Web pages use a publishing metaphor. They are pages, after all. We write, open, read and bookmark them. That's one reason why we assume that when a page downloads from a server, it's a one-way deal. The HTML describes the page, lays out the print, loads the graphics onto the page and into the cache.
There is at least the presumption of privacy. After all, reading is a personal (even an intimate) act. At times when interaction is required, such as when we fill out a form, there's a “submit” button that sends information back to the other end of the line. We're still in control.
And okay, we know about cookies and what they do. If we especially vigilant, we either refuse to accept them or go through the whole pile and weed out the suspicious ones.
But watch out. Big Brander is watching you. And not just with cookies.
It turns out that some companies are spying on you and your Web travels by using invisible 1x1 pixel transparent GIFs. These are in-line images downloaded from elsewhere, so the server-browser dialog can initiate covert reconnaissance on you and your subsequent surfage. You see no ad and suspect nothing. The cookie alert doesn't go off. But the bug—as in bugging device-has been planted.
Who's doing the planting? Usually a company that wants to learn something about you. Most of the time it's an advertising service that wants to “target” you with banners, e-mail spam or whatever. But they can serve all kinds of purposes, known and unknown. Don Marti found one on a Fed Ex page. (Presumably they want to track customers the way customers want to track a package.) Richard Smith, the leading source of information on Web Bugs, found two on Quicken's home page, both to provide “hit” information to advertising companies.
According to Smith's Web Bug FAQ www.tiac.net/users/smiths/privacy/wbfaq.htm, here is the information a Web Bug sends back to its server:
The IP address of the computer that fetched the Web Bug
The URL of the page that the Web Bug is located on
The URL of the Web Bug image
The time the Web Bug was viewed
The type of browser that fetched the Web Bug image
A previously set cookie value
Of course any graphic can serve the same purpose. That's why the only way you can see a Web bug is to view a page's HTML source. But Smith also provides another way to at least discover what sites are playing slight-of-pixel games: The Web Bug Search Page www.tiac.net/users/smiths/privacy/wbfind.htm. It shows where each of ten bugging companies are sneaking in their little spies. Makes for interesting (and creepy) reading.
On the matter of security, Don Marti gets the last word: “When a site tries to violate users' common-sense expectation of privacy, it should be the system administrator's responsibility to protect the user unless the user requests otherwise. Web ad banners are a security hole.”
Percentage of public relations professionals who admit to lying on the job: 25
Percentage of public relations professionals who say they are not always able to confirm the validity of information conveyed to reporters on behalf of clients: 62
Percentage of web sites with personal server headers: 5.7
Number of Linux servers that self-disclose their distribution brand: 0
Number of Linux servers found by Netcraft to disclose their distribution through Apache's personal server header: 850,000
Percentage of those servers that identify their distribution as Red Hat: 72
Percentage of those servers that identify their distribution as SuSE: 10
Percentage of those servers that identify their distribution as Debian: 9
Number of other distributions with more than 3%: 0
Market cap of the entire Linux category in July 1999: $0
Market cap of Red Hat at its peak in November 1999: $22.5 billion
Red Hat revenues in the quarter ending November 1999: $5.7 million
Market cap of Red Hat on June 1, 2000: $2.8 billion
Red Hat revenues in the quarter ending February 2000: $13.1 million
Market cap of thirteen “Tier 1” Linux companies on June 1, 2000: $8 billion
Percentage of girls at popular teen web site who say they have had sex by the age of fifteen: 35
Percentage of girls at popular teen web site who say virginity is in: 34
Percentage of visits to popular teen web site that use Linux: .22
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide