Why A Systems Flush Is Your Friend

Folks who’ve followed my exploits for a while will know that I use an UN-Godly number of different computers, operating systems, browsers even ISP connections (my use of public WiFi and a HotSpot). I know many think “way too complicated” or “must have a compulsion or something”.

Well, no.

I’d love to just have one laptop that I used forever and never change. It would be a lot less work. Unfortunately, life doesn’t let me do that. In many cases, the reason comes down to privacy vs tracking. Security by Obscurity and frequent flushing of bits to assure the flow is away from me and there’s some hope for a little peace, quiet, and privacy.

So about every 3 or 4 months you will see an article about some new SBC (Single Board Computer) I’ve bought and set up. Or an old “junker” that I’ve brought back from the dead. In between those, there will be articles about this or that different operating system installed, or maybe a comment about using at least 3 browsers on every system. The occasional complaint that I’ve lost track of all the systems I run or where some particular web page was kept open. In short, it’s a movable feast ( or rotating the shields to try to keep the Borg out…)

For example, the Mac I’m typing this on right now. I’ve had 2 different OS installs on it in about a year. I’m in the process of implementing a whole new micro-SD chip with a fresh install. (Well, “in the process” is a bit much. I bought the chip and have it in the carrier ;-) Inside a week or two I’ll be running on a brand new installation of a clean OS, fresh browser install, the whole nine yards.

I’ll scrape any files from this chip that I want to keep (any pdf or .img downloads, or screen caps on the desktop) and put them in a file archive (removable disk). Then create anew my preferred account name on the new chip. NOT brought forward will be any malware, beacons, cookies, etc. etc. scattered in the account or system.

Now this isn’t perfect. Some folks have started using the list of WiFi spots you’ve ever connected to, to finger you. Well 3 will be enough for me (home, Florida Friend, Niece) I’m the only overlap of those three. I’ll also lose the saved passwords to their WiFi (so will need to beg them again when I visit next). Not a major problem, just a petty annoyance.

On my desktop there are 2 SBCs I use most of the time for general browsing and email that gets saved (i.e. not just the browser interface). One is used about 30% of the time, the other, for one or two days a week. Then there are a few other system images used when I want to know I’m not leaving too many bread crumbs… So it works out to be sort of like:

1) Private system – no internet use, no email.
2) Communications system – internet, email, no private things.
3) Special Use system chips – Tor, router, bills – financial, browsing “risky” places, …
4) Wide Open Web Use – At the moment, the Mac laptop. Disposable at will. NEVER used for anything at all private. Only connection to the “home network” is via the telco router. Essentially my “public face” seen at public WiFi too.

There’s a usage habit wall between those systems. They don’t get to share much…

The YouTube Example

So one example of why, in a trivial way, is the use of YouTube on the TV sets. The LG TV says “I’m Smart!”… but that’s a relative judgment. It does have apps on it. One of them is YouTube. I have 3 Roku devices now. (Living room, bed room, office – though the office one claims to be by the pool outdoors. Why? They let me give the description ;-) Each Roku has a YouTube app.

These YouTube Apps are NOT as robust as the computer apps. They are designed to not need a keyboard, so a lot less “type something in and search”. You can do it, but painful… Instead, they offer things they think you might like based on profiling you. Except it doesn’t get much to go on as my TV doesn’t get the smarts used hardly at all (Roku is smarter and faster with many more choices) and near as I can tell the Roku is NOT sharing thing like what I watched. At least not with YouTube (Google / Alphabet…).

Now add in that I watch all 4 different YouTube instances at various times (along with using the Chromebox when I want more selectivity via keyboard, bookmarks, and a big screen, and the Mac when I just want a quick look for something…) we’re talking 6 different “Me” profiles.

What makes this fun is that on each, I tended to pick a different “First Thing” when I first was given a list of “what’s trending”. That, then, started the Stereotyping Du Jour on each App. It kept giving me more “in that mode” and I’d tend to watch more of “that thing”. There may also be some bias based on when I’m in each room and what I’m feeling like when in that room, but who knows.

The bottom line is the TV App thinks I’m “Way into Aviation”. Lots and Lots of aviation stuff. The Bedroom Roku YouTube just knows I’m interested in all things cultural and historical. Greeks and Ted Talks and how Antarctica formed. The Livingroom Roku is sure I’m interested in all things Military. Guns, ships, explosions… The Chromebox clearly thinks it knows me best – it offers lots and lots of music videos. Madona, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Sia. Then I drive it a bit around the bend with a bunch of stuff in other languages. Mostly Spanish and Portuguese, but the odd run into Slavic and German and more… So it’s a little unsure on my language preferences. I’m particularly fond of some Shakira songs in Spanish – just better than the English ones IMHO.

