Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What Am I Up To?

What I'm up to right now? Well, I'm almost finished with a dresser makeover. We are ripping up carpet and decades old linoleum and sanding and painting floors. I bought a new camera and perhaps I'll learn enough to use it:) LOVE the new camera and if I can figure it out, I'll try replacing my old point and shoot pics on the blog with my new Canon Rebel T2i pics. We'll see. For now it's hard enough to walk and chew bubble gum.

Ummm... I'm also making a new quatrefoil lampshade and hanging it, that should be done in the next few days. Adding decorative Trim and stenciling a wall. I already upholstered a door, but it's nothing fantastic. Maybe I'll post it.

New things are coming up this week and next folks!

**Update:  We have house guests and they came a whole week or week and a half early. So we got a little behind on all of our projects. They will be posted late. Sorry!

Monday, March 5, 2012

My Blog was Hacked Part 1

Just in the last week Google deleted my blog. You can read about it here. When my blog was deleted I was alerted by Google that there was unusual activity on my blog.  Then, my comments got all wonky. First they were there. Then they were gone. There. Gone. There. Gone.  

 I just assumed something was wrong with Blogger and went on trying to figure out how to remedy this. (It's still entirely possible the comments issue is a bug.)

 Finally, the straw that broke the camel's back was I had just posted my tutorial on how to make a quatrefoil lampshade, when the post just disappeared and was replaced with a completely different post. You can read a remark I made on the original post at the top of the page here.

At this point, I wasn't just brushing it off anymore and decided I would try and see if anyone else had experienced this online. There were many people complaining their Blogger and Word Press accounts had been hacked. Their comments disappeared and/or things just got moved around on their blog. Some had consulted a professional to only be advised that more than likely they had been hacked.

 Now why in the world would someone want to hack a DIY/decor blog on Blogger? Yeah, I asked myself the same question. Turns out there are reasons for it. Some do it to steal your page ranking on Google. Others do it for kicks, it's a game to them. Yet others are politically motivated.

 Rather than explain myself, there is a perfectly good article here, written by Sarah Kimmel who writes for Technology for Moms. The article mainly covers issues for Word Press Blogs. And you will definitely be amused, or not, to find an interview with a 17 year old hacker who hacks blog sites for fun and political demonstration. You can go over to TNW (The Next Web) and read the interview between the minor hacker and blog owner!

Not everyone is as lucky as I have been. Google may delete their blogs permanently. Or, the hacker may cause them to lose years worth of work and/or money if their blog was a business. I've actually read a few horror stories on that today.

Apparently it's not all that unusual to have your blog hacked whether it's on Blogger or Word Press. I have read that Word Press users tend to see this a lot (just read some of the comments on the articles I posted above and you will see what I mean). The owners tend not to be techie and don't apply security updates when they come out or many times the Word Press users are using an outdated version.

Although there are no guarantees of having a stealth blog, there are some tips we can all do to make our blogs more secure.

1) If you are on Word Press, frequently update your plug-ins. 

2)Whether you are on Blogger or Word Press make sure you choose a password that is strong. One way to do this is to not use anything personally identifiable in your password. On top of that, use a mix of characters, upper case and lower case letters, along with numbers in the same password.  I hated hearing this and thought it was fine just to use a few characters and a long password that I could easily remember and apparently it wasn't enough. 

 Grab a file and write your password down, storing it in the file close to the computer for a while until you have entered it enough that you no longer need to look at it to remember it.

3) Don't store your password in your browser. You know that little pop up box from your browser that asks if you would like have your browser remember your password? Well forgo that. It turns out there are vulnerabilities in storing your password in that way.

If you have Firefox as your browser you can download an add-on that will safely store your passwords for you. Go here and browse under Privacy and Security and choose the add-on that best fits your needs.

4) Change your passwords at least every 2 weeks.

5) Do not use the same password for more than one location. This may be a good reason to use an add-on called Privacy Suite from Firefox. It securely encrypts your information and passwords. You store it on your computer, the company has no access to them. All you do is put in one master password and allow it to fill in your info for you. This add-on also has other security features as well. You can read FAQ here.

