Stay Safe While Using Wi-Fi

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In today’s world, the Internet has given us several things to do. With all the huge benefit we get online, come online threats that we need to be aware of in order not to fall victim of online criminal activities.   In this article, we wish to raise the level of awareness on some of the used online threats and specifically those that are very much applicable over public or weakly secured Wi-Fi connections, and how we can avoid taken advantage of.

Man In the Middle Attack

Some cafes and restaurants these days have Wi-Fi access, freely available to the public to use for surfing the web and doing other online activities.   Some people use these Internet access methods to login to their banking accounts or do some online shopping.   shutterstock_181796174

While access is freely available to everyone, this includes the bad guys who we call “crackers or hackers” who want to steal your data.  As you login to your bank web site or do online shopping you transmit very important personal data across the network which could possibly be intercepted through what is called “Man in the Middle Attack” or in other words, the person who tries to get between you ( “your computer” ) and the site you’re trying to access. This gives them the right amount of data to capture your online transactions, including your login credentials.

For transmitting personal information online, it’s highly recommended that you login through your private highly secured network, at your premises to avoid such attack.

Evil Twin Attack

As hotels, Internet parks, cafes, and restaurants try to limit access to only their customers, they often create what we call “Internet access” page where the customer is given a code to access with, in order to continue over to the Internet.  This page could possibly be faked by a “cracker” trying to intercept all your traffic data after you’ve successfully accessed the Internet using their page and not the official page of the place you’re staying at.

This usually happens as for a “normal user” it might be little difficult to notice the difference between both pages.

In order to be safe, you need to check with the hotel front desk, the concierge, or the head waiter whether this is the right page to access before you start using the Internet. Or if you’re in a park where the internet is provided ( iPark ), you should contact the call center to verify the authenticity of the page.

War Driving Attack

Now, hackers use their cars along with highly sophisticated hardware and software technology which is widely available in the market to locate wireless networks with weak or no security available in their neighbor.  The moment they’re able to access your network, the easier it will get to intercept all your traffic data including your login credentials and much more personal information about you and your family.

In order to avoid such attack, it’s highly recommended to put on security configuration on your Internet access devices (“routers”) using the technology “WPA2” to securely protect your passwords and data from eavesdropping.

 

For more information on online safety, please keep in touch with Safe Space website and follow the hashtag on Twitter #safespaceQA.

-stay safe, stay connected-

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How It Feels When Your Best Friend Gets Married

Few days back it was my best friend’s wedding.   I had traveled to where he’s getting married a month before the wedding ceremony just to help out in the planning of the wedding.  I had a long holiday and thought to travel just to be with him at a time where he may need his friend the most.

We went together to get the tuxedo suit. We thought about the wedding hall, the playlist, the cake, the dance floor, and many more..

One week before the wedding I had to go back to the office for some quick work to be done and later I flew back to be with him during the time and of course attend the ceremony.

His plan of getting married to Weam ( his wife now! ) goes back to where he was a little boy of the age 13.   He knew her really long time back.  I remember days when he used to come to me and talk about his experience with her.  He used to be very excited and motivation to carry on with this relationship.

They both live separately in two different countries that is 3 hours far by plane, but one day, years back during college time she had planned to visit the country to see him..  The moment he had heard the news he jumped like a crazy fellow, trying to make everything right just to be ready when she’s around.  I’ve never seen him this happy before and from this time on I thought this is my best friend’s girl and I was pretty sure they’ll continue on for their marriage.

In our culture we usually don’t do speeches for best man.. but this time he had asked me to be his best man and so I thought of preparing a speech.  It took sometime to figure out what am I supposed to tell as we had so many life experiences together and I wanted to bring the best of it.  I went through for days to think but finally I was able to put it all together in one.

On the day of the event I had delivered the speech and everybody was happy, specially Khalid and Weam and I was so thankful everything went right. After the wedding and after I greeted both the bride and the groom I had some mixed feelings.  I felt really happy for him getting finally what he wanted since he was little boy, just to be with this girl.  But I also felt somehow alone which was a very strange feeling that I’ve never experienced before.  Even though I’ve been living by myself for the past three years abroad, I never had such feeling before. It’s very emotional and I am still going through some mixed thoughts and feelings, but after all I think he deserves the best and I am sure he’ll find the best and even more with Waem. She’s a lovely woman with great personality and both of them are so wonderful together with so much to look forward to.

How to Stay Safe and Connected on Social Media FB!

In today’s post I’d like to share with you a number of settings which could help tighten the security and privacy settings of your account on Facebook.FB Image

As Facebook look and feel change so frequently , it’s quite crucial that we keep checking the settings along the way as they do change as well with more features added to the site.

I’d like to show you some of the important settings that you can tweak in just a few clicks, while at the end I am sharing with you a video done by a Cyber Safety Expert which features most if not all features that may need your attention to keep your profile safe and secure online.

How to turn off facial recognition on FB?

Go to Settings >> Timeline and Tagging and at the very bottom click “Edit” on the question that reads “Who sees tag suggestions when photos that look like you are uploaded?”. Make sure to set the options to “No One”.

How can you block someone while you don’t want FB to notify them when you’ve done so?

Go to Settings >> Blocking>> Restricted List and there you need to click on “Edit list” and add that person you need to put some restrictions on.

How can you make sure strangers don’t find you on FB from just searching you up on engines like Google or Yahoo?

Go to Settings >> Privacy >> Who can look me up? and there you need to adjust the option that reads “Do you want other search engines to link to your timeline?” to “No”.

