Be careful, and change your password!

I have no doubt as I embark upon my journey for today that I will arrive at my goal. I can see my goal now, clearly there in the distance. In the past it was fuzzy, it was hard to understand and unclear, but now it is evident. It is not ambition, nor is it about where I should be; it is my goal, my vision.

It can be hard as you traverse your career to realize that where you start and where you end are your choices. One of the things that I have come to accept is that I love technology. All of us, have something that helps us focus, helps us become more of what we believe we were meant to be. For me that reality is technology. For me it is not the reality of servers chattering with each other in a data center nor is it moving those workloads to the cloud. I’ve done that and it is interesting, but I am more curious about what lies just over the horizon.

The recent WikiLeaks articles from the CIA talk about the vulnerability of the many devices in your home. The national news organizations offer advice on using your device. Two of the pieces of advice are awesome; the first is turn the device off if you aren’t using it, the second is always change the default password. The last one seems to be difficult for a lot of people. Just changing the password makes it harder for low-end hackers to engage.

crappieIt is a hard reality to accept, but it is sadly where we are. The goal today is to be as safe as possible. There is no way to be secure, to be completely safe. If you go completely off-line, you are still at risk of your identity being stolen and used. If you turn off all the devices in your house, there is still a risk from your ISP not patching routers fast enough.

We live in a time of risk. But, so has the rest of the human race throughout history. We no longer have to fear bears attacking our families or us. That was a concern for many people many years ago. It is, of course, relative but we as humans have always had something to fear.

You cannot live in fear of what may be. You can pay attention and make sure that the things you add to your life to make your life easier don’t create vulnerabilities. Or if they do, that you manage and minimize those vulnerabilities. This is not a cry to pull back, to keep everything in your head and hope you don’t forget it. It is simply a call to be careful.

Don’t be afraid, just be careful. It is the advice you give your children; it is the advice your parents gave you, and it works. Be careful; there are people out there who do bad things. The goal is to keep them as far away as possible.

My simple security system:

· The more critical the account, the more often it should be changed (I change credit cards and my bank on-line every 45 days).

· The more key the account, the harder the password. I use passphrases for my most critical accounts. Pass phrases like “mycatlikestoeatdogfood@night17” is a great example. A little long to remember but you get the idea.

· Don’t panic and if you are hacked at work, call the security team right away! If you are hacked at home power down the device, disconnect it from the network and change the password offline if you can. If you can’t, then go ahead and hard reset the device.

Don’t let fear rule you. Just plan, prepare and do the best you can!

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I am just saying…