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Category Archives: General Comments

How to not get hacked

Hacking, in the sense of a remote compromise of a networked or local compromise of a computer, is your data being accessed by parties unknown.  Hacking has evolved from simple phone phreaking (ever wonder why cyberphreak.com is spelled with a ph?) to curious individuals, to corporations, to, now, entire governments being behind and subject to hacking.  

I have been using computers for over 30 years and there is one thing I know:  If someone wants your information, they will get your information.  I don’t care how many firewalls or intrusion countermeasures you have, what operating system you are running, or hardware you are running; if it is networked, they can get in.  If they can get local access to your machine, they will get in.  

If it is hopeless, what can you do to keep sensitive information?  You will need 3 things:  A writing implement, such as a pen or pencil, paper, and bad handwriting.  If it really matters, get a blank book, write it down in handwriting only you can read, and put that book in a safe place.  Even if your home is broken into, it will be difficult to decipher the information.  If the book is stolen, well, you know what was written down in there and exactly what was lost.  At least with your poor penmanship, a human will have to painstakingly decipher your chicken scratch.  You can also destroy the book in a fire and grind the ashes.  

If you must use a computer, DO NOT NETWORK THE COMPUTER.  DO NOT INSTALL A WIRELESS CARD.  Have a specific computer that will never be connected to the internet, ever.  Yes, very 1983, but what else can you  do?  DO NOT STORE SENSITIVE FILES ON A HARD DRIVE.  Keep all files, encrypted, on a device that can be easily destroyed.  Something like a micro-SD card.  Tiny enough to hide anywhere, small enough to be destroyed if the need arises.  A cross cut paper shredder will do.  Someone with enough time and money might be able to get information using a scanning electron microscope, then decrypting the data, but, seriously, what are you doing to deserve that kind of attention?

If these steps seem a little extreme, they are.   The paper/book based is my personal choice, and I have really bad handwriting.  It can never be hacked remotely and I don’t write anything down that is illegal anyway, just personal that I don’t want strangers to see.  Turns out that little diary or journal you kept as a kid is the most secure choice after all.

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Posted by on March 28, 2017 in Computers, General Comments

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Updates are not always good

Tried to update my Choco theme, but for some reason, all the sidebars are just plain broken.  I hope they update it soon, I really liked that theme.  For now, switched themes.  What do you think?

 

Edit:

Fixed it.  If you use Choco theme, and your sidebars are not showing up, remove from sidebar.php:

<?php do_action( 'before_sidebar' ); ?>
<a href="#" class="close-sidebar"></a>
<div class="sidebar-nav">
<?php wp_nav_menu( array( 'container' => false, 'theme_location' => 'primary', 'menu_class' => 'menu clear-fix') ); ?>
</div><!-- /.sidebar-nav -->
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Posted by on December 19, 2014 in General Comments

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Moving into the 21.1st century

Just a little note, I added some social media buttons to Cyberphreak.com.  You can share posts via Facebook, Twitter, etc.  You can also follow me on social media using the links in the sidebar.

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Posted by on June 12, 2014 in General Comments

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Missed anniversary

Not my wedding anniversary, never forget that, but Cyberphreak.com has been online since June 1, 1998, making it 15 years old now!

My first post:

Welcome to CyberPhreak.com. The place to discover why so many of us love this place called ‘cyberspace.’ The term cyberspace was originally coined by William Gibson in his novel Neuromancer. It is a place of pure data, a collective of all the world’s computers and data systems. In his novels, this matrix was accessed though a cyberspace deck and was similar to a hallucination. The technology for that type of access is not here yet, but it is coming. In the meantime, enjoy CyberPhreak.com and all the mixed writings, music, and beliefs of its creator and viewers.

Now, 15 years later we all carry computers in our pockets more powerful than anything short of a supercomputer in 1998.   Over a billion people access social networking sites every day and interact with people, in real time, around the world.  We are still moving towards Gibson’s vision of everyone, everywhere connected.  I still marvel at how far we have some and how far we have yet to go.

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Posted by on July 9, 2013 in General Comments

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Scams: Lessons Learned

After leaving home over 20 years ago, I guess I can consider myself an adult at this point.  Here are some lessons I have learned:

Scams:
Multi blade ‘fancy’ razors. They cost way way too much and don’t shave any better.  Go online and get a double edged safety razor and blades.  The blades cost about 15 cents each and last just as long.  You may have to relearn shaving, but about about two or three shaves, you will actually prefer them.

“Service” plans. All these plans do is make money for the store selling them.  With the exception of fine jewellery rings, they are a complete waste.  In 21 years of buying electronics, I have had ONE device fail that would of been covered by a service plan.  The item cost about $80.  I figure I have said no to about $10,000 in service plans.  No way in hell is there any way I would of recouped any of that cost.

Paying more than 0.9% for an auto loan.  If you have good credit, you should pay 0 or close to 0%.  Anything more, look for another dealer.

Cleaning your apartment when you move.  Don’t bother, they will always find something wrong and get some or all of your deposit.  Just leave it, they will have a professional crew come in an clean it anyway.

Mortgage brokers. They are not in your best interest and are generally just schmucks. Go directly to your bank. A lot less paperwork and you will get a competitive rate.

Eating out. It is a good treat to reward yourself, but monetarily and health wise, you would do much better to head to the local grocery store. You can save thousands of dollars a year (and a lot of health issues) learning to cook and eat at home.

“Luxury” watches and jewellery. I am a collector of watches. If you go into a store and they call them ‘timepieces’ be prepared to be separated from a lot of money. Only Rolex has the gall to charge $6,000 for a steel, three handed watch, with no date. If you want to be cheap, stick with Timex. If you want something to last AND look good for
decades, go with Seiko. With jewellery, ignore the sale price percentages and really ask yourself, is it really worth how much they are charging?

Speciality household cleaners. Turns out that you really only need about 3 cleaners; Perfume and dye free dish detergent. Used for cleaning just about everything, including the sink, toilet, even your hands. Works great. All purpose cleaner than can clean glass. Does just about everything else. And, finally vinegar and baking soda, for the really hard stains. That is all you need.

Non powder laundry and dishwasher detergent. Powder is cheaper, leaves less residue and is much ecologically friendly than liquids or convenience packs. Try it, you will be amazed how much you save and how well they work.

Buying the cheapest or ‘best’ of anything.  If you buy the cheapest, expect it to break and you have to replace it way too often.  A complete waste of time and money.  Buying the best will cost you a lot also.  With every product there is a price versus quality curve.  This generally follows a bell curve and means you can pay 10 times more for an item, and it will only be twice the quality of the lesser priced item.  Use common sense on this one.

HP/Compaq computers.  Don’t be lured by the cheap prices versus features.  They are built like junk and are loaded with bloatware.

Expensive wines.  They all taste the same after about $20 a bottle, or even worse if they are improperly stored.  I’ll take a properly stored $5 California wine before a $200 improperly stored French wine.  A corked bottle of wine is horrible at any price.

Overpriced kitchen knives.  A $400 knife cuts about the same as a $15 one.  Pick the ones that work the best with your hands and cutting style.

If you can think of any more, drop me a line in the comments section.

 

 

 

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Posted by on March 23, 2013 in General Comments

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