From serious to surprising this quarter: cloud security and web-connected appliance privacy to the unexpected way we rid ourselves of fat.
Do you worry about the security of your Dropbox account? Many of you make use of Dropbox (or other cloud-based backups) to keep copies of photos, documents, etc. offsite. Copies of recipes being stolen may not be a concern if you’re not a chef working on a new cookbook. Personal diaries or financial records certainly might be. Cloud storage is a useful and practical solution to provide additional backups of your important data beyond an external hard drive or thumb drive but you don’t want to worry if your info is safe.
Millions of people around the world store LOTS of stuff on Dropbox. Your upload to Dropbox is transmitted via a secure link and encrypted in transit. Once there, your data is encrypted at 256-bit. That sounds good, but is it good enough?
Check out 9 Ways to Make Dropbox More Secure by David Gilbert to learn more. Here’s some things Gilbert recommends
- using two-step verification to sign-in
- checking web sessions (to see if anyone besides you has accessed your data)
- get rid of sign-ins from applications you no longer use
- encrypt your data locally, rather than relying on Dropbox entirely
- don’t send the most important (like personal financial data) stuff to Dropbox at all
Beware the smart toaster–Seriously‽ It’s a great grabber for an article in The Guardian that’s actually not frivolous.
The full title reads: Beware the smart toaster: 18 tips for surviving the surveillance age.Yes, there really are smart toasters. Here’s a snippet from the piece and why you may want to be concerned (or not):
These days you can buy a “smart” version of just about anything. There are connected toasters, which let you personalize your toast settings and notify your phone when your breakfast is ready. There are Bluetooth-enabled forks, which vibrate when you are eating too quickly. There are internet-connected umbrellas, which alert you if it looks like it’s going to rain. There are even smart tampons, which let you monitor your flow.
OK, sounds silly, perhaps. The serious side is this, from the article:
Not only are most of these gadgets unnecessary and expensive, most of them have shoddy security and are a liability. In 2016, for example, hackers created a zombie army of internet-connected devices and used them to take down large parts of the internet, including sites such as Netflix, Facebook, Spotify and the Guardian. So think twice about whether you really need to buy that fancy connected gadget. There’s enough to worry about today without having to wonder if your toaster is plotting against you.
But that’s still not the main point. There are plenty of sites and apps that grab and make use of your online presence. You knew that already. But have you ever checked to see how much? After the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica/Russian bots, et al maybe you should consider doing so.
Doing things like: Downloading all the information Google has on you. The article says this about that:
You may well have downloaded your Facebook data already; it has become something of a trend in recent days. Now take a look at what Google has on you. Go to Google’s “Takeout” tool and download your data from the multiple Google products you probably use, such as Gmail, Maps, Search and Drive. You’ll get sent a few enormous files that contain information about everything from the YouTube videos you have watched, your search history, your location history and so on. Once you’ve seen just how much information about you is in the cloud, you may want to go about deleting it.
There’s much more–16 more tips after Google and the toaster. It’s worth checking out.
Now for the surprising stuff–where the fat goes when we lose weight!
No, it’s not converted to energy. No, it’s not flushed down the toilet either (at least not as a solid). What then‽
Here’s what this interesting article from CNN says:
The correct answer is that fat is converted to carbon dioxide and water. You exhale the carbon dioxide and the water mixes into your circulation until it’s lost as urine or sweat. If you lose 10 pounds of fat, precisely 8.4 pounds comes out through your lungs and the remaining 1.6 pounds turns into water. In other words, nearly all the weight we lose is exhaled.