Net neutrality. You may have heard the two words, but do you know what it is? Net neutrality is defined by the FCC as rules [that] protect your ability to go where you want when you want online. Broadband service providers cannot block or deliberately slow speeds for internet services or apps, favor some internet traffic in exchange for consideration or engage in other practices that harm internet openness.
If you live in the US and you haven’t been paying attention to the news, now is the time to take notice. To break it down, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Tuesday [Nov. 21, 2017] unveiled plans to repeal a landmark 2015 order that barred internet service providers from blocking or slowing down consumer access to web content, and said the U.S. regulator will prevent states and cities from adopting similar protections, according to CBC. If approved, this gives a ‘major victory’ for internet service providers, including AT&T Inc, Comcast Corp, and Verizon Communications Inc, which had urged the FCC to revoke the rules in the first place.
So why should you care? FCC chief Ajit Pai, a Republican appointed by President Donald Trump in January, said the commission will vote at a Dec. 14 meeting on rescinding the so-called net neutrality rules championed by Democratic former President Barack Obama that treated internet service providers like public utilities, says CBC. Should this repeal pass, this will allow big companies to control what you do online. Major internet providers will make you pay for, slow down, or even block certain content. This infringes on your right to an open, fair and ‘free-flowing’ internet.
If repealed, websites could lose priority on the internet, meaning slower service. How could you get higher priority you ask? By paying for it of course. What this means is the loss of net neutrality could be detrimental to small businesses trying to compete against large companies with deep pockets. Not only will small businesses be greatly affected, but businesses that compete with the ruling providers would also be affected. Take Netflix for example, their streaming could be slowed to give an upper hand to the internet provider if they choose to create their own streaming service, making Netflix less desirable.
Even though this article focuses on the US, this debate is not limited to just the US. Minimal net neutrality exists in places already, such as Portugal. ISPs (Internet Service Providers) can charge customers to access different streams of the internet, such as email service, streaming, messaging, and social media applications. With the global influence of the United States, nowhere is immune to a net neutrality debate; what seems stable now, could turn into a domino effect around the world.
As cliché as it sounds, knowledge is power. Share this article with your family and friends. Stand up for your right to an unhindered internet. We encourage you to join the battle for net neutrality and inform yourself by clicking here. You can also help by visiting the following sites and signing the petition or contacting Congress.
Passwords are the first line of defense against unauthorized entry to your accounts. In a world that is ever-growing with hacking and cyber attacks, it is important to take all the steps you can to protect your information, money, and privacy.
SolidTrust Pay is dedicated to making your time online with us comfortable and safe. This article will help you to understand your passwords, and what you can do to make your online experiences safer.
1. Don’t leave devices open, unlocked, or unattended.
The majority of us wouldn’t leave our wallets or purses unattended, so why should our computers/devices be any different? It’s 2017, and most of us use online banking, social media, or have personal files stored away on our phones and computers. Leaving your devices unattended, especially when they are open, is like indirectly telling a thief it is okay to take your wallet that is laying on an unsupervised table – it WILL be stolen. Keep your electronics close when you are out in public and do not leave them unlocked. This is also very dangerous when you have your information stored in your browser’s Autofill. Clear your cache, cookies, erase your browsing history, and disable your Autofill when you can (see paragraph 3).
2. Don’t write your passwords down.
As tempting as it may be, never write down your passwords. It may seem easy and convenient, but this puts your accounts at risk of being accessed by an unauthorized source. All it takes is for someone to snoop around your desk or in your bag, only for them to find a treasure trove of your passwords on a piece of paper! Make it difficult and inconvenient for people to access your accounts by not writing them down. What’s in your brain can only be accessed by you.
3. Never save your passwords in your browser when given the option.
This is important, especially if you are on a device that is shared with other users. Autofill options retain your data, and if someone other than you logs into a device where this is enabled, well, there’s no guessing when it comes to answering your security questions, usernames, and passwords. Autofill applications, which come preloaded in most browsers, arguably do more harm than good. Disable your autofill whenever you can. If you’re not sure how to do so, you can find helpful guides on Google (i.e., “how do I disable my autofill in Google Chrome?”).
4. Create a difficult and long password – use the Acronym Method.
A good way to create a strong password is to use the Acronym Method. Think of a lengthy sentence that will be easy to remember. For example:
My daughter was born on January 1, 1987
This sentence can be turned into an acronym:
This password meets SolidTrust Pay’s requirements (an uppercase letter near the middle, a lowercase letter, a number, a punctuation mark, and at least 6 characters long). The more capitals and punctuation you put into a password, the better. The same can be said for the length of a password. Bigger is better. We recommend adding memorable punctuation to the sequence. For example:
!! could be added because you were very excited (!!) when your daughter was born. Or how about:
My first bank account was opened at the Royal Bank of Canada, 2007
^$ could be added because you want more (+) money ($) in your bank account.
This method creates passwords that are easier to remember, versus a password that is created by a password generator. Make your password fun to remember, and choose something that’s unique to you.
5. Generate and store passwords with KeePass.
If your memory isn’t quite good, there is still hope. KeePass is a free open source password manager, which helps you to manage your passwords in a secure way. You can put all your passwords in one database, which is locked with one master key or a key file. So you only have to remember one single master password or select the key file to unlock the whole database. The databases are encrypted using the best and most secure encryption algorithms currently known (AES and Twofish).
6. Never give your passwords out to anyone.
SolidTrust Pay will NEVER ask for your passwords. This rule usually applies to all areas of the web. If someone is asking for your passwords to your online banking/financial sites and social media profiles, you should be asking why they require this information. If it seems a bit sketchy, it likely is. Be aware of phishing scams as well!
Although we cannot prevent hacking, we can all take steps to make it more difficult for hackers to access personal information – your password is your first defense, so make it count!
Remembrance Day is here, and on this day we reflect on the lives lost and the families divided due to the tragic events of war. As we take the time to remember the lives that have been lost, let us take the lessons we learn and devote the same level of care. The saying “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it” is a very accurate one. When we continually focus and vilify differences we have with other people we create a divide. This divide makes space for hatred and mistrust to form. We as people must focus more on the things we share in common, and encourage the wonderful ways we experience things differently.
One thing we all have in common is the experience of loss. We all have lost someone or something special to us. Our CEO has personally lost over 500 members of her family, counting extended family and family by marriage. Her own father and mother had barely survived the Holocaust. Many families have been torn apart by the wars that have occurred in the past.
Another thing that we as people have in common is that we all are a part of a family. A family these days is different for each person, but the feelings around it should stay the same. If we come together and foster peace instead of encouraging fighting and war we would be able to make the world and the lives of everyone better.
We must look back on all the atrocities war has brought on to our nations and consider how this emphasis on difference has lead to death, injury and misfortune for everyone involved. We must educate our younger generations not just in the general subjects, but in respect, peace, and love of mankind as a whole and only in this way we can prevent war from being inevitable. We must take a stand and say never again through our thoughts, actions, and words.
We must teach people to encourage and value difference instead of ridicule and fear it, and only then can the future not be a rehash of past wars, and the future becomes a more collaborative experience for all. With the right education, we can accomplish the impossible, prevent the inevitable, and build.