Hillary Clinton’s Email Server

Hillary Clinton's email serverThe presidential elections are right around the corner, and Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Nominee.  But Hillary goes into the upcoming elections with a cloud of scandal over her.  Late last year, it was alleged that Hillary had an illegal email server in her New York home where she sent and received classified emails.  Now, I’m not gonna go all into this story because everyday there is a new story in the news about this.  So if you want to read up on it, google is your friend.  But I will tell you that when this story first broke, I got all kinds of questions by my non-techies pals about what a server is.  Most people only know about servers in restaurants.  They have no clue what an email server is.  Well, yall know I’m a professor.  Let Dr. Wilson break it down for ya. An email server is a computer that sends or delivers email messages over the Internet.  That’s all.  In Hillary’s case, her email server was a computer in her New York home.  A client is basically a computer, smartphone or any device that you read your email on.

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I am a professor and to understand email clients and servers, I could bore you with a lot of technical jargon.  But I’m not gonna do that today.  But if you show up in my computer networking class, it’s on! To better understand the email client and server relationship, I want you to think about the process of mailing a letter.  The person who sends the letter is the email server because they are sending the letter.  The post office can be thought of as the Internet because the email server sends email over the Internet.  And we know that you can’t mail a letter without it going through the Post Office to be processed first.  The stamp on the letter is the protocol used for email communications.  Now, I don’t want to get too techie here and lose you.  Just know that when sending and receiving emails, the email program must use a communication protocol to allow the sending and receiving of emails.  Now let’s go back to the post office scenario.  If you don’t have a stamp on your letter, the post office won’t send it.  So, there is no communication between the person sending the letter and the person receiving it if there is no stamp – or protocol.  And finally, client is the person who receives the letter.  Did that make sense?  Do you have a better understanding of what an email server is and does?  I hope so.

Okay, so since I am teaching today, here’s your homework.  How many email servers do YOU use in a day?  Let me know in the comments below.

How to Have Your Readers Create Your Blog Content

Past research has shown that 25% of people will buy from you the first time they visit your blog.  What about the other 75%?  They are in the decision-making process.  They are looking at your blog to see if you solve their problem, pain or fill their need.  The goal of your blog is to convince the remaining 75% to buy from you.  You do that through your content.  More specificially, user-generated content.  It is the content that other people create that convinces your readers to buy your products and services.  This is the content that you do not write but is highly popular among readers and search engines. It is the content that your readers create when they have bought or are considering buying products and services. This type of content includes (but is not limited to):

  • Discussion forums
  • Comments
  • Product Reviews
  • New uses for Products
  • Testimonials
  • Case Studies

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The above list is not a complete list. There are many others ways that consumers produce content for your blog. The wonderful thing about user-generated content is that it bolsters your products and services online for your benefit. It’s a bonus that this type of content is that it requires little to work on your part. And if we go back to the mantra of working smarter, not harder, this is definitely a great way to do that.

Another benefit of user generated content is it builds credibility and trust in your readers or potential customers. Earlier, I discussed how simply having a blog will boost your authority and credibility with readers. So, in addition to the faith your readers have in you, what if they can also read comments, user reviews, and discussions from online groups that tout your products and services? What this creates is the reader’s iron clad confidence in you and it’s only a matter of time before they become your customer.

We are living in the information age. The Internet brings a wealth of information at our fingertips. Many tap into that huge knowledge base on the Internet before making a purchase. I don’t know about you, but I don’t make a purchase before I check it out online to see if I can find a coupon, get the cheapest price and find out if it is a good product. A study conducted in 2012 that found that 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. That study was repeated in 2013, and the percentage jumped to 79%! Another study found that up to 90% of purchases were influenced by online reviews. Therefore, include content on your site that consumers are looking for and can create on their own.

How often do you buy from the blogs that you frequent the most?  Post your answer in the comment section below.

 

How to Avoid Cyber Monday Scams

cyber_mondayIt’s Cyber Monday and everyone is heading online for great prices on Christmas items.  So, if you didn’t camp out at the stores and get what you wanted on Black Friday, don’t worry!  Just head to your computer where you still can scoop up hot items at unbelievable prices.  Every major retailer is having a Cyber Monday sale but be wary, the scammers are out there trying to get your money, too.  So, here are a few tips on how not to get scammed today:

