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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Everyone's looking for good geeks

By Burt Lum

Help wanted! Tech geek needed to fix networking problems and assist in translating all this technobabble.

Take, for example, the interest in security and protecting your data. It seemed like just yesterday that the act of getting a broadband connection was a feat in and of itself. Now you need to worry about unauthorized access to your data. Lucky for me, I am surrounded by early-adopter geeks who blaze those unmarked trails.

One of those geeks has his own Web site at macgeek.org. Check it out. You will love the undying infatuation with cute anime characters and teddy bear tech support.

You shouldn't expect anything less because you're in nerdsville. But besides the warm and fuzzies, there is a wealth of good, useful information certified for consumption from the Mac Geek.

Here are a couple of tidbits that you can put to immediate good use.

First off, as we all hook into the Net at broadband speeds, it is good to know how secure your workstation is from outside hacks. Keep in mind that once you connect your computer to the Internet, your data could potentially be compromised by cruel hackers.

Shields UP! (grc.com/x/ne.dll?bh0bkyd2) is a site recommended by the Mac Geek and produced by Steve Gibson that allows you to scan your Internet connection, determining how impervious your data is to the rest of the world. With your permission, Shields UP! will scan your port to detect possible vulnerabilities.

Another useful tidbit from the Mac Geek is a tool that helps to reduce the amount of spam you might be receiving. If you create your own Web site and place your e-mail address on those pages, then you will find this useful.

One way mailing lists get created is with bots that collect e-mail addresses from Web sites. These programs are able to read and store addresses that spammers use to send out annoying e-mails.

At Hivelogic (hivelogic.com/safeaddress.php), an online tool enables you to translate your e-mail address into a javascript with numerical equivalents. This clever technique makes it difficult for the bots to scavenge your address. Very cool! ;-)

Reach Burt Lum at burt@brou haha.net.