I posted to Facebook and you would never guess what happened next.

Most of us have some type of social media account, be it Facebook, Pintrest, Snapchat, or whatever the newest social media craze is. Social media has changed how we interact and get information. You can “like” a news outlet page, “befriend” a celebrity, or even “follow” a fictional character. Social media has become a way for companies to advertise and invest in markets they couldn’t reach before. It has given us a way to connect with people in more ways than ever before. As an example, I know what my I know what my high school friends are doing ten years after graduating without seeing or talking to them in person. However, with the “advent” of these connections, risks also appear. While information we post can be harmless, it can lead to unintended consequences. The second weekend in May, I saw three different stories that will make you think about what you should post on these social networks.

Fish in the Road
The first post I want to mention was written by a friend from college. From May 6th to May 8th Central Oklahoma received a lot of rain that led to flash flooding of some ponds, rivers, creeks, and streets. While driving through one of the flooded streets, he noticed a fish swimming and decided to film it. He uploaded the video to his Facebook. About a day later he noticed that the video had over 5K views and growing. His post had gone viral. As you can guess, the majority of people who are seeing his video, liking it, and sharing it do not even have a 1st or 2nd degree of connection.


While this post was just of a fish swimming in the road, think of the impact that it could have IF it was an embarrassing video?

Facebook Chain Message
The second post is very similar to what we see on Facebook today; The “Share if you remember”, “1 Like= 1 Prayer”, “Re-post this in your status” type of posts. While some off these are just fun little “trips down memory lane”, political statements and little games, they can be used as an attack vector for malware delivery, clickjacking and phishing/pharming. I saw an example of this on May 9th. The City of Norman’s Police Department posted on their Facebook page about a post in honor of Mother’s Day.

mothers day image

It asked you to list details about your children. While most of this information is harmless (and freely available given enough time,) by posting it on your Facebook page you have now made it even easier to obtain. Levi covered why this particular post is a security concern earlier this month. Posts like these are gold mines for scammers and they appear constantly.

A side note, “liking” and “sharing” posts can actually effect what appears on your newsfeed. Facebook uses an algorithm to determine what you see. When you like and share posts, it will adjust so you see more of them. To learn more about it, you can check out this post.

Internet Vigilantism or Digilantism
This story is what really prompted my thoughts behind this post. On May 11th, I read a story not on Facebook, but on NakedSecurity, an internet security blog. The story comes from Melbourne, Australia and happened earlier that week. An older man stopped to take a selfie in front of a Darth Vader cutout. A mother who had her kids nearby thought he was taking a picture of her kids and instead of confronting him about it, she took a picture of him and reported him to the local authorities. She then went on Facebook, posted her picture of him and proceeded to call him a creep. Within a day, he had received death threats and his reputation was dragged through the mud. This type of story is becoming more common every day. Social Media (and the Internet in general) has given voices to the masses and in many cases has allowed the voices to be anonymous. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened, and it won’t be the last.
These are just three examples of MANY things I can post that show how easy it is to share information (or misinformation) on social networks and how they can quickly turn bad. We use social media as a public soapbox, a place to air our grievances and shout our triumphs. We share inspirational stories and pictures as well as our defeats with our friends and family. Most of the time, this information is harmless, but like they say “It’s all fun and games until someone get hurt.” So with that in mind, here are a few things to remember when it comes to posting on social media.

  • Check your privacy settings and check them often. A lot of social media sites are constantly changing their settings. It should become an annual habit of verifying your privacy/security settings to make sure only what you want to get out, gets out and to the proper people.
  • Do not post anything that you are not ready for the rest of the world to know.
  • Do not post intimate details. Contrary to what some people believe, MOST of us do not want to know how your colonoscopy went or your bedroom escapades.
  • Lastly, be prepared to deal with the consequences of your actions. Free speech does not mean freedom from consequences. Like this guy, and this guy, and this lady, or this guy.

Remember, once something is out on the internet, it is hard to remove. There is no “Clean Slate” program like what was mentioned in The Dark Knight Rises. Think before you post! If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact your extension support specialist.