  1. Do NOT click on a link sent to you via email to BUY an item.  This is called “phishing”.  That link will take you to a phony site where you’ll enter your credit card information.  You will definitely get billed but you won’t get anything in the mail.   If something is being advertised via an email, it should refer you to the official site where you can buy online.  If you want to get jeans from Old Navy, then go directly to oldnavy.com and buy from there.  NEVER click on links that are sent to you via email.  They are almost always viruses, worms and other bad things that will steal your money or blow up your computer.
  2. For those wary about entering in your credit card information online, make sure there’s an image of a lock in the URL bar (where you enter the www address of the website you want to view).  The lock means that website is secure.  Also, make sure there’s an “s” after the “http” in the address, signifying a secure site that is encrypted.  Also, many retailers allow customers to pay online via PayPal or have a pay when you “pick up in store” option.  Use these options if you are hesitant about online credit card purchases.
  3. Most importantly, plan what you are going to buy on Cyber Monday in advance.  Most retailers will advertise what their Cyber Monday sales will be in advance.  This allows you time to check multiple retailers and see where you can get the best bang for your buck.  Also, recognize that Cyber Monday starts at midnight.  Don’t wait until 9:00a.m. to get that $79 laptop because they might be sold out by then.  So, do your homework ahead of time, plan and make an informed purchase.

Now that you’ve got the information to keep you safe online, what are you waiting for?  Happy Cyber Monday shopping!  Let me know what you picked up.  I’m always on the look out of a bargain!

2 Reasons Why Black Friday Will Become Obsolete

This is my favorite time of year!  It’s the Holiday Season!  I love it!  I look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving with my family and friends.  And yes I am one of those people who are super serious about decorating my home for Christmas.   I love that we all have to pull out our boots, sweaters, pea coats and fuzzy hats to stay warm outside.  But you know what I love most of all?  Christmas shopping!  And the crown jewel of all the shopping days is Black Friday.  Yes, that day after Thanksgiving when you can get unbelievable deals.  So am I one of those folks who will sleep outside to get a Black Friday deal?  Well, no.  But I have  stood in line for hours on Black Friday.  Yes, I am a little ashamed to admit that a few years ago, I was at the mall at 2:00 am shopping when I really should have been sleeping off my Turkey dinner. This year, I’m not going to head out to the malls for any Black Friday sales.  I’m not gonna dash out on Thanksgiving or Friday.  I vowed I was going to stay home and hang out with my family.  But you know what?  Black Friday as we know it may becoming a thing of the past.  Here are 2 reasons why:

  1. Mission Creep – Every retailer is trying to outdo each other by offering their sales earlier and earlier.  Retailers are vying for consumer dollars and they are doing everything they can to offer the best deal as early as possible.  Remember how Black Friday got started.   Retailers were closed on Thanksgiving and the next day – Black Friday – was the official kick-off to the Christmas shopping holiday season.  So, on Black Friday, stores began opening at 5 am or at midnight and we’d see people on the news camping out in front of Best Buy or Walmart to be the first in line to get those amazing sales.  Then a few years ago, Target and Walmart decided to open on Thanksgiving and begin their “Black Friday” sales early.  Their employees were mad that they had to work on Thanksgiving but people turned out in droves to get those Black Friday deals a day early.  Subsequently, many other retailers, store chains and malls began to follow suit by opening on Thanksgiving to offer special sales and Black Friday prices for their customers.  Now this year, retailers are upping the ante by offering pre-Black Friday sales or Black Friday prices before Thanksgiving.  I have seen many advertisements stating that Black Friday prices will be offered weeks before Thanksgiving.  It’s only a matter of time before Black Friday will be stripped of its title as best shopping day of the year.
  2. Cyber Monday – As shopping on Black Friday and Thanksgiving are becoming more and more popular, many are choosing to opt out of the chaos.  Cyber Monday is the Monday after Thanksgiving and Black Friday.  On Cyber Monday, consumers can get great deals online through their favorite retailers.  Who wants to wait in line for hours when you can make the same purchase with the click of a mouse!  In general, more and more consumers are flocking online to make their everyday purchases like groceries, toys, tickets and gifts.  Now, savvy consumers are skipping the mall on Black Friday and waiting until Cyber Monday to get the best sale prices for the holiday season.

So, what are you going to do on Black Friday?  Are you going to hit the mall on Thanksgiving or Black Friday?  Or will you wait until Cyber Monday to get the sales?  Maybe you’re skipping the shopping rush all together?  Write a comment and let me know…

iPhone 6 Apple Pay = Death of the Credit Card?

This past weekend, Apple set a new sales record and sold over 10 million units of the new iPhone 6. The industry is abuzz with its new features and an option to get your iPhone in a bigger size (the iPhone 6 Plus). However, one new feature is generating the most talk and critics, retailers and the industry are anxious to see if this new trend will take off. I’m talking about the iPhone Apple Pay feature. A feature that, if enabled, will allow iPhone 6 owners to pay for purchases without their credit card. Studies have shown that a person’s cell phone is always close to their being. So instead of carrying a cell phone AND a credit card. Now you can just carry your cell phone. Cool, huh? But how does it work? Is it really safe? Can someone hack your credit card information? Where can I use it? Well, let’s take a look…

WHAT IS IT?

