Why Net Neutrality is Essential

Who cares about Net Neutrality? Why does it matter if companies get to do what they want. They own the networks right?

In a nutshell it’s all about being fair. Today every website in the world must be treated equally by your Internet Service Provider or (ISP). In other words Netflix gets the same priority and download speeds as Facebook or your aunt’s personal homepage about her cat, fluffy.

Without this rule your ISP can slow down a website, play your favorite movie in low resolution or even charge you extra money to go to Facebook, hulu etc…

They can even block websites so they can replace services you like with services that make them more money.  Want to start paying extra for every google search or have to use comcast’s search engine instead? This can (and will) happen if these rules are repealed.

Own a small website that helps you get new clients? You might have to pay extra to be seen on Charter, Comcast or AT&T. And if you don’t pay up you could lose all your viewers and customers that use these providers because they will never even see you. This makes the hassle of Search engine optimization (SEO) seem like a walk in the park compared to what might be coming.

Imagine you own a non-profit and have to pay extra money to each ISP just to get the word out. Would that hurt the money you will have available for your cause? I would think so.

What if these ISP’s decide that a secure connection to your credit card or bank account (HTTPS) should be a “premium” service and you have to pay $5.00 each time you want to check your balance or pay for a Amazon purchase? What will happen if you have to pay $1.00 for every cat video on YouTube or $5.00 for each porn video (I know it’s your teenage son doing it)? Maybe 25 cents for each email you get from that Nigerian Prince? Without Net Neutrality the sky is the only limit.

Worse yet, what about your first amendment rights? You think if you post a negative review about comcast that they won’t have some kind of automated filtering system in place so none of their customers ever even see it? Without Net Neutrality they would have nothing stopping them from blocking what they wish.

What if the Koch brothers (or insert here villain of your choosing) payoff AT&T a billion bucks to block all Pro Democrat advertising or comments on their network. Or somebody blocks the NRA, Peta, Planned Parenthood? What if a woman was searching for birth control information and got redirected to the Catholic Church?

It matters not, right / left or anarchist . The things you care about and wish to support or learn more about could vanish at the press of the “enter” key tomorrow.

As much as these companies will wish to have you fall for the “we built” the network and it should be “free” from all regulation ideal. It’s just plain wrong, and we are being willfully misdirected on this subject.

The original network (ARPANET) was paid for with your tax dollars. The Universities that then expanded it were paid for with your money. And every major ISP has taken government money (aka, YOUR MONEY) to develop and expand it into the Internet we all rely on today. The US Air Force is in charge of cyber security of the countries networks. And guess who pays for the Air Force?

The Internet belongs to you and me and anybody that says different is trying to scam you.

If we lose this rule, everything we do on the net will become a premium service or you will have to buy a package like we already do for cable TV. And as most know first hand, these packages are seldom fair to the customer. It will turn into buying HBO and getting 25 crappy channels with it that you never watch. And then having to do the same thing to get Showtime. Just Replace HBO and Showtime with Netflix and Facebook and you get an idea of what may come.

If you don’t like what will happen without Net Neutrality, then you need to do something to keep the Internet the way you like and have grown to use it. Or it will all go away.

Sign the petition below and write or call your representatives, ASAP!

NET NEUTRALITY Petition to Congress

Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T all down

There are reports from all over the Internet that major ISP’s are down or experiencing major connectivity issues. So it’s not you this time.

A Comcast tweet is calling it an “external network issue”. While first reports seemed to suggest an attack of some kind it seems to be a switching error on the Internet backbone.

Taking out the trash

Seems in the past few weeks a bunch of old tech favs have fallen by the wayside.

Piriform’s Ccleaner had a bad security breach that left it’s utilities hacked and without a clear response and explanation on how their security failed so badly are now off my list of recommend software.

AIM Messenger, once a classic instant messaging platform is calling it a day. Now if AOL will just stop scamming all the computer illiterate with their AOL Desktop software I will be happy.

And Today Microsoft admits that they are now out of the phone business. Letting Windows 10 mobile die off. If not so gracefully.

The one rule in technology is it always changes, and I am happy to see the above fade away in favor of more modern,  secure and helpful technology that I can tell my computer repair clients about.



