Category Archives: Misc.

Here we go again … passwords marked never to be used, still in the top ten

Our previous post by Joseph Williams titled ‘Bad passwords or just bad advice’ discussed the poor password habits of an online savvy society. Discussing that “the past few decades [of password advice] hasn’t quite sunk in” (Williams, 2016). In light of the leak of a Yahoo database, most likely tied to the huge data hack in recent headlines, researchers have once again looked at the most popular passwords uncovered.

Insecure passwords such as “123456”, “password”, “abc123”, “welcome” and “qwerty” were among the top ten exposed (Wang et al., 2016). Amongst these classic passwords, other users were using simple combinations of easily identifiable information (e.g. name, age and birthday). Generally, some users make their passwords easy to remember and simple for convenience. Yet, this leads us to an argument of convenience vs security. Continue reading

A warm welcome to our new Computing, Digital Forensics and Cybersecurity Students

The Welcome Programme 2016 at Christ Church University (CCCU) gave us a delightful opportunity to welcome our new 2016/17 undergraduate students to Computing.

Students were provided with a timetable of stimulating, introductory and fun activities/events to socialise, make friends, and discover what it means to learn at CCCU in Computing. A social gathering welcomed students to meet the team, get to know each other, and get to know their lecturers.

First week (26 – 30 September) of teaching for our new students, and a welcome back to existing students, we hope you are all settling into the swing of things. We would like to provide our new students with a few tips for keeping organised from the beginning of your studies.

So let’s get started …

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Bad passwords or just bad advice?

Another year, another article in the media slamming the password habits of people. Evidently the advice of the past few decades hasn’t quite sunk in, with “123456” taking the award for the most obvious password for the 30th year in a row.

I’m sure we’ve all been guilty at some stage of using bad passwords. I remember being a young teenager, and inviting a friend over to my house in order to create a Hotmail account for MSN Messenger. “What do you want your password to be?” he asked. Being a child who possessed the three quintessential qualities of a teenager: naivety, stupidity and a general smart assary, I thought it would be hilarious to choose the password ihateyou. My reasoning was sound, “Well, if anyone hacks into it then they know I don’t like them”. Genius, really. Unsurprisingly, my Hotmail account was compromised a year later, and I lost my 2MB of e-mail space and my friends list of people who I saw at school every day.

Self-deprecating anecdotes aside, the largest reason for this blog post comes from a BBC article posted a couple of days ago.

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Curse of the Dreaded Dates

As an undergraduate, I was given a Bash assignment and one of the sub-tasks was to sort some .csv file by date. It took me two weeks to realise that the way we, as British humans, format the date (dd-mm-yyyy) is utterly useless to sort with and simply reversing the date (to yyyy-mm-dd) and treating it as a numerical type (example, 20150810) would guarantee an easy way to sort. It later transpired that formatting dates to yyyy-mm-dd is an ISO standard and what you should be doing when working with dates on computers and whatnot. At the time, though, my undergraduate mind was overjoyed that I managed to solve what was a tricky problem.

Given that previous lesson, you really would have thought that an experienced Joe, having already world exclusively solved the date sorting problem for the standards committees, would not be naive enough to use dates that follow dd-mm-yyyy format when programming.  Well…

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Why I’m wishing you ‘All the best’

Director of Computing, Digital Forensics and Cybersecurity Paul Stephens muses on the best way to sign off an email…

I don’t actually sign my emails. Call it laziness or ultra-efficiency but it’s easier and takes fewer keystrokes to automatically sign off.  If I’m forced to, for example, when I create a meeting and my email client doesn’t automatically add a signature I might grudgingly add a ‘P.’.  Instead I have a couple of signatures set up Continue reading