Archive for the ‘Computers & PCs’ Category

NIST’s new password security rules beg a question …..

August 16, 2017

How long does it take to hack a 16-character password?


Last week, NIST ((the National Institute of Standards and Technology) issued new guidelines for password security.

After a review, NIST concluded that its former rules — passwords to include upper and lower case letters, numbers, special characters — made logins more complicated but didn’t materially improve online security.

Now, NIST is recommending using long, easy-to-remember phrases instead of relatively short strings of mixed letters, numbers and characters.

The rationale: the longer the string, the harder it is to crack.

For example some researchers concluded that it would only take 3 days to crack a password like “Tr0ub4dor&3” —  but over  550 years to crack the password “CorrectHorseBatteryStaple”

computer hacker

Oh really?

The story reminded me of a prior HomaFiles post that reported on a hacking test.

Hackers were given 1 hour to crack more than 16,000 cryptographically hashed passwords.

Her are the (frightening) results …



Want higher exam grades?

January 31, 2017

Well, then quit browsing the Internet during class.


A recent study by psychology researchers at Michigan State University investigated students’ actual Internet usage during classes.


The students agreed to have their in-class browsing activity monitored .

The researchers then matched the browsing activity with the students’ self-reported browsing behavior, their overall academic readiness (think: SAT / ACT scores), their self-reported motivation and interest in the class, and their performance on the course’s final exam.

Here’s what the researchers discovered …


BleachBit: Hillary’s gift to criminals …

August 26, 2016

How many times have you seen clips of the police confiscating a suspect’s computer for forensic analysis?

Pretty common on Forensic FIles, CSI and the 11 o’clock news, right?

And, the punch line is always the same …

The perps try to delete files & browsing histories, but unknowingly leave behind evidence.



Well, thanks to Team Hillary, FBI documents and a shout-out by Congressman Trey Gowdy, criminals now have no excuse for not covering their tracks.

Introducing to the American consciousness: BleachBit:


Here’s the story ….


Gotcha: How long does it take to hack a 16-character password?

August 4, 2016

First, how many of us have a 16-character password?

If the over-under is 1, I’m betting the under.



Still, let’s pretend that that your passwords are 16-characters long – a mix of capital and lower case letters, numbers and special characters.

Here’s how long it takes to crack it …


Road rage is so yesterday … today, it’s password rage.

August 3, 2016

Here’s a shocker for you.

According to a survey taken by Centrify, a leader in identity management, 1/3 of online users admit to suffering from ‘password rage’ … with many of them driven to crying, screaming and swearing.



Here are some of the survey’s more interesting findings:


OECD : Over-use of computers is detrimental to education.

September 23, 2015

The Organization for Economic Co-operation Development (OECD) recently issued a report on the impact of technology – think, of computers in the classroom -– on fundamental learning.



The bottom line:

“Students who use computers very frequently at school do much worse [in reading, science and math], even after accounting for social background and student demographics.”

More specifically …


How long does it take to hack a 16-character password?

January 15, 2015

You gotta start scratching your head a bit when the Dept. of Defense gets its Twitter account hacked and issues an internal directive to change social networking passwords.

Not obvious to me why the DOD even has a Twitter account, and laughably frightening that they didn’t already have a policy for frequent password changes.

The fiasco reminded me of a competition to see how long it would take uber-hackers to crack 15,000 15-character passwords




Let’s pretend that that your passwords are 16-characters long – a mix of capital and lower case letters, numbers and special characters.

Here’s how long it takes to crack them …


Gotcha: Forget malware, now it’s “ransomware”

January 5, 2015

Let’s start the New Year on high note …

Just kidding.

NY Times ran a scary story yesterday on the latest online thievery.


It’s called “ransomware”, and here’s how it works …


What are the odds of 7 specific IRS hard drives crashing?

June 24, 2014

Here’s why I think there’s a cover-up happening in the IRS targeting scandal …

Lois Lerner is at the heart of the investigation.  She exercised her 5th amendment right to not self-incriminate and didn’t testify to Congress.

Then, it’s “discovered” that 10 days after the scandal inquiry kicked off, her PC hard drive – which contained the only permanent copies of emails she sent to folks outside the IRS – crashed … and all data – including the subpoenaed emails – was lost forever.





Then it was revealed that the hard drives of 6 other IRS “persons of interest” had also crashed (after the investigation was kicked off.

Double hmmm.

Got me to wondering: What are the odds of that happening?

Let’s do some arithmetic …


Gotcha: How long does it take to hack a 16-character password?

