Archive for May 2011

Securing your WIFI connections.

May 26th, 2011 — 9:46am

When you use a public wi-fi hotspot, you need to realize that most of the data you are sending is going in “cleartext”.  This means there’s the potential for a hacker to grab some personal data, such as passwords, email messages, session keys (for websites you’ve logged into), etc.  With so many applications using the internet for communications these days, even if you are careful about using “https:” when checking email, or browsing, data can leak out.

One solution is to install a VPN on your computer.  This encrypts all data on your connection, and will prevent any theft.  One such VPN is, (OpenVPN) which is free to use.

Once you set it up, all you need to do is connect to it after you get on the WI-FI hotspot network.  Then you do all your normal web activities as usual.

Comment » | mobile, Web Tools

Managing your web passwords

May 20th, 2011 — 2:31pm

Anyone who uses the web regularly has accumulated a myriad of usernames and passwords for sites they access.  This includes email accounts, banking / investment websites, facebook, ebay, amazon, etc.  Of course the major challenge here is to actually remember your access information for any given site.

Many users out there turn to very bad methods to fight this problem.  They may use the same password everywhere.  They will most likely write down the passwords, or store them in a file on their computer (in plain text).  Some use password managers, which aren’t always a safe bet either.

I’d like to share my method for easily recalling any password for any site, without having to store it anywhere.

Here’s the method:

1.  Choose a unique username.  Try to pick something that will likely be available across most sites you visit.  For instance, you might pick your name, with a long number after it.  Like joe18080 If you can get this username for most accounts, then half the job is done.  For the few times when you can’t get that username, you’ll have to store that somewhere.

2.  Use a formula for your password.  A sample formula for deriving your password might be this:

  • Pick a word you associate with the site – for instance, if it’s your bank, you might start with the word “bank“.
  • Capitalize the second letter of your word.  So the current password is “bAnk
  • Add your birth year onto the end of the word (say it’s 1982), with a _ (underscore) in the middle – your password is now “bAnk19_82

Now, you have your password, that satisfies most password requirements.  Whenever you go to your banking site, you just need to recall that “bank” was your base word.  Now each site you register with can have a unique password.  If someone gets one of your passwords, they won’t know how to generate your other passwords.  Also, you won’t have to write these down!

Comment » | E-commerce

Back to top