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Hacked to Pieces

Facebook, Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail/Live, Hi Five (like who uses that anymore?), Twitter, even MySpace is under attack. Well, no. It might be though, and your space on MySpace might become someone else's, and then you'd be forced to call it YourSpace for a while.

Jokes aside, it's a serious issue. Identity theft is an unpleasant, unwanted part of our ever-connected lives. Hackers and spammers and sad lonely losers in basements in some deep dark corner of some city somewhere may be trying to access your account as you read this. They'll do it for any of a number of reasons: spite or a grudge, maybe they don't like the way you dress, or you made the hacker do all your homework, or maybe because the hacker has nothing better to do.

Safeguards against hacking goes something like this: If your account can't be seen (Facebook users take notice) it's less likely to be hacked into. Add a bare minimum of close friends, and then turn the security settings all the way up to Invisible to the Naked Eye. If you insist on having 4000 friends so that you can brag about it at school, then make another profile with a bare minimum of personal info and add the random strangers there. If you've already got a lot of random people you don't want on an account you want to keep, take some time off your busy social life and delete the random ones.

Get a strong password: mix and match numbers and words at random in a manner that is complicated but easily remembered by you. Forget passwords like “password” or “dontknow”. You'd be just dumb to have a password like that. Don't use your name or nicknames either. If you have problems remembering, use something that you can find in your immediate vicinity. Again, “computer” or “pendrive” should be chucked out of the window. Chuck “Windows” outta the window too.

Keep several mail accounts with varying passwords and ID's ready. Most of the good mail services like Yahoo and Gmail have very good and efficient account recovery systems. Just don't forget the answers to your secret questions. If you made up your answer or you are simply too dumb, then you deserve to suffer. Don't use the same mail account for all site registration stuff, use three or four that you remember the best. That way if your mail account has been compromised first (as is the case in most instances), you keep your other networking sites safe.

All of this has been super basic anti hacking and hacked account recovery procedure for the super dummies out there. Since I'm one of them, I'll stop imparting my limited knowledge to you people. Stop being lazy and Google “measures to prevent computer crime/hacking” and read up on this stuff. It'll help.

By Shaer Duita Fish Reaz


Grin

“…the act of smiling was originally a show of aggression. As a beast would bare its fangs.” 'Shigurui', Yamaguchi Takayuki

The battlefield was abuzz with heavy tension in the air that was almost tangible. They stood still, the two of them, staring into each other's eyes, oblivious to the bustling world around them as though it mattered to them not. He felt the blood rush to his face as his adversary slowly yet steadily brushed him with a deep, calculating glance. A battle was imminent, even though there were no particular reasons behind the sudden animosity. It's just that people desired certain things in life. And he had already made his choices.

“State your terms,” he tried to hide his nervousness behind a
deep voice.
“I have already stated them, sir,” his enemy replied in a dangerously polite tone.

“Those are unacceptable,” he tried to sound confident.
“Oh,” his adversary arched an eyebrow. “If that is so, let us hear your own wise preferences on the matter.”

He cursed softly under his breath. It was a challenge, one no red-blooded man could turn down. The enemy was no regular rogue, he appeared to be the best of his clan, cunning and experienced in the 'art'. The chessboard had just been turned around and he felt that the intensity of his adversary's glare would burn a hole into his head. But wait, he still had an advantage. The opponent was confused about his skill level - he was still sizing him up. He needed to make use of this situation. That is how even seemingly inferior warriors could win battles against mighty adversaries. One single decisive blow, was all he needed. He felt perspiration trickling down his face. The time had come, the battle would be over soon.

“A hundred less, and not a wink more,” he declared boldly, his voice echoing throughout the narrow alley.

Silence hung in the air like a great ominous shadow. His enemy continued staring at him, his face a wordless, expressionless mask. “Come on, what are you waiting for?” he muttered to himself. The mounting tension was becoming too much for him to handle. The wait felt endless, treacherous.

And then, it happened.

His adversary's face twisted into a different mask as his eyes squinted themselves almost half-closed and the corner of his lips crooked upwards in what was an unmistakable grin.

He drew a sharp breath of horror: the enemy was smiling at him. Why?

