The Simplicity of Secure Passwords

Yes, you read that correctly. Creating and using secure passwords can actually be simple. With an understanding of how to make a password harder to crack through brute force (i.e., multiple, repeated attempts at guessing) and a password manager, you can greatly enhance the security of your passwords.

tl;dr – Longer passwords + a good password manager = simple security.

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Convenience Versus Security (or Maybe I Should Ask My Information Security Team First)

As a result of the theft of credit card, debit card and personal information from Target, my credit card company decided to replace my credit card. I don’t know for sure if they saw fraudulent activity, but I do shop at Target, so I’m glad they went ahead and did this. However, I am not so sure they helped all that much. Read more

My Backup Strategy

Let’s see … Mozy, Dropbox, MobileMe, CrashPlan, SkyDrive … the list goes on and on. So do the monthly fees and the backups of 100+ gigabytes of music and 50+ gigabytes of photos, not to mention the financial records, home inventory, etc. Plus, how secure are these sites? I’m sure they have lots of security in place, but something still bothers me about putting this stuff in the cloud. So, I went for a low-tech (relatively speaking) solution. I happened to have a couple of 500G drives lying around, so I bought a couple of external drive cases to turn them into external backup drives and made arrangements with my brother-in-law to house offsite backups for each other. I simply created two partitions on each drive, encrypted mine with TrueCrypt (I’ll let my brother-in-law figure out his own encryption), and backed up my critical files. I’ll give him both drives. One he’ll keep for a while and the other he’ll backup his critical files and give to me. In a few months (when we have the next family gathering for a holiday (Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July, etc.) we’ll make sure to have the latest backups completed and swap drives. Simple, cheap, and secure. If you don’t have spare drives lying around, you can pick up a couple of external drive at a pretty decent price (probably $80 – $100 each) and have your own secure, off-site backup. Give it a try!

Great Tool for Creating Passwords

Having trouble creating a password that is both secure and easy to remember? My favorite trick is to use numbers and symbols that look like letters to help you remember. This way you can create a password that looks much like a real word, but because of the numbers and symbols, it is very hard to crack. For example, you could change the word password to [email protected] The challenge of course, is coming up with good words and then substituting numbers and/or symbols for the right letters. That’s where Password Maker comes in. This Mac OS X Dashboard widget takes the word you type and automatically substitutes numbers and symbols for some of the letters. Voila – instant, easy security.