Watching porn is bad for your smartphone

We’re not making any moral judgments here. But it is definitively a bad idea to visit pornography sites on your smartphone or tablet.

Nearly one-quarter of malware on mobile devices comes from porn websites, according to a new study from Blue Coat, a Web security and optimization company.

 Mobile users don’t check out porn sites often — less than 1% of all mobile traffic is pornography. But when they do go to those sites, the risk of inadvertently downloading malware to their devices increases three-fold. That makes watching porn on smartphones a far bigger threat than viewing porn on a PC.

Porn led to more malware on smartphones and tablets than e-mail spam, malicious websites, and fake apps combined.

Part of the problem, Blue Coat said, is that the nature of mobile devices makes differentiating legitimate sites from malicious ones a tricky task. There is no way to hover over shortened URLs to reveal their true destination, for example.

“No matter how tantalizing a link might look on a desktop, there are cues that you shouldn’t go there, such as an address that just doesn’t look safe,” said Hugh Thompson, chief security strategist for Blue Coat. “When you click a link on a mobile phone, it’s harder to know what form of Russian roulette they’re playing.”

Porn is a leading traffic driver on the Internet, and for many years, porn sites had been a primary source of malware on PCs as well.

“When you delve into the world of online pornography, you don’t often know where you are, or where the content is coming from,” said Thompson. “But when you’re visiting those sites, you are more inclined to make riskier choices than elsewhere on the Web.”

But cyberattackers are increasingly finding new ways to target an even larger audience, including phishing, uploading malicious advertisements and poisoning search engine results.

Security experts predict that broader-based cybercrime schemes are likely to appear on smartphones and tablets soon. For now though, mobile attacks appear to be mirroring techniques used on traditional computers.

Still, major security firms have widely predicted that this will be the year mobile devices will finally emerge as a major target for cybercriminals. Smartphones have become personal computers that travel around with us at all times, and the vast majority of users don’t even lock them with a password.

Cyberthieves continue to make so much money attacking Windows PCs that there hasn’t been much incentive to change tactics. But we’re about to hit a tipping point. Most people still do their online banking and shopping on their PCs, but those transactions are happening on mobile phones more frequently.

According to research from Juniper Networks (JNPR), 300 million smartphones around the world will be equipped with the near-field communications (NFC) chips needed for mobile payments this year. Juniper also predicts global NFC transactions will total nearly $50 billion.



One Year After …

About a year ago, I started this blog as a means of penning down my ideas and to share interesting stories that I find around me or on the Internet. My primary focus was on articles bordering on innovations and evolution of technology and how it affects, especially, Nigerians. Quite a noble idea, if I may say so, but how well have we fared after one year?

With a monthly average of about 2,500 visits and a viewership of almost 4,000 (Source : Google Analytics), one can not say the blog has fared badly, not at all. But how well has it fared viz-a-viz other Nigerian Blogs? Not very well, I daresay.

You see, as noble as the intentions of this blog are, the dream of every blogger is to have his blog listed among Technorati’s Top 100 blogs in the world, putting one’s blog in the same league as “The Huffington Post”, “Mashable” and “Techcrunch”. And if the last ranking of Nigerian blogs is anything to go by, being ranked with “Ogbonge Blog”, “Bella” would definitely not be a bad idea.

I read up articles on how to improve the visibility of blogs and carried out the following recommendations;
– Search Engine Optimisation (Check)
– Quality Content (Check)
– Frequency of posts (Ehm, well, check. Hey, I need to earn a living!)
– Blog Networking (check)

After this, there was a slight improvement in the rankings but it was barely noticeable.

So, in the quest to make things better, I decided to take a stroll around the Internet, to see what makes these other blogs tick, and to find out exactly what it is they talk about that viewers find interesting. My findings were eye opening. People find blogs dealing in certain contents more attractive than others. Oh well, I should have known this, my wife never visits my blog, shouldn’t that have told me something? She always complain about me talking about nothing else but Linux, Computer, iPad! Well …

From my findings, blogs that have the following contents seem to excel more than others (not in any order);

– Social news and gossips
– Mobile News
– Free Browsing, mobile hacks, etc
– Online Business : How to make money online without lifting a finger!
– Free this, free that!
– Guys, what else?

This really did set me thinking, do I join the bandwagon? I am damn sure I would excel talking about hacks and the likes, it has always been a major attraction to me. However, one may have to consider the ethical aspect of this, the reason why the blog has only dealt sparingly on this topic. I recently penned a write-up on how to unlock your Etisalat dual SIM phone, you can only guess the number of viewership the topic had!

Thinking seriously, I felt the reason for this blog is to share ideas and not necessarily for commercial gains (Not that I would mind though) and obviously, the articles on the blog seem to fill the needs of a few people, and most importantly, I am happy doing what I do. So why change?

You see, I am a Geek, a Geek by birth and inclination (Borrowing from Wole Soyinka’s words) and anything short of the blog content would amount to not being true to oneself. I only hope and pray that “Insha Allah, By God’s Grace” (Borrowing, again, from the words of my high school teacher), this blog would get to the top of all rankings, someday.

PS: This article was meant to coincide with the birthday of my darling wife, I actually penned it about 2 weeks ago, but couldn’t find the time to type it out! So much for frequency of posts!!

Happy Birthday, Dear. Happy Birthday, “Diary of a Geek”


How To Build a Linux Firewall

So you’re looking at some old P3 desktop tower and giving serious consideration to putting it out to pasture. Well as luck might have it, there are some additional options you might want to consider. While running something on your network with lots of bells and whistles like Splunk really needs a server environment to thrive, you can still utilize an old computer tower to build a Linux firewall. And, let’s face it, running a dedicated hardware firewall isn’t such a bad idea these days.

I happen to think that using Devil Linux is the way to go when building a Linux firewall. Offering the mixed blessing of new heavy user interface translates into a Linux firewall solution that can be implemented without requiring a PC with a lot of system resources, such as the P3 machine I mentioned earlier. Now it should be stated that Devil Linux and setting up a Linux firewall in general isn’t for the faint of heart. While the documentation provided is great, it’s no replacement for the out-of-the-box ease of a self-contained and supported appliance.

Software To Turn A Computer Into A Firewall
CC licensed Flickr photo shared by DragonBe

Hardware required to build a firewall

  • A computer that can boot from a CD or USB drive is helpful.

  • Two Ethernet ports. One for the broadband connection and one to attach to your router or switch.
  • Keyboard and monitor. While the monitor may not be an issue after setup, it’s probably easier than running the setup headless / via a busy box.
  • A hard drive or USB thumb drive to store the OS and firewall rules.

Why a Linux firewall is better than a software firewall

The biggest benefit to building a Linux firewall is vulnerabilities in Linux are typically different than those found in the Windows or OS X operating system on your desktop. Placing a firewall in front of your computers protects against attacks and sets network access rules for everyone on your LAN, whether they like it or not. There are other things you can add to your firewall configuration like network intrusion detection, Web acceleration, content filtering, and packet shaping. Providing a decent network firewall is a good place to start.