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Monthly Archives: January 2017

7 Ethical Codes of Computer

The term ‘ethics’ refers to the set of standards and rules that one is expected to follow. They are designed to help us regulate our conduct in a group of individuals or a society. Respect for one another, refraining from violence, treating everyone with civility are a few of the common ethics that we all follow try to follow everyday.

In modern times, computers and Internet have become a common medium for interacting and socializing. They allow us to put forward our opinions and suggestions, communicate with other users, and even carry out a number of our entertainment and work-related activities. For smooth functioning and for avoiding conflicts, it is essential that the users perform all these activities in an ethical manner wherein, they communicate and interact within the boundaries of a given set of guidelines and rules.

However, since computers and the Internet are accessible to anyone these days there is no way to check what kind of people are actually using it. Also, many of the rules relating to computer and Internet usage, are not defined in the older systems of laws that many of us are familiar with. Though today there exits an organized structure of laws to govern the world of Internet known as ‘cyber laws’, few are familiar with it. Some of the common unethical practices which many people conduct knowingly or unknowingly include the following:

Sending unsolicited e-mails such as those for advertising, is known as spamming and falls under the category of unethical practices. Though most Internet browsers and email portals facilitate the user’s account so that he/she receives a minimum amount of spam, this practice still continues.

Many of the times people tend to use the information available over the Internet without realizing that it might lead to a copyright violation.

There are many other practices that can fall under ‘hacking’, copyright issues, and privacy and censorship issues. Some of these can be very difficult to classify as there is only a slight demarcation between the ethical and the unethical.

Adhering to computer ethics can help us avoid unethical practices and prevent any legal issues such as privacy invasion, copyright infringement, etc. from cropping up. The following are a few important ethical codes that we must all try and follow, while using the computers and the Internet.

Code of Ethics

  1. Information stored on the computer should be treated seriously as written or spoken words.
  2. Privacy should not be violated. In case of academic use, it is known plagiarism, which must be avoided.
  3. Information for public viewing should not be modified or deleted or be made inaccessible, since these are considered as destructive acts.
  4. Creation and usage of intrusive software such as ‘worms’ and ‘viruses’ with malevolent intent is illegal and must not be practiced.
  5. Congesting somebody’s system with a lot of unwanted information is unethical.
  6. Sending obscene and crude messages through mail or chat is forbidden.
  7. Sending sexually explicit content, messages, or pictures is forbidden.

Tips for Choosing Wireless Keyboard and Mouse

When choosing a wireless keyboard and mouse, it would be better to buy them as a bundle, because it will be a little cheaper that way. Of course, please remember that these are slightly more expensive because of the technology used to transfer the signal to the computer. Infra red and Bluetooth are the two main technologies used to transfer signals to the computer; Bluetooth is much more expensive than infra red.

Types of Wireless Keyboards

  • Split Key (Ergonomic) Keyboard
    If you want comfortable typing, then this is the keyboard for you. This is because the keys on this keyboard are split into two separate sections that are slightly angled towards each other. This feature allows your arms to maintain a natural position while typing, which, in turn, reduces the tension in your shoulders and arms.
  • Regular Keyboard
    This keyboard is the regular computer keyboard, as we know it. Of course, there are new versions that are doing the rounds, for instance the ones with multimedia and Internet shortcut keys.

Types of Wireless Mouse

  • Wheel Mouse
    This term is used to refer to the regular mouse that has a wheel and is suitable for most needs.
  • Optical Mouse
    The optical mouse uses an optical window in order to determine its position. This is a wonderful feature when you think of it in terms of maintenance. This kind of mouse also shows better performance on surfaces that are too rough for a wheel mouse.

Advantages of a Wireless Keyboard and Mouse

The wireless keyboard simplifies life with just the absence of wires. It is because of this feature that the user has the additional freedom to make data entries without sitting in proximity to the computer system. That is not all, installation and operation become simpler too. The absence of wires also ensure uncluttered workplaces. Wireless keyboards usually use a USB protocol.

