well as any information you’ve volunteered, such as your name and interests. via What are cookies? – Knowledge Base.

Our dependency on the www makes it very difficult to avoid information being gathered about our on-line habits.  For example, every time we email, pay bills, order on-line, or use skype, information is being gathered about us. Google has in fact confirmed that it gathers information when you use its browser.  Opposite to what you might expect, Google has also produced a set of guidelines on how to protect yourself from its on-line “snooping“.

What Can You Do About It?

Recently I came across an article “How to Erase Your Digital Footprint”, by Jeffrey A. Lambert – Maximum PC. A summary of that article states the following:

visiting web sites produces “tracking cookies” on your computer.  Cookies allow these websites to keep track of your online preferences.

 the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) is working towards providing solutions and making consumers aware of the practices.

 there are tools available that can be added to your computer for constant monitoring and control to help you find out how big your digital footprint is.

Digital Footprint Calculator will estimate your digital footprint.  This is a service from EMC Corporation.

on a daily basis Google “pings” your browser for information about browsing history. This helps them to target advertising.

  “free” software is available which helps to determine how often Google is “pinging” your computer browser. e.g. Google Alarm by F.A.T. Labs  will give you a visual or audio alert when personal information is sent to google servers.

Simply cleaning out your cache of cookies on your computer will aid you in safe browsing. Check your preferences option in your browser and click the “delete cookies” option.  However, be aware customization on sites you visit will also be deleted.

There is much more to learn about various techniques that can help you reduce this concern.  Check out the full details by clicking the link below.

Erasing Your Digital Footprint -via Maximum PC | How To Erase Your Digital Footprint.

I hope this is helpful! 🙂

Green Wi Fi in New York

Who doesn’t remember the mild-mannered avatar Clark Kent using the iconic telephone booths to change into Superman, and then flying off to ‘protect’ Metropolis !  Those were the good old days!

Well let’s Flash Forward to our Metropolis, New York City, where the telephone booth will now be used to enhance the lives of its citizens by providing Free Wi-Fi… Read on…

Let’s review what Wi-Fi is againWi-Fi internet is a way of accessing the internet using a wireless network through an wireless access point. This replaces the traditional use of using a networking cable to access the internet. Read More »via – What’s Your Question?.

 New Yorkers and visitors are now able to connect free-of-charge using their smartphones, tablets, and other WiFi-enabled devices. Access is currently available at 10 locations, with additional hotspots to follow in the coming months.  via NYC Digital – News.

The wireless signal of the pay phone booths will span an 100 to 200 foot radius and the network will appear as “Free WiFi” or “NYC Free Public WiFi” on phones, laptops, tablets, and other WiFi devices.

 The network isn’t password protected, but when you launch your browser, you will be required to agree to terms and conditions before surfing the web. Read More via New York City Pay Phone Booths Now Free WiFi Hotspots – ABC News.

LOCATIONS:  Manhattan 402 West Broadway (at Spring Street); 458 Seventh Avenue (at 35th Street); 410 Madison Avenue (at 48th Street); 1609 Broadway (at 49th Street); 1790 Broadway (at 58th Street); 230 West 95th Street (at Broadway).Brooklyn 545 Albee Square; 2 Smith Street (both at the Fulton Street Mall).Queens 30-94 Steinway Street (at 31st Avenue). Read More via City Begins Wi-Fi Pilot Program in 10 Phone Booths –

Click for Maps:  via City of New York – NYC Public WiFi Hotspots – foursquare.


Look for a phone booth that says WiFi or Free WiFi labelled on it.

Stand within 200 feet of the WiFi-enabled phone booth.

On your phone or laptop, connect to either of the wireless networks, “Free WiFi” or “NYC Free Public WiFi.”

Upon launching your browser, agree to the terms and conditions.

Go on the Internet, email, stream, or do anything else Internet-related.

For more details click link: via NYC phone booths will be free WiFi Hotspots – How to connect to NYC WiFi phone booth? — New York Computer Help Blog.

I hope this is helpful 🙂

July 9, 2012 … DNS Changer Deadline…

 Have you tested your computer at the FBI Website to make sure you are not infected with DNS Changer Malware? In our June 18, 2012 post we discussed  what it’s all about.  Below is a summary of an article written by Matt Peckham at Time Techland. It’s a reference about the FBI deadline and what will happen if you do not check your computer(s) for DNS Changer Malware… Click the link at the end of the summary to read the entire article.

 ♣ There’s a story circulating that if you don’t ensure your computer is malware-free by July 9, 2012, the FBI will shut off your access to the Internet. Like most such alarmist claims, it’s only partly true, though if you’re a Windows or Mac user, you’ll want to pay attention…

 DNSChanger targets Windows or Mac systems (Linux, iOS and Android users are in the clear) by manipulating Domain Name Servers (DNS), which translate syntax-based URLs into IP addresses…

To be clear, your Internet service itself will be unaffected by the change: If your computer is infected with the DNSChanger malware, your Internet router will keep routing and any commands sent by your computer that aren’t DNS-related will still pass.