“Very well,” his adversary boomed, still smiling. “I am but a lowly 'peasant'. Of course I couldn't win against the likes of you,” and he was handed his package without any further show of hostility. He finally had in his hands what he had desired, he had won.

And yet, he was puzzled. Something didn't feel right.

There was something deeply disturbing about that smile. Why would a defeated warrior grin like that? And why would he have that all-consuming twinkle in his eyes, seemingly filled with glee, taunt, humour and… PITY?!

“Excuse me,” he moved to a side and made a phone call to his friend. “Hey, how much should a T-shirt cost at the local market?”

-“How much did the seller ask?”
“Two hundred and fifty. I bought it for a hundred less.”
-“A HUNDRED AND FIFTY for a T-shirt?! Are you an idiot? These things barely cost about fifty to sixty bucks!”
“What??”
“Geez, man, you're still a beginner at this bargaining game. You get SLAUGHTERED if you don't know the market-price. You still have a long way to go, my man… ”

As his friend rattled on with his rants, he turned around, dumbfounded, to take one last look at his opponent. And sure enough, he was staring right back at him, the sickeningly serene smile plastered across his face, smug and triumphant. “Please do visit again, sir. It was… 'delightful', doing business with you,” and the enemy grinned even broader, carving the humiliation of his position ever more brutally into his head.

That day, as he went home defeated and mortified with shame, he vowed to himself, “Some day, some day I WILL visit you again, funny man. And we shall see who has the last laugh.”

Vengeance would be sweet, it seemed.

By Kokoro Chan


WE've all been at the pointy end of the sword of Internet harassment (or the blunt end); been subject to general buggery by random buggers. Be it MSN, Hi5 back in the ye olden times or Facebook, now home to the largest gathering of ANYTHING at ANY place, there will always be somebody there who'll annoy the hell out of you.

What most Internet users fail to understand or even grasp the existence of, are a bunch of unspoken Internet Etiquette - they are known as Netiquette. The word explains itself. But we shall explain it for the sake of clarification:

Unwritten, obvious Internet manners, which escape most people's experience of common sense.

Let's take sending a friend request to someone on Facebook. Two of you have just met, exchanged 5 seconds of interaction, and you don't jump into your tiny cellphone screen and send a friend request. You don't also just collect names of classmates, add them up and afterwards inform them with an offended expression - “I have added you on Facebook!” Awkwardness ensues.

Netiquette dictates that you think twice before posting things like, “I think you're pretty, and so am I. If you think so too, you must post this on five pretty girls' walls, otherwise you'll grow a pimple”. In fact, these things are called spam, and No Spam is one of them Netiquette gospels.

To save all of us embarrassment and annoyance, here are some tips.

Don't add strangers: It's weird when some random person you never even knew existed suddenly wishes to be considered as your virtual friend. If you really think the person might be interesting and worth befriending, then see if you have mutual friends, and you could ask to be introduced. But don't add uninvited.

Don't spam: Spamming is not nice. You might think that some particular piece of news or an article is interesting, but don't go around sending it into a bajillion people's inboxes. Unable to leave the thread, the never-ending notifications and mails can get tedious. If you're that keen on sharing something, just post it on your profile, and tag people and people can untag themselves if they like. Simple as that.

Don't Abuse the Feed: Very few people care if you're 87% evil or 43% Disney Princess and 57% Nintendo. In fact, no one cares. And when you take about 20 quizzes in 20 minutes? Yeah, they show up on the feeds. It clutters and pushes out potentially more useful news. Still like taking those quizzes and passing the time? Go ahead; just consider not publishing it, perhaps? Also. Your profile picture says a lot about you, just not what those brainless quiz thingies say.

Avoid Netspeak: We've said this for MSN, we've said it for emails, texts and the English Language in general, and now we're saying it for Facebook, too. Netspeak? It's taboo. Like the F word, frock. Nobody uses frock anymore… Or wear them either outside of comic conventions and magazines. We will judge you by the way you talk. Netspeak destroys whatever little respect you have.

And the thing you should definitely, definitely do? Use common sense.

By SS Emil and Sabhanaz Rashid Diya

 


 

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