Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

1/25/2005

Security, E-Mail and Blogs

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Deep Thoughts,Geek Work,News and Current Events,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 9:12 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

“The question isn’t ‘Am I paranoid?’, but ‘Am I paranoid enough?'”
Ever heard that before? If you’ve dealt with computer security, it should be your damn mantra. But, too, if you just use the internet to send e-mail or blog, you should think about it. Why? Well, are you sure that all your e-mail is safe? And, do you know who reads your blog? If you wouldn’t want to say something in front of your mother or child, you might not want to put it up for the entire world to see. Also, did you know you can get fired for blogging? Yep, not only is there the famous Heather at dooce.com, but also the Delta Airlines incident and there’s this story on Register.com about two, unrelated incidents of people being fired for blogging. It’s even gone so far that Blogger has guidelines on “how not to get fired because of your blog“.
But, back to e-mail. I can remember on many occasions rebuilding e-mail files so that we could find out who sent what to whom and when they sent it. At least one time, I had to rebuild an entire e-mail server and system to replicate data that was taken by a U.S. Government agent. (No, not the IRS, thankfully, just the FBI and EPA. The IRS agents are really tough, from what I hear, when it comes to data collection.) Oh, but don’t think that simply deleting the mail is enough. No, siree, there are plenty of ways to get that back. For one thing, many internet enabled systems have a cache that can be poked and prodded back into a mail database. Or, perhaps someone forgot to delete their sent mail. Sometimes that’s even better because it will capture not only the outgoing mail, but part of the e-mail to which the “target” is replying. That’s two birds with one stone, there! Oh, and don’t think that a wireless device will protect you either. According to this story on Slashdot, even the messages sent Blackberry-to-Blackberry can be retrieved by your employer.

Of course, this works in reverse, as well. I often send copies of my work e-mail to my home account so that I have “backup” in case something goes tragically wrong with the work e-mail, I still have a copy to print out and present to a nice judge. Never know when that’s going to come in handy. Believe me, I’ve seen strange stuff when it comes to lawyers and e-mail. Don’t forget, I’ve worked through at least two sales and one bankruptcy. Trust me on this one, it’s nice to know you have proof of what you promised people!
And, if you want something to “vanish” you’d best get to know all about any purge functions you have available to you or look into getting a PGP-based “eraser”. Better yet, if you plan on defrauding the Federal Government, don’t talk about it in an e-mail to anyone. Hell, just don’t talk about it at all. Better yet, just be honest and pay your taxes like the rest of us.

Remember, in the end, the best thing is to just not do anything that you’d get fined for or do time for later. Barring that, don’t make a damn record of it where some vengeful prick might get their hands on it. And, above all, be careful who you cross. (Yeah, this is the sort of thing I think about on airplanes and sitting in hotels after working on new servers all day long. It is my entire life these days.)


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"While it may be true that the quickest way to a man's heart is through his stomach, sometimes it can be much more satisfying hacking your way through the rib cage."
   --Cara-Beth Lillback

1/22/2005

Free Porn Alternatives!

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun Work,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is mid-morning or 10:16 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Okay, so it occurred to me that there had to be a better way.
Yeah, sure, I could talk about the evils of free porn until I’m blue in the face. I could even rant about how terrible it is to manipulate searchengines. Instead, I’m going to try and do it. Again.
Yes, again. I did it once back in 2000/2001 to get my site ranked so highly on Google for the search terms “CNE resume” that it was the number one hit. I did all sorts of crazy things, not the least of which was start this blog, incidentally. One thing I did was look at both the Google Zeitgeist and the Yahoo Buzz Index and try to use those terms in my site. So, for instance, according to Google’s Zeitgeist, I should talk about: how I felt about the Golden Globes and who won; the fact that Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day; what Teri Hatcher was wearing at the Golden Globes; who Teri Polo is and what she wore at the Golden Globes; what NASA has thrown into space lately; what “naughtiness” Prince Harry has been up to over in the UK; detailed specs on the iPod Shuffle; the super-model antics of Naomi Campbell; the fact that Mariska Hargitay also won a Golden Globe; and how the movie “Elektra” was doing in the box office. As you can see, that first hit, the Golden Globe Awards, was a really popular one, since it was repeated in, or was effected by, several later searches.
Last week, I should have been talking about: Amber Frey, the adulterous whore who was banging Scott Peterson; the terrible damage done by the tsunami in India; how terrible it is that Ashlee Simpson was caught lip-synching; Delta Airlines for some reason; the Weather Channel coverage of that tsunami in India; Heidi Klum, because it’s always a good time to talk about Ms. Klum (and she got married to Seal); NFL player Randy Moss, presumably because he sprained his ankle; the Orange Bowl, because it’s still football season; the fact that Brad Pitt is single again; and all the cool concept cars at the Detroit Auto Show. Crazy stuff, right?

Well, according to Yahoo Buzz Index, I should have talked about some very different things this week. If I wanted to get Yahoo hits, I should have talked about: OJ Simpson’s daughter, Sydney Simpson, getting arrested; Playboy Playmate Alicia Rickter, for obvious, pornographic reasons; those nuts over at Jibjab, who made another hit animation; Enter Location, because, uh, people were travelling a lot?; actress Elisabeth Harnois, possibly for the Golden Globes again?; O.J. Simpson, because his daughter got arrested, of course; the fact that Julian Ozanne got married to Gillian Anderson and no one knows who he is, but everyone knows her from the X-files; anything and everything about actress Lucy Liu, just because, she’s Lucy Liu; the Tennesse-based music and arts festival, Bonnaroo; “How We Do” almost anything, from the sound of it; eating “Breakfast and Brunch”? Or is that more travelling stuff?; how cheap Costco Wholesale pricing is; soap-opera star Annie Parisse, most likely because she moved on to something better; the fact that Japan had another big earthquake; and Jimjab.com, which is most likely a mistake for “jibjab.com”.

Wow, those are totally different things, aren’t they? Are people who use those two different searchengines that different? Have I been losing out by optimizing for Google?
Oh, I don’t know, but I think I’m going to go have a bit of a lay-down. This whole experience has been exhausting.
(And, yes, I’ve posted this same thing on my other blog, the Fantasist’s Scroll, for the same reason as the last post.)


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else."


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