Since that’s where I watch music videos, it’s sure I’m a teens or 20 something Latin guy. (Oddly, between that, and watching some Spanish Language TV on the Roku, AT&T has started showing me ads in Spanish – but ONLY on that TV!)

The one in the office is still trying to figure me out (it’s relatively new and not used often) while the Mac is a bit schtizo. I use it a lot of R&D for postings, so all sorts of strange stuff gets looked at, but rarely what would be called “typical entertainment”.

I mention all this for 3 reasons:

1) Realize YOUR YouTube experience will be far different from MY YouTube experience. Or even your YouTube experience on some new device you bring home…

2) They clearly ARE tracking what gets watched on each device. One must do a “reset” if you ever give the device away or sell it… At some point I’m going to do a reset on one of the Roku sticks, just to see what changes. But that’s a year+ in the future.

3) Polluting the data harvesting stream is your friend and valuable use of your time. At this point, “they” think there are 6 different users living here. A “Dad” into military stuff and machines. A quiet guy, Granddad?, interested in history and things academic including chemistry and geology. A Hispanic young guy with a thing for Shakira. Someone really interested in private planes and aviation, along with stories of strange and unbelievable things (like space aliens visiting). And someone who seems a bit scattered and just pops off into all sorts of random things.

Yet not one of us watches Cat Videos… so we’re really not normal ;-)

Then all of a sudden, some future day, one of them will “wink out” and a new persona will appear….

The Facebook Shaft

So what got me started on this note? Well, I’d been pondering something about the YouTube thing, but wasn’t motivated enough. Then I hit this little gem of a story:

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/04/17/facebook_admits_to_tracking_non_users/

Well, I knew Facebook tracked non-users. I’ve mentioned it here before. But this article gives some nice specifics. If for no other reason that Facebook, you need a separate and distinct “Browser Box” system. It can be as simple as a bootable “Live CD / DVD” link Knoppix, or a unique bootable USB Stick; or as complex and complete as a dedicated laptop or tablet. Just make sure it is somewhere you can periodically flush back to factory spec and not care.

Facebook admits it does track non-users, for their own good

Oh that snitch-code? It’s just a little thing to make the web more convenient … for Facebook and its advertisers

By Richard Chirgwin 17 Apr 2018 at 05:53

Facebook’s apology-and-explanation machine grinds on, with The Social Network™ posting detail on one of its most controversial activities – how it tracks people who don’t use Facebook.
[…]

It’s no real surprise that someone using their Facebook Login to sign in to other sites is tracked, but the post by product management director David Baser goes into (a little) detail on other tracking activities – some of which have been known to the outside world for some time, occasionally denied by Facebook, and apparently mysteries only to Zuck.

When non-Facebook sites add a “Like” button (a social plugin, in Baser’s terminology), visitors to those sites are tracked: Facebook gets their IP address, browser and OS fingerprint, and visited site.

[…]

Yes, even non-Facebook users have their IP, browser type, OS type / release and site cataloged to be used against you.

Now the first thing that ought to light up in your brain is how offensive this is. But the second thing ought to be that by mutating any of those parameters you can “fuzz” your identity in the database and put more crap in it. Things like having 4 browsers used on 3 OS fingerprints makes you 12 DIFFERENT entries. (Assuming you went to some Facebook afflicted site once with each combo). And NONE of them will match the identity of the OTHER system you use to buy things at Amazon or the other other one used to pay bills. Just trying to “connect those dots” will drive their little computer snoop robots around the bend.

Now do it sometimes from 3 or 4 public WiFi spots, occasionally reset your IP Address (leave the Telco router off when you go on vacation, it ought to DHCP a different address on your return). Sometimes use a mobile HotSpot. Swap ISP every year or three… (Oh, and for good measure, try to use machines that finger you as poor and not worth bothering, like a Raspberry Pi or an old Pentium machine some times… ;-)

Facebook denied non-user tracking until 2015, at which time it emphasised that it was only gathering non-users’ interactions with Facebook users. That explanation didn’t satisfy everyone, which was why The Social Network™ was told to quit tracking Belgians who haven’t signed on earlier this year.

