Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Your computer, the internet and security

If there is one thing I can't stand is 'accidentally' connecting to a client computer because I was given the wrong IP address and end up connecting to a different client computer. This is exactly why I ask that you send me your current IP address when you are through using the computer for the day. Why? Because when I receive an email with the current IP address, along with the message that "I am through for the night" then I will know the coast is clear to get whatever updates or repairs done that I must accomplish through the remote connection.

Now this connection is a secure connection to your computer. One that I have created that only I have the password for so you can rest easy knowing that it is only me connecting, however when I connect only to find the computer is still being used, I will immediately disconnect. Unfortunately however, that sometimes means noticing that there are things still open on the screen and I may have to wait to see if the mouse pointer begins to move, or the keyboard text is being written on the screen. (quite often it will be a simple game of solitaire happening) but regardless I am gone, on to my next 'case'.

I respect your privacy, just as I am sure you would expect your family doctor to respect it and that goes for information on your computer. It is (an unwritten) oath that I personally have taken, therefore image my shock when I connect and see a program such as "Microsoft Money" sitting there open on the screen. My initial instinct with any program running, is to wait a few seconds to see if someone is actually at the other end using it, or they had simply left the program running (like a solitaire game). So when I see the pointer move, I'm outta there! Then of course comes the email to that respective client explaining that I 'just connected but saw the computer was busy' and ask that you 'email me when you are through using it for the night'.

Well tonight.. maybe there is a full moon or maybe there will be one tomorrow night, because it seems like those people that have emailed me earlier in the day, stating that they will be off the computer by 'x-time' weren't.. and not only by a few hours. It is 2 hours later then what I have been told. But then I know what it is like. I would love to be able to say that I will be done all of my work by a specific time but that never or rarely happens that I would actually be done by when I say I will be. So then again, this is why I ask.. no, I demand, that you please, please, please, email me when you are THROUGH FOR THE NIGHT.. cause if there are three things I hate doing is 1: connecting when the computer is still being used and 2: connecting when the computer is still being used and personal information such as Microsoft Money (or other) is being used.. the final thing, is connecting to the wrong computer, because I was given an old IP address.

You must realize that most Internet connections from your Internet provider will be a 'dynamic ip address' which means it is pretty much up to the Internet server to decide when to refresh and redistribute the ip's throughout the network. This may happen a few times in a day or you may have the same ip address for a month or more, but that doesn't mean you should be writing this number down and then issuing it to me when you have a problem. This is why I have it set on my websites home page (http://tpsconsulting.com), the display of your current IP address.

All that I ask is that you check this number and copy/paste it in to a new email message when you are through using the computer for the day.

To these two computers tonight that I have connected to, both cases I received email earlier in the afternoon saying that they would be off by 10 pm or 11pm... but that simply wasn't the case tonight I guess, or maybe you just couldn't sleep, but regardless, to me it is like I just walked in on something private and that bothers me... on the times when I connect, only to find I have connected to the wrong computer, this to me feels like I have broken in to your home.. of course I will immediately email that person, letting them know that I connected to their computer (by accident).. since I respect my clients privacy.