LUP027 – “God, Have You Seen Google?”

Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll hear in Episode 27:

  • Update: Much miscellaneous, and more MailChimp.
  • Encouragement: Learning to trust God when His direction seems clear but doesn’t make sense.
  • Tech. Tip: Protect the most important account you have online. Hint: It’s not your bank account.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast:

  • via iTunes for your iPad or iPhone
  • via Google Play for your Android phone or tablet
  • via Stitcher on Stitcher Radio
  • via RSS for other podcast players

Update

  • Lots of miscellaneous stuff for Edify Hub this month
    • Progress getting technology in order to allow hiring a developer
    • Answering support requests
    • Monitoring technical system behind the missionary websites, looking into some system upgrades
  • Two more installments of the MailChimp for Missionaries have been updated to reflect the latest from MailChimp.
    • Noticing that there’s a lot I don’t cover
      • How to use MailChimp signup forms
      • Protecting your account from hackers – using a technique from today’s technical tip
      • Various options for missionary newsletter templates
        • Donate link
        • Multi-column, with Praise / Request sections
        • Adding photos inside
        • Formatting to avoid Gmail’s “Promotions” folder
    • Perhaps worth creating an extended edition as an ebook or video course.
      • Need to find out whether that would be a useful thing
    • If you use MailChimp to deliver your prayer letters, I’d love to know what you like about it, and what frustrates you about it.

Encouragement

Back in episodes 13 and 14, Lana and I shared how God worked miracles to move us from Florida to  Illinois. Imagine our surprise when we learned that he was calling us to leave Illinois. Today, I want to pick up the story about seven years after the move you heard in episode 14.

Listen to this episode to hear how God led us from Illinois to Georgia, then threw in a little plot twist of His own.

“God, have You seen Google? How can this possibly be the right decision for my family?” I felt kind of like Hezekiah when he received the threatening letter from Sennacharib. “Hey, God, look at this. What are you going to do about it?”

What a comfort it was to feel His response, “Trust me.” There was no way I could have imagined what he would have in store. If I could have looked into the future back then and had seen my current commute, I may have doubted even more. But God knew what He was doing, completely eliminating my commute just when my family needed it the most, and providing me a targeted place of ministry that rewarded my company for its investment in me – and he did everything exactly when He was ready. And – exactly when He had been working in me to make me ready.

Maybe God is calling you to make a change in your life that – on the surface – just doesn’t make any sense. Maybe you’re asking God, “Really? Have you seen this? How can this possibly be a good step for me to take?” Can I say, He is faithful?

If you’re in the middle of a situation that seems pointless or hopeless, remember that He is – right now – working behind the scenes to prepare something that will blow you away if you remain faithful to follow Him. He has been so good to me. He’s a good God – all the time. Keep trusting Him; keep following Him. “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

One day, you will see the rewards of your faithfulness.

Tech. Tip

Of all the accounts you have online, what do you think is the single most important account to protect with a strong password that’s impossible to guess?

No, not Facebook.

How about your online banking login? That’s pretty important, but there’s one more that’s even more critical.

Your email.

Seriously. And that’s the one we most want to be easy to get to from everywhere.

But our email history reveals where you bank, who your family is, and just about anything else someone would need to know to find all of your financial and personal details. If a determined hacker gets access to your email account, they can figure out most of the rest of your accounts. Then, when the hacker visits those sites, a simple “forgot password” link will send you – I mean, them – an email starting the process to gain control of those other accounts.

You already have a password on your email. Maybe you already have one of the Correct-Horse-Battery-Staple passwords that we talked about in our previous episode.

But what can you do to protect your account even more?

You can introduce two-factor authentication. Or some people call it two-step verification.

What makes it two-factor or two-step?

  • System must know who you are:

    • Can be biometric markers (fingerprint, iris scan, voice/face recognition) – very hard to counterfeit.
    • Security principles suggest: what you know plus what you have.
    • Think ATM – have the card, know the pin.
    • In the U.S., have a card, know your signature.
  • Userid/password – only what you know

    • Can easily be discovered
    • Needs a second factor
  • Second factor is what you have.

    • Most common is Google Authenticator – available for iOS, Android, Blackberry.

      • And they published the calculation so anyone can make their own app.
    • For windows phone, Microsoft Authenticator uses the same approach.
    • Another cross-platform solution that lets you share across all of your devices, including a browser plugin for desktop machines, is Authy. It’s what I use.
    • Sometimes it’s a special device you plug into the USB port of your computer
    • Sometimes it’s your mobile phone that can receive a text message with a code
    • Sometimes a plastic wallet card with an electronic display that shows a new number every 30 seconds.
    • Also smartphone apps to do show you that number.

What online accounts support Two-Factor Authentication with a smartphone app?

Common systems for missionaries include:

If you’re using Yahoo mail, they don’t support the common authenticator type of two-factor authentication, but you can have them send you a text, or you can use what they call the Yahoo Account Key, which eliminates the password when you log in via the web, and instead asks you to click “Yes” in the Yahoo Mail app of your smartphone.

How does the authenticator app work?

Each of your online account will have a different way to start the process. At some point during that process, your online account will draw a big square barcode on the screen. Using your authenticator app, you’ll aim the camera of your smartphone to scan that barcode on your screen. Just by reading that barcode with your phone’s camera, the app will learn everything it needs to know to be able to generate the six-digit code for your account every 30 seconds.

From that point on, whenever the account login asks for your code, you open the authenticator app, select the appropriate account, and it will show you the currently active code that the login is expecting. And because it’s all about time and computation, this process works even when you don’t have a cell signal or data plan available for your smartphone app.

This may sound like it could get really tiring having to do this every time you log in, but most accounts won’t keep asking you for the code every time as long as you log in from the same computer.

So, download Authy or a phone-specific authenticator app and turn on two-step verification for your email account and make sure that only you can read your email.

Closing

Today, you’ve learned how – and why – to create another layer of extra security around the most important account you have online – your email account. You’ve also heard how God remained faithful and demonstrated His goodness even when asking me and my family to make a huge move that humanly didn’t make any sense. Have you seen God work in amazing ways in your life? Has He proven himself faithful to you despite an overwhelming challenge or obstacle? If so, I’d love to invite you to be a guest on the Lift Up podcast to share your story. Just send an email to steve@edifyhub.com with one or two sentences of the work that God has done in your life. When you share your testimony, you can address the fallen hands and weak knees mentioned in Hebrews 12:12, and you can lift up someone today.

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