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As much as we love to assume free Wi-Fi is secure, this is far from the truth. Because you are attaching to a service many others are connected to as well, without security measures, your device can be hacked, especially if the network is unencrypted. Because this encryption involves handing out a 26-character hexadecimal key to every individual wanting to use that network, most places opt for ease of access over security. And even with a secure network, your information is vulnerable to everyone else who has the password and is on the network.

This may not seem like such a big deal and many people don’t believe they have anything to hide on their personal devices, but remember what you use on those devices. Chances are your e-mail is attached as well as all other social media sites. You may have apps that track your finances or private messages to certain others that you would never want anyone else to see. Luckily, there are steps that can be taken to reduce and prevent any unwanted information grabbers from accessing your personal information.

To start, go through your computer’s settings in order to verify your operating system’s security functions are all set to offer the highest protection. Open up the Control Panel and double check that your Firewall is enabled for both private and public networks. Then, go to Network and Sharing to open Change advanced sharing settings. In here, you can turn off file and printer sharing and network discovery for public networks.

One of the most important things to watch for is HTTPS. Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure ensures secure communication across the web. Many of the major email systems use this when you log in (as another layer of password protection) but drop the security as soon as the login is complete. To keep this going, HTTPS Everywhere is a browser extension that gives you a secure connection when browsing some of the more popular sites. It can also be programmed for other sites you like to visit that don’t use HTTPS.

Not every place on the internet provides the choice of HTTPS, and VPNs are there to fill in the security gap. Virtual Private Networks allows data to be sent and received through public access points as if it were directly connected to a secure network. Many businesses offer this for company devices, but if you are an individual looking for that kind of security, ProXPN is a free version that can be upgraded. Unfortunately, it limits your speed, but other choices include VPNBook, OpenVPN Shield Exchange, and OkayFreedom.

With these three steps implemented, secure public Wi-Fi can be achieved. No longer will you have to worry about connecting in an unsure environment with strangers, never knowing if your information is being stolen. With all of the options free of charge, it is also an affordable means of protecting yourself that only takes a little time and effort to implement and guarantee safety.

 

In Demand IT Skills

Password Management Tools

Net Neutrality for the Layperson

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Python is a powerful tool that can be used for many automation tasks in the workplace. It’s notorious for being one of the most simple and versatile options available in the world of programming languages. For this reason, many people choose to automate an enormous amount of their workflow with Python. We’ve compiled a few ideas for automating the boring stuff using Python. Let’s take a look.
 
Managing Emails
 
Most businesses rely on emails being sent out regularly in order to ensure everything runs smoothly. Doing this by hand can be boring and time-consuming. To alleviate this, there are packages written with and for Python that enable you to automate certain aspects of this process. Adding and removing individuals from mailing lists can be automated as well, especially if your business has a policy to automatically add and remove people from certain mailing lists when certain conditions are met. For example, after a customer of yours doesn’t interact with your company after an extended period of time, it may be prudent to remove them from your mailing list, or you can send them a premade email reminding them of your services. This is just one way that you can save your company time and money using automation with Python.
 
Repetitive File System Operations
 
Even for personal tasks, Python excels at performing repetitive file system operations. For example, it can convert files, rename, move, delete, and sort files as much as you need it to. This can be useful in many ways. If you have a folder of mp3 files that you need to compress, this can be sped up using Python. Additionally, you can create a set of criteria that need to be met in order for a given file to be considered useless, and then delete it. As a side note, be extremely careful when automating any sort of file deletion or altering, because a bug in your program can cause severe damage to your data and even to your computer. Still, these tools are extremely powerful and can be life-saving when used properly. 
 
Start-up Tasks
 
Whether you’re running a server or just using your own personal computer, there are always tasks that need to be done when your computer starts up, or you’re beginning a certain process. For example, you can automate the task of backing up your email inbox. This can ensure your files are being kept safe, and it can be triggered whenever your start up your computer. Additionally, if you need to collect or create any sort of logging data in order to document daily operations, you can use Python to alleviate some of these time-consuming processes. 
 
Web Scraping
 
And finally, we have Web Scraping. This process may be slightly more advanced for a beginner Python user, but it doesn’t take a terribly long time to learn, and it opens up a whole new world of opportunity in terms of data collection and management. Web scraping is extremely important because it not only allows you to automatically search for certain pieces of content on the internet, but it can also alert you to changes and updates to existing websites. If your business relies on certain trends on social media, you can scrape sites while searching for the presence of certain keywords, and if you’re a stock trader or bitcoin guru, you can automate some of your price-checking and set custom alerts for price changes. The field of web scraping is enormous, and there is a practically infinite amount of content written on this particular subject. If you’re interested in learning more, there are vast amounts of free resources on the internet that can help you get started. Web scraping is certainly one of the most important skills to have in almost any line of work.
 
