I scare because I care

  • Tough Love on Facebook Privacy: It’s your fault.

    Please be warned the the tone of this post is not upbeat, funny, and it doesn’t contain cat pictures of any kind. Today’s news calls for good old fashioned tough love. Are you ready?

    Facebook Privacy is a pathetic joke.

    I care about all the people blithely uploading embarrassing pictures of their kids (or themselves) and personal information that could be used against them.

    If you care about your job prospects, your credit card information, your physical safety, STOP sharing personal information on social networks, no matter how much they promise you it will be securely guarded. Baloney. A recent NY Times article about a security leak the size of the Grand Canyon demonstrates that. (Scroll down for the link.) 

    Unbelievably, Facebook’s blog states: 

    “We currently have no evidence that this bug has been exploited maliciously, and we have not received complaints from users or seen anomalous behavior on the tool or site to suggest wrongdoing.” 

    Yeah… and the IRS is a charitable organization.

    And within the same hour today a friend asks me about this College Freshman who thinks that her Facebook bikini picture with a cardboard cut out of Snoop Dogg is private. Her attorney (probably somebody found via a giant billboard on Interstate 85) says “Their idea that putting something on Facebook gives them a license to steal it and carte blanche to do with it what they did is wrong ethically, it’s wrong morally and it’s absolutely wrong legally.” 

    I agree that it’s harsh, but uploading something to the I-N-T-E-R-N-E-T should have been her first clue that it might not remain private. Being ignorant is no defense. She clearly posed for it!! Her attorney is either irretrievably stupid or greedy.  

    It’s interesting to note, however, that she’s getting that bikini pic posted all over the internet, now that this lawsuit has been exposed by Fox News. Maybe the potential $2 Million she hopes to win from the Fayette County School District will defray her embarrassment. Kids don’t need computers or crayons in the classroom as badly as this genius and her attorney need that settlement… (*sarcasm intended*) I hope the judge sees reason and gives them some kind of public service assignment to make up for having wasted the Court’s time and trying to strong-arm money from the school system. Cleaning up road litter by the billboard I imagine he inhabits would make a great Facebook pic share! 

    In case you might have a little info that needs to be cleaned up, do it NOW. There’s no protection for ignorance online, no matter how nice and honest you are. It’s the Wild West. And it’s nobody’s fault but the person uploading the information in the first place. 

    Your homework:

    Clean out your sensitive Facebook photos and information.

    Delete anything you wouldn’t want your Grandma to see. 


    NY Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/22/business/facebook-says-technical-flaw-exposed-6-million-users.html?_r=0 

    Read more: http://foxnewsinsider.com/2013/06/24/chelsea-chaneys-facebook-bikini-photo-prompts-lawsuit-against-georgia-school-district#ixzz2X9mOlDO1

    Need to learn more about maintaining your Online Reputation? Get my book: [amazon_link id=”1118338596″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Online Reputation Management For Dummies.[/amazon_link] 


  • 10 Tips for Secure Emailing and Texting

    Guy at DefCon
    A more tame attendee

    Hi there!

    I know we normally talk about fun stuff and creating your social platform online. But every now and then it’s time for a friendly kick in the pants about your security. Because I care. What’s that? You don’t think anybody cares about what little ole you is emailing or what they might do with your sensitive information?

    Oh my my…

    As somebody who attended the biggest black hat hacking conference in the world this summer, I promise you that lots of people are paying attention to what people email and text. I attended DefCon as a journalist, for research on an article coming out in Forbes. Can you imagine all 5’3″ of me, looking like somebody’s Mom, roaming the halls with guys like the one at the top of this post? Only he looks friendly and those guys were pretty intimidating at first. As I got to chat with a few I discovered that they’re smart people who are expert puzzle solvers and couldn’t find a place to work that would challenge them. The director of the NSA actually keynoted there, in hopes of recruiting talent. But I digress… 😉

    There’s nothing to be afraid of if you take the following precautions. They also happen to be free. 🙂 It’s that simple.