The Battery Backup

The Battery Backup

As you know, May in Oklahoma can be a VERY tumultuous month. Tornadoes, high winds, lightning and flooding are known threats to our homes and offices. In past newsletters, the importance of having a backup plan has been discussed. These data backup plans are great if a computer breaks, but also in disaster situations. But there is another backup solution that has proven just as important for protecting your computers and office equipment—the battery backup.

Following the recent flood events in Oklahoma City and southeast Oklahoma, I received a phone call from a county that received some significant damage. The call went something like this: “Cynthia, our office has flooded and we aren’t sure if the computers are going to work. When they came in to start cleaning up, there was a strong electrical burn smell and we are worried that our computers are fried. Is there any way we can recover data if this is the case”?

As I started asking some questions about the equipment, it became apparent very quickly that this county was probably going to be okay as far as their computer equipment went. First, all of the computers were secured off of the floor, on carts; therefore, no water actually got into the computer towers. This was the first sigh of relief and should underscore the importance of not storing your computer on the floor if there is a flood risk but instead putting it on a shelf (without a door) or on the desk. Secondly, each of the computers had a battery backup, protected the computers from power surges. While each of the battery backups were destroyed and need to be replaced, all of the computers and data were saved.

Battery backups are not an expensive purchase, especially when you consider the cost of the equipment and data they protect. The Cyberpower UPS Battery Backup (shown below) costs around $55 at Staples. This low cost protects your computer from a variety of electrical issues such as lightning, power surges, and as mentioned, water.


A couple things to note, if you are ever concerned about a computer suffering water damage, NEVER turn it on to see if it works. If you see ANY signs of water, unplug the power, open the cover and allow it to thoroughly dry out (a minimum of 24 hours) before testing to see if it works. If you are unsure or you think it suffered damage, call your support specialist immediately.

Having a computer backup plan is always a good idea, but don’t leave it all to chance! Protect your office equipment, and your data by contacting your support specialist to find out what is best for you and your office.

Stay Safe with Cyber Security Awareness

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. While it is not October yet, security awareness is not something that you can only think about one time or one month of a year. There are threats that happen every single day and if you are not cautious or careful you might fall victim to one of these scams. Recently, there have been several articles in the news warning of a few specific threats.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recently published an article warning of a scam involving the 5 Mile Color Race (a race for awareness and to raise funds for various charities.) This warning is based on people setting up fake color races and charging people entry fees costing around $45. Then when people show up to the race there is no one there. They also have received many complaints of color races canceling at the last minute and not offering refunds. There are many color runs that are legitimate, however it is always good to check out the company that is holding the color run. The BBB has the following tips for protecting yourself against these scams:

  • Do your research on the company to be sure they are legitimate.
  • Understand the terms and conditions of the race agreement before accepting the contract, as some may clearly say no refunds.
  • Check the local venue to be sure the race is scheduled.
  • Pay with a credit card, which allows you to dispute charges if the race ends up not being real.
  • Keep documentation of your order for future reference.
  • Check out the charity to be sure that they are a real charity and you are not giving money to an untrustworthy source.

The Norman, OK police department recently posted a warning about a Facebook scam that was circling around Mother’s day. This scam (image below) uses peer pressure to get you to post very specific information about your children. While this information has no immediate negative impact on your life, meaning that you are not going to lose money immediately after posting this information, it could have a very large impact down the road. When you post personal information about yourself, your children, or your immediate family, that information can be used to steal your identity or possibly gain access to your online accounts. Most online accounts use security questions based on friends, family, pets, or information from when you were a child. It is very important to keep this information private and not post it on social media where almost anyone can access it.

mothers day image

We face many threats on a daily basis. The best thing you can do is to be cautious when providing any personal information or when signing up for a service or event. Ask yourself these following questions: Why do they need this information? Does this sound too good to be true? Do I really want everyone to know this information about me and my family? If any of these questions cause concern, check into the situation for more information before proceeding.


Digital Signage – Part 3 Vendors

In Part 1 we investigated the various uses and applications of digital signs. In  Part 2 we looked at the planning for implementation of a signage system.

Like most technologies out there, there are a lot of vendors from which we can choose. Each offers a variety of features and their solutions vary in cost.  In part three we will look at a few vendors to help you find the perfect solution for you.