Words of WARNING!


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Forbidden Access _ The Deep Web

Forbidden Access – Cyber Terrorsits NOT Allowed!

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             .Welcome back My Dear Readers to The Other Shoe. Today is Friday, as such this (according to my all ‘new’ writing schedule) is a ‘free’ day. Meaning I leave the day open so that I can write what strikes me, or more on a story that has dominated the week’s news. Quite honestly? The missing airliner… while my thoughts and prayers go out to all those lost… I fear it might be months before we have any kind of closure… maybe even next year with the building winter season and winter weather rapidly closing in on the search teams.

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The next two stories; the Ukrainian crisis, and the pseudo-conclusion to ‘Bridgegate’ have cannot build an entire article on either. The Ukrainian crisis has broken, in the favor of the European Union, America, Freedom, self-determination and the real Ukrainian people. Russian President blinked, today. He called President Obama, earlier this week, capitulating to Secretary Kerry’s overtures in the Netherlands. Honestly, winning a stacked) referendum that gave Russia the illusion of control over a province landlocked away from the Russian nation.

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Russian, and President Putin, were desperate to keep the Ukraine in Russian control, and they ended up with the little tiny Crimea. President Putin won the battle, to loose the war. Not really anything to crow about, and he has now come to President Obama, hat in hand, asking for forgiveness and an end to the crippling sanctions. Bottom line? President Obama won the day, internationally, diplomatically, and for the future of democracy.

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“Bridgegate’ got a million dollar ‘White-Wash’ a la Governor Christie’s wallet, mayhaps the people of New Jersey will ultimately pay that price. NO interviews are given, no testimony was given, nothing was really investigated and (from what I have read, and heard so far) this was more of a vehicle for personal attacks against two of his favorite people. Don’t be fooled, the real investigation is still underway by; The Legislature of New Jersey, the District Attorney’s Office(s) of the two areas, and a Federal Attorney General’s Office. Those are the investigations that will give us facts and testimony. I can wait… this is not going anywhere, and not going away any time soon.

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Now, for the topic of this article… My words of warning for all of you, My Dear Readers. Today I saw an article about another company getting hacked and thousands of customer’s card numbers, and other sensitive information, was stolen.

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The Spec’s warehouse-size superstore… Credit card, debit card and private check information for an estimated half-million or so customers was exposed at 34 of 155 wine and liquor stores owned by Spec’s, including 21 in the greater Houston area, over the past year and a half, the company said Friday.

“The exposure may include customers’ bank routing numbers, card security codes and other payment card and check information.”[1]

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This data breech affected nearly a half-million customers of this company. The complete scope will be revealed over the coming months. However, this is small potatoes when compared with the major data breech of last year, TARGET. During the holiday shopping season Target was hacked at a historic level.

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At up to 40 million customers, the breach ranks among the biggest in U.S. corporate history. In 2007, the data of more than 45 million customers was stolen from stores including T.J. Maxx and Marshalls.”[2]

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Dwarfed by the ‘Crime of the Century’;

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And in 2011, a hack exposed the credit card information of 100 million user accounts on the Sony PlayStation video game network.”[3]

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The Target Debacle resulted in every single piece of plastic, in my wallet, being replaced by the end of last year. I didn’t even have to make any requests, as I am a frequent shopper at Target and had used most of all my debit and credit cards at my local Target stores. MY Dear Readers, this is not something on the wane. On the contrary, you can reasonably expect to see this happen more, and more often in the months and years to come.

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If you are a frequent readers, here at The Other Shoe, then you know that I have started an educational series named ‘The Deep Web’. I started this article series for you, My Dear Readers. You see I understand that most of you have never spent a single moment outside the World Wide Web. Most believe that this part of the internet, is all there is. Far from the truth, as a matter of fact? The Deep Web (aka as ‘The Dark Web’ & “The Spice Road’) is several times larger than the WWW you are familiar. As I explain in my very first edition, the common internet is about 1.5 terabytes is size. Whereas, ‘The Dark Web’ is 7,500 Terabytes in size.

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Made up of, mostly, ‘White Hats’ and ‘Dark Hats’ this other web is everything you can imagine, and more. I am a “White Hat’ meaning I generally use my computer knowledge for the benefit of others and only engage in writing code for personal use. Conversely, ‘Black Hats’ are all those that seek to use computer knowledge for personal gain, and/or the destruction of virtual realty and wealth. I started learning about computers; learning binary, ‘C’, and other machine and programming languages, in the early 80’s. Actually, I first used a networked computer in 1978 when I played a ‘Star Trek’ based game in a teletype machine via a cradle modem. My father collected teletype machines, starting in 1972. We had two by the time he left the family.

