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Saturday, January 02, 2010

As if you need extra reasons for paranoia

As they say: just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean that you're not being watched! Here are a couple of links which freaked me out recently:

  • Warily, and with much trepidation - a blogpost about how one deleted his facebook settings because of privacy concerns. I do have a facebook page, but I only use to prevent "identity spoofing" and have almost zero interest in actually using it. Also, on a related note, I've read recently that someone was asked a security question by his bank which would indicate that they (whoever "they" might be - the bank, a third party contracted to do it, an information broker, etc) are data-mining facebook (the question was something along the lines of "your sister-in-law's maiden name" - which BTW I couldn't answer!)
  • How to Generate Nice Graphs for Feedburner - nice article about generating graphs (quite nice looking graphs I might add!) with Perl, until you realize that your feedburner statistics is freely available for everyone, just by fetching one URL which has no protection whatsoever! Not that I consider feedburner stats "extremely sensitive", but it makes you wonder what other data do "helpful" service providers make available about your activities without your knowledge?
  • How to take down a blogspot blog (like mine for example!)? Just get Google to suspend the associated gmail account! Now, from the writeup it is not entirely clear what happened. Scenario A: someone broke into Mish's account (by bruteforcing the password / guessing the password reset question / installing a keylogger on his machine / etc) and used it to send spam. Scenario B: someone sent spam spoofing the "from" address (quite easy to do, but most spam filters should detect it). If it was scenario A, we can at least console ourselves with the fact that there is something we can do (like practicing "safe-hex"). If it was scenario B, it means that any two-bit script kiddie can take down any blog... And not every one of us knows Googlers like Mish who can help him sort the situation out quickly.

Now, if you're still reading and not hiding under a rock scared, here are some links to cheer you up:

Have fun and remember: "The real test of courage is in our daily lives."


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