‘Clickjacked’ in the blink of an eye

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Imagine if, while you were merrily surfing on the net, someone figured out how to take your next mouse click and repurpose it for whatever he wanted. Say, for instance, you pointed your mouse to a link for a news article that caught your eye, but when you clicked the link, you landed on a Web site designed to trash your Web browser. You just got clickjacked.

It’s like signing your name blindfolded, not realizing someone slipped another piece of paper between your pen and the desk, intercepting your signature.

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Yes, it could happen to you

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The hacked Yahoo account of Republican vice presidential candidate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin topped tech news for a week and I’m certain we’ve not heard the last of it. The story has stirred talk of online security, lurking knots of curious crackers (“criminal hackers” — not all hackers fit that description, you know) and the wisdom of using personal accounts for nonpersonal purposes.

Aside from the political implications of this event, the questions that should be foremost in your mind are simple: Could it happen to me? Could my online accounts be compromised? Could I wake up one morning to discover that someone has posted the contents of my Inbox out onto the wild, wild Web?

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Google’s multi-tool mentality

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I remember when Google was simply a search engine. For me, it quickly filled a need I hardly realized I had. At the time, I frequently found myself torn between multiple search engines such as Yahoo, Dogpile, and Ask Jeeves (before Ask.com gave Jeeves the boot).

Then there was Google, with its simplistic front page and lightning-fast search results. I learned a few good Web-searching techniques and started finding almost anything I looked for.

Anyone who is much of a Google fan will tell you: Google is much more than a search engine.

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Wherever you go, there you are

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It’s Saturday. You drove into the office today even though it’s beautiful outside. Your spouse gave you a dirty look when you said you weren’t quite sure when you’d be home. One of your kids gave you the stink eye. For one reason or another, there’s something you’ve got to get done, and everything you need is on your work PC. You pull on a pair of shorts and a ball cap — no way in hell you’re wearing office clothes on a Saturday— and slowly pull away from your home, forlorn.
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New Photo Gallery!

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I’ve been thinking about it for a while, and I’m finally adding a photo gallery into WritersCafe.net.  Think about it – what cafe have you ever gone to where there wasn’t artwork on the walls?

You’ll find it above.  Right up there.  It says “Photo Gallery.”  (I’m pointing up, in case you can’t see me.  If you’re reading this via RSS, you’re really not going to get what I’m talking about.  Sorry.)

For now the gallery page will just open itself into a new window.  I’ll explore better ideas soon.  Really, the idea finally just kicked me in the pants and said “now.”  The software to support it was installed less than an hour ago.

(I’m trying to say – this is all a really fresh idea.)

There’s only one picture there as I write this.  One.  Nothing much to raise much of a ruckus about, but I was excited that it’s there, whether or not it’s fall-down-spectacular.  (I really like that one picture, though, and I’m glad it’s the first.)

Giving Vista another chance

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You shouldn’t be too closed-minded in the tech world. I try to keep an open mind when new versions of my favorite operating systems are released. Once upon a time, I had been excited about Windows Vista when it was still in beta testing. Near Vista’s release date, I installed a “release candidate” (one of the final testing versions) on my laptop and primary desktop computer.

Aside from the slick new interface and a few new features (like “Instant Search”) to drool over, my experience wasn’t wonderful. Boot-up times were sluggish. Programs took an eternity to load. Resuming from standby was torture. It wasn’t a difficult decision to remove it and wallow contentedly in the stability and friendliness of Windows XP.

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Windows ‘service packs’ and why you want them

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If you use Windows XP and you’ve turned on “Automatic Updates,” you already know that Microsoft sends updates for Windows fairly often. Aside from “Update Tuesday,” the second Tuesday of every month when Microsoft releases important security-related updates, other patches and bug fixes trickle down throughout the month as well.

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Summer’s almost over, but phishing season has just begun

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Some people are relentless. They want access to your personal bank accounts, your credit cards, your e-mail addresses, your user names and passwords. It never stops. Just because you’ve got your computer locked down and bulletproof, don’t underestimate the subtle attacker who politely rings the doorbell and waits for you to open the door yourself.

This week, we’re going phishing.
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Your memory is not what you think

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This week I’d like to dispel a common misconception about two distinctly different pieces of standard computer hardware — that the two ways that your computer stores data are the same.

Technicians and marketers often assume the public understands when it comes to RAM and hard drives, so the terms get tossed around without much explanation. Let’s clear this up.

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So glad I didn’t fall in love with iPhone

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I’ve watched in amazement as good friends ran alongside the ever-moving iPhone train, grappled with the rushing behemoth, then jumped on board.  Ever since, I’ve continued to see more and more flaws and failures in the iPhone and bundled/add-on applications.

Now it seems that Apple can decide to disable applications you purchased legally through their Apple Store.  One minute it works, the next, poof.  I’ve read stories about legitimate apps appearing, then disappearing (then reappearing, then re-disappearing) from the Apple Store.  I’ve read about MobileMe, and even how Jobs himself isn’t impressed with how Apple has handled this product.

All I know is, I’m happy to have grabbed my Palm Centro for $99 when I did.  Otherwise I might have heard the siren song – big touchscreen, elegant phone, beautiful colors, neato features.  I can see the appeal, but for all the hassle?  Not worth it for me.

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