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Do We Really Care About Our Data?

I recently read a article by Lauren Gilmore on TheNextWeb where she talked about 8 signs showing that we don’t give a shit about our data. Read that article, and if you find yourself doing anyone of that thing, you really don’t care about your data. 😛

Read the article here.

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Why Encryption Matters?

Encryption matters a lot when you have a lot of data on your devices and you simply don’t want to get robbed of it. Many people just neglect security, all they want is that their devices should work. Especially in India, people always have one response when asked about their smartphone’s security, “Who’s going to steal it? Don’t imagine things.” And the reality is that theives steal phones not because they want the data on it, but because they want the phone itself. The phone is more valuable than the data on it.

Since a few weeks, I’ve heard many reports of phones getting stolen in our college. And as a matter of fact, they were all high-end phones like, for example, the OnePlus One. And not even one phone has been found yet. *sigh*

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Just How Dangerous Is It To Share Your Information On Facebook?

You think sharing everything on Facebook is OK. Read to know more.

Why I deleted my Facebook account (and tightened my privacy)

“Are you on Facebook?”, the first thing I hear every time I meet someone for the first time. If not the first thing, they will surely ask this sometime or the other. “Do I need a Facebook account? Is that compulsory?”

That’s my reply. In today’s world, almost everyone has a Facebook account. Out of the 7 billion people that live on planet Earth, 1.3 billion people are on Facebook (I don’t know about other planets. Maybe they use FB too!).

I deleted my FB account on July 3 and decided never to come back.

I admit that it is a great site. Well designed and ideal for social networking and communications. But wait, there is one thing that most people didn’t use to consider but now do, and that is privacy.

Privacy is one’s right and it needn’t be asked for.

Today’s generation needs privacy. You would not like being tracked each time you visit any website. That’s exactly what Facebook does. Every time you anything on Facebook (or on the internet), Facebook is there knowing where you are.

You would have visited many other websites that provide a Facebook like or share button on their websites for you to like them or follow them. If you are logged in to Facebook, it will track the websites you visit and learn more and more about your interests and likings. I think it already has ALL the personal data of all its users.

And I don’t like being tracked.

“So, do I care?”, you ask. You probably don’t bother about any ads that are shown on Facebook when you log in (or you do? Who knows?). Those ads are personalized according to the data they have collected about you so that they can attract your attention. I have heard that the same thing is done by Google.

Meeting your friends in person is more satisfying than meeting them virtually.

Facebook is a communication network and it should be a communication network, not a network of trackers or stalkers. Hackers know that people post most of their personal information on Facebook and hacking their account is the best way to obtain their information. Stolen personal information could be used for illegal purposes.

By now you all would have read the Facebook Experiment “Emotional Contagion” in the news. It was all about manipulating the users’ emotions by altering what posts are shown on your news feed. The experiment altered the news feed of millions of users without notice. Their emotions were being played with. Showing positive posts generated positive responses from the user over time whereas showing negative posts impacted the users’ in the negative direction i.e. more negative thoughts or statuses. Due to the experiment many users have left Facebook (including me). This experiment was so horrendous that I would suggest you to leave Facebook and avoid yourself to be used like lab rats in its further experiments.

Even search engines track you and give you personalized results. So I even changed my default search engine. Now I use DuckDuckGo – a search engine that doesn’t track you. It is quite good and is gaining ground in the search engine wars.

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The Art of Creating Secure Passwords

Creating secure passwords is one of the most toughest jobs if you are a regular internet user and keep creating accounts on various websites and services. Here’s an excellent article giving tips on how to create secure passwords.

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What Happens to Your Online Presence When You Die

Digital Demise Infographic

Created by WebpageFX

MD5 encryption in VB.NET

The text “12345” converted to “827ccb0eea8a706c4c34a16891f84e7b”. That’s nothing but simple encryption using MD5 cryptography. You can use MD5 encryption in your projects for encrypting sensitive data like passwords, credit card numbers, etc. But beware, once encrypted these cannot be decrypted again. For example, once you store the hashed password in a database, you can afterwards check during user login whether the hash of the entered password and the stored hashes are the same.

I have created a simple utility class which can be used to encrypt or compare hashes. It is a shared class and thus can be used directly without creating any instance. To download it, click here. To use it simply write Hasher.HashIt(inputStr). Replace the inputStr with the string you want to hash and it’s done.

You can find the complete history and algorithm of MD5 here.

Vigenere Cipher in VB.NET

There are many ciphers out there which you can use whenever you want to encrypt something. Encryption is nothing but sending some data in some coded form so that even if anybody hacks into the data won’t know what was being sent. It is decrypted at the other end with a key so that the original data can be retrieved. I will describe (and show) how to use the Vigenere cipher in your programs.

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