Posted tagged ‘hackers’

Circumventing codes causing chaos

August 11, 2012

We’ve all heard the expression the cheque’s in the post. Normally, this means the cheque’s not in the post. Taking it further it means the person in debt is defaulting on his payment. At some point or another we have all experienced that awful moment when we know we have been ripped-off. You know what I’m talking about. You give someone a loan of money and they keep it. Or you buy from a mail order firm and they don’t send the goods. Sometimes you just have to accept that you can be a loser in some transactions. This is tough as money makes the world go round, though I think that’s not entirely true as gravity plays a big part.

Ordering online has always worried me. Don’t get me wrong reputable sites like Amazon have a 100% record with items that I have ordered, it’s just that I don’t trust that little padlock that says, don’t worry your card details are safe here. Padlocks can be opened if you have the right key. Or to be more precise as we are talking softwarish, if you have the right encryption code.

Hacking is another word that has been brought back into fashion under a new guise. Previously, a hacker was a not very good footballer whose job was to kick the opposition’s best player. Being a bit of a ball player myself (he says, pure utterly big-headedly) I used to hate the hackers on the field. Now I hate the hackers in the cyber world. These malicious malcontents can steal your identity. They can rob from your bank account without holding up the staff, wearing a mask or having a fast getaway car. I always wondered what would happen if more than one hacker stole your identity because there are more than one hacker out there. Be good if they all met one another.

“I’m Spartacus.”
“No you’re not. I’m Spartacus.”
“You are all having a laugh. I’m Spartacus.”
“I am the real Spartacus.”

Before you know it all these thieves would be left high and dry. With so many fraudsters kicking about they’d be easy to spot.

Passport control would say “We’ve got another one here trying to leave the country and go to the Canaries. Call for the Security service. He must be mad.”

Younger hackers hoping to pull off an under age tattoo stunt would be pierced with the legend. “You’re the fiftieth punter wanting an All the Days of Dolores inking. Clear off.” Pause. “Nice ears, though.”

Then there’s the foreign expatriate hackers that try to set up fish and chip shops in the U S of A. “We only do burgers here, you phony.”

Attempting to hire out library books fraudulently would be met with the contemptuous “You want to read Ceri Radford? You must have a fake ID or you‘re looking for a door stop.”

All these Spartacus’ roaming the continents and feeling disgruntled with the world can only lead to one thing: Revolution. Will the real Spartacus stand up?


I’ll name that tune in two

May 25, 2011

The recent “external intrusion” or hacking as it’s called in computer lingo, of the Sony PlayStation network has raised serious doubts, yet again, about the safety of users’ personal information on “secure” servers. Sometimes to distance itself from a scandal a company may change its name. Sony used to be called Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo K.K (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation). If they dump the new name and bring back the old, you heard it here first.

With the Sony empire caught in the kill zone, who will be next in the sights of a first-person shooter with the ability to hack? The forecast is overcast for Google and other rugged pioneers who have plans for a cloud computing scheme to soar over the atmosphere. Storing files, music and photos on a remote server is a ray of sunshine right enough, what happens if that valuable blog you’ve typed up in five minutes is corrupted or stolen by an invader? Have Google (originally called BackRub) a retrieving device or will that blog be beyond reach like an itch in the middle of your back you can’t scratch.

Personal computer attacks are as common as Wimbledon. Passwords are the first line of defence against intruders. It is recommended that you change your passwords often and try to incorporate x, y and z in the codes. This gives you a licence to use neologisms. Be careful though when playing scrabble lest you forget your word doesn’t exist except in your password box. It’s not nice to be labelled a scrabble cheat.

A three-strikes and you’re out mechanism exists on certain websites to stop cold callers guessing your password. Three wrong attempts and you’re frozen out. This makes it imperative you memorise your secret word. Experimentation with contextualizations is safer in the long run than your mother’s maiden name unless you happen to be the Singaporean Finance Minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

As the digital world is awash with bugs, paper is making a comeback. Backing-up copy on Xerox (founded in 1906 as The Haloid Photographic Company) printers and filing in cabinets is the way forward. Kept at the correct temperature these documents will remain immortal as long as when you pore over old scripts you don’t pour cola (Pepsi was originally “Brad’s Drink”) on them. Apart from that, paper is foolscap, foolproof and invincible.