Week Eight

Safe & Sound

If you told someone 50 years ago that we’d be using technology that reaches any piece of information in history and stores our information for our own targeting and sometimes sale to the highest bidder, that person would look at you like you had three heads. Yet here we are, and it’s arguably the scariest time in history to live if you have private information.

I like to think I’m generally safe on the internet. I try not to visit any sites that might be unsafe for my private information, and I definitely don’t give any personal information out to any sites that I don’t completely trust. One thing I definitely don’t do is monitor the trackers during my internet usage, as the article from The New York Times suggests. To be completely honest, that kind of monitoring spooks me to the point where I’m not sure if I want to know.

I do, however, use antivirus software called Norton, which also offers a VPN and a password storage system. I haven’t run into many problems with it the way I’ve seen with McAfee, and I think it does a really good job of alerting me when I might be visiting sites that don’t have my best interests in mind.

I’m happy to report that I do use a password manager, as our reading from Digital Trends suggests. As I mentioned, Norton has a password  manager, but I think the one installed on my MacBook Pro is a bit easier to use. It automatically connects all of my devices, and it helps me to use complicated passwords that I would typically never remember, which is safer against hackers.

Finally, I’ve taken surface level encryption steps by using a password on my laptop and a passcode on my phone. I do still worry about hacks of my backups on iCloud, as we’ve seen with celebrities, but I find that my data has been well-protected by these types of passcodes.

One area I could stand to improve upon is in my updating of my software, as Professor Gillmor suggests in his article on The Guardian. I’m definitely the kind of person who sees software updates and puts them off until the last possible moment. I do it with my phone, and I do it with my laptop despite knowing full well that the software updates from Apple are for the best. Now that I know how important it is to take those precautions, I’m definitely open to making that change in my life.

I mentioned this in my discussion board post, but I tend to think of protecting data as a losing battle. I have found myself wondering it it’s worth it to worry about losing my data when, for all I know, it might be able to be had by anyone who wants it. That said, I’m open to the idea that I might not be making the best decisions with my data, and I’m absolutely interested in learning how to better protect it.

Week Eight

Staying Safe Online :)

Wow, to think how far I’ve come in a mere eight weeks is crazy. Despite taking all sorts of business classes, this one might be the one I’ve learned the absolute most helpful and reliable information from. Before, I was aware of simple techniques used in order to help secure my internet use and information. Now, I am largely aware of several different unique and helpful tools, sites, and browsers I should use in order to protect myself.

Before MCO425, my idea of keeping myself safe from the internet included making my social media accounts private and regularly changing my password to ensure security. I know, weak. As I learned from this class there are many different ways that people can access and use my information; everything from hackers to fraudulent transactions happen all the time over the internet. Currently, I am using an ad blocker brought to me by Google. I added the extension to my Chrome browser and now I can say that everything I look at, is going much smoother. It’s safe, simple, and easy to use. Now when I’m scrolling through social media, there are no more annoying ads popping up. I can also avoid the ridiculous amount of advertisements that pop up while I’m watching YouTube videos. After reading last week’s conversation, I also added the extension Duck Duck Go to my chrome browser as well. Not only is it blocking trackers and ensuring connections, it gives me peace of mind over my searching.

Learning in depth about internet law and media has also got me double checking what I post and how I go about it. I don’t believe I have broken any internet laws, but it’s so much easier than I thought to break them; such as lying about your age on Facebook or opening your personal email at work. That’s crazy! As I scroll through the wide vast internet, I’m also now very keen on reading articles that practice good journalism and avoid fake news. I’m actually very interested in looking into article authors now, no matter what I’m reading. It’s very interesting to gain their insights based on their profession. From this, I also was able to help my grandma not send me fake articles. And may I say I have only received 1 fake article within the past week or so. With little research you can easily find biased news and understand a better point of view regarding others.

