Welcome to the Nov 29, 2014 issue of
CompuNerds.Net-News
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TODAY'S TOPIC - THE INTERNET OF THINGS

The Internet of ThingsSo far we've experienced the information revolution in the military, government, business and social spheres. Notice that I listed "military" first: the earliest application for electronic computing was calculating the trajectories of artillery shells for more accurate aiming, then came intelligence gathering and collating this data into useful information about a real or potential enemy's strategies and tactics: this was over 50 years ago when I was first exposed to computers. Along with that came government census-taking to chart the population's characteristics and predict its growth or decline.

Business first used computers for accounting applications to quickly report on companies' finances and inventories, but soon it moved from reporting what had happened to controlling what was about to happen: improving cash flow by instantly drawing from customers' bank accounts instead of sending invoices and waiting for checks to clear, and controlling the assembly lines using "Just In Time" predictive inventory control and robotics. Now we're in the age of social networking: email, text messages, smartphones, Skype, etc. The Next Big Thing is The Internet of Things


THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice there is. - Yogi Berra


What is The Internet of Things? As the above photo illustrates, it's connecting of all sorts of things - including your body - to the Internet. No doubt you've seen or heard about the new smartwatches that run Google's or Apple's operating systems and do everything from monitoring your body temperature, heart rate, the number of steps you take and your location, to reporting the latest news, delivering emails and text messages, social network feeds... they even tell you the time of day! But there are also microchips the size of a grain of rice that are implanted under the skin to perform many of the above tasks, tiny cameras the size of a pill or smaller that you swallow so that doctors can see what's going on in your GI tract, Internet-connected cameras on drones, infant monitoring and home security systems, self-driving cars, grocery-ordering fridges and cupboards and so many other Internet-connected things that the techie-types are dreaming up, and even more they haven't thought of yet.


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The Security Blurb:
In the article Help for picking your next anti-malware tool we read: "four of five Internet-connected households in the U.S. are at risk of attack via their WiFi-equipped router (DNS hijacking)." Cyber-crooks can easily pull off Domain Name System (DNS) hijacking because most people either use the default password that their router is shipped with, or use weak passwords such as "123456" or "qwerty" or "password" or other easily-guessed passwords such as common dictionary words. If your router's SSID (home network name) is "Netgear" or ""2Wire100," etc., this identifies the manufacturer, so the cyber-crook simply tries the default passwords for that manufacturer. Also, the older WEP encryption is easily cracked, and even the newer WPA and WPA2 encryption can be cracked if people use easily-guessed passwords. So you need a random string of letters and numbers for a secure password.

All this is good advice, but then the author suggests: "For safekeeping, write the password down on a small piece of paper and tape it to the bottom or back of your router. That way you'll never lose it." What??! I can hardly believe a computer specialist would write such nonsense! If a burglar, a nosey friend or guest wanted to hack into your home network, that's the first place they'd look. A much better, more secure method is to use a password vault program such as LastPass to generate and store secure passwords for your router and websites that require logins.


The goal of our CN.Net-News is to share information that we think you'll find helpful as you wrestle with that little monster on your desk or at your side, your computer, tablet or phone. And we aim to present this information from a Christian worldview. Thanks for your time!

Best regards,

"Dr. Bob the CompuNerd"

Robert D hoskEN
See the "nerd" in my name? (It helps if you're a little dyslexic!)
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