New Book Provides Practical Advice for Protecting Digital Life and Identity

Brian Maki’s “Little Black Book” offers a common sense approach to dealing with the difficulties that technology has introduced into our lives. As a computer instructor and consultant for more than twenty years, Maki has seen how technology has made rapid changes in our lives to the point where we are addicted to being “connected” constantly, feel a lack of patience when we aren’t connected, and have been bombarded with spam email, computer frustrations, and worst of all, the threat of identity theft.

The book’s title refers to the need for us to keep track of our digital life through a non-digital, old-fashioned means-preferably a paper book in which we write all our usernames and passwords, along with keeping a record of any changes we make to our accounts. While Maki also admits a flash drive can serve this purpose, he cautions that flash drives are subject to viruses themselves, and keeping track of passwords on a computer leaves them available to hackers and viruses.

Through numerous short, concise chapters, Maki explains the concerns we all must have about leaving behind our digital footprint. He advocates regularly “googling ourselves,” how to upgrade regularly so we have less headaches down the road, how to deal with junk email, the added dangers to identity theft if you have a cell phone, and the real power that social networking sites have over our lives, and how we can protect ourselves from the information such sites are collecting about us.

But what sets this book apart the most is that it ties in with the significance of end-of-life planning. After telling the story of William Weber, a man whom Maki helped to organize his digital life before his death, Maki highlights how few of us think about what will happen to our digital life and online identity after we have died. He offers practical advice for monitoring our digital life and planning for closing out accounts to protect against identity theft even after our deaths.

This short book is valuable for focusing on a subject most people never think about. Maki covers numerous topics that will result in helping us to protect our identities, our possessions, our freedom, and overall, our happiness. As Maki states:

“You must reexamine how you interact with the Internet, what you share, why you share it, and learn never to follow the path of Internet trust again. It is your digital life to control.”

As Maki points out, technology is going to be with us for the rest of our lives-it’s not going away-so we actively must learn to control it and protect ourselves from it, putting it in its proper place as necessary only to help us, rather than letting it continue to control our lives. I certainly feel the importance of this need, and I hope other readers will as well.

Career Book Review: Job Searching After 50 by Carol Silvis – A Mature Worker’s Competitive Advantage

Long-term unemployment is recognized as any individual who has been jobless for six months or longer. Currently, 5.8 million Americans define that category; and among them, are many people over the age of 50. Older adults face unique challenges when seeking employment.

Course Technology publishes a variety of Professional, Reference and Technology titles. One of its current releases is Job Hunting After 50 by Carol A. Silvis.

Silvis has a master’s degree in Adult Education and is an assistant director and department chair at a Pennsylvania business institute. She also presents workshops and seminars for schools, businesses and professional organizations.

Eight chapters comprise Silvis’s message. Following are highlights from each topic to help jumpstart your job search as a mature worker:

Skills and Qualifications

The job search process begins by matching your unique abilities with a company that needs them. Define your purpose for working. Whether it’s full or part-time will guide your employment pursuits. Shift the focus from your age to how your workplace, transferable and life skills meet the needs of the employer. Consider too, your personal traits, like energetic and forward thinking, vs. the old-fashioned ways of a mature worker. Share only relevant abilities vs. listing every duty you’ve done over your 30-year career span. Too much experience can shun an employer. This is the age of lifelong learning. Keep your skills current by attending classes, workshops, earning a degree or certification, participating in online webinars, etc.

Resumes and Cover Letters

No career assessment would be complete without attention to resumes and cover letters. For older workers, key elements to a successful approach include:

  • Accomplishments vs. Duties. Highlight your unique value-added accomplishments at companies you worked for, vs. mere duties.
  • Contact Information. Provide any links to your professional online presence, including blogs and/or websites.
  • Digital Resumes. Write a targeted resume for each desired position. Use industry-specific keywords to help with search engine optimization (SEO), to increase the odds of being read by a person.
  • Education and Training. If you earned your degree more than 20 years ago, omit your graduation date.
  • Qualifications Summary vs. Objective. A qualifications summary highlights your major accomplishments, skills, education and personal traits. It’s a brief paragraph or bulleted list that employers can easily scan; and provides more insight than an objective.

Always include a well-written cover letter. It increases your odds of grabbing an employer’s attention; and provides an opportunity to expand on information not resume appropriate, including salary history.

Technology

Today, computer skills are essential, both in the workplace and during your job search. Increasingly, employers require such abilities for hire; and many available jobs are now posted exclusively online. Research a company’s website to determine its key players. Use industry-related key words in online applications, cover letters and resumes. “This is not the time to say you are too old to use technology or have no use for it,” says Silvis.

Now, social networking is a necessary component of your job search. Maintain a professional presence on the big three platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Many employers use these sites as recruitment tools; and mastering them can increase your odds of being discovered for industry-related positions.

Networking

Networking is a ubiquitous word; and its need is often downplayed, especially regarding mature workers. “Creating a solid support system is important for job seekers, especially as they age,” says Silvis. It’s challenging to conduct job searches in a healthy economy and even tougher in an anemic one.

Build and nurture long-term relationships; and you’re networking. It’s also a two-way process. Before constructing a contact list, define your networking goals. The most successful network includes a mix of both personal and professional contacts. Consider everyone you know, including your dentist, hair stylist, Post Office clerk, etc. Choose enthusiastic, optimistic people. Finding a job is often a numbers game; and it’s never too late to begin or resume networking.