Overall, I really have changed the way I browse through the internet. I am more cautious when I look and scroll, yet I am also more brave when looking into different topics, varieties, and authors. My approaches have changed all for the better. As the world becomes more technologically advanced it’s important to understand and appreciate what we’ve been given. Always be aware and help others when you see their practicing unsafe internet measures, you never know the difference you can make!

Week Eight


When it comes to security, specifically online security, then I would say that I am pretty cautious about the information I allow online or store in my laptop. I’ve saved passwords on my Apple laptop via Chrome and Safari for the six years since I’ve had my own personal MacBook, but I feel confident about storing my passwords here because one needs my laptop password to access any other information on here. However, I have become more cautious over the years about my online information as I’ve witnessed others struggle with hacking or scamming.

One thing mentioned in the video lectures from this weeks module was to always install software updates on our computers when available. Of course Apple makes it pretty quick and easy to update our laptops, but I typically find myself clicking the “remind me later” option instead of “update now” or “update tonight” options because I just don’t want to wait 10 minutes to go through that process. After learning that software updates are protective of our online activities from Dan Gillmor, I will definitely be taking that simple step of added security from here on out.

One thing I’ve always been cautious about when it comes to laptops in general is the camera. After watching Abduction released in 2011, I’ve always had a slightly uncomfortable feeling with the fact that other people can gain access to my MacBook’s front facing camera whenever they please. In the movie, the front facing camera’s green light appears in the middle of an important conversation and is not noticed by the main characters until its too late and the private information had been openly discussed. Of course in order to access that computer’s particular camera a link had to be clicked first, but one can never know which link is attached or interfered with by a hacker. I’ve only seen my front facing camera turn green one time without having done it purposefully, but I quickly covered the camera with my finger and restarted my laptop to get whoever was on the other end out of my bedroom.

Its easier to access metadata than it is a front facing camera on a specific laptop connected to a specific wireless router, but all personal information is important and users should feel safe communicating with others online when needed. According to ProPublica, there are possible programs that encrypt all messages so that the data being shared is safe until in the hands of the one receiver. However, it is not possible to completely hide yourself from mass surveillance even if one is taking precautions when downloading items from the internet and sharing data via online systems. As technology continues to advance so will hackers’ ability to access information that is not theirs. It is going to be an ongoing battle that only time will be able to tell. Until then, I plan to continue to store my passwords safely in my hard drive’s memory,  update software installations when possible, and keep track of all credit card transactions that show up in my bank statements. I’ve witnessed hackers inside of a Starbucks on multiple occasions as well, so remaining cautious about which wireless systems to connect to will always be a priority of mine as well.

Coding via CC Search
Week Eight

Why do I need different passwords?

I am that person. The person that cyber security folks warn you about…I have similar passwords for many websites becasue I am lazy and I can remember them. While I know better, partially becasue of this class but mostly becasue my husband has been nagging me for the better part of ten years, I still have not corrected the problem.

So many options but isn’t one good one the best???


I loved this article that for a moment made me feel slightly better about my password problem. However this week’s content and my husband’s nagging were still on my mind. This info is pretty much negated by the following fact: most of my passwords are now remembered on my devices and are inserted with face id, so I really have no excuse.

But Really Why?

Sure he looks cool, but don’t be the folks with the ads for RayBans for $19.99 on their social media do not.

If for no other reason, I do not want to be that person who is hacked and has one of those embarrassing ads posted on their social media page. Or have an email blast to their entire contact list asking for help to get home from another country becasue my wallet was taken, I have seen both and been a little embarrassed for the impacted party. I also know that these hacks will evolve and will only get worse.

What I will reasonable do

I already feel like I’m a like I have a good start. I update my devices and software pretty religiously. Well, after my husband tells me and then reminds me or after he does the updates himself, they are done.

In only 3 days we move across the country.

We are also only a mere 72 hours away from a large moving van showing up at the house ready to move us from New Jersey to Texas. This is important to this conversation becasue it requires that I do a lot of online housekeeping that I try to avoid. I will have to log into everything to change addresses and update payment addresses.  So this is the perfect time to diversify my passwords. I believe that this class has shown me that it is important and a simple step that I can no longer ignore.