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Even with my father gone, I continued to work with the teletype machines and taught myself how to connect to early network servers and primitive Bulletin Boards. I just loved all things electronic, and electrical. Computers were a marriage between what I already knew and all new technologies. I continued my studies when I was hired as a answering service operator, in Beverly Hills, that was undergoing a huge upgrade. Upgrading from old cord boards to an electronic switching system and an Hybrid Computer driver Automatic Call Distribution System (ACD). The owner did not know of my pervious electronic and communication experiences until they started the upgrade.

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Very quickly opportunities presented themselves for me to display my knowledge and understanding. I had already moved up from operator to Morning Shift Supervisor, which gave me ample opportunity to shine. Soon I was going to Answering Service Conventions, Educational Classes at the Manufacture’s Corporate Offices (Star-Tel made the ACD and electronic/Digital switches), and ultimately classes at A.T.&T. offices here in Los Angeles studying Unix.

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You see, I knew way back in 1983 that the whole future of communications and information was the digital realm. Skills in this area (also known as Kung Foo) would be invaluable in the years and decades to come. Now, I will be the first to admit that my Kung Foo is not so good… kind of dated. However, I have skills enough to warn and to inform. Today I am here to signal a warning to all of you, My Dear Readers.

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First, I would suggest that you take a look at my series ‘The Deep Web’ right here at The Other Shoe. Now I am not advocating that everyone should surf The Deep Web. On the contrary, unless you have a strong background in information technology I would advise that you stay away from The Deep Web. Many ISP (Internet Service Providers) block access to this part of the web, and some will even discontinue your internet access without warning just for connecting.

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Blocked access can be circumvented by using bridges (I will be explaining this process and how to use bridges next week in Part Three of ‘The Deep Web’). Although… to be brutally honest? I would suggest that everyone learns as much as you can about this internet, and ‘The Deep Web’. ‘Knowledge is power’[4] (Francis Bacon) is more truthful today, than anytime in history. Many companies that ‘protect your identity’ already check The Deep Web for signs of your; credit card numbers, banking information, social security number and other digital identifiers in order to head off data attacks and identity theft. Yes, My Dear Readers, was are already… there…

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In preparing readers for engaging with, and surfing, The Deep Web I have outlined practices that are great habits to form, even if you have no intention of ever surfing The Deep Web. They are outlined in Part Two, but I will be reiterating them in upcoming editions of this series, too. Good computing habits are beneficial to everyone and in all situations. I started teaching ‘Good Computing Habits’ back in 1981 to my answering service staff. In our capacity as answering service personnel, we were privy to great deal of; personal information, private data transfers, and sensitive information. Tel-Us, that was/is the name of the service, also provided Telex services, along with answering service, paging, and text transmission of telephone messages. That one was my favorite, and the one service that I sold exclusively.

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Even in 1983 I could transmit a paper copy of a telephone message to a text printer I installed in your home of office. That way, without anyone calling you on the phone, or disturbing the client, I could forward important or time sensitive messages to a client silently and discreetly. I know, given today’s technology and messaging abilities, it doesn’t sound like much. However, Henry Mancini thought it was a great product and I installed one of our message printers into his home office, personally. The walls of his office were lined with awards, and on the shelves were Oscars and other Academy Awards for his work in soundtracks and the like. Yeah, I really loved that job!

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My Dear Readers, I want you to keep your eyes on the headlines. Keep watching and mark my words, you will be seeing more and more ‘data breeches’ in the news as the months and years pass. You see, there are huge populations of ‘Black Hat’ hackers in; Russia, China, North Korea and old USSR satellite nations that spend all day every day working to break; firewalls, encryption technologies, data encryption and hardware firewalls in servers. They are raised on this stuff, from a very early age.

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I was unfortunate enough to, while working as property manager in Westwood, have my identity stolen. I worked with an FBI agent, out of the Westwood office, that worked solely in identity theft and information technology theft-virtual theft. Not only had my identity been stolen, so had a lot of information off of the office computer. Since the company computer had been hacked, corporate executives demanded that I gain all the information I could from this FBI agent.

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He was the one that enlightened me that there were/are teenage hackers in Russia that spend all night and day doing nothing more than working to steal; credit card numbers, debit card information, banking information, and other sensitive financial information via; phishing, direct computer hacking, and server attacks. These young people are trained, from a very young age, in; computer languages, firewall protocols, encryption technology, and firewall protocols and technology. They are told that the only way they will get out of poverty is if they steal their way out.

