Wise Guys on WHO Radio - March 21, 2015

Brian Gongol

The WHO Radio Wise Guys airs on WHO Radio in Des Moines, Iowa on 1040 AM or streaming online at WHORadio.com. The show airs from 1 to 2 pm Central Time on Saturday afternoons. A podcast of show highlights is also available. Leave comments and questions on the Wise Guys Facebook page or e-mail them to wiseguys@whoradio.com.

Please note: These show notes may be in various stages of completion -- ranging from brainstormed notes through to well-polished monologues. Please excuse anything that may seem rough around the edges, as it may only be a first draft of a thought and not be fully representative of what was said on the air.

The end of Microsoft Internet Explorer

In the news this week

Business and Finance China stock markets have an average P/E ratio of 220
Clinically insane

Computers and the Internet Apple's entry into Internet TV service

Computers and the Internet Multi-billion-dollar tech startups aren't "valued", they're speculated-upon

Threats and Hazards How an Omaha company lost millions to social engineering

Smartwatch insanity

Take a breather on buying an outrageously-priced new smartwatch. They have value, to be sure...but not in the hundreds of dollars.

Street-smart social media

There's been an outbreak of fake Facebook accounts pinging people with friend requests, if my own feed is any indication. When you get a friend request, ask yourself: If you don't have a good answer to at least two of the above, then you should probably ignore the request for a while. It's a natural instinct to accept friend requests -- even from marginal acquaintances -- because we as Americans don't like to be perceived as snobbish or standoffish. But the problem is that about 1 in every 100 people has some kind of antisocial personality disorder. (In other words, they're some flavor of sociopath...maybe mild, maybe severe, but one way or another, they're no good for us.) And since we haven't yet found ways of keeping those people off of social networks like Facebook, the rest of us are susceptible to social-engineering hacks. "Social engineering", in this sense, is the use of human vulnerabilities to break into computer systems without the need for sophisticated technological skills. Social engineering attacks are a serious malice, and they're probably going to grow in quantity and sophistication as the crooks behind them get better at their jobs. (That, by the way, is my simplest pitch for the rest of us to be lifelong learners in the most real sense: It doesn't matter whether or not we want to improve for the sake of improvement. Kaizen principles notwithstanding, our enemies have every incentive to get smarter, faster, better, and stronger at what they do, so we have to do the same just to maintain our grip on civilization.) Massive floods of "friend" requests are a very simple example of a social-engineering attack, and I don't have any reason to believe I was being personally targeted -- it most likely was happening to others as well. Don't fall for it. And even be careful when accepting requests from accounts belonging to people you do know: It's always possible that accounts belonging to people you know have been compromised or spoofed (and I have first- and second-hand knowledge of this occurring). Better to leave an old acquaintance hanging for a little while than to open yourself up to letting crooks in on the private information you share on the semi-open networks that are so ingrained in daily life.

A personal note

The world lost a great woman last night as my great-aunt Kay passed away.

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