Safer Internet: Introduction

Safer Internet: Introduction webadmin Mon, 02/16/2015 - 11:12


The "Problem"

  • The Internet's initial design did not foresee today's privacy and security problems.
  • Instead, the Internet has evolved like patchwork over the past 45+ years.
  • cat identityHuman nature has not evolved much over the millenia.
  • Users can be gullible; governments, spies and criminals are attracted to ever more sensitive data and weak safeguards.
  • More people & devices are connected to the Internet, for many more uses, from more locations.
  • With inexpensive online storage, data tends to accumulate.
  • personal dataTotal online privacy is basically impossible, but also probably not what you want.
  • Ordinary people with ordinary needs can still avoid the biggest privacy and security threats.
  • Additional sections -- from All Courses: Introduction [menu]
  • Resources: where to find materials, i.e., here
  • Navigation: using this web site
  • Handouts: how to create your own printed version


Safer Internet: Introduction: Approach

Safer Internet: Introduction: Approach webadmin Mon, 02/16/2015 - 11:16

This course plans to:

  • TCYOPFollow Joe Kissell's e-book: Take Control of Your Online Privacy {TCYOP}
  • Vary the sequence of Topics and depth of coverage, depending on student questions and background
  • Offer even more advice, and links to many articles: reviews, news, issues
  • Help you understand the kinds of information you might want to protect, and from whom, as well as techniques to improve privacy.
  • Explain 'just enough' of the underlying infrastructure and technology to enhance understanding
  • Emphasize preventive, proactive measures -- rather than deal with post-loss emergencies
  • paranoid security expertPrioritize (by difficulty: [1,2,3]) some manageable steps you can take to reduce your privacy and security risks -- [4] though not completely from the NSA.; see Audience [1-4] descriptions
  • Present trade-offs: convenience/effort for you vs. sensitivity/value of your info; one size does not fit all
  • Update advice over time, based on new threats and tools -- check Course Updates section
  • Guarantee that...

Safer Internet: Introduction: Audience

Safer Internet: Introduction: Audience webadmin Mon, 02/16/2015 - 11:14


  • dogYou -- "ordinary" users with willingness to:
  • Explore settings on your computers/devices and read articles
    -- or if you're not DIY, at least understand the risks/issues (and show to your 'techie')
  • Take action: make some immediate changes, and create a plan for later actions,
    while avoiding procrastination, panic, guilt or information overload
  • Ask questions, especially about jargon (or see PC Glossary definitions of Computer and Internet Terms)

Advice Levels / Tags

  • [#] prefix on advice/references suggests audience, importance and/or effort:
  • [1]: Beginners with some familiarity with system/browser settings; mostly easy
  • audience relevance[2]: Intermediate; moderate, less common, some complexity
  • [3]: Advanced; more complex; special situations; programmers, administrators; maybe research or future-oriented
  • [4]: Extreme; dissidents, journalists, whistleblowers, celebrities, lawmakers, lawbreakers, corporations, paranoids
  • This Chart Shows How Computer Literate Most People Are 12/7/2016

Safer Internet: Introduction: Devices

Safer Internet: Introduction: Devices webadmin Mon, 02/16/2015 - 11:20

Devices, Devices, Devices

  • you vs. techModern-day desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and phones provide similar capabilities, and most web browsers and email applications provide similar features, often with similar names -- though there can be annoying small differences.
  • Ideally, this course would offer approaches and advice for many platforms.

Operating Systems

  • tech supportIt would be difficult -- for Joe K. in {TCYOP}, or me in this course -- to provide or discuss up-to-date recommendations and configuration advice specific to every site, device model, operating system version, application, and tool, for every country.
  • Steve will list or demonstrate specific examples of settings for only most recent macOS (formerly "OS X") & iOS (iPad, iPhone) -- not: watchOS, tvOS
  • He will also demo (and sometimes recommend) specific applications in different categories, e.g., browser: Safari; email: Mail; disk backup: Time Machine, Carbon Copy Cloner; password manager: 1Password; VPN: Witopia; ad blocker: Adblock Plus, 1Blocker [iOS], etc. -- there may be other viable alternatives for you (platform, features, costs)
  • tech supportIf you're using Windows, Android, Chromebook, Linux, or an older version of macOS or iOS, or some other wearable or home device/camera/streaming box/system (e.g., "Internet of Things"), don't panic -- you should be able to locate corresponding settings by exploring your device or reading articles (I provide many).
  • Each topic has links to articles in a References section, subdivided by platform and subtopics.
  • Also, see section: Finding More Help: other e-books, classes, consultants.

configureSystem Settings



Before Change

After Change

  • Save any new login name, password, recovery key, security answer, etc. in a secure place, e.g., password manager -- see Passwords section


  • IE icon grandmaCheck Internet-related Preferences, Settings or Tools for your device's apps, e.g.,
  • web browsers: Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera -- in addition to Safari
  • mail clients: Outlook, Thunderbird -- in addition to Mail
  • communication, social networking, maps, etc.