The future.

While my current security needs based on my personal and professional life are pretty basic, this certainly may change in the future as I look to change my career after graduation. I know I am not alone in poor password choices based on this article. I do not want to be one of the many who put my company at risk so I I believe I can also reasonable commit to better security practices in the future.

Week Eight


As I approach the final few assignments in this class, I realize I have learned so much about smart internet practices. One aspect that I believe I have changed my views on is cyber security. Although I had believe I was doing every right prior to this class, I learned that there are always new ways that you can better protect yourself online.

After reading the article “The Best Password Managers“, I learned that there were password managers. At first, I immediately thought that this was a really cool idea. Having a platform that can safely house all of your passwords is a useful tool. I also thought that this might be so easy for someone to hack and get all of your data. I realize now that using a password manager actually can protect you much better and is something I plan to research and implement after this class.

Another article that opened my eyes to something I want to look into further was “Top 10 Security Basics Everyone Should Follow“. I knew prior to this class that you should never do anything on public wifi that is super important but I didn’t know you could get a VPN to best protect yourself. A VPN is basically a virtual private network and allows you to have a private network while you are out in public. This was a great thing for me to stumble across because I love to do work in places like Starbucks which has public wifi. With a VPN, I can really protect myself and what I’m doing online.

With all of these security tips, I wasn’t that shocked with the article “What Facebook Knows About You”. I think everyone is pretty aware these days that Facebook tracks literally every move we make. I do believe that when we sign those agreements we give them that right however I just find it really interesting that they feel the need to have that much information on their users, when they’re only a social media platforms.

All of these practices really gave me a different perspective on security. Prior to this class, I definitely was cautious online but not very concerned. With all of the articles and research I have done because of this class, I realize that protecting myself online is just as important as protecting myself in real life. The internet can be a scary place but there are currently so many tools out there to make it a safer place for everyone.

Week Eight

Privacy and Security in the Digital Age

Photo by Domenico Loia on Unsplash

In a world where our entire lives are quickly becoming digitized, privacy and security are now essential to being responsible media users and creators. Everything from our finances to our most intimate conversations is vulnerable to being hacked, surveilled, and even sold to the highest bidder.

In recent memory, I can think of two specific, yet different, instances where my security was compromised. Like most people, I no longer carry cash, which means that my primary way of paying for things like gas is through my debit card. Unfortunately, a stop through an unfamiliar gas station while I was traveling led to my debit card being skimmed. I was unaware of just how common these skimming scams are at gas stations, and it left me with the headache of cleaning up the mess after almost $1,000 was stolen from my account.

Another recent example of my security being compromised happened when hackers tried to gain access to my Google account. I received a text message with a verification code from Google out of the blue, which was shortly followed by a second text. This message said that it was Google, and they needed me to text them the verification code I just received. Thankfully I’m pretty skeptical of messages like this and recognized the red flags right away — this was someone trying to fool me into allowing them access to my account.

While our modern devices and internet applications certainly provide us with many useful conveniences, if we’re not careful, we can leave ourselves susceptible to compromise. I’ve learned from my personal experience just how important it is to take responsibility for our security and privacy.

In the past, I have been notoriously awful at remembering to update my current software. One of the changes I’ve been making in my habits is to set auto-updates whenever possible. Keeping my iPhone up to date with the latest iOS, my Mac running on the newest operating system, and even keeping the apps on my phone up to date, setting everything to auto-install any time there’s an update keeps my information safe without the inconvenience of dealing with installation.

Another way that I work to keep my account secure is by using two-factor verification for my passwords. After watching one of my favorite thought leaders lose access to her Instagram to hackers, I finally recognized the need to secure my accounts using two-factor verification. I use the Duo app, which helps me keep track of all my accounts and makes sure they’re safe and secure.

