Protecting Yourself Online in 2017

The online world has many different types of dangers, and although you may not be exposed to all of them, it is important to protect yourself.

Identity Theft

The most common danger is having your id or information stolen. This type of identity theft is happening at an increasingly alarming rate. The first preventative step is to prevent publicly putting out any personal information. Anything which could be used to identify you. Some passwords can be reset by answering “security questions” – things you should know, but others wouldn’t. For example, your mother’s maiden name or the first school you went to. If you’re posting on forums, blogs, chat rooms, or news comment sections, you don’t want to reveal too much about yourself. A determined person could look through your comments for ways to steal your identity or passwords.

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A Small World - 19 Click Study

According to a study conducted by Albert-Lasko Barabasi, a Hungarian-based physicist, claims any two pages on the internet are separated by only 19 clicks of the mouse. This equation applies regardless of whether its the most remote location in cyberspace or Facebook. Barabasi estimates that there exists 14 billion web pages on the world wide web. By including images, videos and hosted files to that count, the number becomes 1 trillion documents floating around the web.

This rather shocking discovery regarding our more intimate access to everywhere on the web renders the immensity of cyberspace to something more akin to Mr. Rodgers neighborhood. Based on Barabasi's findings, you are within 19 clicks of reaching any other site on the the internet at any time. For example, contacting that childhood buddy you haven’t seen since the third grade is only 19 click away from you. Although, one's intuition goes counter to the study's findings, the 19 click theory is based more on human behavior than physics.

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Yahoo Goes "On the Air"

Yahoo! has announced its acquisition of OntheAir, a small video chat company. The purchase was made to bolster Yahoo’s position in the burgeoning video chat market. The financial terms of the acquisition were not divulged. OntheAir will become part of Yahoo!’s mobile group. Yahoo stated that its intention is not to offer OntheAir’s existing product, which permits users to host live video conversations. The service was made available to the public on March of 2012.

The purchase is the second acquisition taking place under the auspice of Yahoo’s new CEO, Marissa Meyer. She also spearheaded the purchase of a small mobile app developer called Stamped. The service allowed consumers to share feedback on social experiences such as sharing insight into their favorite restaurants and music venues on their mobile devices.

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Why Change Browser Tabs?

A new Facebook feature permits Facebook fans to chat directly through their Firefox browser. The Facebook Messenger appears on the side of the browser window permitting Facebook fanatics to communicate instantly rather than having to constantly shifting between tabs. The new feature also lets you receive instant notifications in real time.

The Firefox social upgrade is the first step in implementing a new feature called SocialAPI. While Facebook was astute enough to get on board, the Beta program will be available to other social networks such as LinkedIn and Twitter. According to Mozilla, this is just the first step in what will be many enhancements to SocialAPI. The only action required is to download the latest free Firefox and start chatting. Once that is accomplished, just go to your Facebook account and visit www.facebook.com/aboutmessenger-for-firefox. Click onto the green “Turn On” button and the messenger’s sidebar icon will be activated. You are now able to choose among four buttons on the right side of the screen; “Facebook Button”, to access your profile, and “Messages”, “Friends” and “Notifications”. The buttons will work just like the ones on Facebook.

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Is ISP Capping Targeting You?

Do you ever wonder why your internet speed sometimes inexplicitly slows? It may be that your ISP is red flagging you as a broadband hog and is intentionally limiting your transmission speed. Known as a bandwidth cap, the practice is employed by a number of ISP’s when a channel intended to be shared by many users becomes overloaded by a small number of users. Also referred to as a “Fair Access Policy”, the practice serves to conserve bandwidth transmission that is being consumed by even a single heavy user through activities such as file sharing, listening to internet radio or participating in streaming video.

From the ISP’s perspective, the amount of data that can funnel through a particular network is finite, much like water running through a pipe. The diameter of the pipe determines the speed and volume with which the water can flow through it. The ISP’s control what is referred to as the “last mile” of the network. This enables the ISP slow the flow of information that is either entering or leaving that IP address. Sometimes, this is achieved through the modem. Another approach used by ISP’s to cap the amount of broadband used. This is called "bursting" and in this scenario, the ISP administrator establishes a” peak time limit", a “lower sustained limit” and a "credit limit.” Each of these tactics serves to either debit your account for overuse or credit your account for conserving your bytes.

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