Online Exposure Tuesday, Jan 27 2015 


Cyber Shadows

by Carolyn Nordstrom and Lisa Carlson

The first thing I learned from being married to a magician is that there is a lot going on right in front of me of which I am totally oblivious. Nowhere is this more evident than on the Internet.

Credit card and identity theft, access into our medical and other sensitive information, online bank robbery, and malware hitching onto our personal computing devices is rampant in the boundless entity known as the Internet. Even medical devices can be hacked. It happens in one click or less, often long before we are aware. No device, company, or government is immune.

In a recent survey, 94% of healthcare organizations admitted experiencing at least one data breach in the past two years. And one in five households contains botnet-infected devices which can include computers, smartphones and tablets. Once infected, botnet owns your machine and there is no way to remove or clean the device.

And it’s easy to do. A child can hack with little more than a bit of online guidance.

Carolyn Nordstrom and Lisa Carlson tell the scary reality of the Internet in their book, Cyber Shadows. Power, Crime, and Hacking Everyone. It’s certainly not a fun read, but a reality check for all of us. We are naïve to think we are totally safe even in our own little town. Being aware of our surroundings is imperative. Most of the people in the world are good, or at least not evil. But evil does exist, and in the vastness of the Internet, the number of those seeking to wreak havoc is significant.

Mark Sullivan, PC World contributor, says in a quote used in the book that our personal data is not our own. Every time we click on Facebook, a YouTube video, shop, apply for a credit card, listen to music, or supply personal information to our phone company, government, or employer, we feed a beast with an insatiable appetite for personal data that will be bought, sold, and analyzed.

So what do we do? What can we do? Our online presence is here to stay. We aren’t giving up our devices.

We become more aware, get educated, and hold an open discussion on the topic, suggests authors Nordstrom and Carlson. Perhaps in this era where privacy is dead and we all are transparent and vulnerable, we can embrace a society of truthfulness. At the moment, there are no easy solutions. But we are creative and can work on this together for the common good. Humans created the intricate, diverse, and expansive entity of the Internet, and therefore, should be able to control it.

(Reposted from Doyle’s Delights)

Why the Nuns Should Oversee the Internet Monday, Mar 11 2013 

We were warned. Bad behavior would become part of our PERMANENT RECORD. Our shenanigans would be evident to the world and follow us forever.

When I was a kid, the Sisters, more commonly referred to as “The Nuns,” used the ominous threat of our actions being etched in stone to control the large classrooms of more than 50 students. I don’t know if that made any difference to the bad kids, but the Miss Goody Two Shoes, which includes you-know-who, took this message very seriously. I didn’t want anything to get into the way of maintaining an unblemished PERMANENT RECORD.

We laugh at that disciplinary threat today but we also have to admit, the nuns were right. Many of our actions follow us to the grave. Nowhere is that more certain than on the Internet, which is why I think the nuns should oversee it.

We’ve been told a hundred times that nothing is forgotten or forgiven online. Social media owns our rants, ridicules, and inappropriate postings and photos in perpetuity – forever.

If the nuns were running the show, we’d be stopped in our tracks before posting. We quickly would be reminded and reprimanded saving us from another regrettable entry on our PERMANENT RECORD.

Here are a few other ways the nuns would improve our online experience:

  • Respect. The number one rule would be to respect one another and ourselves. Every post, email, or website would respect the rights of every viewer.
  • Posture. The nuns required us to stand tall, so too, online, we would present ourselves strong and true.
  • Homework. No shooting from the hip or blabbing on about topics that we know nothing about. Postings would be researched and substantiated with credible resources.
  • Quiet Time. If we don’t have something of substance to say, no entry would be allowed. This is when we’d be watching, listening, reading, and learning.
  • Service. Much of our online presence would make a difference, it would be an avenue to improve the lives of those less fortunate.
  • Better Dating Services. No touching, no foul or inappropriate language, and no revealing photos allowed. The nuns know who belongs with whom. Everyone would end up partnered, married, and live happily ever after.
  • Editing. At the very least, our spelling and grammar would be impeccable.

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

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