Mobile payments is the ability to pay for products and services via a cell phone. Mobile payments are nothing new. Google Wallet, Square Wallet and Visa’s V.me are different types of mobile payment options that have all been on the scene for a few years with moderate success. However, the Apple Pay feature, that will be available starting October 2014, is a new take on mobile payments.

Chances are, you are already familiar with iTunes and have bought a song, app or TV show there. But, in order to do that, you need to have a credit card tied to your Apple account.  Because of iTunes, Apple has approximately 800 million accounts with a credit card connected to it.   Now with the Apple Pay feature, Apple is giving this huge customer base the opportunity to make mobile purchases at participating retailers with an iPhone 6. Now all those 800 million account owners don’t have iPhones or the new iPhone 6. But I’m sure that Apple is banking on the Apple Pay feature revolutionizing the mobile payment industry. And yes, a whole gang of retailers, such as McDonalds, Disney, Nike, Macy’s, Subway, Sephora and others are jumping on the bandwagon to accommodate customers who want to pay for their products via the iPhone 6.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

If you want to pay for something, just tap or wave your iPhone 6 near the store terminal with your finger on the Touch ID.  That’s it!  It’s kinda like Exxon Speedpass where you just wave it in front of the gas pump to make your payment each time you fill up your gas tank.  It’s sorta the same idea.  There is no app needed and you don’t need to wake the display in order for this to work. However, you must enable this feature and it is not available on older iPhone models.

The Lock
In order to understand how this works, I want you to think about opening a door that is locked. You need a key and lock for the door to open. Each iPhone 6 is assigned a Unique Device Account (UDA) number. An ID number that is specific and unique to each iPhone 6. This number does not change. No two iPhone 6’s will share the same UDA. Think of this as your lock.

The Key
Then, each purchase you make generates a Transaction Specific Dynamic Security code. This is a 16-digit code that is unique to each purchase you make. And each Transaction Specific Dynamic Security code expires after each transaction. So, if you make 2 separate purchases at Nike, your iPhone 6 will generate 2 distinct Transaction Specific Dynamic Security codes to complete the transaction. Think of this as your key.

The Door
Also, the Apple Pay feature has an extra layer of security because no purchase is complete without your fingerprint using the Touch ID feature. Think of this as the door. You cannot “open the door” or complete the purchase if your fingerprint does not match. Therefore, in order to complete a purchase, your UDA, fingerprint and Transaction Specific Dynamic Security code must all match.

But the real question everyone wants to know is how safe is the Apple Pay feature.

IS IT SAFE?

Can a cashier steal my credit card number?

From a human contact standpoint, the purchase is secure because you never give your name, credit card number and security code to the cashier. There is no physical transfer of information because you don’t use your actual credit card to make a purchase. It’s truly brilliant. It really is. Your credit card number is not used to make the purchase. Someone can’t steal your UDA or Transaction Specific Dynamic Security code and use them to buy shoes at zappos.com because it isn’t a credit card number.

Can someone steal my credit card number from my iPhone 6?

Right now, I know you are thinking, well apple has to store my credit card number somewhere?!? True dat. Your information is stored on a Secure Element Chip. However, this chip is only used to generate a Transaction Specific Dynamic Security code. Also, your financial data on this chip can’t be accessed by the operating system so it can’t be hacked or stolen.   Every mobile phone has a chip in it but the iPhone 6 has another chip dedicated to the security of your payment transactions.

Can someone hack into the iCloud and steal my credit card number?

It’s also worth mentioning that Apple does not store your credit card information on its servers. Hence, there is no danger or your information being stolen or hacked from the iCloud or in a massive security breach like what happened to Target and Home Depot.

What if someone steals my iPhone 6?

You may be worried that someone can make purchases if they steal your cell phone. Not so. That’s where your fingerprint comes in. Sure someone can try to make a purchase with your phone if they steal it. Unfortunately, their fingerprint won’t match yours and the transaction won’t go through. Do you feel better about using the Apple Pay feature now?

WILL YOU USE IT?

You get the feeling that Apple is on its way to reshaping the financially industry and how people pay, like it reshaped the music industry. If this takes off – and it early indications appear that it is – this could be the death of the physical credit card.

Let me ask you the question, would you or do you use this feature if you have an iPhone 6?  Why or why not? Given the recent data breaches of Target and Home Depot, do you think that your personal financial information is secure?

