Security and Privacy Concern about Logos4 Phonning Home

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 24 2010 8:53 AM

Dave Hooton:
No one has asked if Logos backup the forum or their web page!

Logos does backup the forum and most other data a prudent business considers sensitive. Last January a hit-and-run accident investigation landed in my living room at midnight. Apparently my van looked exactly like the suspect vehicle. I was able to offer the detective proof I was on my computer, posting to the Logos forum before, during and after the accident. This was with the gracious help of Bob, Dan and Phil. 

Thomas Black mentioned the beta downloads were coming off the Amazon S3 backbone. If Logos is using Amazon to deliver downloads, it is mirrored at multiple sites and very secure.

Mark Barnes points out Logos uses FiberCloud. If you read the Bellingham facility description you will see it has "online storage and file restoration." http://www.fibercloud.com/Facilities/Bellingham_Specs.ashx?p=395

So, yes, they do backup a lot more than they talk about. The Logos company is run by professionals.

 

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 24 2010 11:53 AM

Esther Jones:

At the risk of sounding as if I don't know what I'm talking about, or that I'm trying to get people to move away from using L4...I would like to suggest that perhaps L4 is not the correct software for the OP???

Perhaps there is a software that does not put your private information at risk the way you think L4 does, and perhaps that is the software you should be using, instead of L4.

L4 is very clear about how they operate, and how sync-ing with the cloud is part of the future of the software.  So those who have these privacy concerns might need to reconsider their purchase IF the risk is truly as large as the OP and others on the thread seem to suggest.

Please hear me:  I'm not trying to be confrontational, just wondering why one who holds these opinions concerning their privacy would purchase a software product that they know up front is going to compromise them?

Esther

Yes, there is such a program. It is called Logos version 3. And the neat thing is; it runs 1000 PBBs, imports sermon files, saves notes & runs without internet connections. Not to mention a Portfolio Edition upgrade will add thousands of premium titles to Version 3's library.

If I were a missionary in Indonesia right now, I would definitely run Logos Version 3 to hide from persecutuion.

 

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 24 2010 12:03 PM

Letting my sense of humor get the best of me. I'm just saying Cool

After 10 pages we need either humor or perspective or both.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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JimTowler | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 24 2010 12:05 PM

Esther Jones:

At the risk of sounding as if I don't know what I'm talking about, or that I'm trying to get people to move away from using L4...I would like to suggest that perhaps L4 is not the correct software for the OP???

Perhaps there is a software that does not put your private information at risk the way you think L4 does, and perhaps that is the software you should be using, instead of L4.

L4 is very clear about how they operate, and how sync-ing with the cloud is part of the future of the software.  So those who have these privacy concerns might need to reconsider their purchase IF the risk is truly as large as the OP and others on the thread seem to suggest.

Please hear me:  I'm not trying to be confrontational, just wondering why one who holds these opinions concerning their privacy would purchase a software product that they know up front is going to compromise them?

Esther

When I updated my Library and purchased, I did not know that the Logos4 application:

1) Does not have a backup for user-content
2) Does not have a way to NOT store my data to the cloud
3) Does not gave general-purpose notes/document editing

As a result, I consider the application to be rather poor and weak with regards to user-content. I love most of the rest - please don't misunderstand that aspect.

My sytem does not sync to the Logos Cloud - I have disabled that in my network settings. But now I have even less "backup" that normal users, but until we get export, noone has backups. Try and restore a deleted or lost older item!

I'll repeat: I really like/love most of the rest of Logos4. Its a great application that seems to do search/lookup very well, and on my PC, does most things very fast, with little delays, and now, few lockups, "Not Responding", or crashes. I just think its currently failing with regards to user-content. So I don't trust it with my data: to not share it or protect it from losss - two critical aspects really.

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JimTowler | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 24 2010 12:08 PM

Matthew C Jones:
Yes, there is such a program. It is called Logos version 3.

With few changes: the answer could be: "Yes, there is such a program. It is called Logos version 4"

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 24 2010 12:29 PM

MJ. Smith:

Letting my sense of humor get the best of me. I'm just saying Cool

After 10 pages we need either humor or perspective or both.

That's funny. Stick out tongue I do think your search results for "privacy" do prove Robert Bork was right....There is no privacy! (I know, I'm twisting things again.) 

How many of the search results would have done what they did had they known the whole world could read about it later?

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 24 2010 12:41 PM

Matthew C Jones:
There is no privacy!

With an omniscient God how could there be? Big Smile

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 24 2010 12:49 PM

MJ. Smith:
With an omniscient God how could there be? Big Smile

Of course Robert Bork was only talking about the US Constitution. It was Calvin, Charnock & Bette Midler who said "God is watching us."

