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Social Engineered/Tricked by a Six Year Old.

November 6, 2016 Leave a comment

Originally, I posted this on Facebook  10/30/2016 as a note, but thought it would have a home here too.

My iPhone was hacked last night, it wasn’t by the Russians, the Jester, or Feds, but Charlotte. She used a technique called social engineering. Here is the story.
Recently, I put a password on the iPhone and this bothers Charlotte when she wants to play Flappy Bird. I know she has been watching me put the password in. Earlier in the day, she figured out after weeks of watching me. So, I gave her the phone and told her “prove it.” She entered the correct password and got access. So, I changed the password and told her so. Fast forward to the evening.

Charlotte and I are watching the Cubs game. She casually asked if “Trick-or-Treating time was from 4 pm to 10 pm?”. I said “No that seems early, let me check my phone.” I reach for the phone and type the in the password, proceed to ineffectively search for the information. I tell respond to her that I believe the times are “6 pm to 8 pm, like it had been in the past.”

Thinking about it, I ask her, “You weren’t interested in Trick-or-Treat times, were you? You just wanted to watch as I put the password into the phone?” She responded honestly. She was correct in reciting the password back to me.

A few things were happening here. First, she knew I would reach for the phone to find the information. I always do this, recent searches include: “Alec Guinness,” “Parkour,” “Duvet,” and “Napoleon Dynamite.” She knew my tendency or habit to just go online and search. Second, she knew the previous password wasn’t too sophisticated, because she was able to learn it over time. Like many of the passwords we use, it wasn’t for the record the it was “111222.” A better password might have been “121212” or “238391” or at least something a little tricky. Easy passwords to remember are often easy ones to crack.

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1/2 Way Point – Some Random Thoughts.

September 18, 2016 Leave a comment

My intro to web programming course is just about at the half way point. So far, I am doing okay grade wise. There is always room for improvement. I definitely need to spend more time reviewing the book and exercises. I have been able to make it through the weekly homework and discussion posts with only a few problems.

I really believe that in HTML/CSS and coding in general, it is important to spend as much time doing it as possible. The more time one spends with it, the better they understand it, and thus in theory the easier it should become.

I have somewhat noticed this with the assignments. It is not that they have gotten easier, I just have gotten a little bit better. Even though there are instructions, it is too easy to miss a semi-colon or backslash. Little mistakes can equal code that the codes not correctly function. This leads to frustration and stress.

Overall, online learning isn’t too bad. The hardest part is making dedicated time each day to spend with the materials. I have done okay with this, but could do a little better. The second is being on tight weekly deadline. Sometimes there are non-learning factors that make this tricky (example recent switch of internet service providers). Third, other than the discussion posts, I don’t feel connect to any of the people in the class.

I assume they are like me and living local but going to campus 3 or 4 times a week isn’t an option. It is kind of crazy to think that I am a 5 minute drive from campus, but taking the course online. It is a work scheduling issue. Maybe I will see if anyone from the class wants to have a meet-up, have drinks, or connect via Linkedin.

The good news is that even with my ongoing course and autodidact learning, I feel ready to begin assembling a portfolio. The portfolio will be key increasing my chances of landing meaningful employment.

Transition Manifesto

Sometimes when I want to find clarification of my clear clarity, I find it easiest to write. I think this is the case with many people. Currently, I am looking to transition away from my current position as an Assistant Property Manager. There are a variety of reasons I am pursuing this transition such as it feels like the right time in my life (other changes are occurring too),  challenging residents and property site, and the occasional internal frustration. I have come to grips with residents yelling at me and killing roaches in my office for the last few years, no doubt it has gotten very tiring. Regardless there are multitude of other things going on and it feels like the right time. Excited and embracing change.

My plan is to land a position that will allow me to eventually switch into more  of a technology role. To facilitate this transition, I am looking at a variety of position inside and outside of my industry. I am less concerned about the position or industry as long as it meets my qualifications, which are:

  • Reduced commute time
  • Equal or greater compensation
  • Opportunity to grow/transition into IT/Technology role

I am flexible with the above. Of course the ideal would be to make a $100,000 year watching NETFLIX at home.  All three qualifications met.

To get from “here” to “there,” I am currently:

  • Working through tutorials at Treehouse, Code Academy, Cybrary, and other sites.
  • Checking out local resources meet-ups, lectures, events, books at the library
  • Looking into taking courses at local community college or even a second MS degree
  • Continued positive web and social media presence in general and areas of interest

In general to put as many lines in the water as I can.

 

Free Cyber Security Short Course

Lately, I have found myself very interested in cyber security. Looking for resources, I discovered Heimdal Security’s Cyber Security Course for Beginners.

Every couple of days they send a new lesson (more like a highly informative email) on a cyber security topic. The topics range from basic vocabulary to selecting a AV software.

Although not the most technical or advanced introduction to the topic, seems to provide a nice introduction for non-techs interested in the topic. It would be just about perfect for your grandma.

Normally when I agree (reluctantly) to have things sent to my email, I am disappointed. Usually it is “spammy crapola” of little value. The experience ends with me unsubscribing. This has been different, I have enjoyed getting the email lessons every two days.

Disclosures: Heimdal Security does sell products. The email lessons have not pitched their products, but have offered a variety of security solutions and tools — many of them free and available online. In 7 lessons there has been only 1 or 2 links to their products. So, nothing to spammy and sleazy! Just good information.

 

#Twitter Purge 2016

Well, I am back to being active on Twitter. It is has been a love/hate relationship. I think this time, I am back and committed to it.

This seems typical of most resolutions. They start with enthusiasm and then it wanes and by March and the person is back to their old habits. …but we’ll see. I even changed my avatar and background.

Regardless, I was reviewing my string and did some purging. It felt good to remove some of those people/organizations that I followed.

 

Purge is a harsh word, I “unfollowed” the following types:

  • Large news organizations (I’m just not going to use twitter for breaking news).
  • Financial and real estate sites were unfollowed. This reflects a shift in interests.
  • People with annoying names. For example I unfollowed one “freak” and another with “fart” in their names. I just couldn’t handle it.
  • Unfollowed were those that kept spamming me ads and pitches to buy stuff.
  • Deleted were those that bombard me with inspirational and motivational messages about change and improvement. Apparently they motivated me!

I tried not to unfollow those who were individuals or those that posted with things relative to my interests such as geekdom, tech, science fiction, and e-learning. Unless they just annoyed the shit out of me.

The truth is, I am pretty excited about having a cleaner feed and about getting information about things, I am interested in and want to pursue.

 

Cyber security Predictions via Inc.

December 19, 2015 Leave a comment

Too titillating not to post, this article  from Inc. came across my Facebook feed. I found the predictions interesting and scary. I think infrastructure hacking is going to become a “thing” in 2016.