Posts by romkey

Security, Privacy and IoT: The Week of February 13th

I’m experimenting with compiling a list of interesting articles each week – I’ll compile a list of articles that caught my eye. I’m trying to keep this quick and maintain a high signal-to-noise ratio.

Security

Adobe Flash Critical Security Update

Adobe has released Flash Player version 24.0.0.221 for Windows, macOS and Linux. It fixes “critical vulnerabilities that could potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system”. If you have Flash installed on your computer, update it immediately. Also update Chrome.

Except for the copy of Flash that comes with Chrome, I haven’t had Flash installed on my Mac in years and I don’t miss it at all.

https://helpx.adobe.com/security/products/flash-player/apsb17-04.html

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Another Day, Another Massive Password Dump

Password Dumps: How To Protect Yourself

By now you’re probably used to reading about web sites getting broken into, exposing millions of accounts.

The information that crackers get varies… they may get email addresses and encrypted passwords. It may be your IP address, name, plain text password, credit card information, social security number… it all depends on what  the site collects and how they secure it.

This time around Adult Friend Finder was breached, exposing 340 million accounts as well about another 73 million accounts on other sex-related sites.

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How to Safely Update Your Apple Devices

The release of iOS 10 didn’t exactly go smoothly.

Many iOS users found their devices bricked – after installing the update they were stuck asking to be connected to iTunes. iTunes would only replace the OS, wiping out all data on the device – and even that wouldn’t succeed.

If you only use an iPhone for phone calls and don’t use a lot of apps or media with it then you can probably skip this and throw caution to the wind. Otherwise it helps to be aware of best update practices and what they can and can’t protect you from.

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Public Domain image from https://pixabay.com/en/tree-solitary-landscape-umbria-189852/

Please Don’t Get Off My Lawn: Abundance, Scarcity and Problem Solving

This isn’t a “get off my lawn you kids!” story. If anything, it’s the opposite.

During my early days in the computer industry we lived in a severely resource constrained world.

The old days: scarcity

I learned to program in 1978 on a TRS-80 – a computer with a 1.77MHz 8 bit CPU and 4KB of RAM. Just imagine trying to do anything in 4KB of RAM today. Imagine trying to get anything done with less than 2 million instructions per second. And for persistent storage… it wasn’t just that it was small and slow, it was a cassette tape and you were lucky if you could even read back your program at all.

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SMS two factor authentication

Two Factor Authentication, SMS and NIST

How many movies and TV shows have you seen where asks somebody else about a secret that they share? If they give the right answer, their identity is confirmed. If they don’t, they’re an imposter, an alien from Planet X in disguise.

Shared secrets are the basis of authentication in computer security. And two shared secrets – two factor – are even better than one, especially when the first is a password that many people have difficulty managing in a secure way. This is what we’re doing when we use both a password and a code that’s texted to us. And this week, we got told to stop using text messages for the second secret.

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