There was an essential lesson in our lecture from Professor Gillmor this week: the internet belongs to the people first and foremost — not to big tech companies like Google or Facebook, and not to the big governments in the world like ours here in the US. The internet belongs to humanity, and we should do everything in our power to keep it safe, secure, and in our own hands.

Week Eight

A Smart, Safe and Secure Digital World

Safety is just as important in the physical world as it is in the digital world. It seems like a lot of digital security practices are common sense…just as obvious as knowing to “look both ways” when crossing the street. When I was in grade school, learning how to be safe on the then-new technology of the world wide web was becoming part of our standard curriculum. It was an entirely new set of safety rules that I had to become familiar with. These rules surely didn’t seem as obvious as they do today. Here is a fun educational “internet safety” video for kids produced in 1999 (I was 8 years old) that teaches these rules just as I learned them growing up.

I have since built upon the foundations of safety and security I learned back then. Of course, I also now have much more vital information to protect, such as financial and health information. I have always seen myself as a careful and private media user, and I think my security measures reflect that. All of my social media accounts are set to “private” and I only add and accept people I know to Facebook, for instance. Also, this may sound a bit old school, but I handwrite all of my passwords in a notebook that I keep in a drawer in my room. I always found this to be a safer approach than keeping them in a Word document or password manager, though I will probably change my mind about this in the near future.

I think my best “security habit” though is just being skeptical of everything sent to me, and not sending my personal information to anyone or anyplace that seems suspicious. For example, last week I was almost a victim of social engineering (which is interesting because I had just finished an updated training module at work all about social engineering).

I received a fake email from an address posing as Apple, similar to the one featured on this site, that read “your account has been suspended.” Below, it told me to follow the link below and re-enter my information. I knew that if it was blatantly asking for my information that it couldn’t be legitimate, and I signed into my Apple account via their normal web site to be sure. I was correct, and I immediately deleted the email.

What I have learned the most from this course is to always be on your game in not just consuming media, but more importantly knowing which information sources and companies to trust, how to safely create my own media and how to preserve my online identity. I will make a few changes to my internet security behaviors, such as using a password manager and encrypting my computer, which I have been taking practically everywhere ever since starting at ASU online.

This class also inspired me to become a more active and more open creator of media, which may get me out of my own “privacy” shell. I found that I really enjoy posting on blogs, and I may start my own someday. Though we must be careful and aware of the dangers in today’s digital world, we should not let that make us paranoid or afraid of publishing, contributing, and sharing our thoughts, ideas, information and creativity with the world.

Week Eight

Module 8 : Security

Security? Yes Please

Unfortunately, the idea of inherent or unfettered security is a fleeting concept in the modern digital world. If at any time I let my guard down, an entire fleet of hijackers is seeking to infiltrate my personal information. Some individuals and organizations are looking for access to my financial records while others simply are investigating my personal information and/or spending habits. No matter the rationale, the concepts and strategies themselves are terrifyingly cold and penetrating.

I feel as though my privacy and security standards could use some rethinking. As we learned from the course material, extra steps can help in maintaining defensible security standards. To begin, I have consistently maintained a more complex security passcode for several phones I have owned. I believe that any extra protection that can be levied to a device that is present throughout my daily activities and in several circumstances demands higher security concerns. Additionally, I use more comprehensive passwords for a large portion of my online accounts. As described, utilizing a more complex passcode creates an extra level of security.

Even as I profess my security know-how, I will admit that I have left myself wide open to privacy attacks. But to buttress these concerns, I should work with my wife to step up her security standards. I know that she utilizes the same simple password and passcode throughout almost every one of her digital accounts. In effect, this puts my own security at risk! She is legally tied to almost every portion of my own security apparatus.

Beyond portable defense techniques, the accompanying strategies listed in this module for online protection seem entirely obtainable. For example, I regularly update my operating system on my phone and computer systems, eventually. I have always known that the updates consistently supply my machines with updated software that protects them, but for some reason or another, I don’t always immediately conform. I do not believe that any singular contributing factor causes my malfeasance, but prior news stories like Apple slow down scandal possible leads to my distrust. My wife has not updated her operating system on her phone really, ever!

