Welcome to The Human Observer!

My name is Jim, and I love the Internet. It's a huge platform that allows anyone to listen to, and then respond to what others are saying.

Friends call me "The Human Observer" because I like to study people's behavior and understand their motivations. I am a psychologist, so it all comes naturally.

I keep an eye on what other humans are doing online, and then I post my findings here, on this website.

It's more of a side project, so all your suggestions on how to improve the site are more than welcome.

Scroll down the page to see what's been going on recently.
And if you want to contact me, there's a form at the bottom of the page.

Hackers Target Pyeongchang Olympics

It looks like the South Koreans have gotten more than what they've bargained for when they were allowed to host this year's Winter Olympics.

According to Financial Times, the opening ceremony was hacked. The official website went down, so people weren't able to purchase tickets online for several hours.

Also, it looks like a part of the show, which was supposed to use several remote-controlled drones, was canceled as well.

But who is responsible for the attack? Under normal circumstances, people would easily bet all their money on North Korea. Still, since these two countries have joined their teams, several analysts believe that one of the top Russian hackers may be behind this action.

According to John Hultquist, director of Intelligence Analysis at FireEye, the identity of the attacker is not known yet.

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Unlimited Screen Time Leads to Depression

Parents were struggling to find good babysitters in the past. They wanted to make sure that their kids are well taken care of.

Things have changed today, and for the much worse! Most parents are now allowing their tablets to "babysit" their children. As a direct result, more and more kids are grumpy, depressed and violent.

Researchers are aware of the potential negative effects on the long run, but how serious is this issue? Very serious, it seems! South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and France have banned screens in the classrooms, for example. Don't get me wrong; it's not that technology is bad in itself, but you want to be there with your children and explain to them what they are seeing on the screen, rather than allowing them to figure out the information that is displayed in front of their undiscerning eyes.

As parents, I think that we still have a certain degree of control. We limit the amount of candy per day because we care for our children's health, so we should limit screen time as well.

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WPA3 Fixes the Key Reinstallation AttaCK (KRACK) Vulnerability

Researchers have recently discovered a serious vulnerability in WPA2, the data encryption protocol that is still used by the most secure (so far) Wi-Fi networks. Sources from https://www.data-alliance.net have stated that almost 50% of Android and Linux-based devices have been affected by the security flaw.

As a result, Wi-Fi Alliance has decided to launch WPA3 in 2018. Its main goals are to patch the WPA2 vulnerabilities and improve security. With the new protocol, information will be encrypted using a 192-bit key, and the networks will be safer even if their users are utilizing short passwords.

This means that brute force and dictionary-based attacks may soon be just a bad memory. If you use free hotspots regularly, I've got more good news: communication from each device to the router will be encrypted using individual keys, so the risk of exposing personal information will diminish significantly.

So, does this mean that you will have to purchase a new router in 2018? Not necessarily! As scary as KRACK may look, there's no evidence that the vulnerability has been exploited yet.

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Technology Destroys Relationships?

I am pretty sure that you know the feeling: you return home after a tiring day, only to discover that your partner barely greets you, and then returns to his/her tablet. A McAfee study shows that a constantly increasing number of people feel lonely, because their friends and partners prefer to use technology, instead of spending time with them.

Here are some worrying stats. About 40% of respondents feel that their partner pays more attention to the smartphone, tablet or laptop even when they are together. It's true that 45% of people have never set rules concerning device usage, though.

Only 30% of people are willing to share their social media accounts passwords with their partners. This may mean that some of them are flirting online, or at least that they are posting confidential messages.

Just like you, I love my devices very much. I really do! But trust me: it is much more important to spend high quality time with friends and family each day.

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According to Microsoft, Technology Diminishes Productivity

You know how it is: you've just arrived in the office when the phone starts to ring. You want to be productive, so you start the email application while you're chatting with your boss. But three of those emails need detailed answers right away! So, you'll have to work for two or three hours to get those reports finished and emailed. And you had so much "real" work for today! Well, there's always tomorrow...

This is just a simple example which shows that technology can prevent people from doing their jobs, rather than helping them. It's also the conclusion of a recent survey which was carried out by Microsoft in 21 European Nations.

The results show that people tend to lose focus due to the steady stream of social media notifications, messages, emails and phone calls. Only 1 in 10 respondents felt that they are "highly productive".

Some companies have implemented firm policies, setting precise intervals when emails can be sent and read. It's a very good move, if you ask me, even though it won't help solve all the problems.

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Upper, middle or working class? Facebook has figured that out!

Facebook has recently patented a technology that can determine the social class its users belong to, and it does that without taking their income level into account. If you are a highly educated home owner who owns several Internet-connected devices, Facebook's algorithm will probably think that you belong to the upper class.

On the other hand, if you only have a smartphone that's got a low-resolution display, Facebook will think that you aren't that rich.

My guess is that Facebook will soon incorporate this information into its ad selection criteria. This way, advertisers will be able to get a higher ROI by only targeting middle class people, for example.

It's not all bright and shiny, though. Loaning companies may choose to show ads for predatory loans to poor people, who are often times desperate and willing to accept less than fair loan terms.

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Contact me

It's easy. Just fill in the form on the right and your message will reach me right away!

If I'm not sleeping. Or hanging out with my friends. Yeah, I'm not the type of person who obsessively checks his/her email while hanging out with friends.

I promise to reply to your emails as quickly as I can, though. I usually do it within 24 hours.

Let's get in touch