Baser gave a pinky-promise that this kind of non-user tracking is all about functionality: “knowing your IP address allows us to send the Like button to your browser and helps us show it in your language. Cookies and device identifiers help us determine whether you’re logged in, which makes it easier to share content or use Facebook to log into another app.”

Don’t ya just love it when someone claims to have never ever done The Very Bad Thing? Don’t ya just hate when they get caught out and have to admit they always did The Very Bad Thing? Don’t ya just want to strangle them when they promise to never again do The Very Bad Thing they promised they didn’t do, but did?

Then there’s the tracking that advertisers perform on behalf of the news-groomer: “An advertiser can choose to add the Facebook Pixel, some computer code, to their site. This allows us to give advertisers stats about how many people are responding to their ads — even if they saw the ad on a different device — without us sharing anyone’s personal information.”

In other words, it’s data-gathering for advertisers, rather than for Facebook: an advertiser who plants the Facebook Pixel on their site gets an easy way to identify someone who bought something, so they can “reach this customer again by using a Custom Audience.”

Have you ever wondered why advertisers think you’re a perpetual customer for a product you just bought? Wonder no more (we’re aware that the Tweet below relates to Amazon, but you get the picture).

“The Facebook Pixel” – what a cute little name for a sneaky spying little weasel of a pixel… And then web sites wonder WHY I run an ad blocker and map their IP address to a black hole. It is NOT just to avoid their obnoxious dancing animated craplets, it is to put their spyware in jail too.

[.. cute little ‘letter to Amazon’ deleted. Hit the link…]

Facebook Analytics, the post said, “gives websites and apps data about how they are used”, with IP addresses offering geolocation, browser/OS fingerprints (developer information, promise!), and cookies dishing up “aggregated demographic information” about site visitors or app users.

The Facebook Audience Network links non-Facebook sites and apps to Facebook advertisers,
and honestly, The Social Network™ only needs all that data it gathers for technical reasons like making sure the ads display correctly (fingerprints again), to encourage victims visitors to sign up to Facebook, and to hammer people with ads for similar products to the advertiser they viewed/clicked on.

If you don’t like all this, it’s your fault: you didn’t use Facebook’s preference menus (until recently hidden as if it were “in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard’”) to manage your news and advertising management.

Neither of which, of course, will be as effective as just blocking Facebook’s cookies. ®

Why I don’t want devices with a GPS in them for my browsing devices. It’s bad enough that the IP fingers my rough county location. I’m in the process of choosing a VPN (yes, a real paid for one with quality and everything) just to fuzz up that information too. Looks like about $4 /month, though as low as $2.75/mo if you buy 3 years in one go..

Now take just a moment to think about what you do.

What are you doing to isolate your web browsing from your email from your private work (taxes, documents)?

What are you doing to dirty the data on your “Fingerprint”? (OS type, Browser type, subtypes of each, release levels, etc.etc.)

What are you doing to dirty the data on your “geolocation”?

What are you doing to dirty the data on your IP address?

What are you doing to dirty the data on your identity or personal characteristics? (Said characteristics can just be what kind of music you like or favorite brand of candy…)

In short: What are you doing to defeat the intrusions into your life and onto your devices?

And that is why I have so many “computers in play” and change the OS types and rotate the browsers and flush the bit with a periodic reset of the account on most of them, and have dedicated machines for different use cases, and have 4 different “Smart TV” devices for 2 people with 6 different YouTube “identities” and never never ever sign up for “accounts” that finger me exactly with such folks. No social media (Facebook / Faceplant, Linked-In, etc.), no YouTube account, no Google Account (well, I had get one to set up the Chromebox, bit it is full of crap answers…)

Is it a royal Pain In The Ass? Yes.

But don’t do it and you get a bigger pain in the ass as they BOHICA you.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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9 Responses to Why A Systems Flush Is Your Friend

  1. John Silver says:

    You could write a windows app that takes care of this, perhaps. Sell it for $, £, €.
    There are other things like WebRTC, WebGL, Flash. You can spoof MAC, browser agent.
    Check on sites like doileak.com.

  2. philjourdan says:

    Ok, so assume I am an idiot. When it comes to social media I am.

    So clicking like on a word press comment (for the users that offer the option) is fed over to Facebook? I am just not getting that part of it.

    But I do vary my browsers (I use 10 different ones) and platforms (less than you do). And do not use social media. I assumed the worst before they admitted it.

