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Puny humans

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I’d always say the biggest security threat to any system is the human using it. That’s not because said human is malicious or incompetent – people make mistakes, after all. But that’s compounded when you’re effectively tricked into making mistakes by phishing attacks or malware. A lot of phishing is carried out to compromise online accounts and Linux is lucky that most malware still targets Windows.

But equally those puny human design systems that are flawed, and not always in obvious ways. Two-factor authentication is an awesome tool and it can make you feel super secure… even when the system is flawed. After all, when you can just select a “forgot your password” link and have everything reset, then any extra security goes out the window.

Security isn’t a feature, it’s a behaviour. People should behave as if their systems are flawed, because they are. Vulnerabilities are discovered and patched every day. Some are innocuous, some only apply in unusual circumstances, but others are critical. The average user can only wait for patches to appear, so the old adage of “safe hex” applies more today – with everything being digital – than it did back in the days of the floppy disk. Ensuring your data is as safe as possible should be a no-brainer.

Jonni’s been tucked away in his Fortress of Solitude, successfully avoiding all human contact and fortifying his latest install of Linux Mint 20.1 so you can, too. Much of this is distro agnostic: PGP with Thunderbird, creating sharable secured data vaults, enabling two-factor authentication systems, avoiding phishing attacks and more.

Hopefully that’ll leave you feeling secure enough to enjoy other Linux things. Jonni’s paranoia has him showing us how to monitor EVERYTHING (possibly) on your Linux box, we code a Space Invaders clone, test drive alternative window managers, take the Cosmo Messenger Psion 5-a-like for a spin, build a Pi Pico voltmeter, relive our Intel 486 PC days of old and enable desktop PCs to get in on this GPIO fun.

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