    1. Use Gmail, but use it via your browser (Safari, Firefox, Explorer, etc.), not a mail program like Outlook or Apple Mail. *(For more detail, check out my “Nerd Alert” at the bottom of this post.)

    2. Encrypt your email and texts. Search “Email Encryption”  to see which options most closely fit your needs. For example, I’m an Apple user, so I’m going to look for something up to date that works seamlessly with Apple. Look for testimonials in discussion forums that are elsewhere on the web, so you can get more of an unbiased opinion. ** Nerd Alert follows
    3. Kiss Yahoo goodbye – Debra Russell reports that their database was hacked including all the email passwords and little by little, they’ve been sold to spammers. Yahoo did nothing to protect you, including making sure you changed your password.
    4. Send email newsletters through a reputable service, like MailChimp or ConstantContact.
    5. This one comes via Mallie Hart: Send yourself an email – see what’s/who’s listed as the sender and make sure it’s your name or your company name. If it’s not a recognized name, most people will delete it fearing it’s spam or possible a virus/hack attempt. I get several “WORK Address” and “Home Account” sends each day. SIGH. 
    6. Use the email address provided by your Internet provider. For example, if you’re buying Internet access from Charter, your email address would be something like [email protected]. If you use this address, others can’t send spam from your email address.
    7. Call with sensitive information like passwords, Social Security Numbers, Credit Card Numbers, etc. Where possible, call from a land line instead of a mobile phone.
    8. Google “Text Encryption” for your brand of phone to see which options look the most reliable. Again, look for third party reviews that look realistic. 🙂
    9. When you click “reply” on group emails, be positive it’s only going back to the people you want, not everybody.
    10. Check out Hushmail.com for a secure, free email account. It’s geek approved.  

    Need more info about creating your online business and spreading the word about it online? Check out my book [amazon_link id=”1118338596″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Online Reputation Management For Dummies[/amazon_link]. 🙂

    * Nerd Alert:

    By default, Gmail is set to use HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure), a secure protocol that provides authenticated and encrypted communication. When you see https in the url, it indicates that you are using SSL, which is a good thing. 🙂

    For more information check out https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?shva=1#inbox
    ** Nerd Alert
    The easiest way to write an encrypted email message is to write it in a simple text editor such as word pad or textedit, save it,
    and then encrypt the file.  Attach the file to the message as a mime attachment. And email it off… It’s really easier than it sounds, once you’ve done it a couple times.
    Now I have to warn you, you can’t use an encryption method that is on the US no-export list.
    Since the protected encryption mechanisms are considered a munition under law,
    the use of one in a foreign country is currently considered a terrorist act and falls under all of the
    “we’re going to ignore your rights since it’s terrorism” baloney.
    Also locally some countries the possession of a encrypted file is a crime.  So you have to be careful of local laws when it comes to encryption. Lastly,  there have been many cases of windows machines in poor and totalitarian countries being enfected by keystroke loggers monitored by the local government. It even occurs in the US http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_Lantern_(software) No amount of email encryption will get around this….

    But the good news is that none of this will probably every apply to you. 🙂 Thanks for visiting! Please scroll down below if you have any questions or stories to share about email and text security.  

  • Publicity, Money, and Honey Boo Boo

    honey-boo-booPublicity and Money… 

    Don’t always go together! Case in point: world famous, infinitely disturbing Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. After all the Honey Boo Boo hullabaloo last year I finally had to see what the fuss was all about and watched an episode. Or two. And an interview. Or two. It was fascinating on many levels, not least of which is the fact that they also live in Georgia, which makes me a little self conscious, because I wonder if you think we all act like that. But the biggest lesson that I got from this reality show had to do with the bottom line for these folks. I won’t tangle with the ethics and morality of having a show like this, but if you’re going to invest everything you have and your entire future on something you think is worthwhile, it at least ought to pay.

