Saturday, January 23, 2010

Keeping our "Heads Up"

Sometimes we look the other way when life gets complicated, troublesome or challenging...and then
the 'stuff' we have 'swept under the rug' just grows bigger and ends up tripping us!

Before I go any further I would first of all like to ask all of you wonderful bloggers to please, at the very least, pray for the victims of the Haiti earthquake and the rescuers that goodness and kindness will be multiplied everyday.  If you can stretch your budget, maybe a donation to one of the many worthwhile agencies that are helping (fortunately our church even has a 'sister parish' in Haiti, so we are contributing almost directly).

Now, on to the more mundane but still important things that we need to not sweep under the rug.

I found this article (below) as the headline on my computer news site on Friday so it was worth sharing to hopefully help you and me and all of us.  It was all about hackers and the fact that we often use passwords that are too easy to access.

Remember that you never know who a potential hacker might be.  It could even be your own "innocent" kitty (after all most computers do have a mouse, hee hee)...

It would be a great help to us all if they would only wear their "uniform"...

Don't be fooled by a friendly face....

Now there are some non violent ways to deal with hackers and since I am a proponent of non violence, I find this to be one resolution....

Or you could unleash this little guy on the hackers computer and NOTHING would ever work right again...

So here is the article in its' entirety....
"If Your Password Is 123456, Just Make It HackMe

by Ashlee Vance
Friday, January 22, 2010
provided by
Back at the dawn of the Web, the most popular account password was "12345."

Today, it's one digit longer but hardly safer: "123456."

Despite all the reports of Internet security breaches over the years, including the recent attacks on Google's e-mail service, many people have reacted to the break-ins with a shrug.

According to a new analysis, one out of five Web users still decides to leave the digital equivalent of a key under the doormat: they choose a simple, easily guessed password like "abc123," "iloveyou" or even "password" to protect their data.

"I guess it's just a genetic flaw in humans," said Amichai Shulman, the chief technology officer at Imperva, which makes software for blocking hackers. "We've been following the same patterns since the 1990s."

Mr. Shulman and his company examined a list of 32 million passwords that an unknown hacker stole last month from RockYou, a company that makes software for users of social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. The list was briefly posted on the Web, and hackers and security researchers downloaded it. (RockYou, which had already been widely criticized for lax privacy practices, has advised its customers to change their passwords, as the hacker gained information about their e-mail accounts as well.)

The trove provided an unusually detailed window into computer users' password habits. Typically, only government agencies like the F.B.I. or the National Security Agency have had access to such a large password list.
"This was the mother lode," said Matt Weir, a doctoral candidate in the e-crimes and investigation technology lab at Florida State University, where researchers are also examining the data.

Imperva found that nearly 1 percent of the 32 million people it studied had used "123456" as a password. The second-most-popular password was "12345." Others in the top 20 included "qwerty," "abc123" and "princess."
More disturbing, said Mr. Shulman, was that about 20 percent of people on the RockYou list picked from the same, relatively small pool of 5,000 passwords.

That suggests that hackers could easily break into many accounts just by trying the most common passwords. Because of the prevalence of fast computers and speedy networks, hackers can fire off thousands of password guesses per minute.

"We tend to think of password guessing as a very time-consuming attack in which I take each account and try a large number of name-and-password combinations," Mr. Shulman said. "The reality is that you can be very effective by choosing a small number of common passwords."

Some Web sites try to thwart the attackers by freezing an account for a certain period of time if too many incorrect passwords are typed. But experts say that the hackers simply learn to trick the system, by making guesses at an acceptable rate, for instance.

To improve security, some Web sites are forcing users to mix letters, numbers and even symbols in their passwords. Others, like Twitter, prevent people from picking common passwords.

Still, researchers say, social networking and entertainment Web sites often try to make life simpler for their users and are reluctant to put too many controls in place.

Even commercial sites like eBay must weigh the consequences of freezing accounts, since a hacker could, say, try to win an auction by freezing the accounts of other bidders.

Overusing simple passwords is not a new phenomenon. A similar survey examined computer passwords used in the mid-1990s and found that the most popular ones at that time were "12345," "abc123" and "password."

Why do so many people continue to choose easy-to-guess passwords, despite so many warnings about the risks?

Security experts suggest that we are simply overwhelmed by the sheer number of things we have to remember in this digital age.

"Nowadays, we have to keep probably 10 times as many passwords in our head as we did 10 years ago," said Jeff Moss, who founded a popular hacking conference and is now on the Homeland Security Advisory Council. "Voice mail passwords, A.T.M. PINs and Internet passwords — it's so hard to keep track of."

In the idealized world championed by security specialists, people would have different passwords for every Web site they visit and store them in their head or, if absolutely necessary, on a piece of paper.

But bowing to the reality of our overcrowded brains, the experts suggest that everyone choose at least two different passwords — a complex one for Web sites were security is vital, such as banks and e-mail, and a simpler one for places where the stakes are lower, such as social networking and entertainment sites.

Mr. Moss relies on passwords at least 12 characters long, figuring that those make him a more difficult target than the millions of people who choose five- and six-character passwords.

"It's like the joke where the hikers run into a bear in the forest, and the hiker that survives is the one who outruns his buddy," Mr. Moss "

So, let's laugh about it a little bit (or byte)...

"If Life Were Like A Computer:

You could add/remove someone in your life using the control panel.

You could put your kids in the recycle bin and restore them when you feel like it!

You could improve your appearance by adjusting the display settings.

You could turn off the speakers when life gets too noisy.

You could click on “find” (Ctrl, F) to recover your lost remote control and car keys.

To get your daily exercise, just click on "run"!

If you mess up your life, you could always press "Ctrl, Alt, Delete" and start all over!