A boon for people who yearn for freedom from wires, wireless mice certainly make it easier to move around. Tiredness and strain are greatly reduced because of this gadget too. A wireless mouse receives its power supply in two ways, one is the battery and the other the charging seat, wherein the mouse is powered to a power supply.

History And Working of Linux

A Brief History

Unix was the third operating system to CTSS, the first one followed by MULTICS. A team of programmers led by Prof. Fernando J. Corbato at the MIT Computation Center, wrote the CTSS, the first operating system supporting the concept of time-sharing. AT&T started working on the MULTICS operating system but had to leave the project as they were failing to meet deadlines. Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, and Brian Kernighan at Bell Labs, used the ideas on the MULTICS project to develop the first version of Unix.

MINIX was a Unix-like system released by Andrew Tenenbaum. The source code was made available to the users but there were restrictions on the modification and distribution of the software. On August 25, 1991, Linus Torvalds, a second year computer engineering student studying in the University of Helsinki made an announcement that he was going to write an operating system. With an intent to replace MINIX, Torvalds started writing the Linux kernel. With this announcement of Torvalds, a success story had begun! Linux was previously dependent on the MINIX user space but with the introduction of the GNU GPL, the GNU developers worked towards the integration of Linux and the GNU components.

An Introduction to the Linux Operating System

The Unix-like operating system that uses the Linux kernel is known as the Linux operating system. In 1991, Linus Torvalds came up with the Linux kernel. He started writing the Linux kernel after which, around 250 programmers contributed to the kernel code. Richard Stallman, an American software developer, who was a part of the GNU project, created the General Public License, under which Linux is distributed. The utilities and libraries of Linux come from the GNU operating system.

By the term ‘free software’, we mean that Linux can be copied and redistributed in the altered or unaltered form without many restrictions. Each recipient of the Linux software is entitled to obtain the human readable form of the software and a notice granting the person the permissions to modify its source code. In other words, the distribution of the Linux software implies the distribution of a free software license to its recipients. Linux supports open source development by which we mean that all its underlying source code can be freely modified, used and distributed. The open source method of development enables the users to access its source code.

A Linux distribution is a project that manages the collection of Linux software and the installation of the OS. It includes the system software and the application software in the form of packages and the initial installation and configuration details. There are around 300 different Linux distributions. The most prominent of the Linux distributions include Red Hat, Fedora and Mandrake. Fedora Core came up after the ninth version of Red Hat Linux. Fedora Core is a rapidly updated Linux distribution. Most of the Linux distributions support a diverse range of programming languages. Most of them include Perl, Python, Ruby, and other dynamic languages. Linux supports a number of Java virtual machines and development kits as also the C++ compilers.

Linux is a freely available OS based on the Linux kernel. It is an inexpensive and effective alternative to UNIX programs and utilities. Its open source implementation enables any programmer to modify its code. Linux supports a multi-tasking and multi-user environment as also the copy-on-write functionality. The monolithic Linux kernel handles the process control, networking and the file system. Device drivers are integrated in the kernel. The Linux operating system is equipped with libraries, compilers, text editors, a Unix shell, and a windowing system. Linux supports both the command line as well and the graphical user interfaces. It is popularly used in servers and also with desktop computers, supercomputers, video games and embedded systems. I have always enjoyed working on the Linux platform, have you?

Way ensure Computer Security

Set up user accounts

One computer, many users, is a security disaster waiting to happen. Your files and data are your personal, private content and should be protected accordingly. To prevent other users from seeing or accessing your data, set up user accounts on your PC. A user account shows an individual’s specific data and not what is present on the entire system. It also specifies privileges on shared data, such as deleting/editing operations and what software can be installed on the machine.

This feature is especially useful when kids and adults use the same machine. What if your child accesses your important work files and deletes them by mistake? With a separate user account, he/she can only view certain files and cannot modify or delete them. Even if you are the sole user of the PC, set up a guest account, in case someone else needs to use the computer.

Secure your wireless network

With wired Internet access, there’s little risk of someone encroaching on your network. But wireless networks do have holes in their security, so as the owner of the network, you need to be vigilant. Setting up password-protected network access is the first step. You need to assign a network name and password to your Wi-Fi network. Use the latest wireless encryption methods like WPA or WPA2. Do not reveal your network password to others.

