Heartbleed Bug Vulnerability

April 16, 2014

I first heard about the Heartbleed bug from Thomas MacEntee’s Geneabloggers’ FaceBook posting on April 11th.  This is a serious encryption flaw that was in security software that became available in December 2011 (according to wikipedia.)  What did/does it do?  Names, passwords, and content that went out over the Internet to http sites were easily accessible and not protected. My understanding at this point is that https sites and specially secured sites such as credit card and banking sites were not affected.  It was discovered in March of 2014, over two years later.

I read that as early as 2010 Facebook was supposed to give their users an option to use https.  I tried to follow the directions on my Facebook account and found nothing.  Then I read a 2011 blub that they were dragging their heels on the upgrade.  Looks like they still are, unless I’m missing something.  I was almost convinced that I was being over cautious by never using my name on a social networking site.  Now I’m glad I don’t.   I’ve compiled a list of links that you might want to check out, starting with the one that I got from Thomas MacEntee.

 What the Heartbleed Security Bug Means for You from LifeHacker

Heartbleed Disclosure Timeline: Who Knew What and When  by Ben Grubb of the Sydney Morning Herald

Heartbleed from Wikipedia

‘Heartbleed’ bug undoes Web encryption, reveals Yahoo passwords   from cnet.com

Heartbleed bug: Check which sites have been patched from cnet                                                                                      We compiled a list of the top 100 sites across the Web, and checked to see if the Heartbleed bug was patched.

Heartbleed bug: What you need to know (FAQ)from cnet                                                                                                        The security vulnerability has implications for users across the Web. Here’s what the bug means for you.

Akamai Heartbleed patch not a fix after all   from cnet                                                                                                              The Web infrastructure company’s patch was supposed to have handled the problem. Turns out it protects only three of six critical encryption values.

vea/15 April 2014
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net


Tracking Your Reputation Online

September 20, 2011

The New York Post did a very interesting article last spring entitled “How to Protect Your Online Rep.”  Chris Erickson, the author, pointed out that just checking your name in Google and cleaning up your Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking accounts aren’t enough anymore.  Employers are looking deeper and farther.  Through the wonders of social networking (Web 2.0 to us), employers are able to check out the friends you keep, the forums and groups you like or take part in, virtually anything you list or choices you make while networking online.  It’s a scary world folks.

So what can you do about it?  According to Erikson, use (but don’t trust) privacy settings.  They are, at best, a stop gap,  not a fail safe.  Make sure you check out you name, email address, blog names, etc. in Google, Bing, Yahoo, and places like Zoominfo. You may be surprised at some of the places you find your information.  And for pity sake, don’t assume that once you’ve had a job interview, you’re home free.  If you tweet what a dumb idiot one of your interviewers was, that person will find out about it, trust me.  Even on the off chance he or she is not into social networking, their friends will be.  Be discreet.  You might not like that word, but when you are hunting for or trying to keep a new (or old) job, discretion is your friend.

It’s worth taking a look at the original New York Post article. Just click “How to Protect Your Online Rep” by Chris Erickson.

I also tracked down several books on the subject that the Newton Free Library now owns. These are:

Radically Transparent: Monitoring and Managing Reputations Online by Andy Beal and Judy Strauss (mentioned in Erickson’s original article).

Wild West: How to Protect and Restore Your Online Reputation on the Untamed Social Frontier by Michael Fertik and David Thompson.

Do It Yourself Online Reputation Management: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building or Repairing Your Online Reputation by Herbert Tabin and Craig Agranoff.  If you haven’t got a clue how to do any of this, start with this book.  Some of the reviews in Amazon complained that this work was too basic.  Sounds good to me.

Manage Your Online Reputation by Tony Wilson.

Good luck.

“Let’s be careful out there.”  Stay safe online and don’t do anything foolish.  You don’t need to have the added stress of identity theft piled on top of looking for a job.  And you will be tempted.  Don’t forget, there is always someone ready to pounce when you make an exception  – just this one time.

vea/20 September 2011
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass.
Applying for Job LibGuide

Newton’s Job Search Class Now Open to Anyone, Anywhere (Plus a Few Extras)

June 9, 2011

The Process:  Over the winter I have been updating, refining, and adding to everything related to the library’s “Applying for a Jobs Online” class. Just as this was completed, Newton purchased a new software package called LibGuides.  Since it takes time to learn to use it, our Assistant Head of Reference, John Walsh, took the material that had been created for the class and created a design for it. Once everything had been put together, I went through the Guide again, updating and tweeking it, learning how to use the program at the same time.

