data security

data security is a very difficult contept. On one hand, security through obsurity is important. For example, if someone asks for your mother’s maden name, do you give it? I personally make up something. Would someone really expect Einstein to be my mother’s maiden name? How about Plank or Newton? Is there someone in history that motivated you? How does Armstrong work for you? He was the first person to step on the moon and the first person to win 7 Tour de France races. I realize that these are two differet people but the last name is the same and it works for a secondary password. With this you have the power to hijack someone’s bank account. I personally don’t give out this information but make up something that is difficult to spell. One of the banks in Louisiana, for example, said that their name is their first line of defense. Most hackers don’t know how to spell their name. This is a good first line of defense. In fact, I use it for my pet’s first name. I don’t use the name of my first dog because it is a common name in Spanish. Instead, I use the high school that my father went to. I use it because it is a small town in West Virginia that very few people know how to spell. If I don’t use this, I use something obscure like my college ID number which is  based on the year I stated and the sequence I was in applications. I realize that this is something crazy to use but is something that is engraned upon my mind and I can’t forget the nunber.

How many times do you give someone a check? The check contains your name, address, and typically your drivers license number. Giving someone this information has an implicit trust and you are trusting that the company that you are workign with will not use this information for marketing purposed. Have you thought about how difficult it is to track someone based on their drivers license number? If you were a busines, how would you figure out how to contact someone based on this information? Can you trrack someone based on their drivers license without someone inside the department of motor vechicles or a privatge investigator that does? It is troublesome. Do you really trust the address on someones checks? Typically, yes. Very few people lie on this address because it needs to match your drivers license to cache a check. I had a friend who got a call from a company that she bought went to for a shoe purchase. The owner of the company called her up the next day and asked her out for a date. She was really freaked out by this sleaze that used the information on her check to call her and ask her out for a date.

I personally cache checks at a grocery store or my bank. My bank does not care what address is on the check, only what the last four digits of my SSN is. The grocery store only cares that my frequenty buyer card that I have is current. I realy don’t need to have a valid or current address on my checks. I question the viability of having the corret address on checks as a form of identification.

The true question that I keep coming back to is what is trustworthy and what is a con job? Do I really know the difference? I hope so. If you receive a message from me years later that I am the direct decendant of the Ottoman Empire and and need your checking account so that I can transfer millions of dollars into my checking account and need your help please, please report me to the FBI. I need some serious help or some serious time in a federal prision. I only hope that I spend minimal time for the minor crimes that I am committing against my current and former employeers.


how many identities do you have

Ok my experiement today looks to be a relative success. Today’s computer count was not significantly reduced

1) clock
2) alarm
4) car and car alarm
5) cell phone
6) iPod (I used head phones because I had to use…)
7) cell phone charger
8) laptop (wired to corp intranet)
9) garage access
10) elevator
11) office phone (I wanted to save cell phone minutes)
12) fridge (diet coke and coffee creamer at office)
13) coffee machine at office
14) credit card reader (took customer to lunch) (and family to dinner)
15) computer or tv at home tonight (to watch a tv show or show on DVD)
16) playstation to kill a few imperial storm troopers (it’s been that kind of day)

This brings up the question of how many identities did I use today and how many different passwords were required.

1) key for my house to lock the door as I left – physical device/key
2) remote alarm for car – electronic signal to unlock the car
3) key for car – physical device/key – laser cut key which interestingly is more secure than my house key
4) my voice and spelling of my name (I forgot the access card to the garage at work)
5) face (I knocked on the door to have someone open it and let me in since I forgot my badge)
6) credit card with my name on it
7) laptop password
8) email password
9) calendar password
10) gmail password (personal email)
11) password for time entry system
12) my mom’s birthdate (I had to update her medication ship to address and this is all they asked for to verify it was me. They also wanted an invoice number to find her account but only her birthdate to verify I was acting on her behalf)
13) I’m hoping to later provide my user profile to my playstation to play a saved game or two

Amazing how many times I had to identity myself and how little or how much information was required to perform the authentication.

update on computer count

Ok, yesterday’s exercise got me to thinking about how to minimize the number of machines/computers that I use. My first corrective action was to redefine a machine or computer and reduce the number. Today I won’t count light switches or toilet flushes, just machines that have batteries or electricity other than things like lights, heater, air conditioner, and door bell (yes that would have counted yesterday but it wasn’t used). Today the count is substantially less

1) clock
2) alarm
3) fridge
4) coffee grinder
5) coffee maker
6) second coffee maker (I was experimenting on grinding my own for a Senseo machine I got for Christmas. It was a real failure)
7) griddle for tortillias and eggs
8) cell phone
9-11) computer, network hub, internet modem
12) car (it was parked in the driveway)
13-14) iPod and FM transmitter
15) cell phone charger
16) credit card processing machine
17) golden tee video game
18-19) laptop, wireless hub
20) tv, my kids turned it on after school
21) second car
22) garage door opener (this car does stay in the garage)
23) home phone
24) ice maker

not bad. almost half of yesterday and I don’t expect to use much more tonight. Let’s see if I can reduce it to less than 10 tomorrow. It will be difficult.

how many machines/electronics did you use today?

I was reading a blog earlier today and the author wrote about how many machines that she used today. The number was a little amazing. I thought I would give it a try

1) clock – looking to see if it is time to wake up or another hour or two
2) alarm – not as long as I thought it was
3) toilet – ok, TMI but it is a simple machine with a lever
4-7) light switches to keep from tripping over stuff other people leave out
8-12) computer, wireless hub, internet connection, servers at office
13) cell phone (multiple times)
14) fridge
15) gridle to heat a tortillia
16) coffee maker
17) remote alarm on car
18) car
19) gate for parking at customer site
20) elevator (multiple times)
21) another car (to pick up my mom for a doctor appt)
22) door bell
23-25) ipod, car radio, fm wireless transmitter
26) computer at library (different from my laptop)
27) card scanner at library
28) do the electronic doors at the library count? I think so to inflate the numbers
29) another computer to do blog entry
30-33) a few more lights around the house
34) microwave to heat up some dinner
35) ice machine a little later
36) dish washer
37) tv to watch the Daily Show and ESPN
38) I just got a phone call
39) I did pull the 2nd car into the garage so it includes the garage opener
40) I went to the bank and made a deposit so the bank computers count
41-43) I made a few purchases today with credit cards. I almost forgot about these.

Ok, my number is 43. Not bad for one day. I will see if I can do the same thing next week. Some of the things that I didn’t do that are typical are the parking garage at work, the elevators at work, the escalator at work, the coffee maker at work, the fridge at work, the network for my laptop at work (but I usually don’t use the library computer), my phone at work.

Wow, this is close to my age. I wonder if there is a corrillary between the number of machines/electronics that you use and your age? Does it go up or down as you get older and at what point does it start to drop. I know that my mom probably only used 10-15 today if you include her hearing aids.