EVERYONE knows that I am not tech savvy. I have given myself the moniker of “luddite” and generally shuffle anything vaguely technical over to Steve. I can’t even work the remote control for our television (much to Steve’s delight ) and my first instinct when something doesn’t do what it is supposed to do is to yell out “STEEEEEVE!” . The other day my brother in Western Australia had his Facebook page hacked into. He lives on a remote property out in the sticks in Western Australia and uses a laptop with Wi-Fi to access his satellite network along with a stick. Someone, that he foolishly trusted, took personal information quite easily from him and he asked Steve to give him a hand to sort it out. It would appear that he is going to have to start a new Facebook page, re-friend his 400+ friends and perhaps even purchase a new laptop computer because his “friend” was able to access all kinds of other information because my brother, like many of us, was completely unprepared for this hack. He isn’t like me, he does know quite a lot about computers but this attack broadsided him and showed him just how vulnerable our information really is. As we were wading through the morass of information online in an attempt to try to find a solution for my brother it became more and more apparent that we were completely vulnerable ourselves on several fronts. I decided that I would like to share what we found out and how to protect yourself further from external attack and that we would outline how you can make your own computer and personal email, Facebook pages, Websites, Blogs and other regularly visited sites along with your browser a much safer place to inhabit.
Let’s start with Facebook as this was the initiator of this post. We need to get you a secure Facebook page if it isn’t already! Check your address bar at the top of your browser…does it say “http” or “https”…we are looking for the “s” as it makes a HUGE difference. Mine was “s-less” so we headed off to amend that ASAP! Here’s how you can do it…
How to make Facebook a safer experience…
After logging in to your Facebook account do the following.
Note: where necessary, I will give you the techy way and the way for luddites to make it completely clear …
1. Click on your account settings (the little spoked wheel in the top right hand corner on the bar)
2. Choose and click on the tab “Account Settings”
3. You are on the General Account Settings page now
4. On the far left hand side you will see a list of options to choose from. Choose the “Security” button and click it
5. You are now on the “Security Settings” page
6. Click “Edit” on the “Secure Browsing” option
7. Tick where it says “Browse Facebook on a secure connection (https) when possible” and click “Save Changes” once you have ticked the box.
Every time you log into Facebook now, you will be a lot safer, especially when using a Wi-Fi network :o)
Now we will show you how to make Hotmail Safe…
1. Type or copy and paste the following into the address bar of your web browser…
2. Enter your password when prompted
If you want to tick the “remember this password” button feel free. We prefer to remember our own password and enter it each time . Now your Hotmail account is safe
Although I don’t use Twitter, I know a lot of you do. I decided to check out how to secure your Twitter account as follows…
Note: this is particularly important when using Twitter on unsecured Wi-Fi connections!
1. Go to your settings on Twitter
2. Click the box next to “Always use HTTPS” which is apparently at the bottom of the page
3. Now click the “Save” button.
Note: There are also a few instances where turning on HTTPS in your settings doesn’t force HTTPS. For instance, when accessing Twitter from your mobile browser, you will need to go to https://mobile.twitter.com to use the HTTPS option at the moment. Twitter is apparently working on a solution that will share the “Always use HTTPS” setting across twitter.com and mobile.twitter.com, so that you don’t have to think about which device you are using when you want to check your account. Always check apps when using a third party application to ensure that you can see HTTPS to make sure the apps are secure
Now the big one…WordPress!…
Note: this will secure your dashboard but not your blog page (the page visible by everyone else) which should make it a little bit less hack-able (we hope!)
1. Go to your dashboard on WordPress
2. In the top right hand corner choose the “Screen Options” drop down bar (the little tab with the arrow pointing down next to “help”
3. Tick the box that says “Always use HTTPS when visiting administration pages” and you are almost done…
4. Leave your WordPress dashboard open as we are going to stop an irritating warning that may appear (note: feel free to stop here if you are at ALL uncomfortable with doing the following…we are trying to increase your safety, not make you feel vulnerable )
5. With your dashboard open go to the top right hand corner of your browser and click on tools (the spoked wheely looking thing next to the housey and the star )
6. From this list select and click “Internet Options”
7. A box will appear. Choose the “Security” tab along the top of the box and click it
8. Now click “Trusted Sites” to highlight it and click the ”Sites” button
9. The reason you are still on your dashboard is that your blog site will now be visible in the box. Check that it is your blog site, if not, close everything and make sure your dashboard window is open then follow these steps again
10. Click the “Add” tab and make sure that the “Require server verification (https for all sites in this zone” is unchecked (no tick)
11. Click close
Note: what we just did might seem somewhat suspicious! It isn’t. What we did was to circumvent a problem that regularly occurs where you get a constant warning regarding security from windows. This is similar to allowing a program to access your computer through a firewall and doesn’t compromise your security. You are just adding WordPress to your list of trusted sites
