Tips & Tricks: These topics are very important from the ICT exam point of view.

1. Describe Monitoring/Tracking a member of the public?

There may a number of reasons why a person may need to be tracked:

  • It may be necessary to track somebody taking part in a marathon to determine their position and their time to complete the race.
  • The person may be an offender who is released from prison on the understanding that their whereabouts is known at all times.
  • An elderly person may need to be tracked to ensure their safety.

Another application may be to track a patient’s health.

An ankle monitor makes use of RFID technology by inserting a microchip into the device which is strapped to the ankle.

It sends out (at timed intervals) radio frequency signals.  These signals contain the person’s location and other data.  They are tamper proof devices and automatically alert the authorities if an attempt is made to remove the monitor from the ankle.

The monitor sends out RF signals which are picked up by a device in the person’s home.  This unit uses either landline or mobile phone networks to relay the information back to a computer in a control room.  GPS monitoring is also used to track people outside their home through a mobile phone, which the person must carry with them at all times.  This allows to know the exact location of the person at all times.  CCTV cameras are also used to monitor people in streets and shopping malls in case of crime or any suspect activity.

2.  What are Cookies and their uses?

Cookies are small files or code that are stored on the user’s computer.  They are sent by a web server to a user’s computer.  Each cookie is effectively a small look-up table containing pairs of (key, data) values, e.g., (surname, Diesel) and (song, classical).  Once the cookie has been read by the code on the web server or user’s computer, the data can be retrieved and used to customise the web page for each individual.  These are often referred to as user preferences.  E.g., when a user buys a shirt online, the cookies remember the type of t-shirt the user chose or bought and the web page will then show a message such as ‘Customers who bought Polo t-shirts’  also bought Nike t-shirts‘.

The data gathered by cookies forms an anonymous user profile and does not contain personl data such as passwords or date of birth.  Cookies are a very efficient way of carrying data from one website session to another, or even between sessions on related websites.  The remove the need to store massive amounts of data on the web server itself.  Storing the data on the web server without using cookies would also make it very difficult to retrieve a user’s data without requiring the user to login every time they visit the website.

Use of secure servers is always advised.  A secure web server is one that supports any of the major security protocols, such as SSL,/TLS, that encript and decrypt messages to protect them against third party eavesdropping.  Making purchases from a secure web server ensures that a user’s payment or personal information can be translated into a secret code that’s difficult to break.

3.  What is Spyware and Key logging?

Spyware or Key logging software are applications that capture data by monitoring key presses on the user’s keyboard.  The gathered data is then sent back to the person who sent the software.

Spyware gives the originator access to all the data entered using a keyboard on the user’s computer.  The software is able to install other spyware, read cookie data and also change a user’s default browser.

To overcome this problem, use anti-spyware softwares to reduce the risk.  Banks often use drop-down menus where the user enters certain characters from the password using a mouse or touch screen.  The required characters are also changed every time the user logs into their account to stop hackers getting the full password.

The user should always be alert and check for clues that their keyboard activity is being monitored.

When entering a password, e.g., using a pointing device (or touch screen) to select characters from a drop-down menu can reduce the risk.

4. What are Employee call monitors?

Employees call monitoring allows managers to listen to employee’s telephone calls for the following reasons:

  • it allows a company who are concerned about security to monitor all calls
  • if the workforce move around, it can be used to make sure they correctly represent the company whilst out of the office
  • to improve the employees performance (e.g., at a call centre)
  • can be used as a training tool
  • allows the manager/supervisor to join in a call where necessary.

There are three types of call monitoring:

  1. monitor:  this allows the manager/supervisor to listen in on calls (the line is muted so that neither the employee or the other person being called is aware of their presence)
  2. whisper:  this allows the manager to speak to employees to help them with a call (only the employee can hear the manager/supervisor’s voice)
  3. barge:  this allows the manager/supervisor to be heard by both the employee and the other person in the call).

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