Check out this great video from Code.org, an organization dedicated to exposing all students to computer programming education.
This month has been a fairly busy month in the area of password security, especially with news of improved password cracking techniques and the social engineering attack on Mat Honan’s accounts. To help you defend yourself against these attacks, I’ve included some of my favorite posts detailing what you can do to protect your online accounts.
Security Now Episode 366 – Security Now is a great podcast, and always has some great information on tech security in general. In this episode, Steve and Leo talk about how “clever” password techniques really don’t work any more.
Sites that use Two-Factor Authentication – Lifehacker provides a great list of sites that allow you to use Google Authenticator or your mobile phone to receive one-time codes when logging into sites from a computer or mobile device. Two-factor authentication is a method of adding “something you have” (your phone), to “something you know” (your password) to provide a layered method to logging in to your accounts.
GRC Haystack Tool – This page does a great job of showing how well your password stacks up against large password cracking arrays. It’s important to note that the conclusion reached here is that a longer password is better than a short “clever” password. (See Security Now link above.)
Best Password Managers – Gizmodo covers their favorite password managers here. Using a password manager allows you to generate a random long password for every site that you visit. This limits the impact of individual site hacks to your password to only the attacked site. Combined with two-factor authentication, this is a pretty secure combination in my opinion. I use Keepass personally, with a keyfile and long master password, to keep my passwords secured. It is imperative that you select a long master password if you are using one of these managers.
Have any questions or suggestions? Feel free to leave a comment below.
Last month, Moxie Marlinspike and David Hulton announced an attack on MS-CHAPv2, which is used in PPTP VPNs and WPA2 Enterprise implementations. I’ve embedded the latest episode of the TWiT Security Now podcast below, because I feel that they do a great job of explaining the attack and the alternatives.
In short, it may be time to look at other options (like OpenVPN, an IPSEC-based tunnel, or an SSL VPN) if you are still relying on PPTP with MS-CHAPv2.
Security Now – Episode 366:
Being a frequent traveler, I make use of my Android phone and tablet heavily while on the go. While using the web browser is fine on its own, native apps really provide a superior user experience in some cases. The following apps are ones that I use on every trip, and also at home.
This is a must install app if you are doing a lot of travel. In addition to walking and driving directions with GPS navigation, you can get reviews for restaurants and hotels. This is pre-installed on most Android devices, but you can also download Maps from the Google Play store.
If you like to do a lot of planning on the day of the trip (don’t tell Louisa, she doesn’t like doing that), then Yelp is a good companion to help you find restaurants, hotels, and other attractions. I find recommendations from Yelp (and other travel apps) to be a great resource when travelling to a new area. You can download Yelp from the Google Play store.
Kayak and TripIt
Kayak is well known for its flight, hotel, and rental car search abilities, but my favorite feature of the Android app is My Trips. This feature allows you track your flights, hotels, cars, and other activities in a single place. If you are familiar with TripIt, you will find many familiar features here. I actually did use TripIt until I moved over to Kayak for its more polished interface (in my opinion). That being said, you really can’t go wrong with either app. You can download Kayak and TripIt from the Google Play store.
Foursquare is primarily known as a social app that you can use to check-in to various venues and earn badges. While this can be fun, I also find that it is a great way to remember exactly which attractions and restaurants I visited while on a trip. Louisa and I have used the history feature on Foursquare many times when writing a trip recap on the site. You can download Foursquare from the Google Play store.
E-Readers – Kindle, Nook, and Moon+ Reader
Whether you use Kindle, Nook, or an ePUB reader like Moon+ Reader, ebooks are a great way to pass the time on a long flight or drive. For example, I read A Walk For Sunshine on a cross-country flight earlier this year entirely on my Xoom. (Great book, very inspiring.) Yeah, I probably should have slept instead, but reading was much more fun. Download Kindle, Nook, and Moon+ Reader at the Google Play store.
Do you have any favorites that I haven’t mentioned here? Feel free to leave a comment with your favorite apps below.