On the technical side 11-04-2008
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On the technical side 11-04-2008


Last week's Tuesday edition of the Lowell Sun reported that you can buy a presidential and vice presidential candidate cabbage patch kid. If you really want to find out who is the most popular candidate in the election, take a look at http://stores.ebay.com/Auction-Cause. If you were to use the bids as an indicator of the election results, Sarah Palin would be the next president and she would win by a landslide.




Last week Microsoft released an out of cycle patch. This patch addresses a vulnerability that could allow a hacker to gain control of your computer like the blaster virus of 2002. Don't panic, if you have a firewall, you should be ok.


The majority of patches will help your system keep free from problems but there have been some updates in the past that have caused computer problems.

When you consider how many patches Microsoft releases, their record is pretty good. It's not perfect but pretty good.


If you are wondering, "What's a firewall?". A firewall is a program or a piece of hardware that intercepts messages destined to your computer. The firewall has rules that determine if a message is allowed to connect to your computer. If the message fits the discard rules, it is not allowed to connect to your computer. A message that is determined to be safe is allowed to connect to your computer.


"I need one of those firewall things." The Windows operating system includes a software firewall but you should also consider a hardware firewall. It is a small box that sits between your connection to the Internet and your computer. Most of the time a simple router will perform a firewall function and is sufficient to keep the hackers off your computer.


Don't get too secure in your thinking that the firewall will protect your computer from ALL threats. Someone could send you a virus in an email. You always should keep your virus scanner up to date.

Don't accept any invitations from websites to scan your computer for problems. Many times that invitation for a free scan installs adware on your computer. Your computer becomes a pop up machine.


An interesting thing about this particular vulnerability is that the code or instructions to create this exploit is available to hackers at their meeting places on the Internet.



Computers are wonderful machines but do they belong in the election process?

Think about it. What if just one computer failed? What would happen to all the votes recorded on that computer? Paper votes might not be high tech but it is the best system available at this time to verify tight races.


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NKC Systems Inc.

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 Dracut, MA 01826


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