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AndyTheGreek | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 25 2010 4:29 AM

Matthew C Jones:

MJ. Smith:
With an omniscient God how could there be? Big Smile

Of course Robert Bork was only talking about the US Constitution. It was Calvin, Charnock & Bette Midler who said "God is watching us."

Someone said it before themSmile

Prov 15:3 and Psalm 139:1 come to mind. Thankfully, the data remains safe and hacker proof!

 

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tom | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 25 2010 4:34 AM

Andy Bell:

This is isn't a question of whether we can or should trust Logos. I am certain that they are honest and trustworthy both as a Corporation and, in general, as individuals. It's about the fact that storing my data on someone else's system increases the risk of someone accessing my stuff without my consent.

It could be a rogue employee at Logos but, more likely, a server hacker who is looking for personal info. If Logos use a 3rd party 'cloud' to store the data on (and it seems they are/will do) then it makes the data more vulnerable as the 'target', as it were, becomes bigger.

The issue isn't really about whether my data being hacked would lead to embarrassment (or even a lawsuit) - it's about my right to privacy. My data is my data and I should be able to control who sees it. OK, that's idealistic but Logos should, out of plain respect for my privacy, allow me to choose whether or not I want my notes, and eventually resources, to be stored and only accessed from external servers. I think it is phony reasoning to say I have to be careful how I use the program. No. I should be able to configure the program so that I can use it in a way that satisfies my need/desire for privacy.

Andy, I agree with you 100%

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tom | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 25 2010 4:48 AM

MJ. Smith:

Jim Towler:

At present, Logos4 has no backups!!!

Try and restore an item that got deleted last week!!!

I have no applications that can restore at the record level rather than at the file level. While I have not had reason to restore from it, it is my understanding from the forums that individuals have recovered from their own backup - I'm uncertain whether it was at the database or application level.

Because I have never had a system that permitted me to restore at a record level a week later, I've never developed habits dependent upon that feature. However, if I lost something sufficiently critical, I know how to extract records from my personal backup of the db and recreate the record(s). Of course, I also backup my entire computer off site. However, my assessment of the risk for ever needing to use it for Logos (as opposed to the Logos backup) is very small.

My attitude is to identify what Logos is doing for me and use that as the parameters of determining what I need to do for myself.

Hi M.J.

I agree with you, for those who use the cloud option, need to know what Logos offers, and we need to do the rest for us.  This being said, if Logos is saying they are backing up our data (for those who use the cloud option - not me), then Logos needs to state how often they backup their data.  All backup software programs that I have used give me options of which file to restore.  They ask which file because the program has multiple files to chose from.  I personally backup certain directories daily, and I back up all of my personal files every Sunday morning while I am at worship.

Therefore, for those who use the cloud option, should also have the option of restoring her/his files from a different date (if Logos is in the business of backing up their user's data).

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AndyTheGreek | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 25 2010 5:56 AM

tom collinge:

I agree with you, for those who use the cloud option, need to know what Logos offers, and we need to do the rest for us.  This being said, if Logos is saying they are backing up our data (for those who use the cloud option - not me), then Logos needs to state how often they backup their data.  All backup software programs that I have used give me options of which file to restore.  They ask which file because the program has multiple files to chose from.  I personally backup certain directories daily, and I back up all of my personal files every Sunday morning while I am at worship.

Therefore, for those who use the cloud option, should also have the option of restoring her/his files from a different date (if Logos is in the business of backing up their user's data).

That's a good point.

I suspect that many of the issues we are raising is to do with the fact that Logos4 cannot yet be described as a mature product. Whether or not they released it too soon is no longer worth debating, although had they released it as a public beta or even a pre-release then some of the messages here would drop in tone to 'suggestion' or 'I would like...' rather than making a complaint.

However, Logos4 was released as 'Generally Available with features yet to come'  although 'Generally available, available features 80%-90% done and others features still to come' would now seem a more accurate description. I think in a different environment - say a financial system for a commercial bank, where efficiency and value for money outweigh patience and tolerance, software released in this fashion would probably be rejected (to put it mildly).

One of the principles of Agile Development (which gets mentioned occasionally in the forums) is that features are not released until they are "DONE DONE" - emphasising that even 99.9% is NOT DONE and that the feature is not ready. It takes incredible discipline to consistently achieve 100% done before releasing a feature but the benefits in customer satisfaction are self evident.

