Thursday, February 14, 2013

Internet Basics - Featuring guest blogger


Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Joshua Tannehill and I have the pleasure of knowing all three of the Techie Teachers running this blog.  My daughter was fortunate enough to have Mrs. Schulz as her 4th grade teacher last year.  Once I found out that Mrs. Schulz and her friends were taking on this endeavor I immediately reached out to them to see if I could help out.

I joined the Air Force right out of high school in 1996.  I went to school to learn to be a “Computer Operator”.  It was there that I learned the tricks of the trade.  I remember how intimidating technology could be the first time the Air Force instructors made me take a computer apart and put it back together.  Once I buckled down and overcame my fear I was able to learn and appreciate technology. It all worked out well, because I have been working for the DoD directly or as a contractor for the past 17 years.

One of my current jobs allows me to work from home and travel to different military bases as needed when they need my expertise in finding security weaknesses and vulnerabilities in their computer systems or networks.  Think of my full-time job as an ethical hacker for the military.   Because I have WRITTEN permission from the customer to “break “into their network and find their flaws and because I turn over my findings immediately to them so they can mitigate the risks as best as possible, it is called ethical hacking. I have numerous IT certifications ranging from Network + to Cisco certs to Microsoft certs.  My most prized certification is the CISSP certification.  It is highly regarded in the IT Security industry.  Think of it this way, you wouldn’t want to hire a lawyer who didn’t pass the bar exam, you wouldn’t want to hire an accountant who didn’t pass their CPA exam and you shouldn’t want to hire an IT security practitioner who can’t pass their CISSP exam.

T3 has allowed me the opportunity to help them with their blog on a regular basis.  I have several topics I wish to share with teachers and parents under the umbrella of Internet Safety.  But first I want to cover some basic vocabulary words that my colleagues and I may take for granted but may be new to you.  So let’s get started:

 Internet  = a collection of “public” computers, mobile phones, servers, workstations, smaller networks and other devices that can share data between them.  You can’t connect to Facebook or this T3 blog without access to the internet and you have to pay an Internet Service Provider or a Wireless Carrier for that access.
Computer = Back in the 90’s a computer was like a tower PC on the floor or on the desk that had a hard drive, memory, a mother board a keyboard and mouse with a connection to a monitor.  Fast forward to today and Laptops, netbooks, and iPads are computers and even your iPhone or other smart phone is a computer.  All of those devices can connect to the internet.
Mobile device = iphones, ipads, laptops and other smartphones are mobile devices because you can easily take them anywhere and connect to the internet with them wirelessly.  You wouldn’t consider your desktop workstation or a server a mobile device because it usually is stationary and doesn’t move.
Browser = a web browser is any special software crafted to make “surfing” or browsing the internet and its web pages easy.  A long time ago we had Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer basically put them out of business.  Now there is Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and on your Apple devices your browser is called Safari.
HTTP = Stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol.  It is special computer code that web pages are usually made from.
HTTPS = Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure.   A more secure way to communicate between your networked device and the web page you are trying to access.  It uses additional encryption and validation techniques to ensure you are gaining access in a secure way to a trusted web page.
Password = any secret combination of keystrokes you use to gain access to your device or web page.  Ensure you use strong passwords and not your dog’s name or date of birth to prevent it from being easily guessed.
Virus = a malicious computer code/logic that tries to do harm from one computer to another by deleting, sharing, moving, or destroying data.
Anti-virus = Special software like Norton’s or McAfee that you can obtain for free or pay for that helps secure your computing device against future viruses.
Spam = unwanted or unsolicited emails that try to sell you unwanted and unneeded products or services at an annoyance to you.  Spam filters are in place to try and filter out all the garbage emails and let your inbox focus on the ones you want or need.
Phishing = This term is used to describe when someone tries to obtain information from you that could potentially do harm to you or your employer later.  It normally happens when you get an email from someone pretending to be an official employee of your company or bank and they try to get you to reveal your password or PIN or other company secrets that they should not have.
Social Media = Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other web sites like that which allow regular users like you or I to post daily updates or photo’s in a blog like fashion.
Web 2.0 = Generally indicates the data on a site is user driven or user provided.  So therefore it is user manipulated instead of company provided.  Because regular users add, update, delete, modify the data it should not consider “trusted” for legal or business reasons.  Basically all social media is considered web 2.0.
Hacker = someone who uses computer skills in a deceptive way to illegally gain unauthorized access to private web pages or computing devices.  Usually for theft or political reasons, but sometimes just for the challenge of it.

We'll have a vocabulary test on Tuesday on the material covered in today's post. Wait! I can't do that.  Please never hesitate to email me at if I can possibly help answer any IT related questions you may have.

Joshua Tannehill, CISSP

1 comment:

  1. I love your sense of humor thats rare with tech peeps