The future of passwords

An Age report into the future of passwords is interesting reading.

Looking for a safe password? You can give HQbgbiZVu9AWcqoSZmChwgtMYTrM7HE3ObVWGepMeOsJf4iHMyNXMT1BrySA4d7 a try. Good luck memorising it.

Sixty-three random alpha-numeric characters — in this case, generated by an online password generator — are as good as it gets when it comes to securing your virtual life.

But as millions of internet users have learned the hard way, no password is safe when hackers can, and do, pilfer them en masse from banks, email services, retailers or social media websites that fail to fully protect their servers.

Security experts widely agree on two core principles: make your passwords as long as possible, mixing up words with some numbers and symbols, and never ever use the same password for more than one website.

Beyond that, just cross your fingers and pray that the website you’re using is doing all it can at its end to protect the mental keys to your virtual world.

As someone who had their account hacked recently, I believe that password security is something that we don’t really take seriously until our account/s are compromised. Don’t wait for it to happen to you.

Read the whole report here.

Malicious chargers can exploit mobile devices

The Australian government’s Department of Broadband, Communications and Digital Technology has reported in their email newsletter Stay Smart Online that some modified chargers for Apple products can exploit the mobile devices.

A vulnerability has been discovered in Apple iOS devices, such as iPhones and iPads, allowing a modified USB charger to compromise the device.

Researchers have demonstrated how connecting an iPhone or iPad to a specially built USB charger has allowed malware or unwanted apps to be installed on the device.

Once connected to the charger, the phone’s software essentially recognised the device as belonging to the attacker, enabling access.

A good tip is to always use official Apple chargers to avoid unwanted issues.

Parents are over confident about internet safety

US author, educator and consultant Jeff Utecht has written an interesting post on how parents are dealing with the issues social media are bringing to the family home. He quotes the UK newspaper The Guardian:

Andy Phippen, professor of social responsibility at Plymouth University, said sexting – where schoolchildren are encouraged to take explicit photographs of themselves and send to other pupils – was a problem in most schools, despite the study revealing that 89% of parents believe their child has not been touched by cyberbullying or sexting.

“There is a disconnect between how safe parents think they can keep their children online and their actual ability to do that,” Phippen said. “Those conversations are not being had – we have a hell of a long way to go on internet safety. In schools we hear teachers unwilling to talk to teenagers about sexual images because they worry about their jobs, schools unwilling to record instances of cyberbulling because they are worried about their Ofsted reports.”

These statistics are of grave concern and demand us all to delve deeper into the way our children are using the internet. Read the whole blog post here.