Since Logos4 was released, there has always been, to me, the feeling of it still being in the 'evolution' stage. Many resources have had to be updated because the data structures have changed, rather than the resource content being updated. This is really a sign of a product in (relative) infancy - any software developer will tell you that changing data structures (not adding to them, but changing that which already exists) is both painful for developers and painful for customers. Logos' philosophy has just been to re-download the resources to fit the new data structures, rather than to try to 'massage' the data into the new structures, and this has led to complaints about download size. I have no idea if such downloads could have been avoided. If they could have been I think they should have been.

I had to search through several pages on Logos' site until I reached a page that said:

"Safe and secure. You can have the peace of mind that all your documents—notes, clippings, and custom guides—are safely backed up on our servers. If your computer crashes, just reinstall Logos 4 and all your data will be restored." (http://www.logos.com/logos4/customize).

Because the Engine is marketed as 'free' I suspect most customers will focus on the resource description pages - after all that's what they are being charged for. Certainly, until this thread I was unaware of the full scope of this feature, but I haven't been an avid V4 user and am only just revisiting it in the last few weeks. That said, I do think, at the very least, Logos4 needs to be much more 'in your face' about what it is doing. During the initial setup it should ask whether or not to turn 'Use Internet' on rather than defaulting to it. It should explain the consequences and it should provide a way to get automatic notification of updates without also turning on synching.

 

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Floyd Johnson | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 25 2010 5:58 PM

There is a related concern when I consider keeping my own backups.  It is very possible to want to keep two or more separate sets of notes.  Here are three scenarios:

  • One for each of two employers
  • One for personal and one for professional work
  • One for husband and wife (which currently count as a single user)

Though I am a single user, each of the above could justify keeping separate notes, collections, etc. for the different parts of my life.  I can work around these scenarios by buying duplicates of all my resources - but that does not seem reasonable.

I can do it with e-mail, I can do it with my word processor, I can do it with my spreadsheet.  I cannot do it with LOGOS.  None of these represent my life, but they are not unrealistic.

Blessings,
Floyd

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JimTowler | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jun 4 2010 4:47 AM

In light of the most recent posts in other threads, it appears the issues rasied in this thread are mostly still valid, and there is no solution short of not using those features, or maybe not using the application.

A reminder: it seems possible to run the application without syncing to Logos, for those users that accept all the impact and possible side-effects.

While not supported by Logos of course, the how-to-disable-sync can be found by reading the earlier parts of this thread.

But please, DONT disable SYNC unless you have read all the recent posts from both Logos and others, and have a clear idea what you want, and why you wish to do it.

Logos would suggest you don't turn off sync for all the reasons Bob said in his most recent post on this matter, and he makes a number of important and valid points.

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jun 4 2010 9:09 AM

JimT:
While not supported by Logos of course, the how-to-disable-sync can be found by reading the earlier parts of this thread.

A persuasive legal argument can be made that your "warning" to unsavy users who may follow your directions and suffer harm is not adequate and Logos is "negligent" for allowing the instructions to remain on the website. Are you trying to set Logos up for lawsuits or challenge them to protect forum readers from irresponsible advice? 

I would like to think you don't know what you're saying. It is rare to find someone who is both a legal expert & a computer expert.

JimT:

But please, DONT disable SYNC unless you have read all the recent posts from both Logos and others, and have a clear idea what you want, and why you wish to do it.

My warning to anyone considering using the program in ways other than designed is "DON'T" and if you do, don't assume the content of forum posts covers every possibility of what could go wrong.

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James Ng | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jun 4 2010 9:36 AM

Matthew C Jones:

My warning to anyone considering using the program in ways other than designed is "DON'T" and if you do, don't assume the content of forum posts covers every possibility of what could go wrong.

Bob Pritchett quotes "You can turn off Internet Use in the program settings, and get updates by ordering DVD's on occasion. We'll continue to listen to feedback on this, though it's lower on our priority list than missing features."

That would seem to indicate you can do this.

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AndyTheGreek | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jun 4 2010 11:05 AM

Matthew C Jones:
A persuasive legal argument can be made that your "warning" to unsavy users who may follow your directions and suffer harm is not adequate and Logos is "negligent" for allowing the instructions to remain on the website. Are you trying to set Logos up for lawsuits or challenge them to protect forum readers from irresponsible advice? 

We need to be cautious about judging what JimT is suggesting: setting your firewall (or you could do it the router level) to block a certain IP address (or host name). This, actually, changes *nothing* internal about how Logos4 works. It alters no Logos4 settings. And it is not irresponsible or inherently dangerous to make your firewall block any address - it's a legitimate way to protect yourself from inadvertently accessing or being accessed by a site you don't want contact with.

