Posts tagged: Security

25 most common passwords – is yours on here?

In this future world, unless you’re someone who doesn’t use passwords at all (and if you are we’d love to meet you), then chances are you have one if not a few trusted go to words or phrases that you use as passwords.


In this day and age, passwords protect our online identity, our finances, our family, our everything, so they should be strong, memorable and ship shape! But are they?


SplashData, a Los Gatos, Calif.-based company that makes password-management applications  just released the top 25 most common passwords from more than 2 million leaked passwords that were posted online by hackers. Most of the data came from people in North America and Western Europe.


From the Sauce, SplashData chief executive Morgan Slain:


“We have seen an effort by many people to be more secure by adding characters to passwords, but if these longer passwords are based on simple patterns they will put you in just as much risk of having your identity stolen by hackers.”


And, ladies and gents, here they are, in all their glory.




If you see yours on here? Probably change that ish. Use a phrase if you can remember it, or alternatively, a mixture of numbers, letters and symbols. Check out some useful tips for password creation and strengthening here. 






Important Judgement affecting fingerprint protected devices.

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A recent ruling by a circuit judge in Virginia could have long casting implications for security features such as Touch ID and other fingerprint protected devices.


According to the Judge, Judge Steven C. Fucci, whilst passwords (and hence password protected devices) are protected under the Fifth Amendment, fingerprints are not.


This means that a police officer can make a criminal defendent give up your fingerprint in order to unlock a device. Uh Oh.


The Fifth Amendment states that “no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.”  This protects memorized information and knowledge such as passwords and passcodes, but it DOES NOT extend to fingerprints in the eyes of the law, because, as the judge ruled, giving up a fingerprint is just like providing a DNA or handwriting sample or an actual key, which the law permits.




The case that the judge was ruling on was against a David Baust who is accused of strangling his girlfriend to death. The cops believe that he has video of the crime recorded on his phone. prosecutors are obviously trying to get access to that video and were trying to get the judge to force the defendant (Baust) to unlock it.


Here’s the thing, however: If the phone in question is an iPhone with Touch ID, it is probably passcode locked at this point and, hence, protected by the fifth Amendment. Touch ID requires a passcode after 48 hours of disuse, a restart, or three failed fingerprint entry attempts and it’s pretty unlikely that Baust has had his phone in prison.


Unless the judge’s finding gets overturned, it does seem like this ruling might have some pretty big ramifications for fingerprint protected technology and privacy versus security in the future.



Facebook Privacy Change is a comin’



This is going to be a quick one, guys, because going on and on and on about Facebook privacy changes is important but kinda boring, and no doubt you’ll see it repeated many times on your newsfeed.


But just in case you don’t we felt you better know!


Facebook is getting rid of a privacy feature that let users limit who can find them on the social network.





With an announcement on Thursday, Facebook announced that you will no longer have control over whether users can find you when they try to search for you.  The feature is called “Who can look up your timeline by name?”


For those who didn’t have this setting enabled would have, with their eagle eyes, seen it disappear last December, but those who have had it enabled will start to see removal notices in the coming weeks.


According to the Facebook guys, only a single digit percentage of the almost 1.2 Billion people on it’s network used the setting, so they’ve decided to take it away as a privacy option.


So if you had the tick box that let you hide from search enabled, uh, sorry? Now people will be able to see that you have a Facebook account. But keep in mind these words from Michael Richter, Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer.


“The best way to control what people can find about you on Facebook is to choose who can see the individual things you share.”


It’s important to remember that if you care about your privacy in relation to the information you share on you Facebook Profile, you should check and update your privacy settings often.


The ‘Friend’s Only’ option is your… friend. Friend.






Image courtesy of Facebook & Seattle Wolf.

You thought a passcode on your iPhone 4S was enough?