  3. ossqss says:

    Wow, quite the process there EM. I do most of my stuff via my note tablet, including control of youtube on TV’s through pairing. That said, I have also gone into the bowels of all apps, browsers etc. and shut down most everything possible that sniffs or tracks. That said, I also periodically do factory resets on my devices and more frequently reboot my ISP device as I do not have a static IP and it changes upon boot. Flushing cookies, rejecting 3rd party cookies in browsers and shutting off history or cleaning it out helps also. Here is a basic example of things you can control that most folks don’t even know or do with just google.

    https://www.lifewire.com/stop-google-from-tracking-your-searches-4123866

    And

    http://www.wired.co.uk/article/google-history-search-tracking-data-how-to-delete

    The above just addresses the google parasitic infections. Many more from all directions exist as EM states, but most can be controlled to a great degree with some simple settings changes if you can find them ;-)

  4. p.g.sharrow says:

    That sounds like you are making more money for FaceBook as they get paid for each identity they sell access to. That also explains their claims to vast numbers of users, every one unique…pg

  5. E.M.Smith says:

    @John Silver:

    IF I used Windows. IF I trusted Windows (or apps on it). As a partial fix. ( I would still be fingered as Windows OS)

    Yes, there’s lots of other things you can do. I just find it easy to “burn a new chip” and go… or put down one device and pick up the next one. So, for example, my Samsung Tablet had been the Starbucks and On The Road wide open browsing device. Then the power cord went intermittent, so charging is a bit iffy. (I’m going to order a new one at some point). It was easy and quick to just promote the “broken MacBook” from “around the house open browsing” to “on the road” too. Someday when the power cord arrives, the Samsung will take back that role – in the process I get a couple of data fudge moments…

    @PhilJourdan:

    When it comes to the traps laid in web pages “We are all idiots”. It is a full time job to keep up with the techniques and methods. ANYTHING you click on (even those obnoxious “click to close” pop-up ads or “advice” boxes) can execute a program doing God only knows what. Yet turn OFF Java Script and some other sites don’t work. The FLASH player is known to have exploits and is being obsoleted, but some sites still use it.

    So just for starters: If you DO NOT turn off Java Script or if you DO run a Flash video, all sorts of stuff can be done on your computer ranging from sucking up a device “Fingerprint” to harvesting your address book to flat out pwing the device. For this reason lots of folks shut off Java Script as a matter of course and HTML5 ( I think it was) was written to kill off Flash.

    Then there are “hot pixels” in some pages where simply “hovering” your mouse over it activates it. So not even clicking, just “sliding by” can “give permission” for that advert ap to start sucking up data or planting trackers on you.

    For cookies we are at last getting notices from some sites that they use cookies to track your visits. This can be a good thing. Like Schwab uses a cookie to know I’ve read their terms of service and not shove it in my face every time I log in to my account. Or it can be evil. Some companies have malware that tries to read all the OTHER cookies on your system and profile you / data mine you. (That’s a case where isolating use cases is very helpful. Having one Debian chip for doing all my financial stuff on all of 3 well known company sites is highly isolated from the other Debian chip used for “browsing random sites for making juicy web articles” and that might land me on some bogus honey pot exploit…)

    Now we’ve got the “Facebook Pixel”. New to me, but it looks like just displaying the image plants either a beacon or a cookie that says “Facebook Ad Was Here”, then future encounters with the ad, or a purchase, get noted and data coughed up. Not too worried as I never buy anything via ads anyway, and do my buying on a different system… so their data is dirty even if they get it…

    There are more than this. I’m only 1/2 educated on the crap done by “web e-commerce” and advert-mal-ware. Basically I reached the point of “Need this to fix it” and then kind of stopped caring about all the variations.

    @Ossqss:

    It isn’t as messy as it sounds. I’m a “computer guy” who likes to tinker anyway. Then note that the use of USB Sticks (or micro-SD cards in a USB adapter) makes having “multi-boot” nearly trivial… It takes me about 20 minutes to make a new “spin”. I make an “exemplar” build (see the various build script postings). Now I can “roll one from scratch” via the script very fast, or in one simple “dd” statement “flash” the exemplar onto a new chip. Essentially resetting it to virgin.

    Swapping chips is just a shutdown and a boot. Trivial.

    I could do it all just on one box if I cared to. It is my interest in SBC based computing that has me using a half dozen different SBCs for various things. Then the MacBook was just reusing what otherwise would hit the landfill / recycle plant. Tablet was bought 4? 5? years ago when on the road and my then laptop “had issues”.