Homeland Security and US-CERT forward nonsense alert

Just got an email from US-CERT forwarding a FTC alert stating that you should use Equifax to monitor the effect of the Equifax breach on your credit accounts?!?!?!

See this line in the email…
Alternative security recommendations include using fraud alerts and free credit monitoring from Equifax.

Forgive me if I don’t get it. But this seems to me like letting the doctor that left the scalpel inside your gut, go back in for another try. It is the industry standard to have an outside agency or company monitor a break of this magnitude. Until they have proven they have fixed the breach AND a resolution has been implemented for ALL those that have been affected.

jeeesh !!!

CCleaner Hacked

If your using CCleaner, know that the company that produces it has said it’s been hacked. Uninstall ASAP and if you wish to still use it download the latest version.

From Homeland Security / US-CERT

If your using Thunderbird to check your email…

Original release date: August 21, 2017

Mozilla has released a security update to address multiple vulnerabilities in Thunderbird. A remote attacker could exploit some of these vulnerabilities to take control of an affected system.

US-CERT encourages users and administrators to review the Mozilla Security Advisory for Thunderbird 52.3 and apply the necessary update.

Get the update version here

Know your software

On computers as well as smartphones I find people download software without even doing a google search to see if it is any good. Yet alone to check if the software is just bait for a virus infection or has had other issues discovered with it. Such as bugs or not working with certain O/S or hardware.

In addition software that is great today can be dangerous tomorrow if hackers compromise the source code or somehow are able to control the website providing the downloads for the software.

Yesterday some popular extensions for google chrome created by Chris Pederick have been reported to have been compromised by hackers.

If your running any of these add-ons you should remove them ASAP…

Infinity New Tab
Web Paint
Social Fixer

This is just one days hacking news as both Chrome extensions TouchVPN and Betternet VPN were also compromised in June.

So before downloading any program make sure you check it out. And if you need help ask a computer professional such as RenoGeek to help you with your software choices and security.

The end of net neutrality

Today is save net neutrality day.

Many companies want your law makers to change how information is processed by your Internet provider. While it might seem innocent, know that the Internet you enjoy today was built on equal access for all.

If these companies have their way within a few years you will find that with data caps and speed tiers your experience on the Net will become slower (for the most part) and more expensive. With you having to pay a premium to access your favorite websites and services.

Contact your lawmakers today and let them know you want to keep the Net Neutrality rules that are already in place. If you don’t, then expect to pay more in the future for sites like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Youtube.


Ransomware protection

Once again a new ransomware is in the news. Starting in the Ukraine and spreading worldwide in just a few hours. As always happens once a new malware hits the news I get phone calls asking how the person can protect themselves from the new thing on the block. And my answer is the same. Good anti-virus products. Good computing habits and Back up, Back up and did I say backups?

With a good, well maintained backup even the worse virus or malware will just mean you need to re-install the O/S and copy your data back. Without a good backup you could spends months re-creating important work data and maybe loose important things like personal documents and pictures permanently.

In addition, a good anti-virus will help fend off malware and not clicking on every link sent via email from your friends and co-works can also limit your exposure to these new threats.

As always if you need help with computer security or other computer issues please give RenoGeek a call.

The coming end to privacy

The new Amazon Echo will have a “drop-in”, (feature???) where people you approve can just “drop-in” and video chat instantly. No picking up or screening the call, they just show up on your screen and start chatting. No warning.

In a world that has trained people already to never shut off their cell phones and spend the first part of their day checking emails and updating their status and where people think you died if you don’t answer a text in under a minute, it is a disturbing trend.

We already get rated at work on how “Available” we are and even Facebook will show how often and how fast you respond to their version of text. Now in this always on world companies are pushing us to never be away at all. Even in the book 1984 there were corners to hide in from time to time. But forget that in the new 24/7 “never away” world we are creating.

While I have spent my life working with and promoting all things “Tech”. I resist the idea that you should or even must be available to anybody in the world 24/7.

Technology is supposed to make your life better and free you to do the things you like. If any software or hardware device increases your workload or decreases your enjoyment then it has missed the whole point of why it should exist in the first place.