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I want you all to understand the immensity of the problem. How frequent these attacks have become, and how often they are successful. That this problem is only going to get worse, long before it gets better. You see, corporations are insured against these losses to a certain point. However, as a consumer? Your threshold of liability is much higher. Your exposure is far greater. Your losses could be financially crippling, and some could never really recover.

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Your only defense is; better computer habits, better financial habits, and always be aware when on line. After the Target data breech I received new; debit card (with entirely new information; number, expiration date, security number), credit cards and I was warned in writing to not use my cards inside Target. In the letter it was suggested that I go to a branch bank, withdraw needed funds, and shop with cash at Target “until further notice”. Target was very neglectful in their data practices. They were warned prior to the event, and that is in articles on the web for you to verify.

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Every single time you swipe your debit card or credit card you take a huge risk. There are even devices that can read credit card information off your card while it is in your wallet. In restaurants there are handheld devices that your server can use to swipe your credit cardand steal all the information that is stored on the magnetic strip. Now, I never let my card out of my sight, when out dining. I try to always shop with cash and only take money out of my account in person in my bank.

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That is a bit much… for most people. However, I have very limited resources My Dear Readers, and any loss could result in homelessness. Yeah… I live that close to the edge.

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Today was my ‘Free Day’ here at The Other Shoe. I could take this opportunity to write about anything I wanted. Today, this week, I choose to take the time to sound a warning. A warning to all of you, My Dear Readers, to develop and/or engage in better data practices. Be cautious, as I have explained my current practices with limiting debit/credit card use, make more of a habit of withdrawing money at your bank branch and shop more often with cash. When engaging in purchases and/or financial exchanges on the internet, ALWAYS MAKE SURE you are using a SECURE version of the web site. Look for ‘HTTPS’ up in the URL box at the top of your browser and it should say (in the lower bar) ‘Secure Server’. If you are unsure? CALL their support number and ASK!

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At home, RUN WEEKLY MALWARE AND ROOTKIT SCANS! Don’t just scan for ‘viruses’ and consider yourself ‘protected’. Here is a very good FREE ‘Malware Scanning Software’ Malwarebuytes[5] (click on that word or use the link below in footnotes). UPDATE this software WEEKLY (at least, I do it EVERY DAY). Also, RUN ‘ROOTKIT’ SCANS WEEKLY (at least). Here are TWO very good – great FREE programs; Malwarebytes-Antirootkit[6], and SOPHOS[7]. Run these scans religiously every week at least, along with your normal weekly Antivirus scans. Once a month, use your Anti-Virus software and run a ‘COMPLETE COMPUTER SCAN’! If your computer has been used by; a friend, a neighbor, a child or grandchild NEVER USE IT for financial transactions or purchasing UNTIL YOU RUN ALL THREE SCANS! (Anti-Virus, Malware and ROOTKIT).

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I am so sorry if I have scared any of you, My Dear Readers, but these ‘Good Computing Habits’ can protect you, and could (possibly) prevent major financial losses. Check out my series ‘The Deep Web’[8], too. In it I am sharing a lot of ‘Good Computer Habits’ and teaching how to be aware when on line. Developing these good computing habits will benefit you!

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In closing, My Dear Readers, if EVER I can; be of assistance, provide information, help with a potentially infect computer, provide resources for scanners or removal or ANY data and information references, software suggestions? PLEASE DO NOT HESTITATE TO CONTACT ME! You can leave a message as a comment here at the blogs, you can ‘Friend’ me on Facebook and we can communicate there, or I have left my email several times on this blog. I WILL ALWAYS HELP anyway I can, and it will be my pleasure to help you STAY SAFE!

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As always I am deeply honored that you come here and read my work.

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Thank YOU!

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P.S. My Dear Readers, I have written and presented this article because I CARE! I have GRAVE concerns over the increase of cyber-terrorism… and have this… suspicion that… soon… it will become… much worse. Please exercise caution and read this article as many times as needed… to gain a FULL understanding of this gorwing and dire problem. Take Care! 🙂

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The Other Shoe eBay Store

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The Other Shoe's Daniel Hanning

The Other Shoe’s Daniel Hanning 2/2014

 

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About Daniel Hanning
I am a; writer, editor and publisher. I write, most often, articles about our space program, fun videos andpolitical works. My most recent additions are; A Week In Review, Sunday Funnies and The Adventures of Nadia. Along with The Mars Report and Lost in Space. ENJOY!

One Response to Words of WARNING!

  1. Pingback: A Week in Review – March 29th, 2014 | The Other Shoe

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