Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Many of us know about the Heartbleed bug introduced in OpenSSL. It's in the news everywhere. Some places told you to change your passwords right away. Really, the better advice would have been to not even visit those sites until they actually fixed it on their end first. If they hadn't updated their OpenSSL, then your new password may very well have been viewable in memory and parsed by someone exploiting the bug.

Now, for those sites that did update, you should go change your password. This is where I need to stop you and ask you if you are using a password manager. There are many available. Some free, some not, and others that offer both options. LastPass is one of those that offers a free and paid version. Basically, if you want to pay $12/year to use it on your phone, that's the only big difference I saw.

Why would you want to use a password manager? Sounds like you're giving someone else the keys to the kingdom? Well, it might sound that way. The code isn't open source, so we'll just have to take their word for it, but the claim is that they don't even know the passwords you submit. If you want to know more, you might want to watch this video explaining the technicalities. Really though, it improves your security overall. You can automatically generate secure passwords, then not have to remember them because of the automatic fill-in feature that it supports. If you do need to look up the password though, you can do that through the menus. This is handy for when you can't remember these and need to submit them to log in to a mobile app, for instance.

They take a lot of measures to ensure that the data you submit is safe. Could it be exploited in the future? Maybe so, who knows these days? At this point, the weak point that I see is that if someone can guess your master password, then they might be able to take over all your accounts. You can add more authentication steps to prevent this, as well as alerts I believe. So in the large scope of things, it seems pretty safe for the time being.

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Facebook Nearby Friends

It has been reported that Facebook is going to add a feature to their app to allow users to view when friends are nearby. This technology has been used before. Where have we seen it before? Google Latitude, that's where. Want to try it out? Too bad, Google discontinued it a long time ago. Not really sure why. Maybe they didn't have many people using it. I know that the majority of my friends don't actively use Google+, so it's safe to say that the Facebook app will have more potential.

Now, I know what you're thinking. Facebook? No thanks, I don't want them knowing my location and telling everyone about where I am all the time. The good news is that you would have to actively turn on this feature. On the other hand, every time I update the app it seems to reset my preferences on location sharing in messaging. Guess they want you to share that.

How many of my friends would actually turn this on? Maybe a few. How many of them would know about the feature being added? Probably not that many, unless the new update explains to the users about the feature once they open the app. I don't see this becoming a big hit, as everyone is already wary of Facebook. Don't believe me? Go check out the responses to them buying Oculus Rift after it had been previously funded by crowd-sourcing.

I may turn the feature on once the app gets updated. Just to see how it works and how many use it. Won't be too interesting, but I do like the idea of using my GPS every once in a while. GPS technology is cool. Those satellites and space and such.