Author Archives: CSF Admin

Going Shopping?

When you buy stuff online do you pay with a debit card or a credit card?  Me?  Well I’m in the credit card camp mainly ‘cos I reckon that there’s just that little bit more protection – or shall we say less transference of risk.  I may be woefully wrong.  But whichever camp you feel happiest with, it’s likely that your charity will be taking online donations, and possibility running some sort of trading operation.  With each of these activities comes the requirement to comply with PCI-DSS.  And if you don’t know what that acronym stands for then you’d better get googling quickly. Arguably one of the data items that … Continue reading

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Scams and Scammers

There’s a lot talked about the weakest link when it comes to security and it should be no surprise that  quite often that weakest link is you.  Not specifically you, you understand, but each of us who ends up being the victim of a scam.  And the exploit in this scenario is our own vulnerability and willingness to believe in other people.  The scammers take advantage of this human trait with social engineering skills designed to lure us into making a wrong move.  For the humanitarian charities dealing with people it can be difficult to adopt the cynical approach that might forewarn of a scam.  For all of us education … Continue reading

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The price of free?

The price of free isn’t the same as ‘no cost’.  Likewise ‘open source’ doesn’t equal free.  Also ‘free subscription’ doesn’t mean that you don’t pay.  The price of free, often or not, is yourself.  You my friend are the product and the systems you sign up for as ‘free’ are a contract to your willing participation in being sold.  Sorry for the harsh reality but folks really need to be able to differentiate between corporate and personal, and make a value judgement on what they’re prepared to sell in return for a service.  As an individual it’s your choice and there are some services that I will happily use in … Continue reading

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Identity Theft

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  Well, I’d say that identity theft is taking that a step too far.  The urge to masquerade as someone else may have deep roots in the human psyche but as usual the ‘bad guys’ have put a more sinister spin on things and are only too ready to exploit an alter-ego given half a chance.  Bogus passports, fraudulent bank loans, even online relationships, are all the province of those hiding behind the ‘front’ that the anonymity of the internet can purvey. For charities dealing with the most human of interactions, taking their operations online is a challenge in establishing not … Continue reading

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User Access

Back in the day it was the practice of system administrators to grant every new user account supervisor rights.  That way they could guarantee that it wasn’t the network or these new fangled file permissions that was causing the software application to fail.  The diligent administrators would carefully allocate time to go back and work with the developers to remove layers of access from said user accounts until the application would work without the user being burdened with an account that could wreak as much havoc across the network as an untrained sysadmin. Those days, or to be more accurate, that attitude, is still apparent in many organisations.  Giving ‘admin … Continue reading

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