It’s been a very long last six months. The US election was a disheartening drag for reasons I won’t bother to repeat. Health issues raised their ugly heads. I’m diabetic, which complicates any health issue. Four days after the election, my gall bladder blew up and I landed in Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno for nine days. Fortunately the very fine surgical and medical staff coped with gall bladder, sepsis, and diabetic shock on the operating room table, sending me home not just alive but feeling better than I had in months.

I’ve been catching up on work and personal obligations, so have ignored the blog and mostly Twitter til the last few days.

I’m less than thrilled about the prospect of President Trump for four years. At the same time, his statements and his choices for cabinet roles do not equal the sort of unmitigated disaster that I and many of you feared. Friends whose politics are well left of mine don’t find this comforting, I know. At least an unmitigated disaster might provide justification for impeachment or at least massive losses in the 2018 election. I’m an independent centrist politically, though, so I am watching with fingers crossed and hoping against hope that Trump doesn’t run the country into economic collapse and a police state. We’ll see.

Over the past year network security has entered public awareness and the public debate with a vengeance. It’s one of my professional concerns, although I focus more on privacy and antispam than hacking or malware. A couple of observations on the current big stories….

  • The Yahoo hacks (plural). They happened. Yahoo found out months or years ago, did not fix the problems, and did not tell its users. There’s no excuse for Yahoo anymore. If you have an account there, CLOSE IT. Almost any other free webmail site is more secure and more competently run. Yahoo’s executive staff should end their careers flipping hamburgers, although that won’t happen. :/
  • Internet of Things (Iot) botnets. Your Fitbit, “smart” home appliances, and other Internet-connected devices and toys are massively insecure. In most cases, security was not even an afterthought when designing these devices — it wasn’t a thought at all. Please change all passwords and connect via WPA2 WiFi or better. If your device doesn’t support changing passwords (!) or WPA2 (!!!!!), shut the network connection down, or power it off. :/
  • The DNC hack. It happened. Russian hackers might have been behind it. But Putin did NOT steal the election, using this or any other hack, as much as both some Democrats and Putin himself would like you to believe it. <wry grin>
  • The Vermont Power Grid hack. One laptop computer got infected with garden variety malware derived from a publicly available kit used by script kiddies. That laptop was never connected to the power grid. False alarm, mostly fed by Twitter.

I’ll have more to say on various subjects soon. :)

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