|USA Edition||Today Is Thursday December 12th, 2013|
|We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob - Franklin Delano Roosevelt|
|Browsing Essays Section||Organized In Date Order||[ 69 items ]|
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Did you know that software vendors who you permit to update their product on your computer have full and unbridled access to anything and everything on your device? Or that automated software upgrades may add new features you neither know about nor understand without your permission or acknowledgement? Or, as is now common, to include stealth software that you must specifically disapprove at time of installation and/or update?
You depend upon your workstation, smartPhone, tablet or laptop device to serve your needs and safeguard your private information, communications and activities. That era ended a decade ago when nearly every computing device became a ‘cooperative’ software client in the dangerous wild-west environment we know as the Internet.
What began as a cost-saving feature for legitimate software providers including Microsoft, Apple and others, was equally a convenience to billions of end users whose cooperative operating systems and applications software could be automatically updated — usually during the night-cycle.
The deal was a tradeoff that opened cooperative computing devices to unmonitored meddling, tweeking, search event capturing, message logging and data mining in exchange for convenient and automated software updates.
Automated software updates made it faster and easier for operating systems and applications software publishers to fix code segments to improve hacker defense security or other programmatic errors. When automated overnight software maintenance began it was advantageous to everyone. It was also safe from outside meddling.
Even today when your device comes alive during the night cycle, the operating system updates are safely executed by and between publisher update servers and every individual user device.
The risk is not the device, but the humans who use them — and their appetite for anything and everything that interests them. Especially anything free, or easy, or sexy, or popular.
The operating system is intended protect against cookies — but humans are not. So cookie installation by hundreds or thousands of yet unknown websites is made possible once the cookie door is open. Cookies that track your activities, log or transmit information to others are common. Legitimate cookies make your online experience better. Illegitimate cookies, especially those foisted upon your device by criminals and hackers, compromise your privacy, or worse.
Technical sharpies, evildoers and criminals took note. Nearly every device in use today is susceptible to cookie infestation — and ripe to download anything and everything that’s free on the Internet.
The weak link in the privacy and security chain is not technical. It’s human.
Undefended Digital Devices
Cooperative software was a major step forward in software maintenance that saved Microsoft and others billions of dollars in releasing and production costs for CD based updates — sometimes called Service Packs. But equally important, cooperative software enabled automatic online updating and installation, sharply reduced the skill level required to use high-tech digital systems by supporting automatic updating that required no knowledge or intervention by device owners or users.
Cooperative software development was a win-win advancement in software maintenance and security system support in the sense that it provided significant new advantages to both software publisher and end user.
Unfortunately, cooperative software opened the doors to corruptive software — programs easily piggy-backed on legitimate download activities meant to install and operate absent the knowledge or approval of owner/users.
The mechanisms that make possible legitimate software maintenance and extension provide the means of self-installation and/or authentication sufficient to enable malfeasance, criminal importuning, privacy invasion, information theft, or outright government(s) sponsored spying.
Corruptive software, the kind that is now easily and routinely installed on your computing device absent your knowledge or permission, came into existence about the time you first heard about cloud computing – a term meant to make virtual computing facilities more fanciful and less threatening.
While there is nothing threatening in virtual computing systems, the misapplication of the term cloud computing, or in the cloud, etc., makes the absolute identification peer-to-peer connection underlying the Internet anonymous. People who would not deposit five dollars in a bank absent FDIC guarantees willingly deposit their most private information absent any governmental regulation or statements of responsibility.
Where there is anonymity there is no responsible party, no fiduciary relationship, no accountability for information safety defined in terms of privacy, interdiction or exposure.
Use of cloud computing services ( SkyDrive, and every other free storage or sharing service, for example ) puts your information at immense risk of interception, theft or alteration whether in-transit or at points of on-line storage. These risks effectively go away where a commercial operator ( A SaaS [ Software as a Service ] provider, for example ) accepts full responsibility for encoded transmission of data and off-line data storage.