 The FBI isn’t shutting off Internet service to impacted machines, it’s just pulling the plug on a stopgap measure designed to bandaid the broken process currently facilitating DNS communication on infected machines…

How do you tell if you’re infected? Simple: The FBI runs a DNS checker page, where you can type your DNS info into a box to check its validity. Easier still, you can click on a link that’ll automatically check and return either a green or red background, indicating “clean” or “infected” states, respectively. via DNSChanger: FBI Warns Infected Computers Will Lose Web, Email Access in July | Techland |

You can check your computer now by clicking the dns-ok  link below.

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I hope this is helpful ! 🙂

FBI & DNS Changer: What’s it all about?


DNS  – short for Domain Name System (or Service or Server), an Internet service that translates domain names into IP addresses. Because domain names are alphabetic, they’re easier to remember. The Internet however, is really based on IP addresses. Every time you use a domain name, therefore, a DNS service must translate the name into the corresponding IP address. For example, the domain name might translate to via

Malware short for malicious software.  Malware is software designed to disrupt a computer’s operation, gather sensitive information, and/or gain unauthorized access to computer systems. via

Rogue DNS server – a rogue DNS server translates domain names of desirable websites (search engines, banks, brokers, etc.) into IP addresses of sites with unintended content, even malicious websites. Most users depend on DNS servers automatically assigned by their ISPs. via

SOHO Network – can stand for single office/home office network. via

ISP – an Internet Service Provider (ISP) is an organization that provides access to the Internet. The FBI has provided information to ISP’s that can be used to redirect their users from rogue DNS servers to the ISP’s own legitimate servers. DNS-changer-malware.pdf (application/pdf Object).

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Jared Newman, PCWorld,  has written a thorough article about DNS Changer. Below is a summary of that article, and what the FBI wants and warns users to do to be ready for what’s coming.

  • PC Users have until July 9, 2012 to remove DNS Changer Malware. After July 9, the FBI will ‘throw a switch’, which will prevent infected computers
    from accessing the Internet.
  • DNS Changer is a Trojan. Trojans conceal malicious software, and are not good for your computer.
  • DNS Changer redirects computers to hacker-created Websites. It also prevents computers from updating or using anti-virus software.
  • If users do not remove DNS Changer before the July 9 deadline, they ‘ll have to load anti-virus software by disk or USB drive.
    Users who do not have access to a second PC for downloading software will be at a disadvantage.

You can read the detailed article by clicking this link –

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Guidelines for what you should do:

1) If this is all too complicated, hire a computer professional to help you.  🙂

2) Find out if you’re infected by visiting the DNS Changer Check-Up site by clicking this link –  (It checks the DNS resolution of your PC; however, it does not install more software).

3)  Infected users can check the DNS Changer Working Group for a list of anti-virus software to fix the problem.

4) Avira offers a repair tool specifically for DNS Changer. To view Avira site click this link –

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Go directly to the FBI website for more details by clicking the link below

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I hope this is helpful 🙂

The Scoop from IE about Online Privacy

Many of us are  in a quandary, and at our wits’ end trying to figure out what to do about this online privacy thing.  I mean can we control what companies find out about us?  If yes, what does that do to our ability to surf online for information?  Does it put us as a disadvantage because we setup controls?  In fact, an article appeared in PC World By John Ribeiro, IDG News Feb 21, 2012, which reports what Google says about how newer cookie-based features are affected by Microsoft’s IE.  One example given was “Like” buttons in Facebook. Check out the full article via Google Says IE Privacy Policy Is Impractical in Modern Web | PCWorld.

Let’s review what P3P is: The Platform for Privacy Preferences Project (P3P) is a protocol allowing websites to declare their intended use of information they collect about web browser users. Designed to give users more control of their personal information when browsing, P3P was developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and officially recommended on April 16, 2002. Development ceased shortly thereafter and there have been very few implementations of P3P.  Microsoft Internet Explorer is the only major browser to support P3P.
via P3P – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

It’s all very complicated! We covered what Google and Mozilla are doing about the online privacy concerns for users.  Below is a short summary of the highlights I thought you might want to know about , which Internet Explorer (IE) has posted on their Blog.  I urge you to use the links provided in this post to check out the information when you have time to read it for a thorough understanding, and how it may (or may not) affect you.


  1. Is Google circumventing the privacy preferences of IE? Yes. via Google Bypassing User Privacy Settings – IEBlog – Site Home – MSDN Blogs
  2. What does IE recommend to their users how to protect their privacy? One example IE gave is that IE9 has tracking protection which can protect you from Google.
  3. IE blocks third party cookies by default unless the site has a P3P Compact Policy Statement.
  4. IE has a Tracking List available for IE9 users.  Click this link to learn more via Tracking Protection – Microsoft Windows.

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When you finish reading up on all the things you can do to protect yourself,  read the article by Karl Bode at the link provided below.  His comments about “snoopvertising” will be a reality check via Press Realizing New Privacy Bill of Rights Won’t Do Much – ‘Do Not Track’ Doesn’t Mean What You Think it Means |, ISP Information.

Perhaps what would be useful here is a quote I found from 1999!

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Polly Sprenger Email 01.26.99

The chief executive officer of Sun Microsystems said Monday that consumer privacy issues are a “red herring.”  “You have zero privacy anyway,” Scott McNealy told a group of reporters and analysts Monday night at an event to launch his company’s new Jini technology. “Get over it.” via Sun on Privacy: ‘Get Over It’.

I hope this is helpful ! 🙂