    They’re getting ripped off

    In a TV interview, Mama June is telling about how she’s their publicist, agent, etc. She handles it all. That’s got to be a huge leap for a lady who wasn’t trained in these complicated areas. I’d hire qualified pros if I had a hit TV show. The Kardashians get $40,000 per episode and have weaker ratings, yet the Honey Boo Boo family gets $10,000 an episode. It’s pretty disgraceful to have one of the most talked about families in the country and yet only receive that much an episode. When you break it down per person in the show, it’s positively criminal. 

    In the odd event that you’re reading this, Mama June,mama-june-600

    • Please consider telling TLC that you refuse to work for less than the Kardashians get paid. Ignore any sob stories and get what you’re show’s worth.
    • Please tell me it’s just a show and that you really do set loving limits with your kids.
    • Investigate ways you can leverage this publicity long term before it’s gone. Hire a trustworthy, well recommended lawyer to review all contracts so that you’re not getting tricked. They’re pros. 

    For the rest of us chickens (sorry, I was “going local” there for a sec!), I you to forever know that publicity and money are not automatically linked. You have to find creative and smart ways to leverage your publicity. People think that I’m rich now that I have a book, [amazon_link id=”1118338596″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Online Reputation Management For Dummies[/amazon_link], published by Wiley Publishing. I have to sell hundreds of thousands of copies in order to make a dime. Financially, I would have done better working at McDonalds by the hour, but I have high hopes that it will help people far and wide (the idealist in me) and that it will open up more paying speaking engagements (again, the idealist in me, and fun seeker). As it is, I do love my consulting clients and am grateful for them. Every one of them came to me before the book published…

    I have a friend who was determined to make a name for herself online, made it happen, and got herself an invitation to appear on the Today show! It was a huge rush, success story, and financial miss. She didn’t make a dime from the appearance because she didn’t have any goods or services to sell on her site, ready to purchase that day. She got

    • A giant traffic spike
    • A huge thrill
    • Blogging street cred
    • That’s it

    Be wise about your intentions with getting online and growing your reputation. If you can tie it to a real-world, ethical product or service, you’re golden. Otherwise, get in the trenches and refigure your strategy. If you need help, contact me at lori @ lorirs (dot) com for a 15 minute consultation, on the house (as my schedule permits) and I’ll help you or refer you to somebody that’s a better fit.

    Next episode: Why George Takei’s “Kitties for Clicks” approach only works for movie stars. (Thanks to Geoff Livingston for his clever wording “Kitties for Clicks!”)

    I can haz cheezburger
    Photo credit: I can haz cheeseburger
  • 50 Shades of OMG

    Steamy romance novel cover
    Oh Brad!!

    Should a teacher be fired for writing erotic fiction under a pen name?

    That’s the question on the minds and mouths of many, as this case draws fire. For those of you who don’t want to click on the full story link, a high school teacher is coming under intense fire because she wrote a sexy novel involving extramarital affairs with former students. I’ve got to admit, as the Mom of a high schooler, this would be pretty awkward for all involved.

    My biggest question is… How did she get found out online?!

    A number of people are starting to spread their literary wings since the Kindle came out (thus hiding trashy novel covers from inquiring eyes) and anybody can [amazon_link id=”B00AFWLX86″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]become an independent author[/amazon_link] via Amazon and Nook with a little hard work and research. I have a friend enjoying marvelous success in the naughty fiction department via a pen name. I’ve never written a steamy, paranormal bodice ripper, but I assure you I’d be using a very well protected pen name, given my author status for [amazon_link id=”1118338596″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Online Reputation Management For Dummies[/amazon_link] and my kids’ dignity. When you think about it, it’s 50 shades of OMG…

    What do you think? Let the lady write or can her high school teaching job? 

    Please scroll down to the comments below and give me your opinion!