Posted tagged ‘OSX’

LastPass Hacked

June 16, 2015

I hate passwords. I have too many accounts and too many passwords to remember. So, I resorted to using LastPass not too long ago for simplifying sign on services. Okta was another service I’d had the opportunity to use and I found the experience of both to be quite good.

Until this morning.

There is no substitute for a good, strong password portfolio + a regimen of deprecating them on a schedule. If you’re good at eating at least once per day, you should be capable of changing your passwords once every six months (if not more frequently).

Apple has Keychain. Google has Authenticator. I’m sure Microsoft has something (probably called Keychain or Authenticator because they’re too lazy to come up with their own product names). Anyway, the point is, picking one of these and electing for an extremely long factor passcode that is 100% machine generated is probably the best way to go. I, personally, like GUIDs with mixed upper and lower case letters mixed in PLUS another character in there somewhere such as a “!” (which I don’t use). But you get the idea. A password such as has a lot going for it:

!c40d2b17-42f8-4908-b341-F6538CBE997C

First it’s nearly 40 characters long. A human isn’t going to remember a randomly generated string of mixed case and letters very easily. That is a good thing. Nor is that person going to bother to write that sort of thing down or easily transcribe it to a friend or relative.

The one thing it sucks at now is it’s public and has probably been scooped up by some machine and folded into the crazy ass long list of passwords to try while attempting to brute force past a security wall of some kind. Plus all it’s variants. Don’t even waste your time recycling it.

But, that type of password is ideally suited to living in something like Keychain and probably forgotten. Easily discarded and reset regularly. See, we get attached to passwords. It’s the familiarity of the thing. A birthdate mixed with an address mixed with a childhood friend’s dog’s name. The problem with anything remotely like those… The cracking algorithms and raw compute power available today can make mincemeat out of those in nothing flat. The ability to recurse through all the variations with brute force velocity is astounding and only getting better and cheaper to do so.

Blockchain holds a lot of promise. If you’ve not been paying attention to digital security or alt digital currencies like Bitcoin… The Blockchain holds a lot of promise. A LOT! Our digital identities are at risk. Our state secrets are at risk. Our banking is at risk. Our infrastructure is at risk. Oddly enough, our flesh and blood lives are now inextricably weaved with the digital fabric of the world. We are cyborg in William Gibson’s finest sense of it. Wearables are an interesting aside.

What’s a netizen to do?

If you’re a Mac, like me I use Apple’s built in password generator. Follow these very simple steps:

1) Click on the Apple Menu (upper left) and select System Preferences

2) Click on Users and Groups

3) Click on Change Password. If it asks for iCloud Password, Cancel or Change Password… Choose Change Password. Don’t worry, we’re not changing anything. We’re just fabricating a new password for you to use elsewhere or at the very least showing how to do it at a later time.

4) See the icon that looks like a key? Click that and a small window like the one pictured below will show up.

LastPass GUID Keychain Blockchain

 

5) One of the first things you’ll see is the Type menu dropdown. I prefer Random. Pick anything you like. But, remember, anything resembling a word is going to be more easily cracked. Apple probably oversimplifies the Quality meter. Generally speaking the farther that meter is to the right, the better the password.

6) Next, change the length of your password. See how you can manipulate the quality and security of your new passcodes? And, it’s all built into OSX.

Well, this is all good and fine. We have a new, strong password generator in our pocket.

How do we put this into practice?

I’ll show you, in my next post (because I have to create screen shots and write against an outline I’m creating in my notebook – yes, pen and paper) how to go about integrating Keychain into your web browsing of secure sites AND using Keychain across Apple devices.

See, Apple’s already solved this problem and I placed my faith in a couple of companies because of employment policy. Well, screw that. Apple has more cash money and a declared interest in the security of the digital fabric. I believe them when they say it. Google, Microsoft… not so much. Facebook, not at all. Those guys are out to monetize our behaviors across a broad spectrum, not make our lives better.

SEO Tools on Mac? Doubtful

October 27, 2014

I love Macs. You can tell from this blog, right? But, SEO on a Mac is just not feasible so far as I can tell. I’ve tried. It sucks.

So, some will probably say… you just don’t write well for the search engines. That’s might be true. There’s so much more involved than writing though and getting your geek on and tuning your site for device responsiveness and zippy downloads. It’s not ALL just content. Matt Cutts can say that all. day. long. There are other ways to:

1) get your site noticed by Google, Bing, and all the other indices out there quicker than just “waiting” to be discovered; and
2) to rank stronger and faster than will happen organically and certainly than would happen with content alone;

and it’s not going to get done with a Mac. 😦 Yes… that makes me sad to even type it.

You can create content like a fiend on a Mac. That’s what all the ads say, right? You just can’t promote it like a fiend (without using Windows emulation software anyway).

So, I’m on a crusade to prove that notion wrong. If anyone has a really good tool for SEO that’s native to the Mac (and I mean better than Kontent Machine and GSA and Scrapebox and the like) please let me know. I’d love to test it out and sing the praises of worthwhile tools. Take it to the comments folks. I’m all ears.

