Flawed Security

Posted: August 16, 2011 in Security

I’m a firm believer in keeping your property, both physical and intellectual, safe.  So why is it that despite all the warnings that we’re given, people still seem to fall into a sense of false security just because there is a lock on the door?

A prime example of this was spotted earlier today at a local Burger King.  The door leading to the kitchen, aptly labeled “The Kings Kitchen”, had a 10-key electronic locking mechanism.  In proper usage, this would deter most any hapless customers from accidentally wandering behind the counter.  The issue that I noted was that the doors hinges were slightly off kilter, making it to where the door would not properly close.  Assuming that the lock is there to keep customers from randomly walking into the kitchen, the security in place is entirely broken.  The other assumption is that the door is to keep out potential criminals, in which case the security is not only broken because the door isn’t able to shut and lock, but also because the door is attached to the 4 foot high counter, which could easily be hopped over by most anyone.

The lesson here is to follow proper security procedures.  If the door is supposed to be able to shut and lock, but is unable to, report it so that it can get fixed.   It does no good to have a chain and padlock on a fence if the lock isn’t shut.

(or the chain is cable-tied together lol)

Really you guys? Really?

They'll never get past our large chain and padlock.

The same principle applies to computers.  Having a weak password is just as bad as having none at all.  From any view, leaving a blank password or using the username as your password is a bad idea.  In fact, the word ‘password’ has been in the top 3 most common passwords since 1980, yet people still seem to use it.

So to get you started off on a good foot, here are a few websites to get you going:

How Secure Is My Password
- I’d recommend creating a password with at least 12 characters, comprised of uppercase, lowercase, numbers and special characters.  For example,   ‘mynameisjohn’ would be a weak password, but ‘MyN4m3!5j()hN’ would take nearly 423 million years for a single computer working nonstop to figure out.

The Top 500 Worst Passwords
- Mark over at Xato.net has compiled a list of the 500 worst possible passwords based on how commonly they are used.  The link to Xato.net has a downloadable list of 10,000 possible passwords sorted by frequency of use.  If you see a password that you are currently using on one of these lists, you should consider changing it.

Using a Good Antivirus Program
- Here, Let me google that for you.  Don’t worry, the link isn’t an ad.  The top rated anti-virus programs currently are:

Personally, I find these programs tend to slow my computer down more than a virus does, but if you’re certain you have something infecting your files, these are the gonna be your best bets if you’re picking a subscription based program.  A much cheaper alternative that tends to fix 95% of the problematic computers I’ve seen is freeware programs.  My top 3 picks are: