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2016

Computer Security Day.jpgProbably the main reason Computer Security Day (which is today) exists, is because we -- as a species -- tend more toward cure than prevention. Most of us only ever change our passwords once the last one has been discovered and put to ill use.

 

Naturally you've taken heed already this year, and run through the Computer Security Day checklist to revisit your online life and update your digital door locks. But was it always thus?

 

We've probably all fallen foul of hackers, viruses, malware or some manner of online scam at one time or another. I've a couple of stories on this front, one of which you might recognise, while the other is a bit more of a head slapper.

 

Google Cheque-Out

WLW-TwoFactorAuthenticationWithGoogleAuthent_98DF-google_authenticator_icon_2.jpgIt was the early days of online payments, and Google set about contending with PayPal via its Google Checkout platform.

 

An insecure password, which was made public via a completely different site being hacked (I used the same password for both), let someone into my flimsily protected Google account. Naturally there was a credit card attached to the account, and someone kindly allowed me to buy half a dozen pay-as-you-go mobile phones for them. Awesome.

 

Aggravating as it all was, this security slip up on my part highlighted something interesting about paying for things using an online platform, like Google Checkout or PayPal. You see, I received an email receipt immediately after the purchase was made. Not from the bank, because they don't offer that feature even today, but from Google. So I immediately jumped on the phone to the nice credit card folk, and reported the fraudulent transaction.

 

What's interesting was that it hadn't even gone through yet. The credit card company hadn't even received the transaction info. Google's automated email system was significantly faster than the banks payment system, so they were able to block the card before anything had even gone through.

 

What Did We Learn?

Entirely my fault for having a rubbish password (easily fixed) and for leaving a credit card registered on an insecure online account (quickly removed). But as a payment platform, using that digital intermediary worked extremely well, as I found out about the fraudulent payment way before the bank even knew about it! Neither were the details of my credit cared shared with the hacker, as all they could do was make a payment using Google's system, and not a direct credit card transaction. A fortuitous safety net I've made use of ever since.

 

I've rambled on long enough already, so I'll save my other digital security face plant for later on. It's way better, and involved squatters getting into a Big Pharma sterile area because I effectively opened the door for them. Your turn first, though!

 

What I'd like to hear now is all about your cyber security horror stories, and how you fixed or overcame them.

 

Email hacked? Wi-fi inadvertently shared? IoT light bulb letting the North Korean government into your bathroom? What happened, how did you fix it, and what did you learn from the whole thing?

 


 

Don't forget! Now that you've secured your digital self, come and tell us how you can make yourself and others safe and sound in the physical world, in our brand new Safe and Sound Design Challenge.

 

There's an awesome free kit available to successful applicants that'll ensure you're safely tooled up for a great new project, and some ultra-cool quadcopter prizes to be had!

Computer Security Day.jpgAlthough this is likely to overrun November 30th, we feel it's no bad thing to raise a bit of extra awareness around World Computer Security Day (CSD), and we've created a badge for all those who are into the idea of locking down their online lives nice and securely.


To get the badge, follow these simple rules:

  • Update your element14 password.
  • Update your avatar with our CSD 2016 icon on the right (maybe overlay on your existing avatar for a few days? That's what I'm doing).
  • Post a blog about How to Secure Your Devices, ensuring you tag it with "Computer Security Day".
  • Vote in our Best Hacker Movie Ever poll.

Naturally it's no bad thing to go through the Computer Security Day motions on a regular basis, but in honour of the official day we'll aim to get everyone in the spirit a little sooner by only making the badge available for one month, so make sure you grab it before the end of December!

Oh, here's the icon for your avatar, should you want it: CSD-2016-30x30.png

 

And don't forget to tell us all about your ideas for making people safe and secure in the physical world in our brand new Design Challenge once you're done, as well as the digital one.

Computer Security Day.jpg

It's November 30th, which means it's A) Just under one month until New Year's Eve, and B) It's World Computer Security Day (CSD)!

 

You can find out a little more about the origins of the day itself over here, and tell us about your best practices when it comes to securing your digital life.

 

Beyond Computer Security

This is a long-lived awareness campaign already, but it's changing as fast as the computers it's based around.

 

CSD is a concept that increases in magnitude somewhere like the element14 Community. Here, we're interested in lots of different types of computers, microprocessors, systems and platforms; and most all of them involve some manner of digital security measures. A campaign that originally looked at encouraging people to change one, or maybe two passwords now involves something of an epic security endeavour for engineers, makers and tech-heads who are into all the available prototyping platforms out there now.

 

So is it also time to change the password on your Raspberry Pi root? Should your Internet of Things devices get a new login? Are there any concerns around your connected Arduino projects?

 

Updating a Windows password is easy, but updating a headless single board computer or homemade connected thermostat or wi-fi operated light fitting is something else entirely. Even those of us who take an active interest in these things might struggle to keep up to speed on every item we've built into a maker project.

 

So I'd like to encourage those of you in the know to pick a platform or process of your choice, and write a blog detailing how to change or update its passwords, logins or security features.