That's not to say that Logos4 or any other software can be relied upon to work properly in such circumstances. However, putting my Software Developer's hat on - programs that use or rely on internet access should be coded to handle this gracefully. In fact, they have to be able to cope with the same situation caused by dfferent circumstances - the server being unavailable because it is down or one of the servers in the 'chain' of servers between the user and the target server being down and preventing the traffic getting through. In a general sense, this happens frequently. Sometimes you try to access a favourite siite and for a few hours you can't reach it and then it re-appears, as if by magic. But it's just that a server needed for the connection was down and now it has been reactivated.

So, to summarise, there is nothing illegitimate, unusual or inherently dangerous in what JimT has suggested. Any software that accesses or relies on the Internet has to handle this scenario. Of course,the software could handle it by saying "Internet connection required to use this software" and then exit. That would be handling the scenario in a brute force manner. If it decides to continue, then it should be able to work in the absence of the Internet. Of course, Logos4 can handle it - it has an offline mode. It also has to be able to cope with Amazon's cloud being unavailable, whatever the reason. And that's the fun of Internet Client programming - software can detect that a server is unreachable but it cannot detect why it's unavailable. Thankfully, it doesn't need to know why.

For this reason, I consider JimT's suggestion to be safe and the onus is on the software to handle it gracefully. That's not to say that there are no consequences of blocking access to the sync server - Bob has posted a fairly comprehensive list of scenarios in the other thread. So, to quote Rob P, the user has to take responsibility for those. But the software itself should handle the sync site being unavailable - in a way that is not 'dangerous' or unstable.

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jun 4 2010 11:33 AM

Andy Bell:
there is nothing illegitimate, unusual or inherently dangerous in what JimT has suggested.

From your strictly "programmer's" point of view maybe. But I was not criticizing JimT for that part of his post. I took issue with Jim saying the previousl posts on the forum are adequate to address all potential eventualities; so well covered that if a user read them all he would have enough information to make a fully informed decision as to all possible outcomes. I maintain that is not the case. The user starts tinkering with the functionality of the program and then wants to hold Logos responsible for any loss resulting from his ill-informed tinkering. Jim's advice constitutes an implied warranty that, if you first read the posts, you may then tinker to your heart's content. That is the "lawyer's hat" that doesn't seem to fit programmers very well. But I bet Bob has a couple of those types hiding in the wings that look good wearing the hat.

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James Ng | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jun 4 2010 11:41 AM

Matthew C Jones:

Andy Bell:
there is nothing illegitimate, unusual or inherently dangerous in what JimT has suggested.

From your strictly "programmer's" point of view maybe. But I was not criticizing JimT for that part of his post. I took issue with Jim saying the previousl posts on the forum are adequate to address all potential eventualities; so well covered that if a user read them all he would have enough information to make a fully informed decision as to all possible outcomes. I maintain that is not the case. The user starts tinkering with the functionality of the program and then wants to hold Logos responsible for any loss resulting from his ill-informed tinkering. Jim's advice constitutes an implied warranty that, if you first read the posts, you may then tinker to your heart's content. That is the "lawyer's hat" that doesn't seem to fit programmers very well. But I bet Bob has a couple of those types hiding in the wings that look good wearing the hat.

Except for the fact that Bob P. is the one that said you CAN turn it off.

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AndyTheGreek | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jun 4 2010 11:45 AM

Matthew C Jones:

Andy Bell:
there is nothing illegitimate, unusual or inherently dangerous in what JimT has suggested.

From your strictly "programmer's" point of view maybe. But I was not criticizing JimT for that part of his post. I took issue with Jim saying the previousl posts on the forum are adequate to address all potential eventualities; so well covered that if a user read them all he would have enough information to make a fully informed decision as to all possible outcomes. I maintain that is not the case. The user starts tinkering with the functionality of the program and then wants to hold Logos responsible for any loss resulting from his ill-informed tinkering. Jim's advice constitutes an implied warranty that, if you first read the posts, you may then tinker to your heart's content. That is the "lawyer's hat" that doesn't seem to fit programmers very well. But I bet Bob has a couple of those types hiding in the wings that look good wearing the hat.

Sure. I understand. Perhaps I should have said: "there is nothing illegitimate, unusual or inherently dangerous in telling your firewall to block an IP address", as it was that I had referred to. I actually read this whole thread before posting as I didn't want to repeat old points - these threads have seen more than enough repetition and posturingSmile

But I will repeat: configuring your firewall does not constitute tampering with any program. It has the same effect as running a program without any internet connection and, therefore, the software has to handle it.

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