Tag Archives: hackers

Cracking an Egg Should be Easy; Cracking a Password Should NOT!

Okay, first your 7-8 minutes of homework:  Read this one –>  Girl Creates Passwords

Now, that you have done that, we can talk for a moment.  This was another time when we should be reminding ourselves to CREATE STRONG PASSWORDS.

First, the very basic rules:

  1. Never use duplicate passwords.  A unique one for each login.
  2. Never reuse passwords.  This makes it very easy to guess with some research.
  3.  Don’t just use your name, birthday, family’s names, favorite color, or any such easy stuff.
  4. Don’t just use the name of the website or similar.  The password “Microsoft1234” is not secure at all.
  5. Always include upper/lower case letters, numbers, and symbols.  $%VEks03^7 is still better than a 50 digit password of all numbers.
  6. Don’t store your passwords in a file on your computer.  Using Norton Identity Safe is okay if you secure it with a good solid 15-18 character password.
  7. If you have to keep a paper copy, secure it, hide it, and don’t use it more than you have to.
  8. Don’t let others use your computer.
  9. Keep your computer “locked” as often as you can.

Password creation guidelines (an example):

  1.  Pick a book and open to a low chapter (let’s use chap 3 of John Grisham’s “Playing for Pizza”.
  2. using the, let’s say 2nd page, 2nd paragraph of that – write every other word of the 2nd sentence.”He’d his once the” (remove the ‘).   Hed his once the (13 letters)
  3. Reverse the order:  the once his Hed
  4. chg obvious letters to numbers:    the 0nce h15 Hed  (the o, i, and s)
  5. pick the symbol on the top line of the typewriter that equals the number of letters in a word to put in the space following the word:  the-3  0nce-4 h15-3 Hed-3  for a change don’t start over on the line, just keep counting, so the-3, 0nce-3+4, h15-7+3, Hed-10+3  so:  the#0nce&h15)Hed#
  6. That final password should be good enough: reverse it once more if you want –
  7. Final;  #deH)51h&ecn0#ehT   ( I capitalized the last letter, too)
  8. 16 characters very random.  It will work.
  9. Follow these directions for each password and change your passwords, at least, every 2 months and you will be in the top few percent of those will be unlikely to be hacked or bothered with.

Namaste,

Scott

 

 

WordPress May Get a Cold

Actually, WordPress may get a virus, not a cold.  I was perusing several articles today and noticed that WP was specifically mentioned as the target for one cyber attack.  The reason?   Well, not because we have such guarded military secrets or because our dialogues are so captivating.  No, it is mainly because WP isn’t well guarded enough.  The hackers can get in, so why not try?  We have become the target of ease.

I have listed the main article at the end of this post, so you can read what I did and try to follow it, too.  Personally, it was too much techie talk for me.  That world and I have parted company and I don’t want to talk about apache and admin passwords and file structures.  Just not me anymore.

However, I did follow enough to go back to saying what I have always said:  your password(s) is(are) very important.  The article suggested that one way these guys are trying to get into WP is through password guessing.  The spybots, it seems, go into the system and try to get in by guessing a few key passwords that are used a lot by admins and so forth.  They may only try a dozen and then move on to something else.  So?  What if they do get in?  Well, what they truly want is the account that belongs to  one of the more elite users or a person who helped to create the site.  Then, they hope to break through that person and into the root of the system or the core.  They look for plans, blueprints, file system structures, even emails, anything that will help them get a little more of that pie and on into the system itself.

So, back to passwords.  I try to keep up on things.  This article says WP is rather a weakly protected site, so I figure I used anti worm, virus, and such on my own computer and I put in a good password on the site.  This may well have to do.  I am not an expert nor a guru.  A lot of the other ideas for help involve knowing a lot more about computereze than I do.  I wrote a post about building a good password.  That can be found here.  The other articles are below.  Just know that one of the objects of hackers can be malicious:  they may get to the system from your account so they can shut down the entire WP.

Just wanting you to think.  Article:

Experts Warn Small Businesses

***Also, before I go I had better say this:  My modem is on the fritz.  It is scheduled to be replaced Thursday between 5 and 7pm.  It is possible I won’t be able to get on long enough tomorrow to post.  I know I can’t read the 50-70 posts I will be behind on by then.  Just letting you know.

Namaste,

Scott

Why Would You Do That?

My devoted followers know that I purchased a new mattress and box spring set (Serta) last week. What you don’t know is the rest of the story.

I put $50 down on the bed set to hold it so I could transfer the money from savings to checking (online) and then pay them for the entire set the next day. I went home and transferred the money and decided to pay it all at once. I called the store and we did a payment over the phone and – it was declined. I believe I even had him try again.

So, I hung up and called the bank. The nice lady told me that I had gone over my limit for the day of $750. I knew it was only a little above, but I also knew I had several regular items to purchase and was supposed to go out for dinner that night with my friend. She was happy to increase that line of money for one day. That was fine with me. She did; I did, and we were all happy. The above pic is of a different bank and I called them, but you get the idea.

Now, let’s go to Friday the 28th of September. I went to the post office in the morning to mail a package I had sold on Amazon. I gave the man my card, he slid it through, and it was declined. I had him try again…declined. I managed to have the small amount in cash and I paid for the package.

Then I went home to call the bank. The different nice lady looked at her screen and told me she would have to call the main office (I never really like it when they have to do that. It means it is difficult). She came back on the phone and told me that someplace that I had used my card had been hacked and, for safety reasons, all the MasterCards that were used there were cancelled.

They had mailed out new cards with new pin numbers so I shouldn’t worry. In the meantime, I guess I was … well, having difficulties. We talked on. I asked her, politely, when did they mail out the new card. She told me “on the 21st”. She assured me it should arrive anytime (It is Monday; it did not arrive by the 1st of October).

I told her that was not what was bothering me right now. When she asked what was, I slowly said,

“You said they mailed the card out on the 21st. Today is the 29th. I have used my card up until this morning. If you cancelled it on the 21st (or before) how could I use it for the whole next week?”

She had no good answer (not her department – plausible deniability and all that), so I hung up. Somehow I feel that I deserve an answer to that question. Somehow, it seems to me that if a new card is in the mail, then the old card (since it may have been compromised) should not be any good.

I retold this to a health food store staff today and their mouths fell open. That was much better! A good reaction to such atrocities!

I have made arrangements for the cash to deal with the next several days. But I am still bothered. Now, I must go to the nearest branch (16 miles) and have them print a new card. Now, we will see if she will cancel the one in the mail as it seems to be lost or if I will have to release my inner demons again!

_
What was your last big blowup with the bank?

How well did they handle the whole thing?

_
Namaste,
Scott

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