Cryptography

The History and Mathematics of Codes and Code Breaking

Tag: password

How to Stay Protected While Online

Some advice that I would give to a college student is to never assume that what information is stored is safe. I think that if someone doesn’t want their information being leaked online, they shouldn’t put it online in the first place. There is always a possibility that something bad may happen. It would always be safe to keep a physical copy of important information than a digital copy. I also believe that secure passwords are needed to keep online information secure. There are so many occurrences of people having passwords like “password” or “123456”. Both of these passwords are easy to guess, and it makes it easier for hackers to find and steal your information. I think that the passwords that I use for online websites are strong. I keep most of my passwords written down in a notebook, so I would not have to save them online. The reason why I write my important passwords down on a piece of paper is that it is safer to store it on paper than online. If I saved my information on public storages, such as google docs, my information would not be secure. I do not like saving my passwords online; however, there are many password managers that can keep passwords safe. LastPass is a password manager and generator that I believe many college students can benefit from since it can create a secure password and save it for them.

The Security of Email and the Privacy

Now I just collect some information and have not started my paper yet, so I find that I will take a huge amount of effort to deal with this paper.  In this paper, I want to talk about the security of the emails during the international communications (like the legal access of the government, the physical location of the service and so on) and the strength of the passwords of emails accounts. There are two most challenging parts of this paper. The first part is to get the way how government access the email because I am not familiar with the internet. I need to search more information and spend more time to understand the process. The second part is to understand the way the hackers use to break the emails accounts and the method the emails use to keep the passwords of the accounts safe. These need I spend a lot of time on mathematics and I might also need to explain them clearly in my paper. The  more enjoyable part in this paper is to think about the method to improve the strength of the passwords of the email accounts and to keep people’s email accounts safe. This part is very useful and interesting. To improve my paper, I still need to search more resources and organize the arguments clearly.

More Than Just A Password

One of the largest misconceptions I hear from college students is that having a secure password means they are safe. While having a secure password is a good step, there are many more things that a college student should do to protect their online information from being hacked. As we discussed in class, there was recently a security breach in the iCloud in which hackers got into celebrities accounts, and I would venture a guess that those celebrities had fairly secure passwords. As seen in “3Q’s: Password and cloud Security,” there are many things aside from just having a secure password which we should do to protect our online privacy. As we saw with Professor Bruff’s example in class, there are ways to get around just a password such as security questions, or using brute force to guess the password, so a password alone is not enough.

The primary thing I wish to highlight that college students should apply is two-factor authentication. This should be applied not only to the cloud, but to all other accounts that have this as an option. Two-factor authentication simply means that you need some other way to access your accounts than just provide a password, such as a code in an email or text message. This means if someone wants to access your account then they have to not only have your password, but have access to the other method you require to access your account. This significantly increases the difficulty for someone trying to hack into your account while only adding a minor inconvenience to yourself. At the end of the day however, anything which you put online can be found by anyone, so the best thing to do is always be careful with what you put online.

Looks Guilty, is Guilty

The brutal treatment of the protagonist, Marcus Yarrow, in Chapters 3 and 4, following the Bay Bridge bombing was something that suck out to me as I tried to put myself in the situation and how I would have reacted.  One less obvious theme related to cryptography which I noticed was the appearance of guilt that results from Marcus’ heavy defense of his privacy.  It is human nature to feel that someone who does not want to tell you everything would be hiding something bad from you.  Marcus’ actions in his first encounter with the Department of Homeland Security’s interrogation seemed to point to him trying to hide something.  Although Marcus only tried to resist for a short amount of time, and the treatment by the Department of Homeland Security was less than proper, he did show resistance which could have prompted some reaction by the DHS.

The concept of no cipher being better than a bad cipher was also present in this scene.  The idea of this is that a ciphered message which is broken could do more harm to the party enciphering than if the same message was discovered not enciphered.  Although there were no ciphers, the passwords and security precautions made by Marcus made him look guiltier just as an enciphered message could have done.  In this scene the passwords were not “broken” but instead were taken by force, which in the long run, has the same overall effect. Regardless of the means of discovering a secret, the fact that it was a secret makes it seem worse to the party discovering it.

Image: This is Secret by Trey Ratcliff

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