Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Podcast 2

Here is the link to my Copyright in the Digital Era Podcast.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Online Privacy

When a celebrity or someone in the media spotlight are admitted into the hospital one of the first deviant acts the paparazzi do is to search for the medical reports, which are usually easy to access online. In a place where one should feel safe, they have to worry about paparazzi searching for any kind of information alluding to why they are in the hospital. Another situation where records are easy access to the public is when one is arrested. These types of situations put people at a high risk for invasion of their own privacy.

People argue all the time that the paparazzi or normal spectators are invading their privacy, but in all actuality up to a certain extent they aren’t. Once a line is crossed that is when privacy invasion occurs. Privacy invasion occurs almost daily when normal citizens go online. This usually happens when one tries to by an item online using their credit card. A similar situation is when one’s bank account is hacked into because the security question and password were easy for a hacker to guess.

The question we ask is how do we protect ourselves from our own information leaking out onto the Internet? Many identities have been stolen from people trusting the sites that they give their credit card numbers to. Others trust their online banks to make sure no one can hack into their bank account and steal their money. There have been many researchers’ to test the methods of how people go about stealing these identities. One of these researchers’ is a Rutgers computer scientist named Danfeng Yao. She and her students came up with a new tactic to help strengthen online privacy and make it more secure.

When most people login to their emails or bank accounts they are asked to enter in their password and answer a few short security questions. These questions usually pertain to something that can be easily remembered but also easily guessed by a hacker. In an article called Computer Scientists Work To Strengthen Online Security, Yao talks about her new form of questions to be asked when signing onto an account online. She states, “We call them activity-based personal questions, sites could ask you, 'When was the last time you sent an e-mail?' Or, 'What did you do yesterday at noon?’” Studies from this research have shown that the harder the questions are the less likely the potential intruders will be able to answer them right. Yao said, "We want the question to be dynamic, the questions you get today will be different from the ones you would get tomorrow."

With Yao’s tactic in place, the hope is that the hundreds of online privacy attacks a day will be narrowed down and the number of people’s identities that are stolen a day will be lessened. My view is that everyone should do their part in making it harder for hacker’s to steal their identities. They should make their passwords and security questions something that they will only know and understand. Once that happens, I am sure we will see once again that people can have privacy online.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Conflict in the Digital Age

When most of the U.S. thinks of conflict in the cyber world they probably think about people sending hate e-mails to each other or putting advertisements out on the web that reflect the other’s business or company in a bad light. What the average citizen doesn’t know is that our government is attacked on a daily basis by other countries and by terrorists inside our own country with cyber warfare. The U.S. government has been building a team over the years of people that are extremely knowledgeable in the area of cyberspace and cyber warfare.

The Pentagon is looking to put forth a new strategic military plan so that the armed forces will be prepared to begin offensive and defensive computer warfare in cyberspace. In an article titled Pentagon Plans New Arm to Wage Cyberspace Wars David Sanger wrote, “Mr. Obama, officials said, will announce the creation of a White House office that will coordinate a multibillion-dollar effort to restrict access to government computers and protect systems that run the stock exchanges, clear global banking transactions and manage the air traffic control system.” The hopes with the new White House office, is that it will become more aware of the thousands of cyber attacks against the United States.

It is yet undecided whether the National Security Agency or the new military command will team up together or only one of them will be assigned to the duty of offensive cyber operations. Sanger wrote, "It is a recognition that the United States already has a growing number of computer weapons in its arsenal and must prepare strategies for their use — as a deterrent or alongside conventional weapons — in a wide variety of possible future conflicts.” In 1998, to prevent the U.S. and Nato planes from being attacked the U.S. hacked into the Serbian Air traffic control and deterred the Serbian planes from attacking our own.

One half of the cyber attacks originate from inside the U.S. It has been said that cyber war games are available to various age ranges and when playing them it is like being in a real battlefield situation. So who is to say that when some of those kids get older and more intelligent, some might get really upset with the government and take their knowledge of cyber warfare and try to use it on the U.S. government. Other attacks on the cyber world of our government are from foreign countries trying to terrorize our government. If the new White House office helps prevent these attacks from happening I am all for it. We need to keep our government safe from these attacks so that the citizens of the United States can be safe.