Friday, August 31, 2018

Increasing the security on my professional email

In 2016, I have decided to stop my personal emails for professional communication (eg: @gmail.com, @hotmail.com). I have changed my personal emails and I made sure they remain strictly confidential and shared only with close friends and family.



My professional email ends with @georgechalhoub.com now and is managed by me. It gives me total control over all the configuration and settings, and it is inaccessible via a login page. It gives me great power and control over my email and all the settings and configurations. Here are the security settings I use:

DKIM - DomainKeys Identified Mail

According to Zoho, "DKIM is an authentication method, which uses encryption with public/ private keys, to validate whether the emails are generated from the authorised servers, recognized and configured by the administrators of the sending domains."

This would prevent Email Spoofing and Email Backscattering. In DKIM, a public key is published as a TXT record for the my domain's DNS Manager which is managed by Cloudflare. Every outgoing email includes a distinct signature generated using the private key for my domain. The receiving email server uses this private-public key combination to validate the email source. If there is a validation failure, the recipient server may reject the email or classify it as Spam/ Forged email, based on the server behaviour.

SPF - Sender Policy Framework


According to Zoho, "Sender Policy Framework/ SPF is an Email validation system, to find out spoofed/ forged emails using a specific SPF record published for the domain with the details of hosts, that are permitted by the domain's administrators." 

Sender Policy Framework/ SPF Records is also published as a type of DNS record published in my domain's DNS which identifies the email servers that are permitted to send emails. The main goal of SPF records is to help the receiving server identify the spam emails, sent using my domain name by spoofing/ forging the From email addresses. 

Now, I have recently added DMARC:

DMARC - Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance


According to Wikipedia, "Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) is an email-validation system designed to detect and prevent email spoofing. It is intended to combat certain techniques often used in phishing and email spam, such as emails with forged sender addresses that appear to originate from legitimate organizations. Specified in RFC 7489, DMARC counters the illegitimate usage of the exact domain name in the From: field of email message headers."

This is really great because now users cannot forge the 'From:' field of the email message headers. DMARC is capable of producing two separate types of reports which would allow me to find out who is trying to forge emails on my behalf.

Here are DMARC rows of an aggregate record shown in tabular form: 




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Sunday, August 26, 2018

Power: The US TV Show that made me ignore socials and thesis work

I rarely get to have some time to watch any series or movies, but when I do, it doesn't go well. I've had dozens of unfinished series on Netflix; I either lose interest or get bored. But that was not the case with POWER.

In fact, while browsing my Netflix collection, I have clicked on the entry by mistake and the show started; but I thought I'd give it a try. One episode, two, four, I was hooked.

My sleep schedule got fucked up, I slept at 5 am (instead of 12 am), I didn't set up a meeting with a supervisor, and I ditched socials.


If I were to describe this show in one word, I'd say 'original'. The show is really unique and presents something you have never seen before. I fell in love with the characters, direction, plot and the brilliant acting.

I've started the show on the 10th of August and finished it on the 20th of August (so total 10 days). Yet, three remaining episodes left which will air every Sunday.

Here is the plot of the show from Wikipedia/Google: 'It appears James "Ghost" St. Patrick has it all -- a drop-dead gorgeous wife, a stunning Manhattan penthouse, and the power and success that come with owning hot new nightclub Truth. But a closer look reveals a man living a double life. When Ghost isn't tending to his Fortune 500 business, he's catering to clients of another operation: a drug empire that serves only the rich and influential. While loyal sidekick Tommy protects the cash-cow narcotics venture at all costs, Ghost's new reality is using Truth as more than a front to launder money. It's a way out of the drug game and into a legitimate life with his family, even if everything he loves becomes unknowingly threatened. "Power" is co-executive produced by Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson (who also co-stars) and show creator Courtney Kemp Agboh ("The Good Wife").'


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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

6 Types of Academic Plagiarists


Plagiarism is defined as using a work that doesn't belong to you. Here are the 6 most common types of academic plagiarism I know:



1. The malicious plagiarist: This is the plagiarist who copies stuff word from word and adds it to his report without giving any single fuck. This generally works in highschools and when presenting work that doesn't get checked by Turnitin and another plagiarism checker.

2. The smart plagiarist: This is the plagiarist who hires someone to do his or her work on their behalf. This is too common in college and students generally get away with it because there is no way for the instructor/lecturer to know. One way to avoid this is to ask students to write some sample work at the beginning of the semester and store a copy of it. You can compare the work together and ask the student to resubmit their work.

3. The translator plagiarist: This is the student who plagiaries a work made in a different language than the original one required. If the assignment was due to be delivered in English, they find a Chinese, Arabic, Russian article and they simply translate it and submit it. TurnItIn might be able to detect this sort of plagiarism, but you may need to contact them to make sure.

4. The Innocent plagiarist: This is the student who quotes and paraphrases one paragraph or two from elsewhere without realizing they need to reference it. This comes due to ignorance, and innocents shouldn't be heavily punished for making such a mistake (An academic warning would do).

5. The Self-Plagiarist: This is the student who resubmits his previous work. This usually works if the previous work isn't submitted on TurnItIn and generally there is no way for the instructor to know.

6. The Group Plagiarist: This is very common and the most underrated type of academic plagiarism. This is a student who is in a group project and does minimal to no contribution to work. His name is submitted and he gets equal marks to his classmates. This can be resolved if the instructor makes all a group members sign a mark distribution sheet at the end.
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