12. The “Internet Options” tab should still be open. Click the “Custom Level” button
13. Scroll down till you get to “Miscellaneous” (you might have to do some serious scrolling here!)
14. Slowly scroll till you find the sub heading “Display mixed content” and click “Enable”
15. Click the “OK” button
16. Click the “OK” button on the open “Internet Options” box and your WordPress dashboard is now secure
Note: If anyone feels remotely unsure about following the security part of the above (from number 4. onwards) please feel free to stop at 3. If you get overly irritated with the warning that keeps coming up, you can come back and follow the instructions to stop it )
“WHEW!” That took a long time. As you can imagine, I am starting to twitch because my poor addled brain isn’t set up for that kind of marathon but I feel strongly enough about you, my dear constant readers, to want you to know how to protect yourselves from having unsecure websites that you visit on a regular basis and rely on. Any time you see “http:” it means that the site is unsecure. Never EVER give any bank details or information to an unsecure site. A BIG thank you to Steve, who just helped me with that list of tutorials. If anyone reading uses “Blogger”, I wasn’t able to find a way to secure “Blogger”. Apparently Google isn’t quite there yet with securing your blog…sorry about that! I also tried to find a way to secure “Pinterest” but at this moment in time, it’s not a secure site (aside from the log in screen). I wouldn’t have even thought about these security issues prior to learning about them the other day. I just thought my Virus protection would sort everything out. The biggest problems come from people using unsecured sites when they are browsing using Wi-Fi apparently. There are all sorts of free programs out there that are easily downloadable (even by tech numpties like me!) that can give people complete access to unsecured passwords, information and can let them see whatever you can see if you haven’t secured these sites! Imagine sitting at an airport waiting to fly and doing a bit of banking (as you do) or browsing Facebook etc. and someone sitting a few metres away being able to watch everything that you are doing! Not any more they can’t! At least it will be a bit harder for them and they will have to work for your information and why bother when so many other people are blindly going about their days with the equivalent of a sign on their heads saying “hack me PLEASE”. It’s a bit like being a burglar and approaching a house with a dog… you are probably going to move along to an easier target .
I did a short post Bev! Do I get a present? I will now add a few photos to pad this otherwise “dry” post out. See you on Wednesday when “Normal Service will be resumed” )
Meet “Boof” he is a shamless blend of terrier and poodle who will do whatever it takes to extract dog treats from Steve
Steve noticed this small snake on the side of the road on our morning walk with the dogs the other day. We live near a river and the odds are that we are going to have snakes in the local bushland. This poor little man had the bad misfortune to be slithering about when a cat was walking past. Cat’s HATE snakes and will kill them if they can…cat 1, snake 0
Steve and I noticed this on another recent dog walk (hey, we do it every day folks, we are going to notice things!) and after a quick confab, we figure the local council are trying to hide something from us all…we are off up to the road tonight to dig up what is OBVIOUSLY treasure! (Note I am HOPING that this is treasure and not where the zombies are buried with instructions to emerge at night!)
On Valentine’s Day I did what I do every day, I got out of bed before 5am, I shuffled into the kitchen to put the kettle on for my one cup of tea a day…I put my teabags in my mug and after the water boils I pour in my water…much like I do every other day of the year. I headed to the fridge to get my soymilk and when I got back I was struck by the shape of a small clump of bubbles in my tea…a teeny tiny heart! I know the photo is a bit blurry but I am not at my best before my first cuppa, you are lucky you can even see the photo! . Someone out there in the ether loves me
Here are some seed pods that I collected on one of our past dog walks (I am always industrious )
And here are some of the seeds that one of the pods jettisoned out of itself at high speed when it exploded not long after I put it into this bowl… it exploded with such force that it hit the roof and scattered its seeds all over the place (I am still finding them!) and scared Bezial and Earl in the process. The rest of the seeds got thrown out into the side garden to explode at will in a safer environment
This fruit was collected from a Sorbus tree on one of our walks and I collected it because the fruit is a particularly lovely colour
I found this Arestia major seed pod in the middle of the road on another walk (we DO get around… ). The woman who had told me the name of this plant also told me that she hadn’t seen another one in Tasmania (and obviously didn’t want to, because she wasn’t keen to give me any of the seed!)… it just goes to show that sometimes the will of nature to reproduce is stronger than the social standing of a snooty socialite!
A wealth of Queen Anne’s Lace seed…now I just have to wait for the bumper harvest of Wild Fennel seed just up the road so that I can seed the bottom of the property…”Bees…do your stuff!”
The contents of one of my Green Smoothies. I have one for breakfast every day and on weighing myself this morning I was happy to see that have reached my target goal weight!
Our very first loaf of sourdough bread courtesy of Audrey who is now allowed to keep her name because as my friend Kym from Western Australia so rightfully said “Audrey is a classy name…it reminds me of Audrey Hepburn…” Audrey was beautiful and resilient and so is this sourdough starter so “Audrey” she shall stay!