 

ISIS: The Terrorist is Only a Tweet Away

ISIS: The Terrorist is only a tweet away

ISIS is a terrorist group that is dominating the news right now.   America has faced other terror organizations in the past. But why does ISIS seem so terrifying? So close? Because they are only a tweet away, right in the palm of your hand where you hold your smartphone.  Terror organizations have used the internet in the past to further their cause.  But no other organization has used social media so masterfully like ISIS as means to capture the world’s attention. Why is ISIS’s use of social media so powerful? Because anyone in the world can access it at any time, they have a clear picture of who their target audience is and they are employing a successful social media strategy to grow their influence worldwide.

THE PASTUnfortunately, terrorist organizations using the Internet to recruit fighters and spread their message are nothing new.

Previously, we saw videos of al-Qaeda doing military drills in the desert or them taunting America in a foreign language. They seemed so distant and removed from our reality. Why? Because only if we tuned on the news that day would we see these videos and they had no real bearing on our lives. They were speaking in a language we did not understand, they dressed differently and were in a place none of us would probably ever visit. Yes, a war on terror was being fought, but very far away from our reality.

Al-Qaeda used the Internet to recruit young, single men with little to no education or military experience as fighters. They used pop culture themes to seduce new recruits through Jihad-inspired video games and rap music videos with lyrics sympathetic to their cause. But you had to find these sites and propaganda online. They were not mainstream. Once an interested recruit found this al-Qaeda propaganda and expressed interest, they were then guided to chat rooms and social media where they could interact and be radicalized with other like-minded individuals. From the chat rooms and social media, these recruits were urged to travel to Iraq to train with al-Qaeda. The ultimate goal being for them to take action to prove their new belief.

THE PRESENT – ISIS has flipped the script

ISIS specifically uses social media to imply that they are like us and here with us.  They tweet like we do. They speak in English like we do. They play Call of Duty like we do. They even posted a picture of the ISIS flag in front of the White House. Showing us that they are not across the world fighting in a desert. They walk among us. ISIS uses social media to bring terror directly into our homes.

But that has all changed now.  They are not only recruiting young men but they are also luring young women into the fold to have babies and grow the Islamic state. We know thousands of men and women from the United States, Britain and Australia who have “disappeared” and joined ISIS. But ISIS is letting its recruits know that they can still show their duty without getting on a plane or leaving their country. There are reports of ISIS terror cells outside of El Paso, TX.  Also, ISIS is calling for followers to carry out lone attacks on popular tourist spots in the US such as Times Square in New York City.

Through social media, ISIS has taken out that “middle man” or the underground aspect of it so to speak and can access anyone directly. Or anyone can access them right from their smart phone or tablet device that they’re holding in their hand. Anyone can look, troll and watch in horror or amazement at the videos and messages they send out to the world daily. You just get the feeling that this information is all too easy for a troubled person to access and carry out another Sandy Hook school shooting or Boston marathon bombing in the name of ISIS.

THERE ARE 3 STEPS TO USING TWITTER TO BUILD YOUR BRAND –  ALL OF WHICH ISIS IS DOING EXPERTLY

First, know your audience. Understand who you are talking to, how they communicate and mirror that in your language to them. ISIS is undeniably trying to scare, intimidate and recruit westerners. We know that because they now create splashy, propaganda videos in English showing them passing out candy and going through military exercises. All of their videos showing beheadings and taunting America are in English. There is no doubt that they are taking to us. More specifically, ISIS is talking to you.

Step two is to stay on brand, meaning know your mission and only tweet about those things. ISIS is brilliant in that respect as they only tweet about 4 distinct things to spread their message. ISIS tweets propaganda in order to recruit fighters and asks their followers to support them financially. ISIS also threaten and intimidate their enemies by posting horrific images and videos of beheadings, crucifixions and other violence.

The last step is to tweet or post consistently because you cannot build a following if you do not consistently put your message out there. ISIS tweets and posts regularly, plus show their mastery of Twitter by using hashtags. ISIS sends out tweets using popular hashtags like #WorldCup2014 so their tweets can be viewed by a world audience. Also, ISIS has its activists tweet out thousands of tweets using a specific hashtag on certain days at certain times so that the hashtag – and subsequently ISIS – can trend on Twitter and become a top trending Twitter topic for that day.  Thus, gaining even more attention. ISIS has a clear social media plan and it’s working.

In the wake of the spread of ISIS, America has conducted air strikes and is seeking help from other nations to join the fight against this evil. Twitter has also deleted some  accounts of suspected terrorists.  But ISIS is still tweeting, posting and spreading hate every day with 140 characters or less.

My question to you is, the Internet is a free place.  Do you feel that is right that ISIS is able to freely use Twitter and Facebook to spread their message and recruit?  Leave your reply in the comment section below.

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