[APG Public List] Ancestry Search - Something EVERY Professional Must Consider

Ray Beere Johnson II raybeere at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 22 14:21:40 MDT 2010

     Automatically logging on is _not_ randomly done - and the Search behaviour you notice is probably not random either. This misunderstanding is rooted in a very dangerous ignorance of basic browsing knowledge vital for your own security and often the security of other users as well. This knowledge is important for _every_ user, and affects your use of many sites throughout the 'Net.
     When you are automatically logged on to (nearly) any site, this is always because your logon details are stored in your browser, usually in the form of a web cookie. Anyone who fails to understand this and watch for the various factors ("keep me logged in" checkboxes / security policies set within your browser, etc.) which influence whether such a cookie will be saved risks security problems in many common use cases.
     My best guess (I don't have the time to jump through the hoops necessary to test it) about the Search behaviour you noted would be that there is a direct correlation between this and the times when you are automatically logged on. Many sites save your preferences. If the cookie is deleted - for whatever reason - the preferences are lost. Of course, changing from one type of search to the other would also alter your saved preferences...
     There _are_ bugs on many websites which reset your preferences under certain circumstances, but not others. Ancestry is clunky enough this might explain some otherwise inexplicable changes. And browser crashes - most common when using poorly designed resource hogging sites like Ancestry - can lead to all sorts of odd behaviour.
     In other words, there is a reasonably high chance some of the changes you noted were "random" in the sense that only careful observation for diagnostic purposes would be enough to determine the exact cause. The important point is, _this type of knowledge is vital to everyone who uses the 'Net._ How can anyone claim, for example, to provide _any_ level of confidentiality to clients, when they lack knowledge of the basic processes necessary to secure such confidentiality?
     Anyone using a computer for their business really needs to become educated in a lot more than just how to use e-mail and Ancestry. I would go so far as to say that I'm surprised the BCG doesn't consider a certain level of computer skills a prerequisite for certification. Are they really okay with the idea those they certify might well be allowing confidential client data to leak to the worst corners of the 'Net? (Yes, there are servers specifically set up to broker potentially sensitive information - in many cases, even when the data thieves have no use for it, and have no idea what use others might put it to. Data is a commodity, and illegally gathered data is among the most valuable.)
     A few of you may hire an "IT person". That isn't enough. _There simply is NO ONE good enough to plug all the holes an uneducated user is capable of falling through_. It is somewhat akin to hiring someone to make sure you never drop money or confidential papers in a public place. This is a mistake many corporations make. They think their IT departments can protect their sensitive data - and it leaks because _only individual knowledge_ can keep every person from making one of the many possible dumb mistakes.
                                 Ray Beere Johnson II

--- On Thu, 4/22/10, Cafi Cohen <cfcohen at pacbell.net> wrote:

> I am randomly dumped into either Old or New Search when I first log on 
> (or am automatically logged on, which also seems random). If it pops up 
> with the New Search, I have to conduct a search to get to a screen 
> where I can opt for Old Search (the small link in the upper right that 
> you describe). In other words, from the home screen, it takes one search
> and then a mouse click to get to Old Search.  


More information about the APGPublicList mailing list