By the Gods, what have I become? (Final part)

Let’s start with a small summary of my morning today. I woke up super late (because I fell asleep very late) and ran to put on my clothes and get ready for today. However, when I was about to open the door and blast out, someone rang the doorbell. I knew no one was arriving this morning, so I decided to go back up and see who was outside through a window. It was a white truck with no company logo on it. I called my house mates to ask if we were expecting anyone and they said no. With all this data, I decided to wait until they left to leave the house. When they finally did, I saw that they left a piece of paper that said “We are your internet provider, we came to install your internet but no one was home, please call this number”. The weird part about this is that, as you probably read in my part 3 & 4 blog postthey did that two days ago. It might have been just a confusion from the company, but either way I decided to not open the door and keep myself safe. Be aware of your surroundings.

rethink son

Today we talked to Rebecca Hogue and Helen DeWaard. The dynamic of this was people asking questions and them answering from their points of views. Helen mentioned that you can share personal information but it can be public, private or a combination of the two. For instance, you can share a picture of your living room, but not tell where in the world you live. This way you share a bit more about yourself but not enough to be exposed to dangerous things. Being vulnerable on the internet is also learning and opening yourself to opportunities and new experiences.

There was a fantastic question about people who commit suicide due to being teased on the internet and their private information, pictures and/or videos being leaked. Rebecca mentioned that Google changed their policies and if you report there’s unauthorized videos of you, they can actually not index them on their browser so it won’t appear to curious people that look for it. She said that if there’s things on the internet that you don’t want people to see, you should create more content! Exposing yourself the way you want to be exposed. However this takes at least 6 months to work. Helen mentioned that you should use your resources wisely, if you see something that you don’t approve, speak up. Being brave is vital these days.

courage

Another topic that was talked about was the power of blogging. People can tear apart any business by writing a bad review on their blog and spreading the word. While it can be great to get feedback from your clients, there might be someone who just doesn’t like you and gives a terrible review. There isn’t much to do about this but understanding that your words have an impact in real life.

“If you don’t create a digital identity, one will be created for you”. This was said by Rebecca and is, in my opinion, the most important thing of this course. Having a digital identity in this day and age should be like having a birth certificate. It shows the world you exist and who you are. The cool thing is that, both IRL and virtually, you can decide who you want to be and the image you give of yourself to others. Many people choose to have alter egos for themselves on the internet (I know a couple of them) and I think it’s brilliant. This allows you to explore a different phase of you and share it with those who like similar things. I have the itch to do something like it, but I haven’t landed a concept I’m comfortable and happy with. If I ever do, I’ll let you know.

This post ends my experience as an intruder in a digital identity course. I want to thank Ken Bauer for allowing me to be here this whole week and also I want to thank you, my readers for not thinking “this is lame content” and not leaving any hate comments on my blog, hahaha. Seriously, though, I appreciate you all for reading me. As for this blog, it will return to its normal information security and hacking content.

thank-you

 

All gifs were obtained from giphy.com.

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By the Gods, what have I become? (Parts 3 & 4)

First of all, if you wish to read part one, click here. If you wish to read part two, click here.

So, this was Wednesday’s course and I couldn’t attend 😦 I spent my morning waiting for the internet people to arrive and later on I geeked out on my Wireless Network course <3. I literally had Amy’s look the whole time during said course. And my boyfriend, of course, had Sheldon’s look…

me

Anyway, back to what matters. Day four. This morning was about people commenting on other’s blogs. They had the chance to actually read what their classmates wrote and give themselves a different perspective on certain things.

Today’s talk was with Maha Bali, she’s a professor at the American University in Cairo. As one could expect, her culture is 180° different to ours and I found that incredibly fascinating. Many people asked questions and started creating conversation, Maha talked about how people can take things you said out of context and use it against you. She talked about creating public and private digital presences depending on what you want to say to the world. Creating private connections online is equally important. A recurring topic was the opinion people have on “ignoring” each other due to social media or phones. The thing is that when you’re on social media, WhatsApp, Telegram and all these apps, you actually are socializing.

Older generations tend to bash technology blaming every social problem on them mainly because it’s the “unknown” and that can always be scary. Not understanding something doesn’t mean that it’s bad, it simply means that you don’t get it and aren’t used to it. Be respectful to others thoughts and ideas, please. Which takes me to my next topic: censorship.

unacceptable

Maha talked about censorship and how in the country she lives in she doesn’t like to express her view on politics for safety reasons. She talked about Donald Trump and how he is never censored and thus, everyone that follows him and agrees with him isn’t censored either despite giving a full-on hate speech. So Maha asked: “Is the solution censoring?” and proceeded to talk about freedom of speech, religions and cultures. You can’t just censor someone because then you’d have to censor everyone and create an attack on freedom. The whole thing turns into a complicated dilemma.

I think her talk made people think about how the world is a huuuuge place and everyone lives through different things. At least that’s what I got left from the whole thing.

Be ready for tomorrow’s blog. The last blog.

 

By the Gods, what have I become? (Part 2)

I arrived kind of late and when I came in, everyone was making collages, I felt back in kindergarten and primary school. The activity was taking pictures of words and things that represent who you are, to take fragments of yourself and create an artistic picture with it.

