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Internet Safety Tips and Pedro's Predicament


pedro's predicament and internet security

Recently, there lived a somewhat portly man called Pedro. He was average in height and above average in intellect, always donning orange frame eyeglasses with lenses so thick they were once seen entering a room before he did. Pedro also believed himself a fortunate family man, and people around town, save his perpetually irritated in-laws, agreed with him.

On an especially humid morning, during vacation from work and wishing to be miles from his wife, Josie, and their twin children, Pedro found respite at a coffee shop. There he took a comfortable seat among the sea of future screenwriters.

He used his laptop to easily join the shop's public wi-fi network, before repeatedly signing into his email account and making a couple of minor purchases. At one point, he stepped away to perform a few age-defying stretches and purchased at least one cup of coffee so he wouldn’t be that guy. Minutes after, Pedro returned to his spot and noticed no changes to his computer. Feeling satisfied and productive, he left an hour later.

You’re smart. You know where this is headed. But let's proceed as if you don't.

Pedro was diligently sweeping the front porch of his house when he received a phone call from his bank that afternoon. He was gently notified that a few large and unusual transactions had taken place using his credit card information. The representative said more sentences as Pedro, with great horror, realized his errors. Without humidity’s help, new beads of sweat began to form on his face. Once Pedro convinced the representative that he had not, in fact, arranged to travel from Nebraska to Dubai for a dirt biking convention, he hung up.

Pedro dropped the broom, went inside, and darted for the study, ignoring the chorus of questions and funny looks from his family. He hastily closed the door behind him and moved to adjust the curtains across the room, knowing the action was in vain. No matter what effort was put into handling them, those curtains never seemed to meet his demand. He only ever wanted just enough extra light let in, but was only ever given weak dimness, as if the curtains were in constant battle with the calm, quiet room they were meant to support.

Done with the task, Pedro collapsed into the leather chair behind his desk to contemplate.

Pedro’s misfortune has inspired a list of 5 simple internet-related safety tips, and perhaps your main reason for clicking on this article. The first two are:

  1. Avoid making financial transactions using public wi-fi networks. Encryption has certainly advanced but so have the hackers or similar creatures that seek to dismantle such security measures.
  2. Avoid leaving your mobile devices unattended while in public, even if it’s only for a few seconds. A few seconds is all that’s needed. The elderly woman sitting across from you might be as innocent as a burping newborn, but her grown grandson just three feet away could have chosen a more nefarious path. At the very least, lock your devices. Someone doesn’t have to physically take something in order to get whatever they want from it.

Our protagonist’s saga wasn’t quite over though.

Seated there, two things sprung to Pedro’s mind. First, he recalled how six months before, his mischievous son, Ivan, got on to the next-door neighbors’ home wi-fi network called TheStarkLair, using the password 1234, and proceeded to download dozens of video games. The neighbors found out, became furious, and promised the next person that used their wi-fi without permission would regret it. Pedro had guessed such punishment included being dragged to their themed holiday parties for all eternity, but he could not confirm this.

Yet Pedro’s wife, Josie, ever the diplomat, defused the situation and promised that no one from their family would ever again use the network. She later insisted her parents not be told about the incident. So, no one, including Pedro, ever did.

Secondly, Pedro felt he was turning into the dullard his wife’s parents believed he was. He remembered one specific night when he’d just come in from taking out the trash. From the kitchen, he overheard his mother-in-law loudly whispering to his wife and father-in-law what she thought of Pedro: “He’s goofy. He also interrupts the flow of things.” Pedro found the statement amusing because she’d stopped right in the middle of draining water from a colander filled with freshly cooked pasta to say it. Even so, Pedro’s father-in-law chimed in to happily concur.

Nope, Pedro decided. No person in the family would be told about his coffee shop woe. The money was insured and soon, all would be right once more.

We do have 3 remaining tips. They are:

  1. It’s important to change your home router default password to a brand new and strong password. Default router passwords are readily accessible and can be used by others. To make a great password, check out our blog: How to make a password no one will crack.
  2. Keep your software and browsers current. These days many browsers update automatically. But certain software may not. Flaws are found and fixed, making a device more secure. Consult your device’s manual or a comparable source for assistance. 
  3. Whether it’s your mobile phone or a laptop, backing up your data regularly is a good habit. Consult your device’s manual or a comparable resource for assistance with this, also.

How did Pedro fare in the aftermath though? What became of him?

How exactly his information was acquired was never figured out. But Pedro did manage to get a tiny speck of justice which arrived in an unexpected form.

It was the night before he, his wife, and children were to leave for Argentina for a month, with the in-laws set to house-sit. Pedro was sitting in his study, poring over significant documents. Suddenly, his father-in-law barged in, either completely forgetting his manners or remembering again how much he disliked the man his only daughter chose to wed.

He explained to Pedro that he was having difficulty connecting to the family’s wi-fi network on his phone. All he could locate was this one network named TheStarkLair.

“Ivan told me the password is 1234,” his father-in-law said. “Seems a little silly. That is your home network and the one I should use, right?”

The spectacled Pedro sighed deeply. Not wanting to interfere with the flow of things, he looked up from his papers and with a rarely exhibited, glowing confidence replied: “It sure is. Go right ahead. Use it as much as you like.”

Pedro’s father-in-law muttered something adjacent to a “thanks” and stormed off.

Pedro leaned forward from the back of his chair and steepled his fingers. He knew his bliss would likely be short-lived. Nevertheless, a small grin appeared on his face. It was then he noticed the room was a little less dim, and he hadn't even touched the curtains that day.

***Despite the mood of this blog post, internet safety is a serious and sensitive matter. For more detailed information, visit cisa.gov. For specific device questions, consider checking your manual, a similar source, or asking an electronics seller, a provider, or a technologically gifted friend.



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