The Result:  If you have Microsoft PowerPoint and Word on your computer, you now have direct access to the library’s class materials no matter where you are located.  If you don’t have these programs, you can still access a wealth of information  in the LibGuide by clicking on the tabs at the top of the Guide.  Under the first tab on the left (Home) you will find contact information for the library, for me, and for John.  There is a brief explanation of the guide in the center.  The material in the right frame gives you you  complete access to all the PowerPoints, handouts, and supplementary materials I present  in my class.  If you are interested in using any of this,  I have two requests.  First, read the syllabus at the top of the list. You may not need everything that you find here.  Second, give credit where credit is due. Tell people where you got the material so they can use it too, if they like.  That’s it.

Tips on Content:  Make sure you check out the tabs.  Besides presenting information on the Library’s Online Career Center and this blog, you will also find RSS feeds, book and website recommendations, as well as  information on several databases that can be used for job and company research.  Especially important is Handout 8 on Plain Text, located  in the right frame of the Home page, and the tab above on “Applying Online”.  The handout gives you step-by-step instructions (screen shot by screen shot) for changing formatted text into ASCII/plain text as well as explaining why you need to do this.  Clicking on the tab will give you information on using online job applications as well as plain text.

Interested?  Just click on LibGuide: Applying for a Job Online.

Let me know what you think. Whether you are looking for a job or helping others become reemployed, good luck. I hope you are able to put this material to good use.


vea/ 9 June 2011
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass.

A Word About the Usefulness of Books

January 21, 2011

Career and Job Hunting Books at the Newton Free LibraryThe postings you find here usually point to online resources, classes, or programs held at the library.  Let us not forget another very important source of information —  books.  Whether you are flipping through pages looking for a more effective resume format or are reading closely to learn  how to do something that is complicated or unfamiliar, there is nothing quite like a book to help you with your job search.   If you take a look at this blog, you will see several tabbed subjects at the top, between the blog title and the latest posting. “Books” is one of these tabs.  Click on it and take a look.

I have just finished [20 January 2011] revamping this list, attempting to set in up in the order of a job hunt.  Starting with broader topics, like overall guides and reference books, I then list books that help you find job information on the Internet, including broad topics like search strategies down to specifics like job banks. Towards the beginning a job search, a person  will begin composing a basic resume, then cover letter . These are the next two categories. When a person finds a job listing, the process of refining a resume and cover letter begins. This hopefully leads to an interview, the next category of books.  At some point in this process, people start seeing references to the potential of social networking, especially LinkedIn, the next set of books. Looking for work in government offers a whole different set of demands and challenges. You will find books on that topic.  Questions or problems with career skills? There are books that help here as well.  The last section is on staying safe online.  Though not specifically related to your job hunt, you need to keep yourself out of the clutches of identity thieves.  And believe me, they prey on vulnerable people, and people looking for work are vulnerable.  Think about it.  How often have you been tempted to take chances that you might not do otherwise while you are hunting for a job.  A tip or chapter from one of these books might help keep you out of trouble.

An additional software format that is relatively new to the library is called LibGuides. Clicking lists of useful books will bring you directly to the Jobs’ LibGuide tab that includes books.  Updates to the various job booklists will now appear here first. [20 September 2011]

Take a look and give me some feedback if you have the chance.  Feel free to offer suggestions if a book has helped you that you don’t see on my list. Also books that you used but did not find especially useful.  Your comments are deeply appreciated.

vea/revised 20 January 2011/updated 20 September 2011
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass.
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Newton’s Job Search Blog:  https://jobsearchchatter.wordpress.com

Proceed Carefully When Using Craigslist.org

November 17, 2010

I often find craigslist.org among suggested resources for jobseekers. Many people assume that if a site is listed, it is credible and safe. Where craigslist is concerned, I have reservations about recommending it without adding a few caveats first. It can be a dangerous site to use.  You may come up with some helpful results.  You may also end up being the victim of a job scam or identity theft with you wallet being decidedly lighter than when you started.  You have to know what you are doing on the Internet in general, but especially with sites like Craigslist where anyone can post an ad. 