Where I could really up my game, is the several methods mentioned in this week’s module dealing with the encryption methods and public wi-fi protections that are mostly foreign to me. I spend most of every day at the coffee shop that I work with my phone connected to the unsecured public wi-fi. It’s easier to just leave my network connected to the wifi so my device essentially is left unsecured all day; every day. This seems to me, like the ideal environment where investing in a virtual private network would be advantageous.

So how do I protect myself and my loved ones? What tools do I have that are any kind of effective defensive strategies? Is anything truly effective? Well, maybe not, but this course gave me several methods of self-preservation that may prove to be effective. In addition to myself, I have always desired to protect my friends, my family, and my wife from offensive forces that may attack our personal privacy.

Week Eight

Digital Security

Before my current position I worked in Information Tech.  I have worked for the Geek Squad, a property management company, and at the Help Desk for the college where I still work.  Because of this, I have seen a lot of fallout from poor digital security.  From the man who was downloading videos of questionable content from an even more questionable source and brought his virus riddled laptop to the Geek Squad for repair to a department head who recently gave his credentials to a phishing e-mail at the school- I have seen again and again the consequences of being lax.

For this reason, I wasn’t sure that I would get anything from this module.  I know all there is to know about digital security, right?  And I had to roll my eyes when I got a notification from our HR department saying we had to complete a mandatory training on internet security as well (a result of the aforementioned department head compromising his credentials.)  Still, it was a great refresher for the importance of keeping everything secure.

Week Eight

Security – Final Post

All my life I have grown up in a world where digital and smart objects are incorporated into my every day life. From smart phones, smart fridges, smart cars, even a smart building security system for my apartment. The world around us is filled with all of these information-recording devices and this is getting sent and sold to companies for millions upon billions of dollars and it is not slowing down. As a kid, privacy was never was in my scope of beliefs or worry because I thought that these corporate businesses held me in their best-interest and wanted to protect me and my information.

hacking passwords
(Image via The Hacker News)


Data encryption is a first-line of defense, but it can be decrypted and it is in our best interest to keep our information safe.


I would not say I was naïve, but definitely not the most informed person out there as I grew up and out of these ego-centric idealisms. The world is a scary place and it is filled with creatures that just want a social security number to provide their luxuries. Learning this, I did have some basic privacy systems in place to ensure I would not be hacked or stolen from. Luckily, these have not failed me.

Now, after learning about how quickly the thieves and marauders are able to code and steal information from anywhere in the world, I want to start updating my current protection system. One thing that stood out to me during the lecture was two-factor authentication. This is not “new” software but I still think that more companies should adopt this if they have not already. For example, even with social media, Instagram is using the same service Arizona State uses for their employees to log in to their account. The only downside I can see to this is having a redirect number to have the authorization code being sent to the hacker instead of the intended user.

Image result for two-factor authentication
(Image via Secret Double Octopus)

Two factor authentication can be used in many forms from personal to professional information, and should be a standard second preventative measure. More and more businesses are creating or utilizing programs which allow their users to use this security device.

Besides two-factor authentication, I would also like to update my passwords as using the same password (or similar variations) is something which allows hackers to easily get into all of the sites they are looking for such as banking, emails, and credit card access. While looking for useful ways to better manage passwords and data privacy, I found this article from NBC News. The article also talks about two-factor authentication. However, the tips I found most useful were password managers and how those can help protect data as well as to make sure passwords use a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters.

Besides two-factor authentication, mixing passwords, and password managers, I think the world is becoming aware of the imminent danger their information is in. Additionally, I believe people are becoming more aware of   how valuable information is, previously seen as unimportant, can be to trained, malicious hackers. I want to make sure my information, as well as the people I care about, do not have to take retroactive actions and instead take precautionary measures to ensure their data is held securely.