Digital Bytes

Packets of IT news you can use

The Continuing Saga of Equifax…

Kristi ShmyrCybersecurity

This Equifax nonsense just keeps going… By now, everyone who chooses to live their lives amongst the rest of us knows about the Equifax hack (if not, check out our other post about it here). But, like Hollywood’s appetite for sequels and reboots, it just doesn’t seem to want to stop. Equifax is under multiple investigations (in Canada and the US) and subject to multiple lawsuits for their stunning misuse of public trust. We now know they had been hit, possibly by the same intruders, with multiple other security breaches going as far back as March, possibly even back to 2016. Although not directly related to the recent breach that saw 143 million people’s personal information lost to hackers, it … Read More

What is doxing?

Rachelle DrouinCybersecurity, IT FAQ

Derived from dox or docs, short for documents, the Internet-based practice of doxing involves compiling and publicizing personally identifiable information about a person or organization. These records were previously private or difficult to obtain. This does not, however, imply the information cannot be uncovered, made public and used by those with questionable motives.

Wondering what the story is with the Equifax hack?

Kristi ShmyrCybersecurity

I’m sure you heard – Equifax was hacked. Now this is a VERY big deal for mortgage brokers, insurance salespeople, car dealerships – anyone who pulls credit regularly. But it might also be a big deal for you. You don’t even have to be a direct customer of Equifax to be a potential victim – they have your information if you have ever had your credit pulled. Unfortunately, there is so much misinformation out there that it can be hard to figure out what actually happened, and if it actually affects you. That’s where we want to help. Some of the basic facts: Equifax is one of the 3 big credit monitoring companies that track all of your financial transactions. … Read More

What is a QR code?

Rachelle DrouinIT FAQ

Quick response codes, or QR codes, are a type of barcode containing information about the item to which they’re attached. Consisting of black squares arranged on a white background, QR codes can be read by a camera until required data can be extracted. Numeric, alphanumeric, byte/binary and kanji encoding modes store this data in the horizontal and vertical patterns within the QR code. So, what might this actually look like? QR codes may appear in magazines, on signs, on buses, on business cards and on almost any object you, as a consumer, may care about.

What is encryption?

Kristi ShmyrCybersecurity

If you have spent any time talking to an IT professional about cybersecurity or reading about keeping  your data safe, then you have probably heard the word encryption. And, if you are like most people, you probably just pretended to understand what the heck that meant and nodded along so that you could be done with this and just go and buy a cookie. But, alas, all cookies must come to an end, and it is time for you to learn what encryption actually means. Encryption is “the process of converting information or data into a code, especially to prevent unauthorized access.” At least, that’s the definition that Google produces. But I want to do more than just Google definitions … Read More

Edmonton Public Library programming teaches preschoolers coding basics

Rachelle DrouinIT topics and tips

As a parent, you may want to focus on the alphabet, numbers and developing the early literacy skills your child will need when he enters school. You may not yet be thinking about helping your toddler or younger child develop programming skills. After all, three- and four-year-olds won’t be heading to kindergarten for another year or two, and there is such a thing as too young, isn’t there? Not necessarily. In our increasingly high-tech world, coding is a new type of literacy. It allows children to explore and create. There’s a growing trend toward emphasizing code as a fundamental literacy. Educators, researchers and entrepreneurs argue that the basic skills of coding should be introduced when—or even before—children are able to … Read More

What is Ransomware?

Kristi ShmyrCybersecurity

I don’t know about you, but all I think about when I hear “Ransomware” is the 1996 Mel Gibson movie, Ransom. But ransomware is even worse, if you can believe it, than the movie Ransom. (Apologies to all the diehard Mel Gibson fans out there).

Should we be afraid of artificial intelligence?

Rachelle DrouinIT topics and tips

By guest author Iain Roberts This week, the British tabloid press got very excited about computers talking to each other. A few weeks ago, researchers at Facebook tried making computer programs negotiate with each other in English. The programs spontaneously developed their own grammar, which at first glance looked like nonsense, but turned out to be an efficient form of communication. Evil robots in science fiction have primed us to fear the worst. If computers are inventing their own language, what else might they do?

What exactly does DNS mean?

Kristi ShmyrIT FAQ

We all like to fancy ourselves as computer literate, or at the very least, not a computer illiterate. But there are so many terms and acronyms that get thrown around that so many people don’t actually understand. One of those terms (well, acronyms, if you want to be technical) is DNS.

What are digital currencies and how do they work?

Rachelle DrouinIT FAQ

What are digital currencies and how do they work? Like traditional money, digital currencies can be used to buy goods and services. Unlike physical currencies such as bank notes and coins, however, electronic money is neither legal tender nor guaranteed by any bank or government. Rather, digital currency is underpinned by a peer‑to-peer computer network made up of its users’ machines and relies on two types of technology: virtual currency and cryptocurrency.