Password stupidity

Shane Richmond wrote in the Telegraph yesterday about some information gained from the recent Gawker Media security breach.

Gawker Media, the publisher of LifeHacker, Gizmodo and a couple of other popular blogs, is the latest major victim of a hackers’ attack. The CMS was compromised and 1.5 million usernames and passwords have been stolen.

Source  CMS Wire

Analysts have taken this data and done, well, some analysis on it.. it appears that from this analysis the most common password was 123456!!! I had heard this fact banded about a few times before but never really took it seriously. I subconsciously refused to believe people could be this stupid. However two other very common passwords in the collection were “password” and “qwerty” which is as equally as stupid as 123456.

What strikes me even more is the fact that many many people use the same password for multiple sites. After the Gawker hacking many people had their twitter and other online services accounts hacked because of this simple lack of security.

There are some basic rules when it comes to passwords and password security and if these are followed:

Keys to password strength: length and complexity

An ideal password is long and has letters, punctuation, symbols, and numbers.

  • Whenever possible, use at least 14 characters or more.
  • The greater the variety of characters in your password, the better.
  • Use the entire keyboard, not just the letters and characters you use or see most often.

Create a strong password you can remember

There are many ways to create a long, complex password. Here is one way that may make remembering it easier:

What to do Suggestion Example
Start with a sentence or two (about 10 words total). Think of something meaningful to you. Long and complex passwords are safest. I keep mine secret. (10 words)
Turn your sentences into a row of letters. Use the first letter of each word. lacpasikms (10 characters)
Add complexity. Make only the letters in the first half of the alphabet uppercase. lACpAsIKMs (10 characters)
Add length with numbers. Put two numbers that are meaningful to you between the two sentences. lACpAs56IKMs (12 characters)
Add length with punctuation. Put a punctuation mark at the beginning. ?lACpAs56IKMs (13 characters)
Add length with symbols. Put a symbol at the end. ?lACpAs56IKMs” (14 characters)

Source Microsoft Online Safety

Also something that is not mentioned in Microsoft’s article is that you should use different passwords for different sites. I appreciate that can mean having many many passwords but even if you group them together in some way, all your social media sites and all your email sites for example, that can a) cut down the number of passwords and b) should one become compromised there are less sites that require new passwords.


Snowy Sheffield!!!

It snowed a little bit here… Watch the Vid –

Wagamama – Sheffield

Yesterday was pay-day and that meant it was time to spend the money before it all disappears. So I paid some bills and booked a few train tickets. Then I went out to lunch with my house mate Steve. We went to Wagamama’s in Leopold Square, Sheffield as neither myself or Steve had been there (or any of the Wagamama restaurants for that matter). I am glad we did however as the food was excellent.

It wasn’t overly busy when we went (we had been told to go after 2 as lunch times got very busy) and we were seated straight away. I had a coke and Steve had some weird elderflower drink (he’s a funny chap ;-P ) and then we ordered. The staff were very attentive but not overly so and very pleasant as well, when it came to ordering Steve, typically, picked something that turned out to be the hottest dish they do which the waitress advised us of and he promptly changed is order to something else. I ordered the “Ebi Raisukaree” which is “prawns stir-fried in a coconut and lime curry sauce with mangetout, peppers, red and spring onions. served on sticky white rice and garnished with red chillies, coriander and lime”. We also ordered a dish of “Tori Kara Age” which is “deep-fried chicken pieces. served with a chilli, garlic, sesame and soy sauce” as a side dish.

The food arrived very promptly, mine first (we were advised that the dishes would come separately as everything is cooked fresh so things may take longer to prepare than others) and Steve’s only a few minutes later. It was exceptional food to say the least, it had a decent kick to it but was not so overpowering that the subtle flavours of the prawns or the vegetables were lost. Presentation wise it could not be much better, I have attached a photo below of my meal so you can see for yourself, the portion size as well was just right, not so huge you felt stuffed at the end, but not so small it left you wanting more.

We didn’t have any deserts as we were full up so we just paid up, the whole lot came to ~£30 including tip (£3.50) which I felt was very good value for money for what we got! I wholly recommend anyone in Sheffield that likes oriental food to take the time to go to Wagamama’s, it’s well worth it.


iPad Launched

So tonight the iPad was launched and for me it is a compelling product but not an amazing one. It is on a basic level an enlarged iPhone without the phone bit. It is based on the iPhone OS and has all the same features. Safari, mail, calendar, contacts etc etc. It also has an iBook application and an iBook store which will allow you to download and read books on the device.

In terms of hardware it has the following specs

It is 0.5-inches thick, weighs 1.5 pounds, and features a 9.7-inch IPS capacitive multitouch display. It is powered by a proprietary 1GHz processor, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, and is available in 16, 32, or 64GB flash storage capacities. Additional specs include an accelerometer, compass, speaker, mic, 30-pin Apple dock connector, and 10-hour built-in battery.

The device is beautiful I cannot dispute that and the iPhone OS is a proven winner, however Steve Jobs put this as the thing to fill the gap in the market between a netbook he said

“So all of us use laptops and smartphones… the question has arisen; is there room for something in the middle. We’ve wondered for years as well — in order to create that category, they have to be far better at doing some key tasks… better than the laptop, better than the smartphone.”

“What kind of tasks? Browsing the web. Doing email. Enjoying and sharing pics. Watching videos. Enjoying music. Playing games. Reading ebooks. If there’s gonna be a third category, it has to be better at these tasks — otherwise it has no reason for being. Now some people thought that was a netbook — the problem is that netbooks aren’t better than anything!”

I beg to differ on that point, they fill a gap of portability and flexibility, they can do the majority of things a full laptop can do (barring some high powered things and gaming). Now the iPad can do gaming yes but your not going to see COD on there or if you do it will be a mobile port of the game. As it is based on the iPhone OS it is limited to things that are also going to work in the iPhone (at least initially until developers make specific apps for it). Having iWork on it is a good selling point, it opens it up to people who want to work on the move. However for me it seems that this device is designed to be used primarily in the home or office where there is a WiFi connection (though there is a 3G enabled option who in their right mind would pay an extra $160 for that and then a monthly fee for the data). The item that is a killer for me is the Newspaper and magazine subscriptions and possibly the book reader. Imagine subscribing to the New York Times or the Daily Telegraph and it just appearing on the device each morning and being able to read it like a normal paper right there and then. That certainly has it’s appeal, but for me a $499 price tag to do that and everything an iPhone does is not particularly appealing. It really needs something else, something more, something totally killer to make it a “must have” device.

That’s my initial thoughts, I am going to sleep on this now and it revisit this in the morning.


My Photo 365

Today I started a photo 365 project. I was trying to sum up what this is easily and found an excellent description here on Greg McMullins site (

“What the fudge is a 365? I hear you scream! Well a 365 project is when you take a photo a day for a whole year and post them on-line. There are a number of different types of 365 project, some are concerned with taking a self portrait every day, others demand you must take a picture of the same object every day but in a different setting. Both of these have their merits but I don’t think I am vein enough to want to post pictures of myself! Instead I’ll be posting photographs of whatever catches my eye on that particular day.”

So that is what it is. You can find it at