Tag Archives: fridayfun

British spies want shorter and less secure passwords

If you thought the purpose of passwords was to be as strong as possible to give your information and accounts the best chance of being secure, Britain’s spies at GCHQ have news for you.

In a new document, Password Guidance – simplifying your approach (PDF), the organisation’s cyber director said that advice has moved on from previous guidance to make passwords stronger as a greater deterrant to hacking.

Now, the spy agency is suggesting IT managers help install systems that make passwords easier to remember. Yes, you did read that right.

The report claims that the average UK user has 22 different online systems that are password protected – clearly more than most people can remember – with the same supposedly safe password used to access around four of these.

It says the need to remember multiple passwords for different sites leads to unsafe behaviour, such as writing them down, duplication, or using simple or predictable passwords creation strategies.

But it also stresses that, crucially, the bottom line is that even following best practice guidelines (ie not doing any of the above) cannot guarantee keeping online services secure. Key loggers, phishing and interception are all cited as credible risks, with information about how to carry them out and the tools to do so easily discoverable on the internet.

In a foreword to the report, Ciaran Martin, Director General for Cyber Security at GCHQ (cool job title!) said: “Complex passwords do not usually frustrate attackers, yet they make daily life much harder for users. They create cost, cause delays, and may force users to adopt workarounds or non-secure alternatives that increase risk.”

It suggests that simplifying an organisation’s approach to passwords can reduce the workload on users, lessen the IT burden, and – crucially – “combat the false sense of security that unnecessarily complex passwords can encourage.”

It lists seven key steps that organisations (and individuals) can take to optimise system security, which are:

  1. Change all default passwords (well, durr)
  2. Only implement passwords when needed to minimise user overload
  3. Understand the limitations of user-generated passwords (tl:dr they encourage insecure behaviour)
  4. Except machine-generated ones have their own problems (tl:dr they’re difficult to remember)
  5. Prioritise admin, mobile and remote user accounts as these are more important/vulnerable
  6. Use account lockout and protective monitoring
  7. And, of course, don’t store passwords as plain text

Will seeming to be good, impartial advice, it’s worth remembering that this does come from the people who broke antivirus software so they could spy on people, so feel free to take it with a piece of salt if you are of a cynical disposition.

Flashback for Friday Fun!

Schools in the UK start back this week after the summer break, and my timeline on Facebook is awash with little faces wearing pristine uniform that is a touch too big for them as they head off into formal education for the first time.

A time to move forward to be sure, as I’m one of those mums who will have done just that by the time you read this. But my digi.me flashback feature is also active, showing me an adorable picture of my now toddler when he was very tiny two years ago.

Between them, these two features got me thinking a lot about the present and past, mainly along the lines of how quickly time is flying by, and how life moves on at such a pace these days it can be hard to hold on to all your memories, even the precious ones.

Thankfully, flashback in digi.me is a great feature for finding out what you were doing on this day one, two, five or even longer years ago and being reminded of things big and small, personal and professional that had slipped from your mind.

A premium account feature (you can try it without charge for 30 days when you download the normal version, which is free to all), simply click on the flashback icon on the menu bar to see what you did across all linked accounts on this day in years past. And if you want to check other days, either specifically or random ones, just click on the calendar icon in the top green bar and then zip around to your heart’s content.

Happy flashbacking!

Friday Fun: Back to School?

It doesn’t seem possible that Summer (what Summer, ask all UK users) is nearly over, but the time for back to school is nearly upon us.

Shorts and swimming clothes are being put away as parents scramble to get all the requisite bits of uniform acquired in the correct sizes and labelled with their child’s name for when they are inevitably lost.

This will be my first year as a mum of a schoolchild, and it’s set me thinking about my own first schooldays a long, long time ago.

I didn’t have to wear a uniform, and this being the 70s all the children wore browns, beiges and dark reds – none of the colourful brights young clothing comes in today.

My parents were quite relaxed about school, so there’s no proud first day photo such as the one I will undoubtedly take of my son and post on social media.

I’m sure, too, I’ll love looking back on it as time goes on and my little four year-old grows up.

Do you have a favourite picture from your schooldays? Please share it in the comments with any memories.

And, if you too want to find and remember key events in your life, download digi.me for free now!

Ashley Madison data leak

Friday Fun: your embarrassing data leaks

While no-one is suggesting the Ashley Madison data hack/leak is in any way funny for those involved, the wall-to-wall coverage across social and traditional media does suggest it has hit a nerve.

Data protection and privacy has gained a lot of traction in recent months, with publicising of the Ashley Madison and Sony hacks, in particular, opening the eyes of consumers as to how much information about them is in the public domain, and how relatively unsecure a lot of this is.

Taking back control of this personal data is a huge motivator behind the creation of digi.me and development of securer interfaces online, as well as safer user behaviour.

But, let’s face it, there are times when all of us have come unstuck by revealing information that we didn’t mean to, or accidentally sending an text or email meant for one person to someone else.

While it’s likely that these mistakes had a lot less serious consequences than the Ashley Madison leak (and hopefully a lot smaller audience), they often become funny stories after the initial embarrassment has faded.

So let’s hear from you – what’s your personal worst data leak? Stories in the comments please.

Friday Fun: remembering university days

This week hundreds of thousands of teenagers have found out if they have made the grade (quite literally) for places at university.

It’s been a stressful time for parents, as well as the students themselves, but with many now holding confirmed places, it’s a time to start celebrating and looking forward to new adventures as children (in many cases) prepare to fly the nest.

Changes on the horizon for one generation often herald a looking back to times past from the one above, so I thought today’s Friday Fun should take a stroll down university lane and find old student photos.

