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Computing & Technology > So Summer's Over, I Guess?

So Summer's Over, I Guess?

In the last few days the temperature suddenly dropped about 15 degrees and I'm wearing sweaters inside. For some reason I still hear the neighbor's a.c. kick on; but maybe he's trying to dry out the air. The rain seems to be a visitor who won't let us alone, but stops in for at least a few minutes each day.

Other than not being able to see the Greasy site, I've been struggling to stay afloat, work-wise. Expenses are horrid, like health insurance. I'll have to find a new plan that's just not the great coverage I'm used to. Now I see what everyone else in the country has been dealing with. I was spoiled.

I'm always hesitant about what I write here, not just because I work online. Most of what I have to say is so depressed and so bleak that I think I shouldn't talk about it. But it's good to be able to read everyone's blogs and keep up. It helps.

It's easier to talk about political stuff, or the NSA, etc.

For instance -- (here I go again) -- what I'm surprised isn't getting more press is one of the things that the NSA has done. It goes beyond spying on the American public, and beyond the usual peering into what it can of other countries.

Now, the NSA are the codebreakers. That's their job. So it's natural that they'd try to crack into what they can. What they're not supposed to do, though, is to affect the standards of encryption.

But they have. They've watered down and weakened encryption itself -- the very thing that protects not only our email and the internet, but our financial institutions, utilities, air traffic, hospital records... etc., etc.

I don't want to exaggerate; people are saying that strong encryption (meaning, probably, that used for controlling the power grids, air traffic, and more) is still okay. But the encryption software used for many, many other things has been harmed. By the NSA.

They installed backdoors into the very software used to encrypt data; they covertly placed their own NSA people in software companies which create encryption software, and tech companies. These covert people actually replaced portions of code. They also apparently have changed the very chips used in technology. The NSA has been working on this for over a decade.

If you've seen enough movies you're aware that a backdoor in a program makes it more vulnerable. More hackable. So now it is possible that the entire world could start rejecting American technology as unreliable.

In fact -- I am trying to find that article again about it -- I believe some Japanese companies are already saying so.

Oh, and also the NSA can now crack most of what we choose to put on the internet, like our email, our files and such. They've broken ordinary encryption. We know this because they announced it to their other departments in an internal NSA update, which Edward Snowden leaked.

Oh, and also... the NSA has been found to be spoofing internet searches, and landing pages. They're getting in between Google and the internet user, and sometimes between you and the web page you think you're on. Then they can collect the password you use to log into your bank, etc.

It's all so crazy. My sisters can't listen to it when I talk. They say they just can't take it in and function, so they don't read much about it. I'm about ready to go live in the woods like a madwoman.

I really shouldn't be allowed to talk to people. I'll try to think of something more inspiring next time....

posted on Sept 19, 2013 5:37 PM ()


What a scary turn of events. Ed doesn't do actual banking on line, but he does look to see what our balance is. I'll tell him about your post. As for me, I don't really have any secrets most people or the government could care about. I am open about my political viewpoint and it is only those near "and dear" to me who are trying to take me out. The gov't would have to get in line.

So sorry your stress level is so high ... know that we are in your corner, and wishing you well.
comment by tealstar on Oct 8, 2013 7:43 AM ()
I am with Jon. I simply won't use the internet for banking or ordering
and my life is pretty plain vanilla.
comment by elderjane on Sept 20, 2013 3:43 PM ()
I hope you'll be able to do things the way you want. It seems like the government is forcing us to use online services in different ways.
reply by drmaus on Oct 7, 2013 9:16 AM ()
The Internet is compromised. I write nothing sacred or secret any more. And my emails are lame and vanilla.
comment by jondude on Sept 20, 2013 1:20 PM ()
That actually conjures up a vision of secret, sacred, wild snail-mail correspondence. We should all start this, maybe.
reply by drmaus on Oct 7, 2013 9:06 AM ()
remember ---big brother is watching things that you do
comment by kevinshere on Sept 19, 2013 10:48 PM ()
Yep! sometimes I really envy you, where you are.
reply by drmaus on Oct 7, 2013 9:03 AM ()
I know what you mean about how hard it is to write here when feeling depressed. It's hard to describe, and I can't say that it's a matter of being afraid to start talking about what's on my mind because I might not be able to quit, it's a matter of not feeling like even starting. I'm worried that I am going to come down with clinical depression. Actually, I'm pretty sure I already have it, and while I know prescription drugs would help it, I simply can't bear to get started on something and take it for a couple of years, and then have to wean myself off. But I know it would make me feel better. It will probably end up happening because there is no cure for the stress I'll be under for a good long time. No doubt a whole bunch more people in Colorado will be filling those prescriptions right along with me.
comment by troutbend on Sept 19, 2013 7:11 PM ()
Exactly -- I have the same reluctance to take anything. I wouldn't be the same person. Looking at your flood photos, I can imagine the devastating effect that must've had. Even partial restoration must feel wonderful, and I'm glad to hear things like your electric coming back on.
reply by drmaus on Oct 7, 2013 9:02 AM ()
"If you've seen enough movies you're aware that a backdoor in a program makes it more vulnerabl" I've seen thousands of movies and I didn't know that!
comment by greatmartin on Sept 19, 2013 6:48 PM ()
You didn't see War Games, or Sneakers? I think both mentioned it.
reply by drmaus on Oct 7, 2013 8:53 AM ()
You paint a dismaying picture ... Save me a space under the spreading banyan tree.
comment by tealstar on Sept 19, 2013 6:28 PM ()
Que? spreading banyan tree? I see a reference to self-employed women, but it sounds like you're making some classic reference.
reply by drmaus on Oct 7, 2013 8:56 AM ()

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