That's it for now. I'm thinking about writing a part 2 to this within the next 2 weeks and doing an interview with an internet security expert. Have a nice weekend everyone!:) And don't forget to update those passwords and plug-ins!

***This post is by no means all inclusive. Use this information at your own risk. I'm relaying what I would do as I learn it. Your use of this acknowledges that.

Update** Please really think before storing your password in your browser. My mother's bank account information was accessed this way recently because she stored her password in her browser. They purchased 2,000 dollars worth of merchandise to her account.

**I seem to have lost all of my comments, again. Not sure why I have the wonkiest commenting system on Blogger, but if any of you needed me to get back to you about something, you can re-post here now that I have gotten rid of intense debates. Perhaps the change back to blogger caused me to lose the comments. Sorry!

Click here to see the Linky Parties this blog participated in.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Why Owning a Pinterest Board May Make You Sorry

So, you are a Pinterest addict. You spend all day pinning away at images of beautiful entryways, savory recipes, closets big enough to be your baby's nursery, and let's not forget those oh- so- famous "hey girl" images of Ryan Gosling.
via miskatonic.org

I bet what you didn't know though is that pinning inspiration for little Johnny's 3rd birthday party from a magazine or blog, without getting direct permission from the copyright owner, can get you sued.

 How in the world this is harmful to the copyright owner, I don't know. Or, any different than what I did at the age of 19 when fantasizing about my first place and cutting images from catalogs and pasting them to a notebook.

I bet you are thinking what I've been thinking, "I'm giving them free publicity. This is good for them." Or, "I'm using just an image this is fair use."   Yeah, that's pretty much what a lot of us thought. But in all actuality according to a lawyer named Kirsten, you have a reason to be pretty afraid when it comes to your Pinterest Account.

Find out why Kirsten was scared enough to get rid of her beloved Pinterest boards. Here
and Here

** I myself am going to look into this the coming weeks and see if I can determine what images I feel are legal to keep and what are not and act accordingly.

Here is an excerpt from Wiki on the subject of what is or isn't copyrighted:

Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time. Generally, it is "the right to copy", but also gives the copyright holder the right to be credited for the work, to determine who may adapt the work to other forms, who may perform the work, who may financially benefit from it, and other related rights. It is an intellectual property form (like the patent, the trademark, and the trade secret) applicable to any expressible form of an idea or information that is substantive and discrete.[1]
Copyright initially was conceived as a way for government to restrict printing; the contemporary intent of copyright is to promote the creation of new works by giving authors control of and profit from them. Copyrights are said to be territorial, which means that they do not extend beyond the territory of a specific state unless that state is a party to an international agreement. Today, however, this is less relevant since most countries are parties to at least one such agreement. While many aspects of national copyright laws have been standardized through international copyright agreements, copyright laws of most countries have some unique features[2]. Typically, the duration of copyright is the whole life of the creator plus fifty to a hundred years from the creator's death, or a finite period for anonymous or corporate creations. Some jurisdictions have required formalities to establishing copyright, but most recognize copyright in any completed work, without formal registration. Generally, copyright is enforced as a civil matter, though some jurisdictions do apply criminal sanctions.
Most jurisdictions recognize copyright limitations, allowing "fair" exceptions to the creator's exclusivity of copyright, and giving users certain rights. The development of digital media and computer network technologies have prompted reinterpretation of these exceptions, introduced new difficulties in enforcing copyright, and inspired additional challenges to copyright law's philosophic basis. Simultaneously, businesses with great economic dependence upon copyright have advocated the extension and expansion of their copy rights, and sought additional legal and technological enforcement.

Will you be getting rid of your Pinterest boards? Let us know!

**I seem to have lost all of my comments, again. Not sure why I have the wonkiest commenting system on Blogger, but if any of you needed me to get back to you about something, you can re-post here now that I have gotten rid of intense debates. Perhaps the change back to blogger caused me to lose the comments. Sorry!