I had been doing Tech Support for Hewlett-Packard's DeskJet division for about a month when I had a customer call with a problem I just couldn't solve. She could not print yellow. All the other colors would print fine, which truly baffled me because the only true colors are cyan, magenta, and yellow.

For instance, green is a combination of cyan and yellow, but green printed fine. Every color of the rainbow printed fine except for yellow. I had the customer change ink cartridges. I had the customer delete and reinstall the drivers. Nothing worked. I asked my coworkers for help; they offered no new ideas.

After over two hours of troubleshooting, I was about to tell the customer to send the printer in to us for repair when she asked quietly, "Should I try printing on a piece of white paper instead of this yellow paper?"
~~~Dear Lord thank You for the blessings of our creative minds and please help us to use them to make this world a safer and better place.


  1. Marcy...Thank you for the helpful (and always mixed with humorous) information about hackers and hacking. Amazing that people still use 1234 as passwords...duh...and they think they are safe? Very interesting and useful info, my friend. Love the yellow on yello. Take care, my friend. Have a lovely weekend.

  2. Wow Jackie was up early wasn't she! It's funny to me how I never had any interest in computers AT ALL until Ginny showed me how to blog. And now sad to say it has become a huge part of my life. However I wouldn't change a thing as I have met so many wonderful people including you Marcy. And I too enjoyed the that last joke. Also if life were like a computer, whoa that could come in handy!
    Love Di

  3. Hi Marcy...I saw the same article myself...I imagine a lot of people will be changing their passwords. What I haven't seen is very much of you, Marcy.
    Have a good weekend!

  4. Thank the Lord! A post from Marcy! What a sweet gift!
    And so informative!
    I agree so much with the fact that there is way too much to keep track of in our busy lives so people try to pick easy-to-remember passwords. But 12345! Or abc123! Come on!
    I guess we should really be changing our passwords every month or every few months.

    I loved all your corresponding pictures and I loved your jokes too!

    And I know your pictures of Jesus on your sidebar change all the time, and they are beautiful, but the one that is up there now looks like we disturbed Him and He looks as if He's saying, "What's up?" or "What now?"
    And I like it!

    Love you, Marc!,

  5. Thanks Marcy. That was very interesting. I have to say, There are 2 passwords that I use most of the time. Any more and I'd have to be certified and kept in a padded cell! I think it's amazing how un-creative we suddenly become when asked for a password.

    Great to see ytou posting again .

  6. Reminds me of Spaceballs, the movie. The scene where they are getting the code to unlock the door to the planet to get to the air. The password was 1,2,3,4,5, and they were like, "What an idiot!" Hilarious!

  7. Hi Marci
    Great to read your post.
    Loved the yellow story.
    My passward is 'googleplex' a number so large that even those hacking are sent packing! Or I could use 'Pi to the last decimal point' but I'd never get anything done. I cannot get my head round how stupid a lot of people are to use "1,2,3,4,5" but there are loads of them.
    Wouldn't it be nice if no passwords were needed, no doors locked, total honesty prevailed. Guess whe shall have to wait until the next life (or age)
    Speak soon ~ Eddie x

  8. Hi Marcy I am so glad to read your post, it is so good to hear from you. Yes Marcy, my heart has been heavy for Haiti and all its people. I have been praying constantly for everyone involved in this disaster and feel badly that all I have done is make a small donation and many prayers.
    Your post hits home yet lifts us up with your wonderful sense of humor.....luv ya....:-) Hugs

  9. Hello Marcy!
    The people of Haiti and all of the rescuers continue to be in my prayers...such a sad thing. But what a wonderful thing that so many have been able to step up and help through volunteering and donating. There are some truly wonderful people out there..
    I would think there are some really bad people (hackers) out there too :( I hope this enlightens everyone to keep thereselves safe :)
    Sending love and hugs your way.....:) xoxoxo

  10. Love the kitty and the prayer. Our parish has also collected for Haiti. They will need more than one-time help, however. It is good that you have a parish over there and can funnel help that way.

  11. Marcy, Thank you for the good information about hacking. We have a cousin in Haiti right now and we have been getting reports every couple of days. It's horrible there. There is little food and water. No pain mediciene. They are in the process of burning bodies and limbs now. Yet he has told us in the mist of all of this devastation the people sing. It is apparently quite beautiful and eerie to hear.

  12. i love the cat haker! very funny! I will pray for Haiti. There are some incredible testimonies on the Christian News Network about miraculous saves. We must all keep praying.

  13. Hi Sweet Marcy!! Thank you so much for praying for me with this appendix junk!! I know the prayers have really helped. It is not easy to stay at rest when there is so much I want and need to get done, and I know my friend's prayers have helped me with that!!

    I have read a lot about passwords, and told my family members and they still use one for everything or use common ones. Not sir ee!!

    Thanks for the tips! I'll probably print them out for them. They might listen if it isn't from Mom...ha ha!!

    Have a joyful week, sweetie!

  14. She's BACK! Great balance of sweet concern for our Haitian neighbors and fun with passwords. I started writing all my passwords down in a little notebook. I can't remember which one is for which one! If I lose it, I'm in BIG trouble!

  15. Hi Marcy...I'm back...checking in on my friend.
    I hope you know that I'm thinking about you.
    Smiles from Jackie

  16. Thank you for the reminder to help in whatever way possible those in Haiti. I agree and consider it a privilege. As for Hackers...once again you shed new light on an old subject. Smiling as I read your take on some needed solutions. It is certainly one of those troubling subjects.

    As for you...I think your new blog look is so attractive. Great job!

  17. Hey Marcy, good to see you at the computer once again. I know, somedays it is difficult to put something together but we are always so glad when you do! It just puts big wide smiles on everyones faces! hugs and smiles across the miles here.....lindalu


Comments are blessings too...