Last night, while I was digesting a book on media studies, one concept on the communicative process hit me. The principle of "rhetorical sensitivity" was just empowering. To me, it was the appropriate and encompassing words I've been searching to articulate the thoughts running in my mind.
We all have our freedom to express what we want. We all have our rights to voice what we feel. On top of that, we have an immense control on our lives. However, sometimes, we become vulnerable on our emotions and become careless in what we do or say. Sadly, this may lead us to unexpected dangers. Such encounters do not only work on face-to-face communication but also intensely evident on mediated processes of consuming the traditional and new media.
I've always believed that the words that come out specifically reflect who we are. As I remember, my classmate in Highschool once told me that her Parents once said to her that "think before you speak." Honestly, little did my classmate know, up to now, that statement has been in my mind.
I have a friend who admire here in Brunei. She has been my friend since I arrived in Brunei. Her name is Cecil. Honestly, despite the "stressful havoc" she has been encountering in her professional life, she always has the composure to control and remain quiet.
Cecil and I share our thoughts - from life, love, career and even on the simple nostalgic things. Reading from this, friendship on a communicative process ignites rhetorical sensitivity to bring benefits on two ends - uplift feelings, pacify sadness and a lot more of emotional baggage.
On a more reflective note, I guess "rhetorical sensitivity" should be incorporated with our values on posting any information or expressing ourselves in the internet. Actually, I was appalled by one video which I watched in Youtube which shows how the life of a school girl was devastated after posting her pictures online. And just recently, despite other social media sites attempt on putting the fence on privacy, still, spammers and online fraud get in the way in an uncontrollable and massively shocking way. Weird enough, I just had my share of an encounter with a spammer two days ago. Bottom line, rhetorical sensitivity may be a way to aide us in putting ourselves safely in cyberspace or in a more face-to-face communication, avoid the pitfall of being accused as rude or naive.
Just last year, I attended a seminar on Cyberspace Safety here in Brunei and I was surprised to know that burglary happened through a social media site. The victim, who posted all her necessary information in the internet (home address, phone number, etc), was a young a girl who simply adore social media sites. The victim didn't know that someone was stalking her. On a different day, the stalker went to her house and pretended to be a close friend of her. The victim's parents were clueless on the situation because the parents were unaware that their daughter was engaging in such online activity.
I suppose this incident is not different on adults posting sensual pictures of themselves online or even sexually explicit statements. By doing such act, bear in mind that you are putting yourself in danger.
True enough, what we need is Cyber Education to safeguard us from the harms that can affect us in our online escapades. Simply engaging ourselves in Cyber literacy won't just spare us from the adversities of the complex web of online communication, but let us be rhetorically sensitive.
For over the past years, the internet has been my portal to communicate with my family and friends. Admittedly, I have opened my life via online. I have posted photographs on my travels. I have blogged a lot. However, despite these enjoyment, I try to be cautious.
To know more about Cyber Security, I have posted some information from a leaflet I got from (AiTi) Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry Burnei that can guide you through!
IT Speak: Be a Cyber Smart!
Protecting you and your family online!
WHAT IS A COMPUTER VIRUS?
It is a computer programme that can copy itself and infect a computer without permission or knowledge of the computer owner or user. It can spread from one computer to another through emails, USB drives and through a network file system to perform malicious activities.
WHAT IS AN ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE?
Anti-virus software helps to detect and remove computer viruses and other malicious programmes such as worms and Trojans.
· Install anti-virus software in your computer.
· Your anti-virus protection should be enabled at all times.
· Your anti-virus software should be updated regularly. Set the update to automatic so that when you are online, you will be prompted to download any latest update.
· Your computer should always be scanned after updating your anti-virus programme.
· Your computer should be scanned regularly.
As new viruses are being introduced on the Internet almost everyday, you should ensure that your anti-virus software is always updated using the “live update” feature to automatically check for updates.
A PERSONAL FIREWALL
WHAT IS FIREWALL?
