Passwords are convenient. They are probably the oldest form of authentication. People have invented some useful replacements for passwords, such as fingerprint and retina authentication, tokens and one-time PINs, and sometimes such implementations are really warranted. But in most other cases – for online banking, say – it is in my opinion that using old good passwords is the best choice. Some may argue that authentication by password only is not very safe, but in reality there’s very little advantage of token or one-time PIN authentication over passwords when it comes to Internet services…
When our stomachs digest food, some complicated processes are happening inside our bodies. When we run programs on our computers, millions of logical operations are happening in the CPU. Likewise, when we browse websites, many processes, about which we may not even have a clue, are happening behind the scenes. For example, when you go to a website, it may assign your browser a “cookie” or two, detect your location, system language, your screen resolution, and perform many other necessary and unnecessary things. Many of these sorts of functions are done using scripts.
About 12 years ago, I decided to install Windows 2000 on my laptop, on which I had Windows XP (for some reasons, I thought I liked Windows 2000 more). A relatively simple and straightforward installation process, which was not to be expected to be problematic at all, somehow caused a total data loss on my laptop’s HDD. It might not be too bad, but I didn’t have any backups! A sleepless night spent in an attempt to recover the data didn’t bring any fruits, and I went to bed in early morning, hopeless and devastated. Later I called a firm that specialized in data recovery, whose representative was able to restore all, or almost all, of my data in a couple of hours. I was happy then, but I was also lucky, and it cost me some nice money. I hope this story will never become reality for you.
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Have you ever lost important data? By important I mean anything that is important to you or your job or your business. This could be digital photos of a trip you took five years ago, archives of your university papers, email messages stored on your hard drive, or access keys to your Bitcoin wallet, say. Most of us do not think about the problem of data preservation until it’s too late. Even though there do exist methods for data recovery, this procedure is usually quite lengthy, stressful and it’s not guaranteed that it will succeed at all. So, instead of waiting for a hard drive to fail (and sooner or later it will fail – and you never know if sooner or later), let’s take some precautions to make sure that a great part of our life, which is indeed quite digital, is not spent in vain. Rule #1: make local backups. If you’ve been dealing with computers for a while, you sure know how to make backups.
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Most of us have heard about some events when credit card data was compromised, and sometimes those events were large-scale. For example, last year retail giant Target was itself a target for credit card thieves who stole 40 million credit card numbers, cardholder names, addresses, and other relevant data. In January this year, Neumann Marcus was another victim of credit card thieves who this time stole close to 70 million credit card numbers and relevant info. And these are just a couple of recent high profile accidents, whereas smaller-scale leaks of precious financial information happen all the time, and all the more frequently.