SHOULD I COVER THE CAMERA ON MY LAPTOP OR TABLET? Do you really need to cover your webcam? Yes, at least I do. A few years ago, I was working on my laptop when my screen suddenly froze and went black. Then, a message popped up, covering the entire screen, and I could not remove it. I tried shutting down the computer and navigating to another screen, but I was completely locked out. The message stated that I had been caught breaking pirating laws by illegally downloading content, that they had seized control of my laptop, and that I would be forced to pay a large fine. The message also included a picture of me. I began to freak out. I used my other laptop to Google what was happening and discovered that this was a common scam called click-jacking. This means that the hackers created a link on an ad with an invisible script, and by clicking on the link, it activated my webcam. Then, there was another invisible script that disabled the light so I was unaware the webcam was turned on. Someone had hacked into my webcam, taken a picture of me without my knowledge or consent, and attempted to blackmail me. After this incident, I completely and permanently disabled the webcam and put tape over the camera. My friends thought I was paranoid, but they have never had a stranger watching them through their laptop. It’s better to be safe than sorry. The convenience of technology comes at a cost, and that cost is sometimes our privacy. People scan the internet with the intent of voyeurism and extortion. The risk is even greater for high-profile targets like Mark Zuckerberg. There’s a photo of him published in the NY Times where he had his own webcam covered with tape because he’d had two social media accounts hacked in the past. Even people who are not CEOs should be concerned with data security, especially young women and children. Other devices are also at risk, like your home network, baby camera, or home cameras. Hackers can access your livestreams, watch them, and then blackmail you with images from the video streams. Here are some security recommendations: 1. Secure your wireless network at home. Make sure you are using WPA2+ encryption and SSID masking to do this.
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C hristmas STAR COOKIES Looking for something a little lighter to leave for Santa this Christmas Eve? Try these star cookies! And, as an added bonus, they’re paleo-friendly!
2½ cups blanched almond flour (not almond meal) ½ teaspoon Celtic sea salt ¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup coconut oil, melted 5 tablespoons agave nectar or honey 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• • •
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
DIRECTIONS 1. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. 2. In a small bowl, mix coconut oil, agave, and vanilla. 3. Mix wet ingredients into dry. 4. Roll out dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper until ¼ inch thick. 5. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Turn devices off if you are not using them. It is easier for cybercriminals to hack your network if devices are left on 24/7. 3. Tape!
6. Remove top piece of
parchment paper and dust dough with almond flour. 7. Cut out cookies with a small star cutter. 8. Using a metal spatula, place stars on a parchment-lined baking sheet. 9. Bake at 350 F until edges are lightly browned, 5–8 minutes.
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