Hellooooo out there!!
I know, I know! It's been a long time (way too long, actually) since I last posted on The Daily Hack, and unfortunately I won't be posting anything else in the foreseeable future, either! The Daily Hack has served it's purpose over the years and it's now time to put out to pasture. Now, don't worry, this blog won't be going anywhere and you'll still be able to access all of it's content...it just won't be updated anymore.
That said, I WILL be updating my new blog: Nerd Eh!
What is Nerd Eh!, you ask? Well, it's a blog for nerds, geeks, gamers, and Internet junkies...people just like you and me. Will there be hacks/mods/tips like the ones featured on The Daily Hack? OF COURSE! But, I will also be featuring cool gadgets, epic videos, and basically anything and everything nerdy.
So, if you like The Daily Hack and want similar content and much, much more, come join me at:
Hellooooo out there!!
Have you ever done any of your banking online? Online banking allows you to check your finances, pay your bills, and transfer money at any time from the safety of your own home. But, how safe is online banking really? I'm sure you've heard the horror stories of people whose identities were stolen due to phishing scams or computer malware, and maybe you've even wondered if your online activities might make you susceptible to these kind of attacks, as well. Well, don't fret because today we're going to learn how to keep ourselves and our banking information safe online.
Stefan Neagu has posted an excellent article on MakeUseOf.com entitled "How To Connect To Your Online Bank Account Safely." In the article, Stefan describes some of the threats we might face while doing our online banking and how we can combat those threats. So, what are these threats and how can we protect ourselves? Well, according to Stefan:
Phishing, by far the most common vector of attack, is often an email, text message or even call, that, through a technique called ‘social engineering’ fools you into believing that the bank contacted you. Social engineering is, according to BinarySEC:Art of manipulating persons in order to bypass security measures and tools. The purpose is to obtain confidential information from users through phone, e-mail, snail mail or direct contact and secondly use these data to gain illegal access.
- The easiest thing to do in order to protect yourself is to never click on links in emails pertaining to be from banks and other financial institutions. Even if you believe the message might be from a trusted source, go directly to the bank website by typing the web address yourself, or even better call the bank directly. Remember to always report phishing attempts.
Malware, spyware and other types of computer viruses, present a major risk especially on Windows platforms.
- If possible, work on Linux or Mac computers day-to-day. It is widely believed that the security system for those operating systems, both Unix-based, is more robust.
- Use a Linux Live CD from any major available distribution. A perfect example is the Ubuntu Live CD. Available for free via the ShipIt program or easily downloadable from mirror servers around the world, it guarantees that you have a uncompromised environment for working with sensitive information.
- Make sure your software is always up-to-date. New vulnerabilities are discovered every day and the developers are usually pretty quick to patch the hole. Update your anti-virus, anti-spyware, and leave Windows Updates on automatic check every day.
- Security through obscurity isn’t very well regarded by security researchers but it will protect you from exploits targeted at mainstream software. An example of this could be Google’s Chrome, which remained unscathed at the recent Pwn2Own security contest, although it is based on the same underlying code base, WebKit.
- Some malware will try to route your request for a bank website to a malicious one. Remember to always check the security certificate of the webpage you’re visiting. Even if the connection is SSL secured (https://) and the site presents a security certificate, you should still verify the issuer, the owner and the expiration date to ensure it belongs to a bank.
- To prevent DNS exploits and redirects, you should use OpenDNS or a VPN service you trust to have up-to-date software. A VPN service also ensures your traffic will be encrypted, out of reach of network sniffers and packet capturing and reconstruction; A VPN is extremely useful on an open wireless connection. For example, I use Witopia’s personalVPN service.
Extra security measures are usually provided by your bank. You should check with your bank’s website to find out if they have software solutions like NatWest’s Rapport and multi-factor authentication using tokens, SMS or other means of verification.
Great safety tips, Stefan! Keep your personal data and banking information secure people!! :-)
Via How To Connect To Your Online Bank Account Safely [MakeUseOf.com]
WTF! Wednesday is a post where I will share a gadget, service, website, hack, picture, or anything else I find during the week that makes me stop whatever I'm doing and say WTF! This week's WTF! Wednesday candidate is:
Billy Bob Thornton's Hissy-Fit on "Q TV"Oscar award winner Billy Bob Thornton threw a temper-tantrum during a recent video interview about his new band "The Boxmasters", on CBC's "Q TV". Billy Bob's little hissy-fit was in reaction to Jian Ghomeshi's (host of "Q TV") interview introduction, in which he mentioned some of Billy Bob's past acting accomplishments. Apparently, Billy Bob didn't want Jian to mention anything about his acting background, and in retaliation, Billy Bob answered Jian's first few questions with a glassy-eyed stare and the response that he didn't know what Jian was saying. When asked if he liked music when he was a kid, Billy Bob oddly replied that he had once subscribed to a magazine called "Famous Monsters Of Film-Land." At the end of the interview when The Boxmasters were supposed to perform one of their songs, Billy Bob refused to play with his band. The other members of The Boxmasters were visibly upset and embarrassed by their front-man's antics, and I can't say that I blame them. Whether Billy Bob's incoherent tirade was drug induced or simply a result of celebrity arrogance remains to be seen, but whatever the reason, Billy Bob made a complete fool of himself!
