Posts Tagged ‘security


Storage Keeps Getting Smaller

sandisk-200gb-microsdSmaller storage seems great and is an advantage, but don’t be careless with it.  Sandisk’s new 200GB microSD card looks great.  Data CD’s used to seem big but you could fit 300 of them on this device that may be smaller than your pinky fingernail!  Sounds amazing, right?

My cautionary advice is three-fold:

  1. It is so small that it might be easy to lose.
  2. Aside from whether it is your only backup or whether you will need to spend a lot to buy a new one if lost, can you recall what data was on the lost, miniscule device in the first place?  The more it holds, the less likely you are to recall the inventory of data you entrusted to it.
  3. Something that small makes data piracy that much easier.  You employees and visitors can download lots of your company’s data onto their smartphone, key-chain, or whatever device mounts and hides this tiny vault.

So, enjoy the fact that something so tiny, with no moving parts, is available.  It makes the last generation of stuff that much more affordable to all of us.  But please use it wisely.  Keep track of it, and perhaps keep an inventory of the directories you write to it.  I still use DirPrint as a free utility to print directories of important locations, but there are lots of free directory listing apps out there.


Password Advice

Nobody likes to change passwords.  If you consider all of the various accounts that you have, it seems like you end up changing them all of the time.  But, the fact of the matter is that any password that can be used on the internet makes these things vulnerable 24/7 from anywhere in the world.  The tips below should help you with better password habits:

Better passwords should have:

  1. At least 8 characters
  2. An upper case letter
  3. A lower case letter
  4. A number
  5. A symbol

Use these tricks to accomplish a safe password that isn’t too crazily complex:

  1. Start with something as simple as a name or word
  2. Consider inverting the caps (ie – jOSEPH is case-inverted “Joseph”)
  3. Use number substitution (ie – j0SEPH (that is a zero, not a capital O; I could have substituted a “3” for the “E”)
  4. Use symbol substitution (ie – j0$EPH (notice the “$” instead of “S”)
  5. Add digits for the year and month (ie – j0$EPH126 – the 126 is for 2012 June)
  6. Use a “core” password and increment it (ie – j0@EPH128 when you change it in August)

In the example above, it now has no dictionary words, but is secure yet easy enough to remember (after you’ve used it a couple of times)

To change your windows password (and network password if you are on a business network):

  1. Login to your computer as usual.
  2. You can press ctrl-alt-del at any point after login and one of the options will be to “Change Password”
  3. When prompted, enter your current (old) password and then the new one you want (and then again)

Password smarts:

  1. Don’t post your password in your workspace or places close by where they are used (like the door key under the doormat!)
  2. If you have to write down your password, consider writing an extra character or two at the beginning and/or end as a simple form of encryption.  That way if you see it you will remember, but someone finding it might not know to drop the extra characters (when they’re not too obvious)
  3. On internet sites, use a different password.  Consider a core password that is custom to the site with one or two letters that the name of the site would clue you in to (ie – “Yj0seph!” at Yahoo vs “Gj0seph!” at Google)
  4. When changing your password, don’t forget the other places that use it.  Smartphones that check email will then need the new password the first time you check after changing it.  You may also have programs that update each other automatically with stored passwords to keep in sync.

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