    Basically, about 3/4 of my “boxes” are recycled cast-off from others as they became unusable with the latest Microsoft “whatever”, and some are partial hardware fails for hardware I could work past. Once I’ve “recovered” the box to a workable state, it’s pretty easy to just use it for one thing it’s good at…

    Yes, there’s a lot you can do via settings. BUT it doesn’t catch it all and you are never quite sure how good it is. At the build of the exemplar for any given OS build, I’ll install the browser AND shut off as much crap as I can. That way I don’t need to do that step again on future ‘spins’. Yet cookies accumulate on some uses (like Schwab) and I like using history on others (like ‘where did I see that interesting posting idea?’…) so just shutting them off wholesale has function costs. I just found it easier to isolate and periodically purge than to deal with “lost function for all” and uncertainty.

    Also do remember some of my habits are due to about 35 years of being THE big target. When you are Systems Admin at major companies it is ESSENTIAL that you never ever get your systems compromised. Your career is over if your name is in the paper in a story like “Target suffered a complete theft of customer data. The hackers gained access after breaking into the home computer of the Systems Administrator, Ossqss, and stealing his root passwords and credentials”.

    Spend a few decades with that need, AND with knowing (via logs of attacks) that you ARE under constant attack; well, lets just say the idea of taking 1/2 hour to spin a new OS chip and start from a clean flush is just not a big penalty. Similarly the idea of only trading stocks on one chip and only reading email on another and only browsing on that old recycled laptop, it comes pretty easy.

    @P.G.:

    What Facebook claims and how they choose to lie to investors & advertisers is not my concern. Giving them NO data and assuring any data that does leak is DIRTY and USELESS is my concern. If, eventually, they lay claim to more users than are on the planet, well, the lawyers will be happy ;-)

    As per ME making more money for them. Er, no. I’m just one person. 1 or 6 ‘identity” prints in their data will not shift their income quantity. Only if many millions of folks are doing it. (and most people don’t). So my conclusion would be that they have lousy identity mapping systems with very low QA (and why would they if they get paid for every false identity from bad sorting?…) and any extra money they make is between them as “misleading” and their investors and advertisers as “lambs to the slaughter”… I’m just one guy on the sidelines trying to stay outside the fence…

  6. ossqss says:

    Ha! I completely understand the sys admin thing. I could not imagine having to babysit hundreds if not thousands of folks! Heck I have a difficult enough time just keeping the reigns on my own little network. Especially when friends use it and go places where they should not and I come under assault from not so good intentioned type people in other countries.

    I am sure you have probably had one of those days too, but on a larger scale!

    Queue up Limp Bizkit! ;-)

  7. E.M.Smith says:

    Yeah, had that day more times than I care to think about.

    I’ve already shared the story of the engineer inside the secure part of the network, bitching about a B level exploit on the email server on one of the INSIDE machines, only exposed to authorized engineers like him. It was on our “todo list” for a couple of weeks out (as the priority it deserved…) while we had ongoing real attacks on the gateway, honeypot, and router securing the inside (that were A list tasks…) along with a few hundred new hires all needing “setups” (phone, desktop, some laptops, accounts) or we’d get spanked on day 2 when they were not immediately working… So HE decides to use the exploit (and displaces the password file) causing our alarms to go off (that he didn’t know about) and me to unplug the machine and put his ass in a sling with his boss…

    Then there was the time at a 200 person company where we had a “surprise” addition of about 30 people needing “setups”. At 2 hours ( one for phone alone, the other for desktop build and deliver and accounts) each that’s 60 staff hours. I’ve got 4 staff that do this. That’s 15 hours each. Given any time for checking email, staff meetings, other work, etc. that’s roughly 3 elapsed days. It’s Friday. The new hires show up Monday… The VP is known for bitching at me and my boss if “My people had to sit around doing nothing” because he didn’t tell me more than one work day in advance… At the same time, one Prima Donna Engineer is bitching to the V.P. Engineering that he can’t get his job done because WE can’t give him what he says he ABSOLUTELY needs: a QUAD BOOT PC LAPTOP! (Linux, Win 95, Win NT, something else I forget…) Which configuration was highly prone to crash on boot attempts… Well, I had my best guy drop everything else he was doing and make the laptop go (to shut up the lie that it was the hold up on the engineer failing to do his job) while I put myself on the team with my other 4 desktop folks and added a network guy (despite his protests) to the setups team while we worked 2 x 16 hour days over the weekend… ( I challenged the Phone Guy on his 1 hr/ each so was on his team. It took me… one hour per phone once you included records and phone book and… Sigh. )

