Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

How important is it to have a different password for every site?

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

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I’m trying to come up with a more superlative answer than “vital” or “essential” and I just can’t find one. “Necessary” and “mandatory” are up there as well.

Seriously, your critical sites for banking and investment can be at risk because one site is compromised. Don’t use online banking? Don’t buy anything online? I wouldn’t say you’re completely safe. Some simple analysis of your e-mail account and a creative and capable person can probably figure out where you bank and things can just roll down from there.

Just look at my previous post for suggestions on how to manage your passwords and do it immediately.

I haven’t posted in two years, but I’m still here.

Monday, March 31st, 2014

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I’ve been busy with quite a few things in my personal life so the blog has taken a back seat. Time to get back to writing.

The primary purpose of this blog has always been for me to practice writing and to get into good habits with regard to writing. Secondarily, whatever I post has to be useful to someone. This particular post may not follow that, but it at least gets me going with writing. I’ll have something more substantial to say in the next post.

My priorities need to adjust so I can spend more time at this.

How secure is your password?

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

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If you’re like most people, your password is not nearly secure enough to thwart a hacker from getting into your account. The reason why most people don’t choose a secure password is that it makes it more difficult to remember. There are many ways to improve your ability to remember a complex password. This article at Naked Security has a video explaining one method.

But how do you know if your password is really secure? I’ve recently learned of a web site which will let you know just how difficult it is to crack your password; How Secure Is My Password?

To test, I ran a few passwords into it to see how secure they are. For example, kangaroo comes up with the result of “Common Password: In The Top 2,490 Most Used Passwords Your password is very commonly used. It would be cracked almost instantly.” Adjust that with some numbers (replacing the o with zeros) to kangar00 and we get a result of 3 hours to crack the password. Make more adjustments (replacing the a with @) to k@ng@r00 gives us a result of 2 days to crack the password. Much better. It looks less like a dictionary word; has numbers, letters, and symbols; and is easy to remember. Throw in a capital letter, k@ng@R00, increases the cracking time to 57 days.

Increasing the length of your password will also make it harder to crack (this is why some sites have minimum password lengths). I put in a random string of six characters, Mn0#85, which could be cracked in about 13 minutes. Adding a 1 to the end of that increased the cracking time to 17 hours. Add a $ to that to achieve 57 days. Add j to make 12 years the new length to crack. New random 12-character password, KGkDqd#12$7O, will take 5 million years.

Now, the times are approximate, but as you can see, each additional character adds a greatly increasing amount of time to crack the password. Using just lower-case letters, a 12-character password, xlgcezhdkpnm, will only take 12 years. From 12 years to 5 million years by just adding mixed case, numbers, and symbols.

There is a companion site, Make Me a Password, which will generate a password for you. It will start with words and put in some common substitutions to make the password easier to remember (use the check-boxes to see how that works).

Why are you still reading this? You should be going to all your important sites (especially banking and investing, followed by on-line stores). Don’t delay. Make this one of your New Year’s resolutions.

Why can’t the US have REALLY fast internet?

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

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Sorry I’ve been so infrequent in blogging lately.  I’ve been sick and I’ve largely wanted to sleep when I haven’t been doing any actual revenue-generating work.

I wasn’t sure what to think about the title to this article.  It’s not that I don’t agree, it’s how the article went on to talk about how internet traffic is generally up worldwide and also about the sources of attack traffic (you know, the bad people trying to break into things).  It’s a good read, but I want to talk about the title and the leading paragraphs.

I find it disappointing that the country where the internet started doesn’t have a lead in speeds available to its citizens.  C’mon!  The Czech Republic has a faster average speed than the United States of America.  How can this be possible?

I’m not aware of any laws or government regulations limiting how much bandwidth we may have in our homes.  That being said, the following is just going to be “pulled from a random body orifice” guessing on my part as to why we lag behind.

It’s all about the money.  As dial-up services waned, we saw an increase in our internet services being provided by telephone and cable companies.  Their primary revenue focus has never been the internet so they had no real incentive to bring more to that side of the picture.  The internet is also becoming a greater source of competition for their primary services.  There are so many low-cost options for telephone and television programming, there may be little need to subscribing to them from your local company.

You could say that I’m part of the problem here.  I subscribe to the internet from my local cable company.  That’s it.  I have an indoor antenna which gets the local PBS station with amazing clarity (in my observation, this was the only station regularly watched in my house).  I can download TV shows from iTunes and Amazon.  I can stream them directly from the network web sites and places like Hulu.com.  I use a couple of different voice over IP services for telephone service.  Let’s not forget streaming from Netflix directly to my game console.  All of this has been cheaper than if I got television and telephone from my cable company as well.

I remember reading an article some time ago where the author told the story of how he had saved money by eliminating his cable television service and switched to iTunes for his television programming.  It spoke to me, but it still took me a few years to get everything in place to make the conversion.  There’s still some resistance from the family, but otherwise it’s been a great cost savings.

Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s going to be a great incentive for our broadband providers to invest in speeding up our internet (mind you, it’s faster than it was a few years ago, but not to the point of other countries like South Korea).  We’ll probably need a large government program to get that done.  Something along the lines of the old rural electrification project to give us faster speeds and get broadband out to those not in a major metropolitan area.  If something like this is going to happen, I just hope it happens soon.

Apple going to the enterprise

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

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Part of me wishes this was a veiled Star Trek reference, but it’s not.  A few days ago, Apple sent out a promotional e-mail entitled “Mac in the Enterprise.”  It’s about time, if you ask me, that Apple pushed this particular environment.

Previously, there didn’t seem to be a great deal of push for Apple products into big business.  Sure, they are easier to support than their Windows counterparts, but all the “cool” business software runs on Windows, so who’d want a Mac?  For the most part, Macs have only existed in the creative departments at businesses because all the “cool” graphics software is available for the Mac.

My belief is that the iPhone has changed much of that.  The iPhone has been such a “must have” device that businesses have had no choice but to figure out how to integrate and support it.  It’s only a matter of time before the rest of the Apple product line gets into businesses in a big way.

Now, Apple seems to be actively targeting businesses and I can’t wait to see more exposure there.  Windows should be given a good run for its money.