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Wish picture taken at Yoko Ono’s exposition in Mexico City.

Later on, there were four video calls with four different people, I will talk about each one of them below:

Laura & Lee

The first two speakers were Laura Gogia and Lee Skallerup, they’re two amazing ladies very involved in the digital world as a whole. They both talked about their experiences with social media in their own personal lives (at school, work, with their families, etc) and gave tips and tricks on how to become more open on the internet without creating a bad reputation. I loved the way they respected the privacy of others. Interestingly enough the first question popped up pretty quickly.

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This question is interesting to me, because it specifically talks about discrimination in social media, something we (as humans, I mean, not just women) have to deal with daily.

Lee talked about how there have always been people that hate-read her and left nasty comments, and how she got support from other followers and readers, and how she changed her perspective on who reads her and what’s important. The point of blogging is getting what you want. If you’re not, you should reconsider what you’re doing and what you’re writing about. She also talked about how marginalized communities are  moving into closed spaces due to the hate they’ve received. Lee mentioned that it’s great having many different channels through which people can communicate.

Laura, on the other hand, said that for her it was about using the media to communicate different things “we don’t have different personalities in each platform, we just use them in a different way”. I found myself feeling identified when she mentioned this because, for example, I rarely use Facebook to communicate things but I use Twitter literally all the time. What I post on Facebook are more “serious” topics and on Twitter I sometimes even rant about things that are happening in my life.

Another question that caught my attention was “what are the risks of having a popular digital identity”. Part of the answer was “why do you want to be popular?” They mentioned that their Twitter and blog presence have gotten them jobs and life opportunities. There’s a risk on oversharing, of course, but in the end it’s your choice what you share and what you don’t. In the end it’s all about how much of your life and thoughts you want to share, and who you want to share them with.

Alan & Amy

Next were Alan Levine and Amy Burvall. People asked a lot about how to know if what you’re writing is good enough. To that, Alan answered in the most brilliant way, I even tweeted it:

Amy has a really artistic way of expressing herself and I really admire that, her Photo Safari is inspiring and is also a way of communicating online. I think people don’t like daring to do something different or original because they’re afraid of being judged by others. I can’t blame them, the internet is full of haters and judgy people that will leave bad comments about you or your work. Be like Amy, people, dare to be creative and share that with the world. Here’s a link to her YouTube channel where she gives history lessons in a very unusual way.

Alan talked a lot about content and the concept of stealing on the internet. It’s incredibly complex to control what people on the internet do with the information you post. He’s even got a post on said topic. He’s been cat-fished a bunch of times and there’s nothing he can do about it except for talking about it on his blogs. There are ways of reporting people impersonating you or using your pictures claiming they’re someone else, but the problem is, you can’t report them until you actually find them. I hope none of you, my dear readers, go through something like this, but if you do, you can ask Alan about it.

If you wish to read the first part of this blog, click here.

By the Gods, what have I become? (Part 1)

This week I decided to sneak in to a digital identity course that’s being taught by my security teacher Ken Bauer. My reasons behind this were to basically know what “regular” people  (by this I mean non-tech savvy people) are afraid of, what their doubts about the internet are and the reasons why they don’t feel safe online. This will give me a better perspective on what to talk about in this blog and how to talk about it.

Today’s day one and I’m writing this as we take the course, so I’ll talk a bit about the experience. We had a talk with Dave Cormier and people dared to ask several questions. Interestingly enough, all the questions so far have been completely related to security. Will hackers get me? Is my information safe? What do people generally steal from internet users? Will I ever get hacked?

questions

The answer to all of this was: you are always at risk.

Since the course is about digital identity, I will also talk about that. First of all, what is digital identity? It’s basically the way you represent yourself online. It’s how people will see you on social media. You may think “but it’s the internet, I can be whomever I want to be!” to that I say, of course you can! However be ready to face the consequences of that. Digital identity is similar to a tattoo. You choose the design and ink it in your body forever and ever. So, like a tattoo, be sure to create something you like, something that represents you and preferably something you aren’t ashamed of.

tattoo

Once you realize everything you do can be found by literally anyone, you can start worrying about all those terrible, terrible pictures from middle school. That bad hairdo will be haunting you till the end of your digital days. And you may even start asking yourself: who am I? This, I believe, is the best question to ask. When you find out who you are and who you want to be, is when you can start taking steps into becoming that person. This is vital to create your digital identity.

But back to my research. Although everyone in this course (including myself) is part of the Millennial generation, we’ve been witnesses to technology’s drastic XXI century revolution. We think we know how stuff works when in reality we don’t. Due to this, we are incredibly afraid of what might happen if we share too much or too little. I’m pretty sure at least 50% of all the people here have been scammed, phished, cyber bullied or tricked while on the internet. My advice is to always be aware that the whole world can see what you post, if you feel confident about it after that thought then feel free to post it! Just remember you’re never anonymous (unless you really, really know how to do so, expect posts about that for my security blog posts in the future).

regretnothing

I’m eager to know more about how my generation thinks and how I can potentially help them as well as learn more to become a better computer systems engineer (and hacker).

Stay tuned for more.

All gifs obtained from http://giphy.com/