    Let’s just say Monday was much better than it would have been, but Limp Bizkit would have been perfect for the bar run that afternoon…

    FWIW, I had a “Bull Shit Rule”. Anyone could call “Bull shit” on some assertion. Then it had to be proven by BOTH parties. Even MY assertions. So, for example, I’d called “Bull Shit” on the 1 hour / phone set up. My guy had to show me (and I had to do the work he assigned me). In the end, I had to publicly announce I’d called Bull Shit and was wrong, he was absolutely right. This tends to dramatically remove the Bull Shit from an organization. First off, knowing you can be called on your bullshit makes you careful in what you claim. Second, knowing you can be hung out to dry on falsely calling bullshit reduced the claims dramatically ;-)

    But yeah… LOTS and LOTS of days (and occasional weeks) of “trial by fire” while having idiots, assholes, and prima-donnas tossing rocks at you makes for both a thick skin and careful habits.

    One other story, a cuter one:

    The early Macs were, at the time, novel in having speakers in them. One HR Lady was not known for her computer skills… MANY help desk calls for Stupid Shit (about 90% PIBKAC problems. Problem Is Between Keyboard And Chair ;-) One of my desktop guys just can’t take it any more. ( I found out after this was done, but didn’t punish anyone – told them it was creative enough to earn a grin, not a grimace ;-)

    So he installs an app (before they had a name) on her Mac. It sporadically “mumbles”. Just the occasional “damn it” or “What?” or “grumble”… We get the help desk call… Now another unique thing of the time was the ability to remotely manage a desktop. One guy is on the remote management, the Desktop Support Guy shows up. Mumble is turned on while he is there an makes some noises for him to observe: “Oh, dear. I’m SO sorry. Your computer is possessed, I’ll have to preform an exorcism.” Of of his bag comes head dress, rattle, and more. Dance, chant “Out Damn Spirit” and slaps the desktop!! Now, without ever touching the Mac, this jiggles the mouse. Guy downstairs sees mouse movement as the cue, and de-installs mumbler then logs out. Exorcism done, my guy assures her the machine is fixed, packs up and comes back to the support area.

    For months (perhaps years…) afterward she tells family and friends about her “possessed” computer and the exorcism that fixed it… A very small “look how clueless I am” sticker on her public behaviours telling folks what my guys had to put up with for years…

    I did tell them to never do anything like that again… unless I was told first and could watch ;-)

    Seriously Though

    I had about 4000 to 7000 folks to herd at any one time. Had zero successful exploits from outside the company for 7 1/2 years. IMHO that kind of record can not be done now. Too many holes in Microsoft, browsers, and internet “standards” of activity; seasoned with PRISM program deliberate breakage of security from the factory.

    But it does leave you a bit touchy on some styles of activity and it does leave scars only soothed by constantly moving your system profile and base of operations ;-)

    The good news is that now there are a lot more IDS / IPS systems that can easily be set up to detect and prevent intrusions in an automated way. That helps a lot. You don’t need 2 systems programmers “rolling your own”…

    But I’d not take a job that required me to lock down that same number of folks today and give assurances of the same 100% success. Maybe 95%… IF you let me strongly segment the network by work type, yeah, I can make that claim about the part that is NOT full of Stupid Users on Microsoft… (back room server farms, PII (customer / payment / booking) network, Finance, Engineering etc. NON-browser networks).

  8. philjourdan says:

    PEBKAC (Problem exists…..) has been replaced by “Layer 8 problem”. More elegant and the end user thinks it really is something!

    As far as your “Voodoo”, I have a similar (although no headdress or dancing). User was constantly complaining about her key strokes being “stolen”. She would type in the form and half would not appear! Finally, she gets the CIO up there with me to show. As luck would have it, as she is demonstrating, up pops her IM program (not approved nor allowed) with a message from her dating site and sure enough, it “stole” some of her keystrokes!

    I uninstalled it and we never heard from her again. My boss (the CIO) was laughing too much (once back to her office) to worry about writing up the user.

    Ah the good old days! Remind me to tell you how I got my friend in trouble while framing a 3rd engineer – and no one knows who did the real deal! :-)

  9. beng135 says:

    Funny, the cultural marxists complain about police “profiling” but prb’ly don’t even know or care their smart phones, facebook page, google account, etc, etc, do it far more extensively than the cops.

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