Macs + Airsoft = An FPS Game

February 2, 2014

The craze among kids these days is Airsoft. Once the kids start blogging about Airsoft… it’s either on the rise or it’s jumped the shark. (Hint: it’s too early to have jumped the shark).

So, I’m trying to mashup my love for the Mac platform, my love for tinkering and coding and mash all that up with FPS and MMO gaming. I’ve found an FPS platform I think may be able to accommodate all of the above…

It’s been a long time since I “wrote” a game from the ground up. Think it was a move-based-game back in 1985’ish with my friends Russell and Erik. We banged it out over a weekend on a TRS-80 and wrote it in BASIC. Forget how many lines of code we laid out, it was a lot more than anything else we’d taken on before. It wasn’t what I’d call a shippable product. But, it was a more-than-solid beta with pixel collision detection (easy), variables for terrain “encumberances” – which simply meant groups moved slower across bogs and mountains than in flat terrain or ships on water. We even took a crack at group vs. group combat rules as I recall. It was an algorithmic attempt at allowing for large scale combative encounters.

The whole thing was somewhere between a digital Penté and World of Greyhawk. And now I’m about to be up to something equally entertaining.

Mac Warcraft Multiboxing

January 5, 2014

I’ve been playing World of Warcraft for the past several years and have a primary level 90 raiding toon (iLvl 558 Ret Paladin) and a secondary “alt” that I use for gathering herbs and ores (up to level 70 zones). My guilds full of people my age and in some cases older (which = more mature behavior more often).

Warcraft on Mac is significantly similar to the PC version (which I’ve downloaded in the past). The thing I like most about the Mac version… FAR less malware exploits.

I discovered something nice about the Mac version though for multi boxing purposes… I can completely duplicate the World of Warcraft directory in the Applications folder (rename it to (more…)

iOS 7 Better Have…

December 13, 2012

There are some things iOS7 had better have before I consider shelling out the bucks for the next new iPhone. Here’s my iOS bucket list:

  • I need a way to import a high quality greeting to my voicemail. Hardline dialing and recording a new greeting is NOT Apple-worthy. I don’t mind recoding to the Voice Memo app or on my Mac. I just ought to be able to import a sound file as my greeting dangit!
  • I expect a way to SEND my voicemails to my iCloud account as email attachments. Or create a rule that does it automatically.
  • I expect a way to FORWARD voicemails to other iOS devices as messages. I can send a picture/video via MMS… Why not a voicemail attachment?
  • I expect a heckuva LOT more out of Siri. It’s more useless than the Maps app right now.
  • Maps is borked. Now that Google Maps app is on the App Store… I’m going back to what works. Still love you Apple. Just need excellent Maps when I need a map.
  • Something’s still not quite right about Contact sync between iPhone, Mac laptop and iCloud. I have duplicates of many contacts in the order of 19 to upwards of 30 of the same person. There needs to be a super easy way to purge duplicates. Contact management shouldn’t be this nasty a chore.
  • Speaking of chores… Apple got the Notes app sync PERFECTLY across devices. It’s not broke. Don’t fix it. 😉 Replicate it’s success for the other devices.
  • Facetime is such a great idea. I’ve tried and tried and tried to Facetime on our local wireless LAN. Each time it rings once (so I know the call is coming through) and then indicates I’m busy to the other devices. Needs to be easier.
  • The new messaging works pretty swank too. Not sure how they’d improve it just now.
  • Can we PLEASE just sync up our phones to Time Machine? Pretty please?
  • Passbook is freakin awesome! A killer, kick ass kind of awesome. The world is ready (it just doesn’t know it yet).
  • Airplay = way awesome.
  • Safari “Reader Mode” is slick. Wish there was a way to make Siri read the content while I’m driving or otherwise occupied. That’s one thing I love about Alex on my Mac.
  • Photo streams to my AppleTV is not quite as straight forward an intuitive as I would expect from Apple. Needs Improvement.
  • Newsstand is a useless icon on my phone deck. Please, let me delete it or file it in another folder.
  • Faxing from my phone should be a no brainer easier than anything to do.
  • Finally, PRINTING. Guys. C’mon. Really? Printing is right up there with copy and paste. We’ve been doing this a long time. Why can’t we seem to get this right?

iOS is a super platform. So good in fact that in our household we’re getting device confused. I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve swiped our fingers across the screen of the laptop or the iMac. It’s silly really that we’ve become so accustomed to iOS that is’s bleeding over into how we interact with the other computers around us.

 

 

Snow Leopard Imminent

August 24, 2009

The Apple Store has just updated to note Snow Leopard ships on August 28. Lots of update options: $29 update is presumably an updater only for those of us running 10.5.x already. If you buy a new Mac that doesn’t have Snow Leopard installed… $9.95 will get you there. A boxed full-install, set of Snow Leopard will cost $129.00

Snow Leopard unlimited server will cost $449 and ships at the same time.

Visit http://store.apple.com/ for more details.

ADC: 10.6 Build 10A286 Seed Ready

March 9, 2009

The workstation and server seeds of Snow Leopard were posted on March 5. Lots of new stuff in there and certainly worth the download. Developer.Apple.com