A firewall is a software or hardware designed to block hackers from accessing your computer. It monitors the communications between your computer and the network, and blocks unauthorized connections to your computer. A firewall can also block programmes residing in your computer from sending out information to the Internet without your approval.
· Install a firewall on your computer or home network.
· Your firewall should be configured to prevent or block other computers on the Internet from accessing your computer.
· Your firewall should be configured to stop information in your computer from being sent out to the Internet without your approval.
· Your computer should be scanned periodically to check for security vulnerabilities.
WHAT IS FILE SHARING?
File sharing allows another computer user on the network to read, write or delete files on your computer. This ability to share files can allow someone on the Internet to access your files or infect your computer with a virus.
You should disable file sharing if you do not need to share files on your computer with other network users. You can disable the file and print sharing features under Windows networking control panel if you do not need to share files or printer.
If you really need to share your files, you can protect the file share with a password to that only people who know the password can make use of the file share.
SUSPICIOUS EMAILS – BE WARNED!
· Never open an email that has a suspicious title especially when you do not know the sender. Emails are commonly used to disseminate viruses, worms and Trojans. Be very careful of acting on the contents of the email and opening files attached to an unknown sender. Such emails may be frauds or scams.
· Always scan all email attachments for viruses before opening them. Delete the email if the subject title appears suspicious or strange, even if the email is from someone you know. The person may have sent you a virus unintentionally.
· Never open email attachments with the file extensions “.exe” and “.vbs” as they are often used to propagate viruses.
SAFEGUARD YOUR PASSWORD
WHAT IS PASSWORD?
A password is commonly used to access a computer system. A password is like your house keys. Most people would not leave the house keys hanging on their front door and so should you safeguard your password.
You should choose a strong password that is easy to remember but difficult to guess. You can use a paraphrase to create a strong password. For example, the password “ah2r3da1c” is derived from the first characters from the phrase “Abu has 2 rabbits, 3 ducks and 1 cat”.
· A password is crucial to safeguard your computer. Choose a password that is difficult for others to guess.
· Your password should consist of at least 8 alphanumeric characters. (Alphanumeric means numbers and letters, for example: 8emA93d)
· Never share your password with others. Be very wary of hackers who may try to trick you to reveal your password over the phone or email.
· Never store your password in your computer as anyone can access it or write it down. You should memorise it and make it uniquely yours.
BACKUP YOUR IMPORTANT DATA
· You should backup your data by copying all your information data on a separate media such as CD-ROM disk or hard drive. If you lose your data on your computer e.g. due to a hard disk failure or a virus infection, you may not be able to recover the data unless you have a backup copy. If you do your data backup on the same hard disk, you may lose it as well.
· Perform your data backups regularly. A weekly data backup is optimal if there are frequent updates to your data. You can use backup software to help you schedule and automate the backup process.
INSTALL SOFTWARE UPDATES
Software updates, also known as “software patches”, are used to fix problems found in softwares. Software updates should be done automatically to allow latest software patches to be installed once they are available.
BE SAFE WHEN SURFING ON A WIRELESS NETWORK
Wireless networks are easily accessible and provide convenience to Internet users. However, they must realize that they are exposed to the danger of losing personal and/or sensitive information to someone with malicious intent who is spying on the wireless network.
· Secure your electronic devices – laptops, mobile phones and PDAs before surfing on a wireless network.
· Make sure you connect to authorized wireless networks only and disable the auto-connect feature in your setting.
· Always use passwords and encryptions to protect personal information before transmitting them over a wireless network.
SECURE YOUR WIRELESS NETWORK
A wireless network refers to wireless LANs (Local Area Networks). This technology has become increasingly popular in business, industry, schools and in homes. Wireless network can be used by more than one person within range to access the Internet. This means any neighbor or passer-by in the street with a wireless laptop can find and access your home network. You have to secure your wireless network with a password. An unsecured network makes it easier for hackers to access your computer.
