Twitter Retreat

There are many migrating species in nature. Birds form a large part of the them. This follows a kind of annual or seasonal pattern. Depending on the migration experience and dangers some, sometimes many don’t come back. This seems to describe the migration experience of the tweeting bird called twitter. Changing the name from Twitter to X, whereby X for maths-oriented people stands for a variable name that can be filled with any value. For the cinema industry X stands for x-rated adult only content and has rather obnoxious content. This might hold for web content as well.
Online through “ the disastrous consequences of harsh human resource policies and lack of political sensitivity can be followed. Multiplying biased opinions of right-wing extremists, the platform has been highjacked and many tweeting birds leave or have left already.
Leaving is not easy though. People and enterprises have invested substantial amounts of money into tweeting and software developers have created specialised features to make it easy to spread press releases or info via these add-on services. I myself benefitted from services to show my tweets on my webpage or to easily publish info or links to the webpage. As of now, with migrating away most of these investments will be lost. It was smooth and easy, but now we start this all over again with other comparable platforms and assistance from developers. Mastodon and Bluesky are on the rise as alternative platforms and most likely we shall use both for some time just like Netzpolitik and many others. If already 1/3 of users intend to leave Twitter/X the impact of big advertisers leaving the platform has even more impact. After all they pay for reaching potentially millions of platform users, but now they reach only a steeply biased subset of previous users. Deleting the Twitter/X app saves you from other potential unwanted monitoring or tracking. Only the addresses on Mastodon for example are a bit longer like Decentral monitoring of illicit undesirable content has advantages and disadvantages. We shall have to monitor this a bit ourselves and contribute more actively to save such platforms from bad weather or seasonal migration.


Over a generation the association with the word mail or AI has changed. Younger generations will automatically think of email as the obvious association with “you have got mail”. Asking people for their mail address, most people will respond immediately with their email account. That has certainly changed over the last 20 years. Email has become extraordinarily important for contacts, content and “crime”. The original set-up of mail servers were supposed to exchange data and information between trusted and trusting individuals. Nowadays we have become “anyone” on an email-list or part of a cascading email-chain. Pishing emails that try to lure us to potentially fake webpages to enter personal information is widespread. A whole new industry of cybersecurity has evolved in parallel with ever faster pingpong of new threats and costly remedies. Most critical remains the human factor to protect email and vital information from abuse. All training to better manage email should therefore begin with awareness building on the need to take cybersecurity seriously right from the beginning. It is not an issue to deal with towards the end of learning about it. Some general points have become common practice. Think carefully if you need to open the mail. Check whether there are external links in it. Do you really need this extra information? Be careful about the number of persons you forward or put in the copy field of your mail.

Unfortunately the simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP) makes it technically fairly easy to abuse email addresses and send an email from a domain name which you do not own. Same holds true for the content of emails. Originally only basic letters and numbers were allowed, no Umlaut etc. But then the “multipurpose internet mail extensions” (MIME) enabled more formats of attachments and illicit links and files within the email content.

In consequence it became necessary to scan emails en masse for malware and obnoxious content. Hence the quality of your email programs reveals itself with the amount of spam you still receive. Next come the email filters that sort your inbox for spam and other modern plagues like unwanted newsletters or notifications.

In consequence we sometimes wonder that we never received certain emails albeit the person sending it reiterated that the email was sent. Even checking your spam folder in the email program might not solve the issue because your receiving email server has been instructed not to accept emails from previously unknown mail servers. Not much you can do about this as an individual person, you mail server is just not on the so-called white list from which to accept incoming emails.

With a mail address from the big national or international companies you have little to worry about in this respect. Smaller companies or organizations might suddenly face a thorny issue if their i@xy.z address appears on a dubious list. You will end up sending but nobody receives your emails. It might take you quite some time to find out about it and even more to fix the issue. Hence the take home message is, have more than one email address registered on different mail servers to check that sending out and receiving emails works properly for you. Managing an own webpage with email service for members or employees is a nice service, but beware of the implications for cyber security as well.

Once upon a time we drafted letters to 1-2 friends 🫠


Der letzte europäische Monat der Cybersicherheit hat wohl kaum zu einer nennenswerten Verbesserung der Situation der Cybersicherheit geführt. Beispielsweise der Tankstellenzulieferer mit Öl, die Oiltanking aus HH, hat einen Cyberangriff nicht abwehren können. So wird die wahrscheinliche RansomWareAttacke wohl erst nach Zahlung in Cryptowährung wieder zu vollen Funktionalität zurückkehren können. Scheinbar können zwischenzeitlich die Preise nicht geändert werden und es sind keine Kartenzahlungen möglich. Zusätzlich waren belgische Häfen betroffen. Der internationale “safer internet day” zeigt ebenfalls wenig Wirkung. Wer wichtige Passwörter heute geändert? Eben.
Eurostat hat passgenau zumTag die Statistik zur Verwendung der Internetbrowser und deren Sicherheitseinstellungen veröffentlicht. (s.u.). Auch die sehr offene Volkswirtschaft Deutschland hat da noch einiges zu tun, besonders bei der Verwendung von spezifischer Software. Die wissenschaftliche online Zeitschrift “Frontiers in Psychology” hat eine kleine Studie mit 333 Studierenden veröffentlicht bei der das Konzept “Techno-Stress” angesprochen wird. Also die großen Konzerne der Internetgiganten (GAFAM) verursachen bei fehlendem Datenschutz (DSGVO) bei Nutzenden erheblichen “Techno-Stress”. Zoom-meetings und Ransomwareattacken etc. haben sicherlich das Stresslevel nochmals erhöht, gerade für diejenigen, die selten TechnoMusik hören.
Passwortmanager erlauben es, komplizierte Passwörter zu vergeben und zu verwenden. Machen müssen wir das selbst, die Geschäftsmodelle der Internetgiganten basieren auf unserer Trägheit und Unwissenheit. Damit lässt sich richtig viel Geld verdienen.