Arm your computer with an anti-virus program

The best defense is a good offense. One of the most basic computer security guidelines is installing an anti-virus software. Installing security programs like an anti-virus, keeps your computer round-the-clock safe against viruses, malware, Trojan worms etc. and other malicious programs. For better protection, try to install complete security suites, that provide Internet security and firewalls along with anti-virus software.

Be regular in updates and virus scans

Just installing an anti-virus program will not protect your PC. You need to keep it up-to-date with regular virus signature and threat updates. New viruses and malware programs emerge online each day. Another bad trait of viruses is that they keep trying to find new ways to enter an unsuspecting computer. The only way to counter such attacks is to update your security programs on a regular basis. You should also scan your computer regularly for dangerous programs. Schedule periodic scans, once-a-month scans, scanning new added devices and automatic full system scans, to ensure your PC is threat-free.

Install parental control software for kid-friendly computer usage

Keeping your computer secure definitely involves keeping your kids safe from cyber enemies. Aside from explicit and adult content, you need to filter and monitor what your kid is up to online. Social networking sites in particular, are fun online places to socialize but they are also preying grounds for the depraved. Parental control software allows you to set filters and block sites as well as receive warnings when suspicious activity is taking place online.

Block unwanted search results

You can even change your web browser’s security settings to block certain sites and filter out objectionable content. Such settings are not as powerful as parental control software but it helps to be extra secure. You can find this feature in the Tools option of most browsers. With search engines like Google, you can fiddle with search preferences settings.

Download wisely

Whether it is a picture, an MP3 or a game, downloaded files are an excellent way for malicious software to enter your computer. Once you download and install or use a file, there’s no telling what it will do to your machine. So be extra careful when it comes to downloading. Download files from trusted and preferably certified sites. Sites offering free, cracked versions of software programs are especially dangerous, as some cracks can contain malware.

When a download begins, you are asked to save the file before the downloading actually starts. Read the file name and its extension carefully, to ensure what you want is being downloaded. While installing a program, read the license agreement and make sure, only the program you want is being installed. Sometimes spyware and hidden programs are bundled into the installer program, and are installed secretly along with your software. Scan your PC for threats after downloading files from the Internet.

Be careful with emails

Getting and sending emails is easy, going through your inbox for mail, that is actually relevant, is not. Email inboxes are storehouses of junk mail, spam, advertisements, forwards, mail and many times, a hidden threat. You can keep your inbox sorted and clutter-free by using spam blockers and filters. Threat-wise, try to avoid opening emails from senders or addresses you don’t know.

A key sign of a malicious email is poor language. Weird, nonsensical text or poor grammar or even bogus-seeming email addresses are some signs of a harmful email. Be especially wary of email attachments. Check the file extension. Files with .exe, .pif, .com,.bin or .bat extensions, can be malicious. If you do not know the sender of the email, do not open or download such files, just delete the mail. Instead of opening the attachment from the mail itself, save the file, let it download and scan it, before opening it.

Secure your data with backups

Sometimes no matter what steps you take, you lose data. Part of being secure is having a fail-safe or backup to fall back on, in case something bad happens. So in case a virus has attacked your files or data is accidentally deleted, your data is never really lost, if you have a backup of it. Backup your data regularly, either by storing it on physical devices like CDs or by backing it up on a network. Set a system restore point for your PC, so in the event of a system crash, you can restore your PC to a particular working state with your data intact.

Be smart with your passwords

Passwords are supposed to keep your individual settings and data safe, so you need to keep their true value or the actual password safe. This means, do not write down all your passwords on a piece of paper and keep it lying around. With numerous passwords, it’s understandable that remembering them all is difficult. So you can write them down but the place where you store this info, should be secure. And once in a while, please change your passwords. If in case, they are revealed, updating the passwords can render all hacking attempts as naught. Another safety precaution is the “remember me” option in most secure sites. If multiple users access the same PC, do not select this option.