Whether your Internet connected device is desktop or mobile, its security and your privacy are no longer under your control.
The types of programs that AdwCleaner targets are typically bundled with free programs that you download from the web.
In many cases when you download and install a program, the install will state that these programs will be installed along with the program you downloaded.
Unless you perform a Custom install, these unwanted programs will automatically be installed on your computer leaving you with extra browser toolbars, adware, and other unwanted programs.
AdwCleaner is designed to search for and remove these types of programs.
Unless you’re a techie professional you may believe that cloud computing sites and services are resources available exclusively for client ( your ) use.
There are a some safe, reliable and legitimate cloud based server operations, but most are unsafe and/or illegitimate in the sense that absent your express knowledge and consent they improperly and intentionally install corruptive software and/or cookies whose purpose is to surreptitiously extract information about you and your device for use and/or resale to others.
When you agree to participate in a cloud-based program or activity where some of your information, files or owned content is held by others at undisclosed places under the control of unidentified organizations and connected to the Internet by means you do not understand based on security policies you’d likely find scandalously inadequate.
What do you do when you see a mandatory cookie notice atop a new site? The notice says that your use of the site gives the owner permission to install cookies on your device absent any explanation of what such cookies do for you, or on behalf of the site owner, or third parties who remain unidentified. Cookies are sometimes very helpful and always extremely dangerous. And unregulated.
We’re lulled into this sort of permission giving without understanding in part because software vendors and their lawyers long ago made us agree to long legal documents we could neither understand nor question before installing essential software on our devices or workstations.
Every time you clicked on the accept box having not read a single word of the license agreement, you saved yourself many hours of painful and fruitless reading. Nobody reads the agreements which is why they still exist.
Imagine, for a moment, had those unwilling to read the agreements, or unable to understand the terms or implications therein, chose to not install, but to return the software. Were that the case, there would be no time of installation agreement demands, nor would the software business depend on its unbridled right to do anything and everything they damn well please simply because you wanted to benefit from the published and promoted features of the software.
How many times have you approved the download and installation of some seemingly free software tool — perhaps a browser, a media player, toolbar or necessary add-on program like a PDF viewer, or Java emulator only to find one of the benefits of what appears to be free software is eternal automatic updates?
Did you know that software vendors who you unknowingly permit to update their product on your computer have full and unbridled access to anything and everything on your device? Or that automated software upgrades may add new features you neither know about nor understand without your permission or acknowledgement? Or, as is now common, to piggy-back while downloading stealth software that you must specifically disapprove at time of installation and/or update to avoid?
How many times have you updated software that required your involvement in the process for routine updates to things like PDF viewers to Java platforms? What you were not told is that updates are marketing opportunities.
Only last week I was interrupted in other work by an automated software update for a browser support application ( media player ). The sudden demand to install not only interrupted my work, the automated installation and update required a reboot — no matter the state of other work. In my irritation I failed to note that unless I specifically marked certain add-on software not be downloaded that it too would be piggy-back downloaded and installed.
Without my knowledge, software which I did not want and which required my administrative system skills to remove and clean up, suddenly appeared on the host computer. Such behavior and trickery is criminal, but not yet unlawful.
Microsoft is so deeply entrenched in the automated software updating service that Windows has become vulnerable to malware, stealth cookies and obfuscatory update schemes by anyone who installs wanted program or update.
Permitting Microsoft to update your software absent any disclosure of how or why is troubling in spite of the company’s legitimate technical reasons for doing so. MS has earned our confidence.
But even Microsoft provides no explanation about what features or functions change. What new risks are created?
Opponents argue that whatever any software provider inserts or deletes from their code to the provider’s benefit, but not necessarily ours.
There are no laws against piggy-back downloads, unwanted software installation, key-logging programs, data-mining modules, advertising tag generation, or cookies that share your private information with certain websites absent your knowledge, control, or permission.
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