October Snail Mail was a real treat!

…and it’s extra spooky. Keep all of your eyes on your mailboxes. (Yes, even the eyes on the back of your head.)

In case you missed it, here’s one of the activities from October’s issue:

Halloween Mask Firewalls!

Every year on Halloween, children in America dress up in spooky costumes and wear masks as they collect candy from their neighbors. But masks used to have a different purpose: to keep away the tricky spirits that wander around on this night. Folk tales say that on All Hallow’s Eve, ghosts would try extra hard to cause mischief because it was their last night in this world. But if they saw an even scarier monster walking down the street they would run away! Wearing a mask would scare ghosts into leaving, and everyone could avoid bad luck.
A computer firewall acts a lot like a Halloween mask: it keeps mischievous programs from sneaking into our devices. When a firewall is protecting a computer and a program tries to execute, or run, the firewall asks “trick or treat?”. Here are some examples of tricks that programs try:

Backdoor zombies pretend to be a helpful program, but instead install a “backdoor” that can let a hacker use that computer from far away – turning it into a computer zombie.

Ransomware: After installing, it can damage your files or slow down your computer. To make it stop it asks you to pay the original programmer to remove it.

Virus: Opening a word document or email attachment lets viruses install themselves and get access to a user’s email addresses or text messages. Then they send out messages to as many new people as they can by an existing program’s code!

Worms take advantage of trustworthy programs or devices that are meant to share files, like USB drives, text messages, or websites. Once installed, they are able to put sneaky copies of themselves in those places and spread themselves to new computers!

Your firewall can recognize these malware programs and block them before they are installed!

Mask-making instructions

Here are some basic supplies:
Paper plates
Yarn or a shoelace
Craft glue
Colorful paper
Markers, crayons, or paint
Decorative bits like googly eyes, feathers, pipe cleaners, glitter, leaves, or whatever you have lying around!

The paper plate is the base of the mask. Ask for help cutting eye holes and a string to hold it in front of your face.

What kind of monster are you making? Is it watchful and covered in eyes, or does it pretend to be a bush? Sketch your monster face before you start cutting your paper. Here are a few of Natasha’s designs.

You can put the paper mask and add decorations, or even combine more paper plates to add layers.

And when you finish, send us a photo! We love to see everyone’s creations.