 

Tag it with "Computer Security Day" (and put a link to it in the comments here, if you like) and we'll compile all your cyber security instructions into a cyber security bible that will help keep our corner of the internet just a little bit safer. If we can enough blog posts together on the subject of cyber security, we could potentially edit these into an e-book that'll become a valuable reference for all of us.

 


 

Don't forget! Now that you've secured your digital self, come and tell us how you can make yourself and others safe and sound in the physical world, in our brand new Safe and Sound Design Challenge.

 

You could win a nice, safe quadcopter with which to "enhance" your neighbour's security and privacy!

Computer Security Day.jpg

There are multiple reasons to celebrate World Computer Security Day (CSD). We'll get to the primary reasons in a minute, but the other thing that's nice about it is there aren't any greeting cards associated with it. Not yet, anyway.

 

So, what's today's rather nebulous-sounding pseudo celebration all about? Read on.

 

World Computer Security Day

As woolly as it might initially sound, this is actually a great idea. The purpose behind it is simple; to raise awareness of cyber security, and to encourage us all to refresh our digital security practices, if only once a year. Admittedly even that's probably not quite enough, but it's still an improvement for a lot of people, which makes CSD worth spreading.

 

The exact origins of Computer Security Day are surprisingly far reaching. It's always held on November 30th, with the first one dating back almost 30 years to 1988.

 

This, some of you older computer nerds will recall, was when the (in)famous Jerusalem virus first appeared, and spread itself far and wide just as computers were becoming commonplace within homes and offices. It was a pernicious little chap, was Jerusalem, and squirrelled itself away within a minuscule amount of memory to deliver its volatile payload every Friday 13th.

 

How Do You Join in With World Computer Security Day?

On face value this is a pretty easy question to answer.

  • Change your password(s). Not just for your computer, but also for your online accounts, of course.
  • New lock for your smartphone and tablet.
  • Update your anti-virus, malware and other security precautions.
  • Set up a new password for your wi-fi.
  • Run a full, deep-level spyware, virus and malware scan.

 

Pretty obvious stuff really, and it's where everyone should begin. There's even a brand new element14 badge to go with it all.

 

Before we delve any further into CSD throughout today, tell me if you've updated your security today or recently, and what are your best practises when updating your computer security. Help us spread the good CSD word!

 

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And hey! Now that you've secured your digital self, come and tell us how you can make yourself and others safe and sound in the physical world, in our brand new Safe and Sound Design Challenge.

The Kit -- The Prizes

the element14 Global SpotlightGerman Engineering at a GlanceWe Are Makers ...
Five reasons to study in GermanyFive of the best | Projects ...Texas Instruments in Germany

 

element14 community members from Germany, Austria and Switzerland include several of our most active and creative contributors, applying their unique skills to our Design Challenges and developing their own personal projects using the technology and innovations we regularly feature.

 

Here are five of our favourite projects by our German-speaking members.

 

Skier Impact Monitor by Hendrik Lipka

Skier Impact Monitor

 

As part of our Sudden Impact Wearables Design Challenge, member hlipka took inspiration from his son's love of skiing to develop a piece of wearable tech that measures impact forces and calculates Head Injury Criterion (HIC), in order to flag up any falls or injuries that may be cause for concern. The device was also designed to be suitable for use in a wide range of other situations in which a head injury might occur, and the data collected using the wearable would be automatically sent to the parent's phone to allow for a rapid response that could make the difference between life and death in an emergency situation.

 

Mayer Makes Maker Blog by Clemens Mayer

 

 

The German speaking regions have a thriving maker scene that often gets overlooked compared to their English language counterparts. Austrian contributor mayermakes has recently launched the first ever Maker Vlog in the German language, featuring news and discussions on key talking points in electronics and electrical engineers, while also showcasing his own projects and product reviews. He also provides English subtitles on many of his videos for the benefit of non-German speakers.

 

Smart Key Hooks by Christoph Rieder

 

Smart Key

 

Our Enchanted Objects Design Challenge tasked members with breathing new life into old household devices using modern IoT technology. Our member crjeder decided to focus on the key hooks that hang in many a domestic hallway, integrating smart technology to provide additional functions including speech messaging, interactive to-do lists and status updates to inform visitors when you're out of the house and when you can be expected to return.

 

Don't Forget The Windows by Hendrik Lipka

Don't Forget the Windows

Another creative design challenge submission from hlipka, this time using IoT technology to remind homeowners when they've left a window open, preventing potential security risks and also helping to save on heating bills and potentially reduce a home's carbon footprint. The project was submitted as part of our Forget Me Not Design Challenge.

 

Retro Game Designs by Hartmut Wendt

 

 

Retro gaming fanatic hwhardsoft has turned his passion for into an online business with his catalogue of project kits that allow users to build their own versions of classic arcade games using a range of embedded electronics and microcontrollers, including products from Raspberry Pi, Arduino and EnOcean. Using these tools, customers can not only recreate their favourite games from childhood, they can also develop their own creations.

 

This is just a small selection of the many fantastic projects our German-speaking members have been involved with on the element14 community. If you have a favourite German, Swiss or Austrian community member, maker blog or IoT project, and you think it deserves some extra recognition, let us know in the comments section below.