I was looking through various blog sites and postings for information on the scams that you might fall prey to in your search for work.  I have listed four of them below.  Click on the titles to read up on some of the things that can go seriously wrong when you are on craigslist. 

How to Avoid Job Scams on CraigsList

Craigslist Scams – 20 Ways to Identify Fake Job Scams

Craigslist Job SCAMS!!!

Craigslist Job Scams: Be Careful Responding to Craigslist Employment Ads

There is also a section on craigslist.org itself that you might want to look at after you read some or all of the above. Click here to see what the list itself has to say.

It is up to you to decide if Craigslist is worth the risk.  If you do decide to check it out, make sure of one more thing — that you type the address correctly.  It’s craigs, not craig. It’s list, not lists.  It’s .org, not .com.  You get the idea.  Whenever you are on the Internet, make absolutely sure you have the right address to begin with and that you are typing it correctly.  Scam artists thrive on misspelled and incorrectly typed web addresses. 

17 November 2010/vea
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass.

Help for Job Seekers from the Massachusetts State Website

November 17, 2010

The state of Massachusetts offers help for job seekers in various sections of its online website.  I would suggest starting with the Job Seekers section of Labor and Workforce Development. Click here to find this.  Take a look at the headings and explanations to see which of these categories will be most useful to you.

Two key sections that you should definitely read through here are “Career Centers” and “Job Hunting: Information to Help You.”  Under “Career Centers,” you will find free classes that give you the opportunity to learn or to hone computer and  job searching skills. “Job Hunting: Information to Help You” is a treasure trove of useful material.  It includes advice on everything from resumes, networking, and interviewing, to tips for completing an online application. (If you are already trying to cut and paste your resume information into an online application or email and are having trouble, you may need to change your resume from formatted text to plain text. This is not covered on the state site. To learn how to do this, click on the Newton Free Library list of class handouts and open number 7.)  

When you are going through the Massachusetts offerings, as with anything on the web, use your judgment.  If you are not comfortable with a recommended site or with launching your resume onto an online posting site, don’t use it or do it.  The state lists craigslist.org as one of a number of recommended sources.  Personally that would be a site I would hesitate either to use or to recommend.  (See new posting above regarding craigslist.)  To learn more information about posting resumes, click here.

One additional site is the state’s  job blog.  Called Commonwealth Conversations, you can find it at  http://jobs.blog.state.ma.us.

If you want to check the main site for Massachusetts state government, go to http://www.mass.gov.  Here you will find a whole range of state services and information. To maneuver your way around the site, you can scroll down to the very bottom right corner and click on Site Map.  You can also check the A-Z Subject Listing near the top right of the website.

Good luck on your job hunt.

17 November 2010/vea
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass.

What to Do with Unsoliticted Job E-mail

November 2, 2010

   This is a question that is coming up more and more frequently.  What should you do when you get an unsolicited  email offering you a job?  First what you should not do.  Don’t feel you have to open it, unless your email program does this automatically.  Under no circumstances, none, nada, never, open an attachment.  Also do not forward it to a freind who is unemployed that you hope to help.

If you want to stay safe online, you now have three choices.  First you can just throw it in you email trash.  Second, you can mark it as junk.  Third, you can mark it as spam.  If your email provides you with an easy way to alert your email provider to the spam, it would definitely be a good thing to do.  Your provider may be able to delete other similar email as they attempt to come in. 

Legitimate employers do not look for new hires this way.  In this economy they already get more applications than they can handle. They are not looking for more.  This type of email is a fishing expedition.  The sender is trying to get as much personal information and/or money from you as possible. 

I wish I could say that this posting was just for newbies beginning a job search. It isn’t.  It is for everyone.  No matter how experienced we are, we are tempted “to take a chance, just this once.”  This is especially true when we are out of work, totally stressed out, and feel our back is against the wall.  Do Not answer unsolicited email.  Never send them your resume.  Do you really need the stress of identity theft on top of being unemployed?

Be good to yourself.  Junk, Trash, Delete  (and for those of us over fifty, Fold, Spindle and Mutilate) any unsolicited e-mail dealing with jobs. Remember that very old expression, “If it seems too good to be true, it is.”  That is just as true now as it every was.

2 November 2010/vea
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass.