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FBI Warning: Don't Update Software on the Road

Hotel networks are insecure by design, and looks like someone's figured out how to hack into the connection process and offer malicious code which is masquerading as a software update to "widely-used software" (the FBI hasn't released details yet).

Here's the story from Security Watch.

In the near future we will examine a host of issues relating to connecting to a hotel network (either wired or via WiFi) as well as other hotspots.  For now, either do not connect to public or hotel hotspots, or be very, very careful.  Do not go to any online banking sites or enter any passwords that are important.  Do not update your software.  Best approaches are


  1. Use your own cellular link if you have one, like AT&T or Verizon on the iPhone or iPad, or a MyFi cellular hotspot
  2. Get your own secure VPN.  More on this coming....




What to protect?

At long last I have decided that my tech life is in need of a privacy and security overhaul.  Further procrastination is so painful that even I can’t stand it.

Though the need has been dire for several years, because I think that I understand something about personal computer security, I harbor the illusion that I don’t need to do much about it.  Kind of like the baker who doesn’t eat bread.  Plain wrong.  And boy, have I been lucky (to the best of my knowledge) so far. 

This is going to be a warm-up post to get you thinking about security, privacy, and the things that might be important to you.  I should point out that in order to have a modicum of self-protection while exposing all of my dirty secrets to you, I reserve the right to obfuscate the solutions that I actually choose to implement for myself! 

So here goes...


Click to read more ...


Cover your PIN!

You should always protect your PIN when using an ATM.   The best way to do this is by covering your hand with your other hand while you enter your PIN.  Even though you can use your body to block other folks in line from watching you, that won't work against the clever schemes that are popping up whereby a device is attached to the front of the ATM machine which (a) swipes your card and thus gets the card number and (b) has a small camera which is recording your PIN while you type it in!  Click here for the story.

Note that an ATM card + a PIN is considered reasonably good security in that a potential thief needs to have either physical possession of your ATM card or an ability to get the card number via a swipe and they need to know your PIN.  These nasty little devices get both!



Setting Up TironTech

It's done.  I think.  Here were the steps needed to get here:

  1. Register the domain name at Network Solutions
  2. Sign up for the 14 day trial period of SquareSpace
  3. Get a draft of the blog up on SquareSpace and begin to learn the tools
  4. Get Google Apps for
    1. Do the signup process which involves pointing the MX pointers in the DNS record on Network Solutions to Google
  5. Sign up for SquareSpace Unlimited plan
    1. Set pointers for to the SquareSpace IP address
    2. Set SquareSpace to know it's

Overall, pretty easy, though it did take some time.





Starting A Blog

Here’s a quick look at some of the tools that I looked at and what I’ve chosen so far.  The situation is dynamic, so if you have thoughts or suggestions, please pass them along via comments, email, or the “Contact” page of this website.


I’m brand new at blogging.  I want something where I can achieve an aesthetically pleasing result with the minimum amount of effort, but have flexibility to learn and add more later.  I want it to be under and not as a subdomain of Blogspot, SquareSpace, etc..  For now I don’t care about having more than a blog on the website, although I am going to want email (

Nice to have features would include the ability to have users sign up for email updates, keep lists of those who sign up, and have portions of the site password protected.

Tools and Hosting

I needed to make a few decisions to get started:

  1. Domain Name
  2. Host
  3. Blogging Platform

Domain Name:  I have several domain names with Network Solutions and for ease of management that seemed to be the obvious choice.  So, after checking out some of the sites I wanted to look at (Blogger, SquareSpace) which offered free domain names with 1 year subscriptions, I chose not to mess with success and got the domain through Network Solutions.  Other folks like GoDaddy, but I've had no experience with them.

Host & Blogging Platform:  If you choose Blogger or SquareSpace then your host and your platform (the tools you use to create the blog) are the same.  That is, the tools are integrated into the hosting site and are ready for you to create your blog!

If you choose to use something like WordPress you will also need to choose a web hosting site where your blog will reside.  In my case this could be Network Solutions, where my domains are registered, or one of thousands of sites which provide web hosting services, like BlueHost, GoDaddy, DreamHost, etc.

Choices, Choices


Click to read more ...

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