Given that social media and smartphones were very far from being a mass ‘thing’ for those of us who have children of our own, chances are your pictures (like mine) are blurry efforts in a funny shape, and that the only way to get them online is to take a picture of them with your beloved smartphone.

Regardless, I’ve included one of the few still knocking around of me – here I am with my fellow housemates, as well as our house cuddly toys, in 1995. I’m the one with red hair, by the way, very obviously dyed. Probably wearing Doc Martens and a baggy jumper as well, as that was the uniform back then.

Of course, our children will simply be able to look back through their digi.me library in the future – they really don’t know how lucky they are, do they?

So, anyone care to join me? Share your snaps of days gone past in the comments.

digi.me holiday disasters

Friday Fun: Holiday Disasters

Given August is a bit of a wash-out so far, certainly in the UK, I thought I’d look on the bright side as things could always be worse.

I could be in a tent that has flooded, for example, or a caravan that has blown over a cliff.

A skiing holiday with no snow wouldn’t be a lot of fun at any time of year, while storms in paradise would be pretty annoying too.

While I’ve been bitten by a jellyfish and in a Russian tour group that had to pay off the Mafia to be able to leave the country (separate holidays, true stories), bar the odd illness I’ve never been really unfortunate in the holiday stakes.

But I know some have been unlucky, with friends and strangers alike sharing tales on social media that range from mildly awful to downright hilarious.

Have you got any you want to share? Falling in the sea fully clothed, horrific weather, comedy accidents? Take a look back through the pictures on your phone, or through your digi.me library to remind yourself of some examples of when life didn’t quite go as supposed to – and then share them with us!

We’d love to hear your stories – get in touch by commenting below.

Friday Fun: Footprints

My Digital Footprint This week we have been talking digital footprints. Be that the footprint that we leave behind across every website we visit, or where we knowingly share content via social networks etc.

Whilst looking at some of the different aspects of digital footprints I came across this great piece of artwork by Jenny Hottle that I just had to share.  Whilst the work is from 2011 the sentiment of the article and the art still stands true today.

We all have our own individual identity online and how we share and want to view that is unique.  If you were going to create a digital footprint of your online life what would yours look like?  Would it look similar to this one of Jenny’s or would it be totally different… What unique aspects of your digital life would shine through and how do you think your digital footprint has changed over time?

If I think about my own digital footprint over time you would see my Facebook area being larger than Twitter for personal use, however if you had asked me the same question a year ago I would have said I was more focused on Twitter.  Instagram and PInterest have become more relevant to me and so has Ebay.  That gives you just a little insight into my personal digital footprint… Tell me about yours and how it has changed over time. I would be fascinated to hear about it.

Remember you can always use digi.me to backup your social media digital footprint and keep control of your social media data.  That way if you ever choose to leave a social network you will always have a copy of your data. 

Friday Fun: A Personal One

When it comes to having fun and enjoying ourselves we all want to come up with the ultimate weekend plans.  We look to one another for inspiration and ideas.  What better place to look for those ideas than on our social media networks.

This weeks Friday fun is one of working out what really makes us smile at a weekend.  What is it that we each love doing. Use digi.me to look back over your old social network content and see what fun things you have done last summer or even the summers before that for ideas about what you want to do this weekend.

I took a look at my own social media history and it jogged my memory that there is a country fete that is on this weekend every year that it would be nice to take my son to so that is now my plan! Let us know what plans you are making!

Friday Fun: Finding Yourself

When you lose your phone or your laptop fails you how do you find and restore your digital self?

The other day I lost my phone. Don’t ask me how I will never know!  Anyway it was lost for three whole days and along with it my sanity and my sense of humor were both starting to go as well.  All I will say is thank goodness that my digital life is mainly online and here’s how I managed to recover it!

First of all I started searching for my phone… I looked everywhere, turned the house upside down… then started searching my car and anywhere I’d been recently. It took forever and I didn’t find it.  So then I decided to play detective…

  1. What was the last social media content that I uploaded? What were the last pictures of me online and what was I wearing? (Maybe it is in my clothes or maybe it will give me an idea of where I was when I lost my phone… (I used the digi.me journal to do this bit as it was quicker than looking at each social network individually!)
  2. All my photo’s are backed up to the cloud so I also then went through the most recent image uploads there… The last images that were uploaded were at home… that’s a start then… it’s unlikely to be anywhere but home…
  3. My phone is on Android OS so I then decided to see what information Google had captured about my location to confirm this last assumption. All I needed to do was search “find my phone” on Google and it shows the last place it saw it.  Thank goodness it agreed the last place I had it was at home!
  4. So now to work out what I did with it.  I knew where I’d been that day so then went through the bags I’d used and voila my phone was found!

So you see social media and my online digital presence can be used to track my every move.

Your challenge today is to find out what information is out there about you and share your story online.  Remember when you share your story tag it with #itsyourlife and we’ll share the best of them on Twitter and Facebook!

What is your Wimbledon Tennis Pose?

Friday Fun: Tennis Poses

The Wimbledon tennis season for 2015 is well underway and no matter who you are supporting it is good to have fun in the sun. When you watch the tennis you sometimes see people dressed as their favorite tennis stars whilst watching on center court but not everyone is fortunate enough to get tickets so we thought why not bring the center court fun online.

Our Friday Fun session today is one to get you looking and feeling like a tennis pro! Get your cameras to the ready with a friend and put together your best tennis poses… If you want to really get into it why not dress up like your favorite tennis star!  Post your picture on Facebook, Twitter etc with the hashtag #tennisposes #wimbledon and let’s see what fun we can all create!

And as a bonus bit of fun, leave a comment for us telling us who you think will be in the men’s and women’s finals.