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(In)secure me

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

It wasn’t before recently that I realised how attached I am to the idea for security. My best friend since 9th grade revealed he was in love with me and ceased having any contact with me whatsoever.

What hurt the most was losing ground. Feeling left alone, seeing how someone can throw you out of his life with as much as a wave. But the most intimidating thing of all is having your whole feeling of safety evaporate.

S. was my point of balance. He was my pivot giving me the freedom and confidence to run naked in the world and explore its vastness without fear. Simply knowing that he was there and he cared was enough for me to make the world my playground and feed my curiosity as long as I would like to or at least until I hurt myself and run back for help (his wanting to help me being enough to cure me).

My way of thinking about our friendship was nothing extraordinary on its own. Years of togetherness sew in me this feeling of comfort so sweet and valuable in a friendship and so poisonous If you try to make it something more. Revealing myself as deeply as possible to imagine, I set this friendship to be what most of us build for themselves in one way or another- a harbour of security. I stole my friend’s freedom to be who he is in exchange for making him this single trusted person I could go back to when everything had fallen apart- a hero of his own power.

Losing your balance makes you feel nauseous. Kids play fearlessly only when they know there is someone to watch out for them.  When they hurt themselves they cry to call for attention. If there is nobody to look for you or just be there for you, you are alone with the pain.

*

Talking with Mitko about the things I want to improve in myself yesterday, I got a glimpse of something I did not see before.

For a moment, it looked like my whole desire for self-development was nothing else but another attempt to ensure myself security, to escape in a way.

As if I practice this or that, I will not experience the situations that frustrate me or scare me- the ones that make me feel weak or out of control.

**

Life is not safe. Security is an illusion. A well preserved one. One to fight for, to lie yourself for, to live for and to die for. Still, illusion.

***

I am insecure. Sometimes I want support. I am still not self-sufficient.

May be it is enough to be honest about it. To be mindfull and consciously investigate your behaviour and your whole being for hidden attachments. To push yourself towards everything that ever scares you. To free yourself without fear and to set up free everyone else you may be holding on to with Love. And learn that Love is with us and within us in every single moment of our being. If only we can recognize it.

Practice will show.

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♥Maggie Nazer is a social entrepreneur, activist, blogger and current Middlebury college student.


Use Dropbox? Consider middfiles instead

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

We advise our community to use Middfiles for all file storage needs. In fact, sensitive information should always be stored on Middfiles.

Dropbox, one of the most popular cloud storage providers, has had several security flaws and breaches over the past year:
- In June, for four hours, anyone could access anyone else’s Dropbox files.
- Three other separate security flaws (or holes) were found this summer.
- Furthermore, FTC found that Dropbox was misrepresenting their security measures and protocols.
- In addition, Dropbox had changed then clarified its Terms of Service within a matter of days.

That’s why we promote Middfiles for “cloud” storage needs. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions around Dropbox, cloud storage or security. If you have questions specific to Middfiles, please visit our documentation page.

Are you reading this post via a feed reader? If so, read on…

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

On Tuesday May 31st we’re going to change the categories on this blog, so if by any chance you’re using a feed of a specific category, that’s going to break. We suggest subscribing to the whole blog for maximum enjoyment! If you’re not a LIS staff member & would like to filter out the more staff related posts, you can subscribe to the new “Middlebury Community Interest” category after May 31st. The other categories will be “LIS Staff Interest”, and “Post for MiddPoints” which will cause the post to be added to the MiddPoints blog too. All the old categories except “The Essentials” will be converted to tags for easy searching.
The LIS Web team developed this new scheme, following recommendations that came out of the open meeting about the future of the LIS Blog (including a call for simplified categories). The AD Team reviewed and approved these changes. We welcome your comments.

Do Macs get viruses? (or “Just say NO to MACDefender”).

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Viruses on Macs? You don’t say!
The Helpdesk is occasionally confronted with this question: Do Macs get viruses? The short answer is yes, they do. Actually, there are quite a few viruses, worms and trojans that target Macs (see the iAntivirus Threat Database). That’s why we offer antivirus software for Macs: http://go.middlebury.edu/sav. Note that Symantec has been included on faculty/staff computers for several years. It’s also offered to all students (though we might not do a good job advertising that).

What’s MACDefender?
Recently, a new malicious software has been targeting Macs (SANS, Symantec, Cornell). The software is (deceptively) named MACDefender. Strictly speaking, MACDefender is not a virus, it is a trojan but for most people there is purely a semantic difference. It should be noted, however, that a computer trojan, much like its historical counterpart, relies on deception and requires our “help” to infiltrate a computer. Computer viruses and worms on the other side don’t depend, as much, on us humans.

How do you know if your computer has been infected with MACDefender?
Well, at this time, if your computer is infected with MACDefender you may see the symptoms outlined on the Intego antivirus page. However, a better approach would be to update your real Mac antivirus (you have one, right?) Here are the instructions for updating Symantec Antivirus for Mac and running a virus scan. Don’t have Symantec for your Mac? Get it now: http://go.middlebury.edu/sav.

macdefender - fake antivirus

PCI and Blocked Email Messages

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS v2.0) is a standard that has been accepted by all major credit card companies and most credit providers. It is a standard that we must abide by if we are to accept credit cards as a form of payment. PCI DSS is broken into 12 requirements; each focusing on a different domain of security.

While PCI DSS is not an actual law, it is a standard enforced by the credit card industry, and the banks have stated and upheld the policy that they will no longer accept business from non-PCI compliant merchants. The government has used the PCI DSS as a yardstick by which they have measured such regulations as Gram-Leach-Bliley, Sarbanes-Oxley, and most recently the drafting of the Data Accountability and Trust Act.

We employ a device called a Barracuda here at Middlebury which helps us prevent SPAM from flooding our email system. Just shy of a year ago this system was updated to enable it to filter on cardholder information. By default this feature was turned on. We have left this enabled and have begun reporting on these blocked messages and alerting the senders of outbound messages.  The Barracuda is intended to serve both as a SPAM filter and a compliance tool.

Two new staff in Central Systems & Network Services

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Please welcome two new staff members in CSNS:

  • Ian Burke started November 29th as our new Network Security Administrator; he is also on the LIS Security Team.  Ian comes most recently from Amherst, NH and was a Security Engineer for TJX in Framingham MA.
  • Jim Stuart started December 8th as System Programmer/Administrator.  Jim was Chief Technology Officer for Qvault, Inc. here in Vermont.   He previously worked here at Middlebury from 1993-1999 in various positions in ITS, prior to the merger which created LIS.