If you’re interested in adjusting more of your privacy and security settings, I’d recommend you watch this video done by a Cyber Safety Expert, Leonie Smith on “Advanced Facebook Privacy Settings 2015”.

Now you can see how little things you can adjust that could possibly put you and your beloved ones in a safer position when it comes to social networking.

“Little things can make a huge a difference”

What Technology is Good at and Why People are Better??

318947873_12028f1b66_mTechnology is good, but people are better.  Technology is good, but not good enough.  Technology is the base, but we make it happen!

You might have seen those words written before in articles, published in newspapers and magazines, or even spoken by well-known people, and today I will share with you why I think they’re very true!

Millions of people nowadays depend on technology in many different ways; they connect with friends and family, they share moments and memories, they read about news and events, and many many more than we can ever imagine, and they think and believe that all this won’t be happening without the use of technology.

The question here: how and why we need to look at it from a different angle?

Technology helps in solving problems, but that’s only a temporary solution.  You may want to apologize to a friend for an action you did, and you don’t want to speak to that person about that in a normal face-to-face conversation, so you’d typically prefer to send them a message on Facebook.  In this message, you’d tell them how sorry you’re, but let’s take a moment to evaluate.. Do you think your friend is happy now? Do you think this solves the problem? ..  I think it doesn’t.. it merely covers it up with a quick fix, but actually it’s still there somewhere and will come out right in your face someday.  A problem should only be fixed – no matter how big or small – when you decide to meet with that person and talk it thru and try harder to reach a wayout. This way and only this way will help you fix all your problems.

Through technology you can share memories and moments with family and friends, but you can never control who will see it.  Let’s capture this moment; on popular networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, you may want to share a picture or a moment with a group of friends.  You decided to upload that photo or video on the site, but you have no idea that this picture could be easily made visible to hundreds and even millions of other people without even your knowledge..!

it’s funny really when you see people sharing personal photos and videos online. They’re simply exposing themselves and their beloved ones to potential harm. They think that at some point in time they can just go ahead and remove it when they decide to do so.  In fact that’s not true, what goes online, stays online! when you delete it, it is only deleted from your page and not from others as someone could have possibly copied it into theirs!

Alright, so what we can do here?!

There are a number of ways where we can develop to reach same or even better results without fully depending on technology.  We can meet more often to connect and still keep connected.  We can make and reserve more time for those who we love the most. We can share, live, and re-live moments and memories with those who we care about.  We can make a lot of difference by keeping people always FIRST and using technology as an option when there are no other ways.

I have a friend of mine living in Dubai which later we became very close friends as brothers who was getting married in a few weeks time.  One day, he called me and said “brother, I need your help”.  I was little surprised as I had many things to worry about at that time and I didn’t expect that coming, but I answered “yes brother, tell me, what’s happening” so, he went on and explained that he needs my opinion for his marriage.  At first, I was thinking maybe we could have a Skype conversation, but then I realised its his “big day” and I should be there for him, and that’s exactly what I did. I canceled a couple of things I was going to work on in the weekend and immediately arranged for the flight and was there in Dubai the weekend after our call that day. He was surprised to see me! He thought I wasn’t going to make it. And since that day, we became very close friends as brothers indeed..

What am asking you here is simple. Be brave enough; when you’re in trouble, go meet and find a way out and don’t think technology will do it for you. If you want to share memories and moments with your friends and family, then don’t wait and go live and re-live the moment.  If you want to be connected and always be remembered, then make-up the time and don’t say “am busy!” because we all are!!

Why Sometimes It’s Important Not to be Perfect

In this blog today I’d like to share with you my thoughts on my year 2014, and what I gained and was able to achieve during this whole year.

It was quite challenging in many different senses, feelings, achievements, and goals that I set for myself.  From the beginning I made one promise and only one. I promised myself not to let down any opportunity I get exposed to.

On top of my to list was to join Toastmasters community in Qatar to improve my communication skills and gain more confidence with large crowd. At first I was scared of how am I going to be part of it. I never had experience with public speaking and that was a big challenge, but if I had thought deeply and tried to analyze it more probably I wouldn’t have gone this far where I stand today.

In just the first year in Toastmasters I was able to deliver 6 speeches in front of big crowd, some of them were repeated in different other occasions and in front of bigger crowd. I contributed to a speechcraft program where we helped more new interested candidates to learn more about public speaking and leadership and to join Toastmasters. I took part as the Evaluation Contest Chair in a public speaking competition held by the Division in Qatar; a room full of people, around 300 to 400 where I delivered a speech of 5 minutes and coordinated the whole session for around an hour. And recently I competed in an international contest conducted locally in Doha and amongst 19 contestants I was able to rank the 3rd.

And in the meantime, I am the Vice President of Membership of my club ( Filcom International Toastmasters ) where I am required to help bring more new members and boost the atmosphere of current members to help retain membership. In just the first few months and with the help of our executive committee team members I was able to bring nine more new members to club.

In addition to my role as a VPM I am also leading two different projects; one is to build a new website for the club and the other is to coordinate a Youth Leadership Program for schools in Qatar to help the young generation bring more new leaders in the community.

I am very much grateful, thankful, and blessed to have been able to achieve all this and I’d like to thank all those who supported me throughout the entire year.

Aside from determination, persistence, and willing to give the maximum which is vital to have in order to reach where you dream to become, what I realised throughout the entire year is that everything I was able to achieve had one common reason behind is that I didn’t really think how perfect it is what I am doing, I only thought where I can start and that was the key of where I am today.

Please leave your comments and share your experiences..