To watch the whole video, head on over to Q TV's YouTube channel, by clicking the link below:
For proving that he's an even bigger jack-ass than we all thought he was, Billy Bob Thornton get's the honor of being my WTF of week!
Oooops, I'm sorry Billy Bob...you probably don't know what I'm saying. Let me spell it out in sign language for you:
Via Q TV on YouTube
Do you often lay awake at night, tossing and turning, trying to get to sleep? I know it happens to me quite a bit. I finish up working on The Daily Hack, or watching an exciting episode of LOST or Chuck, and head to bed only to discover that I can't get to sleep. Although my body is physically tired, my mind is still going a mile a minute and there's no way I can get it to gear down. Usually, I just lay there for a couple hours waiting it out before I finally drift off to sleep. The next night I go to bed tired and cranky and start the whole thing over again. If only there were a better way! Well, there is a better way, and today we're going to learn how by hacking our insomnia!
The fine folks over at MindCafe.org have posted an awesome article on how you can hack your insomnia by putting your mind to sleep in 3 easy steps. How can you hack your insomnia in 3 easy steps? Well, according to the article:
Great tips guys! Happy insomnia hacking everyone!! :-)
Step 1: Awareness
The beginning step to changing anything is becoming aware that it’s happening, particularly if it’s your own mind. Assume your mind is racing, and you finally recognize that you’re thinking… Most people at this stage get awfully irritated and “try” to force the mind into submission. It doesn’t work! Why? For the reason that what you focus on expands. The more irritated you are, the more you’re focusing on irritation, so you’ll get even MORE irritation, and more thinking… on and on!
Therefore the first step is to merely become “aware” of the fact that you’re thinking. And not anything more. When you see that you’re thinking, smile to yourself, and say, “I just noticed myself thinking… Interesting…”
Now note down what happens inside of you when you do this… something very profound. If “I” just noticed “myself” thinking, conceivably there are two entirely separate identities running your life? You have the “I” and you have the “self.”
The “I”, is the real you, the higher being, the “I” behind the mind, that executes the inner being, the heart, the soul, the true conscious being, the choice maker.
The “self” is the mind. If left to execute the inner being, will run in endless circles until the edge of insanity.
The minute you do this, the minute you become “Aware” - you are no longer a slave to your mind. You have succeeded! After you become aware… do nothing, just lay there for three seconds and see how it feels to be present in who you really are, not the mind, but you, the “I” - there is a great feeling of peace behind that presence in the “I.” Why? Because when you are aware like this, you get to know the power of your choice making. Now you possess the power of choice.
Step 2: Relaxed Focus
Once more… “What you focus on expands.” Now that you are fully conscious of your thinking, all you need to do is “direct” your mind into a position that will bring you into a profound place of rest. Think about it, if before your mind will persistently race into any direction you give it; why not pick a direction that will give you serenity and restful sleep?
But, majority of us do not realize what that direction really is. It’s really simple. If you focus on anything your body does or feels subconsciously, you will start to become more and more realized. For instance your breathing, the sensitivity of the pillow on your head, the sounds of nature outside (unless you live in the city), the warmth of your body. These are all situations that occur, yet your conscious mind doesn’t think about them.
Now one more time use, “What you focus on, expands”… Then what would occur if you concentrated on something that is happening in your “subconscious”? That’s right, your conscious thinking would decrease, and your subconscious mind would start to accept the whole process of you falling asleep! It really is that easy, and it always works…
The lightest one, is your breathing. And I guarantee you if you just try this tonight, you will be surprised when you wake up in the morning: “Whoa! It worked!”
Step 3: Repetition
I’ve already mentioned, the lightest one to focus on is your breathing. In the starting, you’ll find this easier said than done. Let me explain.
- First of all, take your focus onto your breathing. Take a deep breath in. Hold it for a short while, and slowly exhale…
- Count “1″
- Breathe in again… hold it for a while, exhale slowly, and count…
Why count? Because I promise, in the very beginning, you may find it difficult to hold your focus. Actually, you’ll be astonished as you may not even make it to “5″ the first time. This is because your conscious ever-thinking mind will chime in and interrupt. You may haphazardly go over into a storm of thoughts again. If this occurs, and it very well may, what do you do?
Simply become aware, and begin focusing on your breathing again. Guess what happens? As you become aware, 2 or 3 times… your mind will give up. I guarantee you, beyond the shadow of a doubt, when you get to “10″ or “15″ breaths you will feel a wave of relaxation in your body. This is the silent “click” as your mind shifts from the high frequency Beta brain-waves into Alpha brain-waves. Your subconscious mind will do the rest for you!