Computer Security Session 4: Surveillance and Privacy


Who wants to track you?

  • The government and law enforcement
  • Private companies (to sell you things and learn your shopping habits)
  • Criminals (to learn your patterns)
  • Friends, family and potential friends (“Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life.”)
  • Stalkers

How can you be tracked?

  • Data traces left on your computer (e.g. browsing history, browser cache)
  • Interactions with your Internet Service Provider (ISP)
  • “Like” buttons and advertisements
  • Browser toolbars
  • Keyloggers
  • Logs on the websites you visit
  • Wifi (and wired) snooping
  • Mysterious shadowy government projects that may or may not exist

Scary Elaborations, and what to do: Local privacy, Online privacy, and Legislation

Get Organized: Week 5 Materials


A bit late, but here are the slides and handout from week 5 of the ‘Get Organized’ series. Week 5 was about budgeting.

For those who attended the series, please send me feedback of the constructive and/or showering-in-praise type. Let me know which sessions you liked (or didn’t), whether or not the structure was useful, what has worked for you, what really didn’t work for you, what you wish I’d covered (or covered more), etc. And if you qualified for those 2 free hours of help, I will be in touch at the end of the month!

For those who didn’t attend, or missed some sessions, if anyone is really interested and would definitely come out to a second offering of the series (perhaps a bit reorganized; probably in June/July), please contact me at laura @

Week 5 Handout (pdf)

Week 5 Slides (pdf)

Computer Security: No class March 20


Because several participants would not have been able to make it, we decided to defer this week’s Computer Security class. Instead, we will meet on Tuesday, March 27, Tuesday, April 3 and Tuesday, April 10.

Some topics we will cover over the next few weeks include:

  • Verifying identity (secure web browsing, encrypting email…)
  • What should we be worried about?
  • Email phishing and scams
  • Privacy and tracking
  • Firewalls, Routers, and Wifi

There is still space left in the course, so feel free to register by leaving a comment below.

Computer Security Session 1: Passwords, Overview


version 1.0


Passwords are like housekeys for computer services. They are intended to be secrets that allow you to access resources, but deny access to others.

Here are some questions to ask yourself about passwords:

  • What are the passwords protecting?
  • If one password is breached how many other computer services become vulnerable?
  • Who else knows your passwords? How much do you trust them?
  • What services have your passwords? How much do you trust them?
  • How many passwords do you have to manage?
  • How do you manage your computer passwords?

Password cracking, password strength, managing passwords, overall security thinking, and homework!