Top 5 most viewed posts

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I am taking a small break from blogging over the August/September period but I will be back soon. In the meantime, here are the most viewed/shared posts over the past 5 months. Enjoy!

  1. 3 Training grounds to train the white hacker in you
  2. Why China is a parallel universe
  3. Breaking Https:// with Bar mitzvah
  4. 3 PR disasters caused by innocent mistakes
  5. Breaking Https:// with Poodle

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @shuutech. I follow back

8 things to stop doing immediately

We can always take online security a little for granted but some behaviours put us at more risk than others. This isn’t an exhaustive list so if you can think of more, please add it to the comments. Another one I wanted to add but couldn’t find a picture for is failing to verify a BSB/Account Number with someone you are transferring money to. You should always verify over two different mediums before transferring e.g. sms/email/phone (especially if you are transferring a large amount of money). People have lost a lot of money by missing this simple step.

1. Give away personally identifiable information about children’s whereabouts, likes/dislikes and birthdays.

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2. Plastering family/bumper stickers all over your car. You might as well wear a “come rob me” sign.

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3. Using Windows XP and/or Internet Explorer 6. No anti-virus/spyware protection

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4. Checking emails/banking accounts/social media accounts over “Free Public Wifi”. Ok so if this is a little hard to avoid, at the very least be aware of the risks, avoid doing banking over this channel and change your passwords frequently. Also, set different passwords for your accounts…

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5. Logging in/entering your password details from email links. This can be a phishing attack to steal log in credentials. Instead, always log in via the official website.

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6. Going to the official site and entering login/password details in without checking the URL/certificate details. Instead, look for a green bar.

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7. Doing stupid things in public like Karen Bailey’s epic racist rant against Chinese people. You will be publicly disgraced and even arrested.

Do: Stand up to racists (non-violently). The guy in the background became a national hero after hitting back with “You’re scum”

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8. Posting stupid things online that you can never take back. Justine learnt the hard way after losing her job after this tweet. The tweet spread like wildfire and a campaign for her immediate dismissal had taken off during her return flight. By the time she landed, she had already lost her job.

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UK close to banning the use of WhatsApp, iMessage and SnapChat to protect National Security.

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Applications that provide an encrypted messaging platform, like WhatsApp, are under threat by countries that are increasingly reliant on snooping as part of their National Security strategy. The UK is proposing a new law as part of their “Snoopers Charter”, also known as Draft Communication Bill, to enforce a ban on applications like WhatsApp, iMessage and SnapChat that use encrypted messages. Under this new proposed bill, Internet Service Providers must monitor the online activity of customers and keep logs of their activities for 12 months.

This isn’t a surprise though, as the use of mass surveillance to protect national security and counter terrorism is widely used and increasing around the world. The five most controversial ones include:

China – 1998 the Great Firewall of China

ChinaFirewall This is a censorship and surveillance program designed by the Chinese government to filter and control the content that is accessed by the public. This program also prohibits individuals from using the internet to harm national security, spread false rumors or encourage socially undesirable behavior like gambling, violence or murder. This is an extremely controversial program that China has been widely criticized for by human rights and civil liberties groups.
USA – 2001 Patriot Act
USA This was introduced following the September 11 and anthrax attacks. This was an extremely controversial bill which many felt was an over-extension of the US government’s surveillance powers. Some of the most controversial parts allowed government agencies to:
  • Confiscate the property of foreigners who are believed to have aided in a war or an attack on the USA.
  • Authorize the roving surveillance of any individuals under investigation (using any means available to intercept a person’s communications. An extension of wire-tapping)
  • Authorize the use of National Security Letters to demand a release of information about individuals without them knowing.
  • Detain terrorism suspects without providing them with access to lawyers and without hearings or formal charges

This law was controversial as it reversed many of the civil liberties that were guaranteed under the US Constitution e.g. right to privacy and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Originally introduced by the Bush administration, subsequent US administrations have tried to remove it but the US has grown too reliant on this as an Anti-Terrorism measure. The original bill which expired in 2011, has been renewed two times since (including in 2015) and will be up for renewal again in 2019.

