Archive for July, 2013

Re Your Safety and Security on the Net …

Posted on July 26, 2013. Filed under: American Thinkers, Business, Guide Posts, Searching for Success |

Mat Honan of Wired magazine wrote a very detailed article last year about security flaws that led to an epic hack of his Twitter, Apple and Google accounts. It is a fascinating read and showcases the relatively straightforward techniques that can enable someone to breach our accounts. The steps outlined above are basic but taken together can seriously protect you and your assets online.

Here are Top 11 tips for online protection from a pro:

1) ALWAYS use strong passwords (combination of capital letter, number and punctuation).

2) Don’t use the same passwords for all accounts and change passwords regularly. This is easier said than done but it’s a necessary evil. You would never use the same key for your house, your car and your bank safe deposit box and the same applies online. 

3) A more secure entry check would be to use a two step authentication process which requires you to receive a session PIN (via SMS). Several web services are beginning to offer this option and it is recommended using this for the most important sites where you have financial and other personally identifiable information (PII) data.

4) The backup accounts used for restoring and resetting your password should be one that you use actively and provide near real-time notifications.

5) Back up your data into multiple and diverse solutions such as an external portable hard drive in conjunction with a secured cloud based backup solution. Don’t rely on a single storage medium for your most important data (family photos, etc.)

6) Basic information like your address and birthday are easily obtainable online. Always use secret questions that are fairly obscure and only you or close family would know.

7) Another good practice is to make sure public profiles on Google or Facebook are controlled and you only share information that you are comfortable the whole world can see. Don’t make it easy for someone to guess your password.

8) Full disk encryption (e.g., BitLocker for Windows, FileVault for Mac OS X, dm-crypt + LUKS for Linux) for your personal machines is critical to secure your data in the event you misplace or lose it. That way, despite the loss of the hardware, it becomes more difficult for someone else to access your data.

9) Be wary of using your credit card or other sensitive information online with websites that are not well known. Always ensure that HTTPS/SSL encryption is used when performing any transaction that requires you to enter sensitive information including your username and password. Look for https on the URL and the padlock icon in the URL. To even be safer, one can click the padlock and ensure the site has a valid certificate (such as Verisign).

10) Enable every alert possible for transaction confirmations, password changes and other notifications. It is one of the best ways to keep on top of any unauthorized change in any online account. Pay attention to the options each site provides and enable as many as possible.

11) Be aware of email phishing scams where a hacker attempts to gather information about you such as your username, passwords, or credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity. Avoid clicking on any suspicious links or providing any data about yourself. Always contact the entity directly using their published contact details to validate if it’s a legitimate request.

I diligently follow these tips but it just so happened that for my PayPal account which had been dormant I hadn’t updated my password in a long time and suffered as a result. I learned my lesson and luckily there was no damage in the end, but it was a good reminder to keep your eye on the ball.

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A US General on Defense Pay Scales …

Posted on July 26, 2013. Filed under: American Thinkers, From a Services Career, Guide Posts, Personalities, Searching for Success |

The US Congress had defeated the Bill providing better pay for Commissioned and Non-Commissioned Officers of the Armed Services, 
Then General Omar N Bradley, Chief of Staff of the US Army, declared –
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“More than any institution, the Army is in the business of People.
If we are to be outbid for the services of outstanding men, then I submit that we shall entrust our Security future to rejects,- content to make their way in a steady job at steady pay. An Army so handicapped in peace time cannot cope to produce the Generals it needs in War. Bargain personnel seldom produce a bargain Security system.
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Yet our Government clings to the theory that it can deal forever in basement prices on the talents of men.
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We are in danger of making Patriotism a luxury that the most able men can no longer afford. A talented young man must choose between a Military career and the prospect of greater abundance for his family. By our failure to modernize pay scales, we have told him he can’t have both.
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Inferior inducements attract second rate men. Second rate men invite second rate Security.
 In war, there is no Second prize for the runner-up”.
 