Attitude, Appearance and Energy

It’s not easy to maintain a positive attitude when you experience a job loss before you’re ready to retire; but you must, especially as a mature worker.

It’s hard to hear that your appearance needs updated, but it may be a roadblock in your job search. Comb-overs on balding men, and outdated hairstyles can convey antiquated skills as well. Consider doing a makeover at a department store or salon. It will not only enhance your appearance but boost your self-confidence too.

Employers seek candidates who will fit in and bring positive energy to the workplace.

Mistakes Job Seekers Over 50 Make

  • Failing to Get Along with Other Generations. Today’s workplace is multi-generational, with as many as four different generations working together. As a mature worker, you must ask yourself how you’d feel being interviewed by someone your children’s or grandchildren’s age? Could you interact as a colleague instead of a parent figure?
  • Unwillingness to Change. A younger interviewer may be concerned that an older worker is stuck in their comfort zone; and resists change. Expand and consider how your skills can be industry-transcendent, if your former field is extinct.
  • Being Overqualified. “Having too much baggage, even in the form of experience, should not be mentioned,” says Silvis. Focus on specific skills and accomplishments, not your previous titles, which can make you seem overqualified.”
  • Not Embracing Technology. Make sure you’re current in the software programs employers are requiring in want ads and job descriptions.
  • Lack of Enthusiasm. You must convey your enthusiasm and eagerness to land the job through your mannerisms and words. Express your anticipation.

Who’s Hiring?

Job seekers over 50 may be surprised at the number of their seldom-considered employment options. They include:

  • Adjunct or Full-Time Teacher/Tutor. Teaching is a wonderful opportunity, for you as an older worker, to convey your expertise to younger generations.
  • Entrepreneurship. Launch a business of your own, utilizing your niche skills and expertise.
  • Government. Think out of the box with regards to government jobs. Consider Homeland Security, the IRS and U.S. and state transportation departments, parks and recreation, etc.

Instead of applying for traditional jobs, use your imagination and creative skills to land an exciting, enjoyable job in a fun environment, or create your own. “Sometimes a complete change of venue affords the most rewarding opportunities,” says Silvis.

Creating a Success Plan

Statistically, mature workers endure a longer job search. Persevere. Be willing to put everything you have into your employment search, until successful. Set goals, write them down; and take consistent action to achieve those goals. Break major goals into secondary goals that serve as benchmarks toward your progress. Tie each secondary goal to action steps. Realize that setbacks are inevitable, but persist.

Expect to find the right position for you. Reinvent yourself, if necessary; and adapt to available jobs. Challenge yourself. Step out of your comfort zone; and try new things. Visualize success. Be constantly aware of what you’re aiming to accomplish, and what it will like when realized it’s realized.

No one will ever care more about your career and job search than you. Throughout Job Hunting Over 50, “Take Charge” summary boxes serve as signs of your career success accountability.

Finding employment in mid-life does have its own challenges; and Silvis shows us it’s possible. Preparation, persistence and positivity are key. Many libraries and programs funded at the federal, state and local level, provide workshops on topics including Behavior-based interviewing and resumes. Make sure you’re utilizing your community resources to gain a competitive advantage; and realize your employment goals.

Book Review: Computer Investigation by Elizabeth Bauchner

Who is the target audience for this book?

Make no mistake. This book is not targeted for computer professionals. If you have a degree in Computer Science or just know a lot about computers, you won’t learn anything from this book. This book is targeted to children in the middle school age group, but it would also be a good introductory book for adults.

That said, what does the book talk about?

What is the science of computer forensics?

Computer forensics is a two-part process. First, data is retrieved and then the data is used. It is different from other forensic sciences because the data usually stands on its own and does not need to be interpreted.

What are the many duties of a computer forensics technician?

While doing their job, computer forensic specialists must preserve evidence, not introduce viruses or worms into a system, handle data properly, keep evidence within the chain of command, reduce the impact of the system’s analysis on any businesses affected, and make sure privileged information is not divulged.

Following those rules, computer forensic professionals find hidden files, swap files, and temp files used by the operating system and by applications. They access these files and protected and encrypted files, searching for information relevant to the case. They analyze the data found, especially in areas normally considered inaccessible. They perform an over all system analysis and list all relevant files. They provide an opinion of the system’s layout and who authored which files. They make notes of attempts to delete or protect files, and they provide expert testimony and/or consultation in court as needed.

The book gives definitions for commonly used words, or jargon, in the industry.

A hacker is someone who is really interested in a piece of technology and learns all possible about the technology.

A cracker is someone who uses their hacker knowledge for bad.

Hackers are white hat, and crackers are black hat hackers.

A phreaker was a person who scammed the telephone company to get free long-distance calls.

Spoofing is mimicking a website (or an email) so the receiver thinks the sender is someone else.

Phishing is trying to get information from people, like their user accounts and passwords, and social security numbers.

A virus is a program, attached to another program, that infects a system when the program is opened. The virus can’t do anything unless the program is opened and ran.

A worm is like a virus, but it can replicate itself without other programs being opened.

A Trojan horse is a program that pretends to be a different kind of program.

Denial of Service (DoS) is when a cracker tries to prevent a system from being accessible by its normal users.