Archive for May, 2013

Bad Password Security

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Twice recently I had to use the “I forgot my password” feature on websites. Normally I keep my login information in Password Safe but forgot to add these two sites. The two sites I am talking about are The Great Courses (aka The Teaching Company) and University Alliance. Why do I mention these sites? Because of bad password security.

When I used the forgot password option on both of these sites I received an email, in clear text (no encryption) with my password. Sensitive information should NEVER be sent via clear text email, and passwords should be stored as a hash+salt. I sent emails to both sites, but not expecting them to do much. Any component programmer or IT security person should have know this was bad and never allowed it to take place.

Bad companies, BAD!

Be Your Own Bodyguard

Monday, May 27th, 2013

One of the things you learn from Tony Blauer is to “Be Your Own Bodyguard“. I won’t go into the entire concept of the program but I do want to harp on the importance of being responsible for your own protection. Take this story out of Oregon:

An Oregon woman was told by a 911 dispatcher that authorities wouldn’t be able be able to help her as her ex-boyfriend broke into her place because of budget cuts.

Oregon Public Radio reports that an unidentified woman called 911 during a weekend in August 2012 while Michael Bellah was breaking into her place. Her call was forwarded to Oregon State Police because of lay-offs at the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office only allows the department to be open Monday through Friday.

Now imagine if you were the caller, someone is breaking into your house and the 911 dispatcher pretty much tells you that you are own your own. I am not saying that you shouldn’t call 911, do so if it is safe for you to do that but remember that until help arrives you are responsible for your safety and that of your loved ones..

What does this mean? Make sure you follow good practices for securing your home. For some good tips check out Alex Haddox’s book “Practical Home Security: A Guide to Safer Urban Living“. Make sure people in the household know what to do in an emergency. This goes beyond someone breaking into your house but should also cover fires and medical emergencies. Have a plan! I won’t tell you tell have a firearm in your home, that is your choice. But if you do make sure you train with it, everyone in the house knows proper firearm safety, and you keep it secured until you need to use it.

Remember, when push comes to shove Be Your Own Bodyguard