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Sam Bahadur Passes Away …

Posted on July 2, 2013. Filed under: Personalities |

The first Obit –

“He broke through the anonymity of military uniform, became a legend of his times – and found a prominent place in modern India’s pantheon. For a nation born out of non-violence, military heroes cannot be commonplace. However, Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, who died in 2008, was a rare exception”. – Joey Joseph.         .

The 94-year-old Field Marshal died at the Military Hospital in Wellington, close to his Connoor residence in the Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu. He was given a state funeral with full military honours in Ooty on Friday evening. There was, however no attendance from the Govt or even the Army. 

“Without doubt one of India’s greatest soldiers and a truly inspiring leader,” is how Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described him.

Leader Sam was, ever since he joined the British Army in 1934 as commissioned officer number IC-0014, after his training in the first batch of the Indian Military Academy. He was initially attached to the Royal Scouts and later to the 4/12 Frontier Force Regiment.

After independence he moved to the Gurkha regiment. For the rest of his life, he was “Sam Bahadur” to friends, peers and millions of others. 

During World War II, as a young Captain, Manekshaw was at the forefront of the British Empire’s desperate efforts to check the Japanese military surge into India. Near the Sittang River in Burma, the young captain was fatally wounded as he led a charge. The British GOC, a VC himself, was aware of the courageous counter-charge led by Manekshaw, saw him struggling for life. Legend has it that he pulled off his own Military Cross and pinned  it on Manekshaw, saying ” A dead person cannot be awarded a Military Cross”. 

As India became independent, Manekshaw moved to the military operations headquarters of the Army in New Delhi and was involved in the Kashmir operations and several other sensitive operations of his day. His upright manner and straight-talk landed him in trouble with the Defense Minister,VK Krishna Menon who tried to enlist him in his fight with the then, Chief Gen KS Thimayya DSO.

Sam had an enquiry initiated against him when he was Commandant of the Defense Services Staff College, Wellington and then his promotion to Corps Commander was delayed by 18 months. He was only promoted after the Chinese hammered Nehru’s India.

Manekshaw will actually be remembered for his sterling role in India’s 1971 war against Pakistan, which resulted in the creation of Bangladesh and a humiliating defeat of Pakistan.

“Sam Bahadur was the architect and the inspiring leader of the operation and the consequent military victory in what is now Bangladesh,” ManMohan Singh. 

In 1969, the then Army chief, General PP Kumaramangalam was retiring and though Sam was the Senior, yet Gen Harbaksh Singh was well connected and had influence. He had taken over the prized Western Command from Sam, who was shunted to Eastern Command. And now Harbaksh was leaving no stone unturned to become Chief though he was the junior. 

The Army and the Country held its breath till it was announced that Sam would be the next Chief. When Sam reached home, he shouted to his wife, “Dolly! I am going to be Chief!” Calmly, she retorted, “Whats there to be excited about! I always knew you would be Chief!”

“In his demise, the nation has lost a great soldier, a true patriot and a noble son,” defence minister AK Antony said on Friday.

Yet the fact remains that an ungrateful Govt with held his Pension and gave him NO Courtesy till when he lay on his Deathbed, President Abdul Kalam visited him and gave him a Check for over a Crore of his arrears of Pension!

The country had honoured him with Padma Vibhushan in 1972, and he became India’s First Field Marshal. The only other Field Marshal of the country was the late KM Cariappa who was given the rank a wee later. 

Manekshaw was Independent India’s true military hero, mesmerising generations with the glamour and valour of military life, helping India emancipate itself from the humiliations of the 1962 Diaster with a thunderous Victory in 1971.

His upright joy de vivre, panache and professionalism rank him with KM Carriapa and KS ‘Timmy’ Thimaya as One of the Three Greatest Chiefs of the Army post Independence.

As a child Sam almost went to England to be a doctor like his father. He would have “liked me to become a gynaecologist”, ………… ………………………..       “As a General, destiny made me the mid-wife in the birth of Bangladesh.”

 

 

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