Get Creative!
 
At this point, we’d like to advise you to get more familiar with the libraries and APIs that are available to you. Each individual workflow is different and requires familiarity with different technologies. Because of this, you will know better than anybody else which items are worth automating and which aren’t. Some people try to automate everything, and some people prefer to do certain tasks manually, but sometimes spending a few hours automating a job that takes one minute will end up being a time-saver after only a few months.
 
We’ve gone over quite a few options in this article, but no single human alive is familiar with absolutely everything Python can do. Hopefully, you’re now more familiar with the options available to you, and you should now be better equipped to search for further information that is more relevant to your specific use case. Have fun digging into the many nuances and functionalities that the Python language has to offer!

With stiff penalties for being caught and the whiff of secretive underground or even nefarious acts, computer hacking can be seen as a somewhat dubious pursuit. Not all hackers operate with the motive of emptying your Paypal account, however; there are many hackers who utilize their skills to aid companies in locating security flaws ("penetration testing") or engage in hacking with the goal of becoming cyber-freedom-fighters that champion simple human freedoms, such as the right to free speech.

Computer hacking is as much an art as it is a skill. At its simplest distillation, hacking is the systematic search for chinks in programming armor. While advanced problem-solving, intuition and sophisticated understanding of programming languages are a distinct advantage, there does exist a number of push-button programs that computing wizards have written allowing those less sophisticated in the art of hacking to break into remote computers in a variety of ways. Because of this new ubiquity, today's hackers no longer need to be a programming Wunderkind; they simply need to know where to download software and be able to turn on a computer. It really is that simple and the implications can be disturbing.

Phishing, Push-Button Programs and Brute Force Tactics

There's no need to crack a company's firewall if you have direct physical access to their computers. One aspect of hacking is the impersonation of an employee or service worker with the goal of gaining access to a company's database, where the hacker can then unleash whatever havoc he or she has planned into the system. Another is to engage in simple phishing techniques, such as impersonating an employee who forgot their password and needs help logging into the system.

Because such impersonations often fail thanks to companies becoming more security-conscious, taking over operations of a computer remotely is often the preferred method of gaining access. Such attempts can be facilitated in a variety of ways. One is the brute-force method, in which a program such as SQLmap, Nmap or Burpsuite is used; running one of these programs is analogous to trying every doorknob in a neighborhood to see which house is unlocked. Using a variety of different parameters, these programs can find access to a vulnerable computer or network in less than a minute.

Hackers can also attempt to gain access with a program like Metasploit. With literally a few clicks of a mouse, access to a remote and vulnerable computer can be achieved by a relative newbie. With a related hacking aid, called Meterpreter, a backdoor is created that allows access into an operating system. It does not install itself onto the remote computer, running instead using the computer's memory; in fact, Meterpreter can hide itself inside the operations of a perfectly valid program, so it cannot be detected even by sophisticated programmers. Once engaged, it allows a remote user carte blanche access to the system in question.

Where to Learn the Art of Hacking

Of course, for those who wish to learn the actual skills rather than download someone else's hack, there are a number of practice sites that pose an increasingly difficult set of challenges intended to train neophytes in the art of hacking. For example, Hack This Site starts beginners with the goal of cracking simple flaws in coding scripts or software such as HTML, Unix, Javascript and Apache. Their structured series of tests increase in complexity, incorporating real-word scenarios and even old-fashioned "phone phreaking" challenges that recall the bygone golden age of hacking skills displayed by Matthew Broderick in "WarGames."

Using just these simple tools and free practice sites, beginners have a powerful array of hacking resources just a simple mouse click away.

It’s befuddling when you think about how many ways there are to communicate in 2013. I’d say there are too many new ways to communicate – social media, phone, Skype, instant message, text message, email, it goes on and on. But do any of them outweigh the power of a good old-fashioned face-to-face meeting? Most business executives would argue no. Nothing can replace a face-to-face meeting, at least yet.

 

That said, face-to-face meetings are without question the most expensive kind, given the travel costs required to make them a reality, and companies around the globe have been trying to make them more financially manageable ever since the recession set in. But recession or no, face-to-face meetings are rarely in the budget cards for small businesses. So how can entrepreneurs around the globe get more out of their virtual meetings while ensuring any physical meeting is worth the cost?

