Just Under The Surface

Why I Think Everyone Should Secure Their Computer

So many people I talk to comment that they aren’t worried about someone breaking into their computer because they have nothing of value stored on it.

This morning by 8:25 a.m. over 140 illegal attempts were made to login to one of my websites, just one of the sites. Logging in to my website would allow the intruder to install software on the host’s server. Each of these attempts was made from a different computer in Russia. It isn’t always Russia though, often a deluge of attempted break-ins comes from computers anywhere in the world, even in the United States, and a few from Canada.

The 140 attempts from Russia could easily have been all from the same hacker, trying their luck to break into the server where my sites reside. There are many businesses on the server where my sites reside, with sensitive information in some of the databases. I would hate to think that my site provided a portal for Russian hackers to break into North American business databases. It could happen, I do everything within my limited power and experience to prevent it from happening.

The 140 attempts, from 140 different IPs (computers), most likely used “zombies” to attempt to break-in to my site and my host’s server. Those “zombies” are probably unprotected home computers, with nothing worth stealing on them. But they are useful, they provide an anonymous platform for hackers to break into systems around the world.

There is no outward indication that any of these break-in attempts has occurred. I only know about them because I have installed software that monitors this kind of activity. If I hadn’t installed the software, and monitored the reports, I wouldn’t know anyone was trying to break-in to my sites until they were already there, and possibly not even then. Occasionally they do get in, and they rewrite obscure web pages with their own code, but so far my software has let me know which files they have altered, so that I can replace them with an uncompromised version of the file.

And just in time to make my point, I discovered a record of an incident where another user on my server had tried to access my blog to make changes to it. I recorded all of the relevant information and sent it in to the system administrator at my web host. They researched it and indeed, they found malicious script on the server (not in my account on the server). Another customer had bee hacked, the malicious code added to a file, which allowed his account to be used by the hackers to attempt to break into other accounts. The malicious code has been eliminated now, it was causing me all sorts of grief, which is why I noticed it in the first place.

I believe in firewalls, anti-virus protection, malware protection, and secure passwords on home computers, for all internet activities.

https://www.prageru.com/courses/environmental-science/what-they-havent-told-you-about-climate-change

Having studied climate at university level for three years, it is my opinion that this video represents a sane approach to change. I have some concerns about human activity and climate, but they are not contradicted by Patrick Moore’s outline of our limited understanding of climate and change.

First Negative Experience on Kijiji

Last week I had my first bad experience on Kijiji, with a male white collar worker from Kingston, Ontario, who emailed me from his place of employment. My ad was offering an item for free. At first the exchange seemed legitimate, as he arranged to pick up the item at our house, it is too big for us move anywhere. Then he did not show up, nor did he contact us to let us know he was not coming. Then he arranged to pick it up a second time, and again he did not show up, nor did he contact us to let us know he was not coming. By that time I had decided not to deal with him anymore, and regretted trusting him with our address. I sent him an email to tell him the item was no longer available. He wrote back again, asking me to contact him if it became available again! Pretty audacious, and smooth. This individual is very comfortable, and I would guess experienced, at toying with people, and it seems he does it for sport. I wonder what else he does for sport, he seems like someone who is not an asset to his community.

The item will eventually go to someone who legitimately wants or needs it. For now, the ads are down.

The weather continues warm and rainy and grey. However, with our Christmas lights glowing, and the aroma of freshly baked cookies floating through the house, the weather is hardly noticable.

Our car is on recall, we just got the letter yesterday. I will have to make the effort to make an appointment and get it to the dealership to address the issue. I am very glad I thought to call Toyota and provide them with my change of address.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

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2 Responses to Just Under The Surface

  1. TopsyTurvy (Teri) says:

    We have a firewall on our computers, fortunately. Also, having been on the internet since 1993, I’m very aware of how to stay away from viruses and malware. I haven’t had a virus in maybe 8 or 9 years. But the hits you’re getting are frightening. It makes me wonder what kind of security they have on the company where I store and edit my website. I use a very high value password on that site but I wonder about the site itself.

    Sorry to hear about your negative experience on kijiji. I’ve had the same kind of experience. Fortunately, it’s only happened twice.

    Between wrapping the last of the extended family presents and making perogies, we also didn’t notice the weather. Not until DH went to walk the dog and got caught in a sudden downpour. We were very glad that it was so warm out.

    Forgot to put this in my journal… DH had to bring his car in as the hood latch had failed and he needed to add oil to the engine. $140 later a work around cable has been added to the grill of the car. When he was in the accident last year the car wasn’t repaired correctly and the fender would have had to be removed and replaced to fix it, to the tune of $700. No way we could do that. It was too bad it wasn’t properly handled by the shop that handled the repair to begin with.

    While DH had the car being fixed they also handled some recall work for him that had to do with faulty lights on the car.

  2. Teri, the hackers from other parts of the world are relentless. I use the free versions of security software on the server, but it takes a lot of work and diligence to keep an eye on things. Finding a breach where my site is hosted was interesting, as it was the first time I’ve seen a breach with them, they are very conscientious.

    One of my sites seems particularly interesting to hackers who use Russian and Ukrainian zombies, I am not sure why. Whoever is trying to hack the site is very determined, and has code residing on hundreds of zombie computers.

    The Kijiji experience was disappointing. I will continue to use ads in future but will be extremely reticent about arranging pickups in future.

    We too are getting occasional downpours, which I haven’t noticed much because I haven’t been getting out for my walks. I am hoping that the shopping trips, which involve a lot of walking and standing, will be a sufficient substitute until I get back into my routines.

    I don’t like taking the car into the dealership, they are always trying to “upsell” service. Now that our warranties are no longer valid, we will be taking our vehicles to a local mechanic who has a reputation for only fixing what needs fixing, and doing it right.