June 3, 2013

First, how many of us have a 16-character password?

If the over-under is 1, I’m betting the under.



Still, let’s pretend that that your passwords are 16-characters long – a mix of capital and lower case letters, numbers and special characters.

Here’s how long it takes to crack it …


iPad loses its grip in the tablet market

March 27, 2012

Punch line: While iPad sales volume is up and expected to increase, but  its share of the tablet market is expected to drop to 62% this year, down from 66% last year, and 87% the previous year.

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Excerpted from, “iPad’s share of tablet market to dip to 62 percent this year


The iPad will maintain its lead, though its share will drop because of competition from Android devices, estimates research firm TrendForce …

Though the iPad’s market share may be on the downswing, its sales are still headed higher.

Estimates from TrendForce call for global sales of about 59 million units in 2012, up from nearly 41 million last year and 14 million in 2010.

(Credit: TrendForce)

Certain Android vendors have captured some of Apple’s former market share, but they’ve failed to catch up with the iPad’s advancements.

Amazon’s low-priced Kindle Fire ignited strong sales during the holiday quarter. But the Fire “still does not quite match consumers’ expectations for a tablet PC,”

Further, Amazon’s orders for display panels have fallen for the first half of 2012, indicating that the Fire won’t be a threat to the iPad’s dominant lead.

Some tablet vendors have been slowly cutting back on Android to focus on Windows 8 as Microsoft prepares its new tablet-friendly OS. But even here, success is far from assured.

“The makers are counting on Windows users’ high commitment to Microsoft Office to spur the sales of Windows 8 tablets,”

“But several issues persist, such as whether or not the ARM Windows 8 tablet is able to release as scheduled, the weight and battery life, and whether the software compatibility and interface design cater to the users’ preferences.”

With a new high-resolution display expected, the iPad 3 will help Apple hang onto its leading market share …

Overall, tablet makers are forecast to sell 94 million units this year, a 53 percent jump from the 62 million sold in 2011.

Edit by KJM

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How safe are your passwords?

February 3, 2011

Interesting factoids reported in Business Week …

Punch line: Make your passwords 9 characters long with letters & numbers … and at least 1 capital letter and one special character.

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Users who choose a common word or simple key combination for a password: 50%

Most-used passwords: 123456, password, 12345678, qwerty, abc123

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Time it takes a hacker’s computer to randomly guess your password:

Length: 6 characters
Lowercase: 10 minutes
+ Uppercase: 10 hours
+ Nos. & Symbols: 18 days

Length: 7 characters
Lowercase: 4 hours
+ Uppercase: 23 days
+ Nos. & Symbols: 4 years

Length: 8 characters
Lowercase: 4 days
+ Uppercase: 3 years
+ Nos. & Symbols: 463 years

Length: 9 characters
Lowercase: 4 months
+ Uppercase: 178 years
+ Nos. & Symbols: 44,530 years

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Average amount it costs a business to field a phone call requesting a password reset: $10

Proportion of help desk calls that are password-related: 30%

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Data: Gartner, Forrester, Duo Security, Imperva, LastBit Software

BW Magazine, The Problem with Passwords, January 31, 2011

Apple: Life at the top …

February 27, 2009

Excerpted from Fortune, “Five Easy Apple Charts”, by Philip Elmer-DeWitt, January 30, 2009

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If a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s five grand worth of Apple news in charts and lists released over the past couple of days.

1. Web Brands. Apple scored No. 10 in Nielson Online’s ranking of the top Web brands based on the number of unique visitors each site drew in December 2008 — which isn’t bad considering’s focus is so much narrower than the brands it’s up against.Nielson Web 10

2. Social Brands. The iPhone scored No. 1 — ahead even of its parent company at No. 3 — in the Vitrue 100, a new ranking launched this week by an Atlanta-based marketing company. Vitrue’s list ranks blue chip brands by how often they get mentioned in blogs, photo-sharing sites and such social media entities as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter — presumably a measure of how large these names loom in the minds of an emerging category of early adopters.

Social brands

3. Days to 1 Million. This comes from published sales data to compare the rate at which the leading smartphones achieved the market penetration milestone of 1 million units.


4. Volume vs. Revenue. This data demonstrates that what matters is not how many smartphones you sell, but how much you make on each sale (includes revenue from other sales beyond phones).

Vol. vs. Rev. (1)

Vol. vs. Rev. (2)

5. Stock Price. Finally, a glance at Apple’s share price, which having suffered a thousand cuts in the past year finally picked up a little traction in the past two weeks.

Edit by DAF

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