Category: Uncategorized

The Password Fallacy: Why Our Security System Is Broken, and How to Fix It

For the few that haven’t yet spotted technology journalist Mat Honan’s story about his unfortunate hacking, here’s the capsule version: What started as an attempt at his Twitter feed via an Amazon account security hole quickly escalated into several wiped devices, a gutted Gmail account, and devastating data loss, both personally and professionally. The terrifying tale ended on a cry for users to embrace Google’s two-step verification, which requires a second level of authentication when accessing your Gmail. When James Fallows wrote about his wife’s ordeal with a compromised account last year, he came to the same conclusion.

Sure, adding an extra lock would have spared both a fair amount of trouble, but there’s a much bigger problem at hand. We’re required to take downright ridiculous precautions to maintain our online security, and it’s not sustainable. In fact, it never was. Our password system is broken, and it’s about time we change it.

Let’s take a little tally of where we’ve found ourselves, shall we? Studies show that we log into some 10 sites a day. Places that hold our most important data, like Gmail, Dropbox, and our bank, might ask us to jump through two tiers of password hoops in order for them to ensure our online security. Overall we’re asked to hold keys to 30-40 sites in order to read the news, access our email, or book a haircut. For each of these sites, security analysts recommend using a unique string of 14-characters made up of letters, numbers, and special symbols. But remember: Computers are quick to guess dictionary words, your birth year, and numbers substituted for letters. No repeats allowed. Oh, and whatever you do, don’t write anything down.

Who can possibly remember all those characters?

Read the rest over at The Atlantic.

Gizmodo: How an 11-Year-Old Invented the Popsicle and Changed Summer Forever

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Ever wonder why the popsicles you make at home don’t taste quite as uniformly delicious as the ones in the freezer case? Well, you may have been perfecting your popsicle-making technique for years, but the ones in the store have a hundred years of science and innovation in their corner. It all started with one particularly brilliant 11-year-old boy…

To read the rest, check out the story on Gizmodo.

Wired Magazine: 1Q84 Transports Readers to Bizarro Version of 1984

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1Q84, the latest novel from Japanese sensation Haruki Murakami, transports readers back to 1984 — or at least a phantasmagoric version of that year. He presents a world beset by a series of murders and disappearances, a menacing sect called the Sakigake, and free-floating evil forces. But was the real year 1984 really that much less surreal? After some investigation, we found the narratives to be remarkably similar.

To play the game, check out the full article out here.

Wired Magazine’s Travel Package: Plan Your Trip Like an Engineer

Even for the most methodical traveler, planning a trip is a descent into chaos. We look at Orbitz-type sites and inquire of frequent-flying friends, but when it comes time to click Make Your Reservation, we can be paralyzed by uncertainty. Still, there are a few principles culled from the fields of urban planning, engineering, and consumer research that might help you get moving.

Read more over at Wired. The travel package was nominated for a National Magazine Award.