  • macOS: Launchpad > Search
  • terminologyiOS: swipe down on home screen > Search

Update / Buy

  • macOS: Apple menu > App Store
  • iOS: App Store

Safer Internet: Introduction: Topics

Safer Internet: Introduction: Topics webadmin Mon, 02/16/2015 - 11:21


No. of Sessions

  • summaryTypical privacy & security recommendations could be summarized in 5 minutes or so: free 1-page 'cheat sheet', or the Quick Start section {TCYOP-3: 9-10; TCYOP-2: 8-9; TCYOP-1: 11-12}; there are many articles with titles such as "10 Things You Can/Should...", e.g.,
  • Protecting Your Digital Life in 9 Easy Steps 1. Download Signal, or Start Using WhatsApp to send text messages; 2. Be wary of clicking on unfamiliar links or documents and apply software updates; 3. Protect your computer’s hard drive with FileVault or BitLocker — and back up your data to an online backup service, external hard drive, or both; 4. The way you handle your passwords is probably wrong and bad (use strong unique passwords, stored in a password manager); 5. Protect your email and other accounts with two-factor authentication; 6. Use a browser plug-in called HTTPS Everywhere; 7. Invest in a Virtual Private Network, or VPN; 8. Remember that incognito mode isn’t always private; 9. Do sensitive searches in DuckDuckGo; 5/16/2017
  • However, if you'd like to understand background, context, tradeoffs, see demonstrations, and ask questions (and have me speak more slowly), six sessions turns out to be about right. In Fall 2017, these are now 2 (instead of 1.5) hour sessions so we should be able to cover and discuss more.

What We Won't Cover

  • Problems with your specific device & configuration (esp. non-Internet related); however, I may include tips about usage and costs; also see More Help section for learning, troubleshooting recommendations
  • Other non-digital privacy / security issues: paper, home, surveillance, death, etc. -- some in Offline Reference sections
  • Other Internet technical questions and social issues -- ask me to re-offer OLLI course: Internet History and Issues
  • Some [2] intermediate and most [3-4] advanced issues, depending on time and class interest

Safer Internet: Introduction: Discounts

Safer Internet: Introduction: Discounts webadmin Sat, 05/09/2015 - 04:39
  • Besides educational discounts on TCYOP (suggested e-book), discounts are sometimes available for software, services, and e-books -- some listed here and under various topics
  • 50% off all TakeControl titles; sale ends Sun, 10/29/17
  • 1Password (password manager): those who join can receive member discounts on Mac or Windows version of 1Password (25%), other Take Control e-books (30%), etc.
  • There may be discounts available for bundles, or to user groups, e.g., on TakeControl books 30% for AshMUG members
  • For other products/services, there may be occasional online promotions, especially around "Cyber Monday" (after Thanksgiving) or special dates, e.g., World Backup Day (Mar 31 for backup products).
  • Witopia (VPN): if subscribing to Witopia VPN service, use this referral link (or code: Q8Hg3YRM) to receive a 15% discount; Steve receives a similar credit.
  • If you don't need unlimited voicecalls, unlimited texting and/or unlimited cell data (at 4G speeds), you can save money by having a monthly, pay-for-what-you-need cellular phone plan. I suggest checking your bills over past year to see your average monthly usage. I pay < 1/2 with Consumer Cellular for our calling, texting and data compared to AT&T; if you decide to switch to Consumer Cellular, mention that Steve Weyer referred you, and we'll both get a credit; if you're an AARP member, you'll save an additional 5% per month

Safer Internet: Introduction: E-books

Safer Internet: Introduction: E-books webadmin Sat, 05/09/2015 - 04:34


  • TCYOPAs mentioned earlier, this course is based on Joe Kissell's e-book: Take Control of Your Online Privacy {TCYOP}, from the excellent Take Control series of technical e-books. TCYOP is suggested but not required for this course; this course generally uses the same chapter/section headings and sequence.
  • The instructor can obtain a discounted price for registered OLLI students (in multiples of 10).
  • Students request & prepay before/at the first class -- $3 or $4 depending on number ($3 if exactly 10, 20, 30 or 40)
  • Instructor will order copies; Take Control emails e-book to Instructor in a few days
  • Instructor e-mails the .pdf e-book version to students.
  • To view the .pdf version, students need a PDF reader application; many are free, e.g., Adobe Reader (for computers, tablets, phones), Preview (for macOS), or iBooks (iOS).
  • Later, students can download an updated .pdf version (if available, for free or at a discount) and a .epub (iBooks) or .mobi (Kindle) version, e.g., for a tablet or eReader; see "Ebook Extras section" {TCYOP-3: 149; TCYOP-2: 132; TCYOP-1: 119}.

TCYOP Editions

  • 3.0; 4/2017; 152pp.; reg: $15; OLLI: $3-4
  • 'cheat sheet'; free; 1 pp. .pdf
  • sample; free; 53 pp. .pdf
  • 2.0; 5/2015; 135pp.
  • 1.1; 3/2014; 123pp.
  • "{TCYOP-3: #}" in course material refers to Chapter and Figure pages in the current .pdf edition
  • "{TCYOP-2: #; TCYOP-1:#}" (in smaller font) refers to pages in older editions (for students from previous terms).

Other E-Books

  • Read Me First: A Take Control Crash Course understand user interface, System Preferences (macOS), Settings (iOS) for the Take Control series; free versions: web, .pdf, .mobi (Kindle), .epub (iPad); version 1.0: 49 pp.; 9/3/2014
  • TakeControl publishes many other e-books about related topics, e.g., 1Password, Apple Mail, Backing up your Mac, Dropbox, FileVault, iCloud, iOS, macOS, Mac Security, Passwords -- most with free sample chapters; you can save $ if you're a member, or order multiple e-books.

Safer Internet: Introduction: Finding More Help

Safer Internet: Introduction: Finding More Help webadmin Sat, 05/09/2015 - 04:53


  • flowchartHelp / ? in your OS and applications -- as you look for and change settings.
  • E-books, e.g., Take Control of Your Online Privacy, other Take Control e-books
  • This course's References sections for each topic, especially for your OS
  • Support sections on hardware / software vendor web sites: manuals, tutorials, FAQs, software updates, forums
  • Tech blogs / magazines, e.g.,; ArsTechnica; macOS/iOS:

Groups, Classes

People, Companies