  

Tech Life in Minnesota

Minnesota is one of the healthiest states, and has a highly rate of literacy. The state supports a network of public universities and colleges. It encompasses thirty two institutions in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, as well as five major campuses of the University of Minnesota. According to U.S. News & World Report six of the private colleges rank among the nation's top 100 in liberal arts.
It makes me feel guilty that anybody should have such a good time doing what they are supposed to do. Charles Eames
other Learning Options
Software developers near Saint Paul have ample opportunities to meet like minded techie individuals, collaborate and expend their career choices by participating in Meet-Up Groups. The following is a list of Technology Groups in the area.
Fortune 500 and 1000 companies in Minnesota that offer opportunities for IBM developers
Company Name City Industry Secondary Industry
The Affluent Traveler Saint Paul Travel, Recreation and Leisure Travel, Recreation, and Leisure Other
Xcel Energy Inc. Minneapolis Energy and Utilities Gas and Electric Utilities
Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Minneapolis Financial Services Personal Financial Planning and Private Banking
CHS Inc. Inver Grove Heights Agriculture and Mining Agriculture and Mining Other
Hormel Foods Corporation Austin Manufacturing Food and Dairy Product Manufacturing and Packaging
St. Jude Medical, Inc. Saint Paul Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Medical Devices
The Mosaic Company Minneapolis Agriculture and Mining Mining and Quarrying
Ecolab Inc. Saint Paul Manufacturing Chemicals and Petrochemicals
Donaldson Company, Inc. Minneapolis Manufacturing Tools, Hardware and Light Machinery
Michael Foods, Inc. Minnetonka Manufacturing Food and Dairy Product Manufacturing and Packaging
Regis Corporation Minneapolis Retail Retail Other
Fastenal Company Winona Wholesale and Distribution Wholesale and Distribution Other
Securian Financial Saint Paul Financial Services Insurance and Risk Management
UnitedHealth Group Minnetonka Financial Services Insurance and Risk Management
The Travelers Companies, Inc. Saint Paul Financial Services Insurance and Risk Management
Imation Corp. Saint Paul Computers and Electronics Networking Equipment and Systems
C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. Eden Prairie Transportation and Storage Warehousing and Storage
Ameriprise Financial, Inc. Minneapolis Financial Services Securities Agents and Brokers
Best Buy Co. Inc. Minneapolis Retail Retail Other
Nash Finch Company Minneapolis Wholesale and Distribution Grocery and Food Wholesalers
Medtronic, Inc. Minneapolis Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Medical Devices
LAND O'LAKES, INC. Saint Paul Manufacturing Food and Dairy Product Manufacturing and Packaging
General Mills, Inc. Minneapolis Manufacturing Food and Dairy Product Manufacturing and Packaging
Pentair, Inc. Minneapolis Manufacturing Manufacturing Other
Supervalu Inc. Eden Prairie Retail Grocery and Specialty Food Stores
U.S. Bancorp Minneapolis Financial Services Banks
Target Corporation, Inc. Minneapolis Retail Department Stores
3M Company Saint Paul Manufacturing Chemicals and Petrochemicals

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the hartmann software group advantage
A successful career as a software developer or other IT professional requires a solid understanding of software development processes, design patterns, enterprise application architectures, web services, security, networking and much more. The progression from novice to expert can be a daunting endeavor; this is especially true when traversing the learning curve without expert guidance. A common experience is that too much time and money is wasted on a career plan or application due to misinformation.

The Hartmann Software Group understands these issues and addresses them and others during any training engagement. Although no IT educational institution can guarantee career or application development success, HSG can get you closer to your goals at a far faster rate than self paced learning and, arguably, than the competition. Here are the reasons why we are so successful at teaching:

  • Learn from the experts.
    1. We have provided software development and other IT related training to many major corporations in Minnesota since 2002.
    2. Our educators have years of consulting and training experience; moreover, we require each trainer to have cross-discipline expertise i.e. be Java and .NET experts so that you get a broad understanding of how industry wide experts work and think.
  • Discover tips and tricks about IBM programming
  • Get your questions answered by easy to follow, organized IBM experts
  • Get up to speed with vital IBM programming tools
  • Save on travel expenses by learning right from your desk or home office. Enroll in an online instructor led class. Nearly all of our classes are offered in this way.
  • Prepare to hit the ground running for a new job or a new position
  • See the big picture and have the instructor fill in the gaps
  • We teach with sophisticated learning tools and provide excellent supporting course material
  • Books and course material are provided in advance
  • Get a book of your choice from the HSG Store as a gift from us when you register for a class
  • Gain a lot of practical skills in a short amount of time
  • We teach what we know…software
  • We care…
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