France – 2015 Patriot Act
france Following the Charlie Hebdo attacks, France passed their own version of the Patriot Act in June this year. Despite opposition from civil liberties groups, the bill was passed by the Senate on June 9 2015 with overwhelming support. This gives French government agencies the authorization to conduct mass surveillance over all communications without judicial approval and deploy new infrastructure to sniff all electronic communications. The new law also requires Internet Service providers to be able to crawl through internet traffic to identify terrorist activities.
Australia – 2015 Data Retention laws
fiveeyes Australia has been wire-tapping phones for years and this has increased year-on-year. The government has also requested ISP’s and search engines (like Google) to provide private information on web browsing histories and private user information. And transparency reports have shown that this activity is increasing. As of August 2014, government agencies can obtain this information without a warrant or user disclosure. Recently, the government has passed a data retention bill that mandates ISP’s to store data on user activities for two years. Australia is also part of the Five Eyes alliance.
Russia – SORM (System of Operative Measures)
russia Russia is a surveillance state and their powers are extensive. This has even led to US issuing this travel warning ahead of tourists travelling to Sochi for the 2013 Winter Olympics.
“Consider traveling with “clean” electronic devices—if you do not need the device, do not take it. Otherwise, essential devices should have all personal identifying information and sensitive files removed or “sanitized.” Devices with wireless connection capabilities should have the Wi-Fi turned off at all times. Do not check business or personal electronic devices with your luggage at the airport. … Do not connect to local ISPs at cafes, coffee shops, hotels, airports, or other local venues. … Change all your passwords before and after your trip. … Be sure to remove the battery from your Smartphone when not in use. Technology is commercially available that can geo-track your location and activate the microphone on your phone. Assume any electronic device you take can be exploited. … If you must utilize a phone during travel consider using a “burn phone” that uses a SIM card purchased locally with cash. Sanitize sensitive conversations as necessary” http://www.worldpolicy.org/journal/fall2013/Russia-surveillance

The new social. Will you thrive or get left behind?

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Social media is changing everything. It is changing the way we get jobs, run businesses and consume content. The changes are becoming as disruptive as the internet. So…how will this affect you? History tells us that those who ride the waves can thrive and even make millions out of thin air just by keeping abreast of the trends. For example, Kevin Ham, built a $300 Million Empire from just reserving domains before companies got to them. Just from reserving www.greeting.com, he made a cool $350K. We are on another cusp of great change, and we have been on this journey for a while now. So given the changes…

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How we get a job
The typical cover letter and resume is becoming less relevant. Although it is still very much used during recruitment, employers and recruiters are increasingly turning to social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook to filter candidates. LinkedIn was recently valuated at $26.15 Billion dollars in July 2015, which is almost triple what LinkedIn was worth at the same time in 2012. According to experts, 98% of recruiters and 85% hiring managers use LinkedIn to find and scan candidates. Fashion models now require an active Instagram account with a strong follower base to be selected for campaigns.

So what does this mean for you and future you?
There is a growing trend of candidates being directly approached by recruiters through social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter. So instead of employees approaching employers/recruiters about jobs, it has flipped. If this continues to increase, there will be less jobs advertised and obtained through traditional means. How do candidates stand out in this environment? Will it depend on how they market their skills or through their activity/influence on social media? Perhaps both?

o-JUSTIN-BIEBER-TWEETS-facebookHow we consume news
Before the internet, print was king as this was the only way to receive news. The printed press has been on a steady decline ever since. Nowadays, more news is consumed on Social Media than ever before as everyone is reading and sharing news content. Instead of visiting a news sites, news is shared on Twitter/LinkedIn and Facebook feeds. Consumers choose what they want to share and journalists/bloggers and businesses can reach their readers instantly. People are also able to provide feedback. There is nothing more gratifying than for a wronged consumer to write a very public customer complaint and to receive a few hundred likes and shares by other disgruntled consumers.

So what does this mean for you and the future you?
The scale of citizenship journalism today offers a freedom that no other generations have had in the past. Now anyone and everyone can create newsworthy content and influence public opinion on matters close to their heart. This presents an opportunity for everyone to participate in any discussion they like.

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How we conduct business
The internet challenged many bricks and mortar businesses. There is an online countdown on the death of certain types of businesses, from music and record stores (e.g. Sanity) to book shops (e.g. Borders). Businesses learnt pretty quickly that the difference between sinking and swimming is to establish an online presence and have great SEO. However, consumers are now expecting to be able to establish an authentic connection with the brands they shop with. Recently, Forbes wrote an article about millennial consumer habits and discovered these insights:

  • 99% aren’t influenced at all by advertising
  • 43% value authenticity over content
  • 62% engage with brands on social network
  • 75% expect brands to give back to society

http://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/2015/01/20/10-new-findings-about-the-millennial-consumer/

What does this mean for business today and in the future?
As people are spending more time on Social Media and connecting to businesses through these platforms, will the success of building an active and connected follower base become as important as SEO?