PC – SOS

An Internet Security Blog

Archive for November, 2010

Thank You WikiLeaks

Posted by Bob Zenith on November 29, 2010

Many of you have already heard of the situation going on with WikiLeaks this week. To summarize: somehow, someway, WikiLeaks got a hold of confidential government documents and published them online.

Disregard whether what WikiLeaks is doing is ethical or not for a moment. Whether or not you agree or disagree with it, WikiLeaks has recently leaked thousands of documents, mostly from the U.S. government. My question is, how did they do it?

Does no one find it odd, even a little bit scary that somehow a website with limited resources has been able to get a hold of and publish confidential documents? Although it is not known how WikiLeaks has been able to get a hold of the documents (who their source is), it still begs the question, what kind of data protection is the U.S. government using? Obviously, their current protection is inadequate, to say the least.

Luckily, due to this situation, the U.S. government is now reviewing their security parameters and, hopefully, increase them substantially so that these types of documents don’t get into the wrong hands.

Okay, now a bit into the politics of this issue.

The Obama administration argues against what WikiLeaks is doing because:

the disclosures could endanger lives, damage trust among U.S. allies, impinge on anti-proliferation efforts and undermine U.S. military and counterterrorism efforts.

Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40422504/ns/us_news-security/

Okay, a couple of things about this. One, if you are doing something that could potentially damage trust among allies of the United States, why are you doing it in the first place? If no one knows about it, does that make it okay? Of course not.

Secondly, if these documents are really such a big deal (“endanger lives”, “undermine U.S. military and counterterrorism efforts”), then why were WikiLeaks able to get access to them in the first place? Someone, somehow, was able to access these confidential documents, which shows how poor the government’s security measures are. They need to overhaul their security measures to make sure this never happens again.

Well, whether you agree with what WikiLeaks is doing or not, you have to thank them for essentially forcing the government to take a serious look at their outdated security measures.

Do you agree with what WikiLeaks is doing? Do you agree we should thank them? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Posted in Data Security | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

New Look

Posted by Bob Zenith on November 17, 2010

Well, I’ve been messing around with PC-SOS’s source code (or as much of it as I have access to…) in order to try to get it to validate, and it appears I have changed something major, because the blog has a totally new look! So, until I can undo what I did (which might take awhile, because I have no idea what I changed…), this will be the blog’s [temporary] new look.

I’ll update when I get it reverted back to its original theme.

/Update: Fixed the error; the blog is back to normal 🙂

Posted in Site Updates | 3 Comments »

A wonderful alternative to Adobe Reader

Posted by Bob Zenith on November 7, 2010

Ok, how many of you are tired of all the 0-day adobe reader exploits we’ve been hearing about? How many of you are tired of Adobe Reader altogether?

I’ve just found a great alternative to Adobe Reader, SumatraPDF

What makes Sumatra PDF so great? Well, two things, mainly. First, Sumatra is completely Open Source (source code available here), and it is very lightweight (only 2 MB, compared to Adobe Reader’s 38 MB). It’s final install size is ~4 MB, while Adobe Reader’s ~143 MB.

Although SumatraPDF doesn’t have all of the fancy capabilities of Adobe Reader, it is fine for the average user. The only thing I use Reader for was to open and read PDF files, which Sumatra also does.

I highly recommend giving this program a try – it is a wonderful alternative to the heavily exploited Adobe Reader

Posted in Misc. | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Twitter Placing Ads in our Tweets?

Posted by Bob Zenith on November 3, 2010

Everyday,  more and more companies go over to the “dark” side of privacy. This week, the company was Twitter.

It appears that Twitter is now slipping in “promoted tweets” into tweet streams of those who are using HootSuite. Twitter has said that if all goes as planned, they will soon be expanding these ads to the general population of Twitter users (i.e. those not using HootSuite).

So, what’s the problem, you ask? Well…

[This practice is] invasive and unethical. It is also not uncommon for malicious links to be contained within adverts and I for one do not want to be a hoster for this, knowingly or not.

Source: Spudz (forum post)

This wouldn’t be as big as a deal as it is if it was an opt-in or opt-out scenario. In a perfect world, this service would be opt-in, so unless we choose to do so, ads would not be put in our Tweets. However, even if this was not instituted, there should still be an option to opt-out of receiving these “promoted” Tweets.

Oh, and what’s wrong with putting a little [Paypal] donation box on Twitter? Its much less invasive, and I’m sure they’ll still get a lot of money.

Posted in Misc. | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »