Tag Archives: Security

Important Software Updates

Krebs on Security posted on several important software updates last week. (It’s a well-written blog, and very accessible to the average user. Highly recommended.)
Microsoft issued an Emergency fix for IE 6 & 7. Even if you don’t use IE, you still need this because some of the programs Windows uses (e.g. Windows Update) make use of IE.
Apple also published a pretty Huge Mac OSX update. Some of these security problems go back to 2003.
And if you use anything with Java (e.g. OpenOffice.org), there’s an update for that which covers 27 different issues.

World's Most Dangerous Meme

I just ran across a meme that leaves me breathless. I can’t decide whether the guy who came up with it is an absolute idiot, or a criminal genius.
In case you’ve somehow missed out on this craze (in which case, I’m deeply jealous), a reasonable colloquial definition of a “meme” is that it’s a series of questions that you’re supposed to answer and either reply back to everyone on the email you received it in (plus perhaps everyone you know) or, more recently, post the answers on your blog and encourage others to copy and answer on their own blogs.
Now I’ll admit, I’ve participated in a few of these things, most recently a list of “Have you ever done these things?” but I’m generally reluctant to share much in the way of personal information. (A co-worker recently commented that she knows I take time off from time to time, but never had any idea where I was going.)
This new meme terrifies me. I don’t know whether it originated as email, or in blogs, but what you do is start off with your real name (or perhaps even your full name), and then make up your “Witness Protection Name”, “Nascar Name”, “Stripper Name” and so on. The way you create these names is through various concatenations of the name of your first pet, the name of the first street you lived on, your mother’s maiden name, and various other bits of information that are normally reserved for establishing your identity when you open a bank or credit account.
Armed with that information, a scammer should have no trouble impersonating someone who participated in the meme.
What scares me is that a member of my immediate family fell for this one, which means my identity has been compromised too.
Some days, I truly hate the Internet.