Shellshock as Bad as Heartbleed Bug

My current generation iMac with the latest OSX 10.9.5 shows the Shellshock bug

My current generation iMac with the latest OSX 10.9.5 shows the Shellshock bug

Just when you thought computer security couldn’t get any worse, it did. Much worse.

Remember the Heartbleed bug a few months ago? This new “Shellshock” bug is at least as widespread and, in many ways, even worse.

Web servers are responsible for presenting the information you see and read when browsing the Internet. Your web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc.) is responsible for displaying the information retrieved from a web server.

The majority of web servers on the Internet run a variant of the UNIX operating system, including Linux. According to W3Techs Web Technology Surveys, 66.9% of all web servers are running a UNIX operating system variant, which includes the Apple OSX operating system,

This Shellshock vulnerability is specific to what is called the bash shell on these UNIX systems. Think of the bash shell as a command line interface for doing things without a mouse and graphics.

That alone is bad enough, but what makes this so particularly troubling is the Apache HTTP (web) server is what is used on these systems for serving up your cat videos and memes and it uses the bash shell for processing certain commands.

That means that nearly 2/3 of all web servers are vulnerable to a hacker maliciously embedding code or taking over a web server. With that, the malicious hacker could load a virus, worm, or trojan on YOUR computer when you visit an affected website.

Uh-oh.

Let me make this worse for you. Not only could bad guys exploit this to infect you, they could exploit this to take over corporate networks, and possibly even your smartphone. That’s right your smartphone.

Suddenly the Target and Home Depot hacks appear to be small-time operations.

And like the Target and Home Depot hacks, you are almost helpless. If you are a network or web administrator, immediately patch all of your systems. Right now.

If you aren’t a tech administrator, follow all of my basic rules on how to protect yourself from my article HERE

And if you want a little more detail reading on the Shellshock bug, take a look at U.S. Department of Homeland Security National Cyber Awareness System report HERE

Big Brother Political Advertising With Your Music

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Enjoying your music selections on Pandora? According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, get ready for targeted political ads based on your listening choices.

From the article “Pandora Knows if You Are a Republican”: “The company matches election results with subscribers’ musical preferences by ZIP Code. Then, it labels individual users based on their musical tastes and whether those artists are more frequently listened to in Democratic or Republican areas. Users don’t divulge their political affiliations when they sign up for Pandora.

“Targeting users is basically the currency in data right now,” says Jack Krawczyk, Pandora’s director of product management.

In summary, if you use the Pandora app, they track what you listen to and use that information for advertising revenue. The new twist is the angle of political advertising.

As if you needed another reason to be concerned about your privacy, after the NSA, Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Skype, Microsoft, etc revelations!

Time for a switch back to good old purchased music playlists on your mp3 playing device or terrestrial music radio. Maybe you’ll even find some new bands out there like White Denim and get hooked on great new music being made every day while avoiding the prying technological eyes of companies who spy on you for profit!

Ethan with Steve and Austin of White Denim

Ethan with Steve and Austin of White Denim

Keep Up With Tech Talk On KBYR With Ethan Bearman

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Don’t forget to keep up with Ethan’s twice monthly segment on KBYR AM 700 in Anchorage, Alaska, discussing the latest in technology topics with host Glen Biegel. You can tune in live every first and third Monday of the month, AM 700 in Anchorage or online at the KBYR website. Plus, every conversation is posted on the Podcast site HERE

Another Example of Government Planning

Covered California FAIL

Covered California FAIL (10/1/2013 8:45 am PDT)

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare, has rolled out the health exchanges officially today. But the websites aren’t working. My confidence in government isn’t high to begin with, but this poor planning and execution is miserable and reflects poorly regardless of your thoughts on PPACA.

If the websites aren’t working, how are the millions of uninsured supposed to signup for subsidized health insurance? Performance planning in technology is widespread in the private sector. The state and federal governments (healthcare.gov is experiencing outages this morning as well) are apparently not aware of these best practices while rushing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on websites.

Does this change your view regarding the success of ObamaCare?

Announcing The KBYR IT Update With Ethan Bearman

 

Ethan Bearman

I am pleased and honored to announce the newest feature on the KBYR Morning News & Comment with Glen Biegel on AM 700 KBYR in Anchorage, Alaska, the KBYR IT Update With Ethan Bearman!

Glen and I have spoken numerous times over the past six months on his shows and his team at KBYR, special thanks to producer Michael Ortega, and I have agreed to make our conversations a regular part of the show.

Check out the first update from this morning’s show and keep up with Glen at KBYR from 6 to 9 am Alaska time on AM 700 and at www.kbyr.com

Glen Biegel KBYR AM 700

 

Latest Talker’s Piece Published Today

TalkersTalkers magazine has published my latest industry piece today! And check out the glowing introduction – “One of the brightest young news/talk hosts on the rise today, Ethan Bearman of KSCO, Santa Cruz and Genesis Communications Network shares the story of his recent adventure in simple-yet-effective remote broadcasting in which he conveniently packed a bag of all the gear necessary to capture an interview with a Times of London reporter under the tightest of security restrictions at the Houses of Parliament in London to get an international perspective on the American presidential election.”

A Talk Show Host Nerd’s Adventure in Expedient Remote Broadcasting

What happens when you mix a nerd and talk radio broadcaster who loves politics and current events?
During the presidential election last fall I saw many posts on Twitter, Facebook, and blogs all over the web sharing international opinions regarding our vote. And I thought, “How do I tap into that information in a manner that is different from everybody else?”
Go to where those opinions are originating.

Click the link to read the rest of the article.