Siri Could Make Your iPhone Insecure



So as it turns out, the incredible Siri may have some drawbacks you may not have known about.  Currently, there is a bug on the iPhone 4S, which actually allows for people to still use some parts of your iPhone even with a passcode on it!


Essentially how this works is that even though your iPhone is locked with a passcode, you can still access Siri, and thus are still able to use some aspects of the iPhone.  For most people it is probably not that big of a deal, but if you were to lose your iPhone or have it stolen, that might not be the case.


It is simple enough to change your settings to prevent Siri from being accessed while your iPhone is locked, we’ll go through these settings below.

1) Get Your iPhone

2) Go into the Settings App

3) Choose General

4) Choose Passcode

5) Turn Siri to Off.


That’s it!  Your iPhone should be nice and secure now!



How to Restore Your iPhone From a Backup

There are  a few cases in which being able to restore your iPhone can be a valuable thing to know. Take for example, if your iPhone was stolen, or you accidentally deleted a funny video off of your iPhone, or maybe you even accidentally erased the whole iPhone!  Either way,  it is pretty easy to restore your iPhone to its previous state provided that you made a backup (to learn how to create a backup see here).

Restore Your iPhone from a Backup


The First thing you’ll need to do is to plug your iPhone into the computer with your backup on it and turn on iTunes.


Secondly, in iTunes, under devices, find your iPhone.


Right click on this iPhone and click “Restore from Backup”.


Select the proper backup from the selection of previous backups and click ok.


iTunes will go through and restore your iPhone so that it is the exact state of your old iPhone.




How to Create a Backup of your iPhone

Save your iPhone Data - Backup Your iPhone


Although it is fairly easy to do, there are still a lot of people that would not entirely know how to create a backup of their iPhone.  Here is a quick guide in case you find yourself unsure of how to create a backup.

  •  Plug your iPhone or iPod into your computer
  • Load iTunes
  • Find your iPhone or iPod on the left side under the Devices section of iTunes
  • Right Click on your Device
  • Click Backup


This will create a manual backup of your iPhone or iPod which you can later use to restore your device.  This guide will work for iPhone’s, iPod’s and even iPad’s!



How to Put a Passcode on your iPhone

Put a Passcode on Your iPhone


Are people always messing with your iPhone? Or do you just want to make sure your data is safe in case you iPhone gets lost or stolen?  Either way, there are several different situation that making having a passcode on your iPhone a good idea.


With the iPhone, you are able to create a 4 digit passcode to prevent people from getting into your phone’s data.  To do this is simple, and there are also several options you may not have known about including:


  • The ability to have a complex multicharacter passcode
  • The ability to erase all data after 10 failed passcode attempts
  • The ability to require a passcode only after leaving the phone idle for a certain number of minutes.



Here is how you do it:


1)      In your iPhone, go to the “Settings” application

2)      Select “Passcode Lock”, it should be near the bottom of the screen.

3)      Select “Turn Passcode On”, it should be near the top of the screen.

4)      Enter in a 4 digit passcode, and then reenter it once more to confirm.

5)      Now you have a passcode on your iPhone!



In addition, you can add several options:



If you would like a complex password, combining both numbers and letters:


1)      Slide the “Simple Passcode” slider to say off.

2)      Enter in your old passcode

3)      Now you can enter any string of characters as your password.



If you would like your iPhone to only require a passcode after leaving it idle for a certain number of minutes:


1)      Select “Require Passcode: Immediately”

2)      Change to your preference of when you would like the passcode to be required, ranging from 1 minute to 4 hours.



And finally, if you would like your iPhone to erase all of its data in the case of 10 failed passcode attempts:


1)      Slide the “Erase Data” slider to say on.

2)      Confirm on the next page by clicking “Enable”


Be careful as in the case you were to forget your passcode and try 10 times, all of the data on your iPhone will be erased!  However, this can be particularly handy in case you were to get your iPhone lost or stolen and it had sensitive data on it.



And that’s how you put a passcode on your iPhone!