Internet Security and Passwords

I am in Panama City for a couple days. Today and tomorrow, I will be meeting with the Embassy for Warden’s Appreciation meetings and training sessions. Luckily, this time I am in PC with a capable laptop and don’t feel cutoff from the Internet.

Connecting to the Internet here has reminded me of a couple security items.

First, I am connected to a secure router requiring a password. However, when I turn on my PC I can see it and another 30 available routers. Most require a password, there are two InternetParaTodos free connections, and a few routers that the owner has not secured.

I have advised the owner, of the router I am on, to turn off broadcast mode so his router is not visible. If no can see your router, it is practically impossible to break in. Not impossible, but almost. If you use the default settings on a router, then others can try the various manufactures general settings.

Moving past router connection security, I want to talk about password management again. I have covered it several times, the last being HERE.

I started using LastPass as my password manager about 8 months ago. With it, I only have to remember one HARD TO CRACK password. I let it remember all the rest. I still currently use the free version, but am considering moving to the premium version so it will be available on my iPhone and iPad.

The primary reason for using a password manager is to have different HARD TO CRACK passwords on all sites. When you have multiple email accounts, multiple credit cards, multiple banks, multiple websites requiring sign-in, then remembering them all is impossible.

I can’t do it and doubt if many can, so they just use the same simple password on all sites. I just used a password tester on my password and it said it would take 500 iterations to crack it. I will change that in the next week by a factor of ten.

Since my need to improve my own security was on my mind, I thought I would post another awareness post for others. The Internet is less safe each day and you have to practice safe behavior. You can’t cover your PC with a condom and expect it to do any good. 😉

10 thoughts on “Internet Security and Passwords

  1. thank you don ray! i will be checking out lastpass. i have a handful of remembered, favorite, hard-to-crack passwords but trying to remember which site uses which one is a hassle. i keep all that information in an address book. have a terrific day.

  2. Absolutely correct. I’ve been using LastPass for about 6 months now with no problems. I don’t have to remember all my PW’s anymore and it has never failed to work. You also may want to check out “MaskMe” by the same provider as LastPass, ABINE. They also have a neet app called “Don’t Track Me” that keeps companies from tracking you while you cruise the net. This website, is a tracking site but DTM prevents that from happening.

    You have nothing to loose as they are free….really free. I have no financial interest in these companies whatsoever….just trying to help. BTW, it really pisses the Feds off as it makes it tons harder to track you now.

  3. A couple of things. When using an online password tester, DO NOT use your current password. Specially if the session is not encrypted. And, the following statement is completely false
    “of the router I am on, to turn off broadcast mode so his router is not visible. If no can see your router, it is practically impossible to break in.”
    You are talking about Disabling SSID broadcast on a router, that for someone breaking into your network is a mini hurdle and it is a huge inconvenience to users. Your best defense is to use WP2 encryption protocol only and a strong password. Most people configures their routers with a mix of WP + WP2 which renders it useless.

  4. Some clients need to see the SSID to connect. As Gringo in Panama stated, WPA2 (or WPA if your router doesn’t support WPA2) is the best available wireless security option. Of course, the pre-shared key should be sufficiently long with characters and numbers (at a minimum) to aid in the security of the router.

    I’ve been using KeePass. It’s open source, and the 1.x version is file compatible with KeePassX on Linux and KeePassDroid on Android devices. Apple’s restrictive policies may make this an unavailable option on iDevices.

    You didn’t mention the use of a VPN in the above post, but it’s something to consider when you use a public wi-fi connection.

  5. Thanks tuxi. Yes, I forgot to mention VPN. I should have. Searches on this blog for VPN will give you more information on that subject.

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