There are five simple steps to get basic security on your wireless home network:
· Buy a Router with a built-in Firewall
· Change the Service Set Identifier (SSID)
Your router will have its own default name (SSID). Hackers know the default manufacturer’s settings so you need to change the SSID to prevent them gaining access.
· Disable the SSID Broadcast
An SSID broadcast sends a signal to nearby computers to tell them you have a wireless network, so it is important to switch it off to keep your network hidden.
· Change your Router’s User Name and Password
· Enable WEP Security
WEP stands for Wired Equivalent Privacy and you can ask Windows XP to automatically turn it on. It encrypts your wireless broadband signal to prevent anyone snooping on it.
What is a spam?
Spam refers to unsolicited emails often sent to large groups of recipients. Do not provide your email address to just anyone. Alternatively, you can have multiple email addresses for different purposes that will allow you to use a “disposable” email address when you are at unfamiliar websites or posting to newsgroups.
· Treat your email address as an important private data, like your phone number or home address, and give it only to people you know and trust online.
· Avoid publishing your email address on the Internet.
· Do not reply to a spam, including asking the spammer to remove you from its mailing list. Your reply tells the spammer that your email address is active, and you may receive even more spam.
· Some people send spam for the purpose of identity theft – this is called “phishing”. Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes around the world. You should be aware of all requests for personal information. If you are storing personal or private information on your computer, be sure to use a firewall and keep the information protected by using a password.
· Establish multiple email addresses for different purposes. Use a free email account to help get spam under control. Even if you don’t need another email account, signing up for an extra with Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail for example will allow you to use the account to give to retailers or other online sources that might end up selling your email address to spammers. Never give out your work email for non-work related purposes.
· Spam may even contain viruses or adult content that is vulgar and inappropriate. It is a good idea to use anti-spam software or the spam filtering service of your email service provider.
ONLINE SHOPPING – BE SAFE
· Only conduct online transactions with vendors that you trust.
· Ensure that your internet browser displays both “https://...” in the URL and the unbroken padlock in the lower right hand corner of your browser when you transmit confidential data over the internet. This indicates that private information, such as credit card details, is encrypted and is protected from being read by unauthorized users on the Internet.
· Clear the “cache” of your Internet browser to delete any confidential data stored in your computer after an online transaction. This simple measure can be accessed from the Help feature or the user documentation of your Internet browser and is especially important when using public computers.
WHAT IS CYBER BULLYING?
Cyber bullying is any kind of harassment, insults and/or humiliation that uses mobile, wireless or Internet-related technology in some way to hurt a child, preteen or teen. Believing they can remain anonymous, online bullies may be more aggressive than traditional bullies.
Teaching the children how to respond to, and more importantly, when to ignore cyber bullying, is crucial. Some should be simply ignored and the sender blocked. Others should be reported to parents and teachers.
MY COMPUTER IS UNDER ATTACK – WHAT DO I DO?
· Disconnect your computer from the Internet immediately.
· Perform an overall virus scan on your computer.
· Contact BruCERT (Brunei Darussalam Computer Emergency Response Team) to report the incident and get further advice on what to do.
BE CYBER SMART!
Stick to these rules:
· Never tell anyone you meet on the Internet your home address, your telephone number or the name of your school, unless your parent or carer specifically gives you permission.
· Never send anyone your picture, credit card or bank details or anything else without first checking with your parents or carer.
· Never give your password to anyone, not even your best friend.
· Never hang around in a chat room or in a conference if someone says or writes something which makes you feel uncomfortable or worried, and always report it to your parent or carer.
· Never respond to nasty, suggestive or rude emails or postings in Usenet groups.
· Always tell your parent or carer if you see bad language or distasteful pictures while you are online.
· You can’t win the lottery or lucky draw if you never participated or bought a ticket so don’t believe emails telling you that you’ve won.
· Never send money to someone you don’t know in response to an online request or via email.
· Always remember if someone makes you an offer which seems too good to be true, it probably is so refer it to your parent or carer.