Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Dao of Online Security

After a recent series of meetings regarding security, I decided to create and regularly update this post about online security and how to stay safe online:

  • Use an Encrypted Proxy when using unencrypted Wi-Fi.
    Each time you connect your PDA or laptop to a wireless network that doesn't support encryption (such as AES, WPA, or the obsolete WEP), you expose your passwords, logins, chats, and web browsing to any eavesdropper within radio range.
  • Use encryption when accessing e-mail.
    Some providers support encryption for SMTP, IMAP, and POP3 connections (sometimes and variously called SMTPS, IMAPS, POP3S, SIMAP, and more), which is mostly relevant when using an e-mail client such as Mozilla Thunderbird, Microsoft Outlook, Agendus, or Eudora. When accessing webmail, choose the SSL or TLS option (https:// rather than http://). Taking these methods helps to avoid eavesdropping by others on your network, others using your ISP, others within Wi-Fi range, and even others on networks between your computer and your e-mail provider's systems.
  • Use encryption when logging into websites.
    Whenever the option is available, choose "secure login" or "SSL Login" to enter your username and password through an https:// web address rather than an http:// web address.
  • Turn off bluetooth when not in use. Some systems can be compromised through Bluetooth, often through a buggy implementation.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

RSS and Atom Syndication Galore

This week we've developed standards for RSS and Atom Syndication across all internal sites and projects.

It will take several weeks yet to implement the standards, and it was interesting learning along the way:

Regarding the choice and difference between Atom and RSS:

We opted to use Atom universally, since Atom is much more versatile, and both formats are widely supported. Some features we plan to use in the near future aren't supported by RSS, even though much of the web uses "RSS" non-technically to refer to both standards, effectively.

For developers looking to implement an RSS or Atom feed, these resources were useful in our search:

  • Feedcreator: ( ) - a no-nonsense PHP feed creator that supports several formats spanning RSS and Atom
  • Autodiscovery: ( - our man "Friday"! during a quick search, this blogger's entry made a quick distinction between rss autodiscovery (rss+xml) and atom autodiscovery (atom+xml)