Spending
Crack-proof Passwords

Your passwords may not be very secure, even if you think they are. Find out how you can create robust passwords

Everyone has to keep track of dozens of passwords: for network accounts, online services, premium websites, ATMs or credit cards. It’s difficult to remember all of them, so some write their passwords on a piece of paper, leaving their accounts vulnerable to thieves or in-house snoops. Others choose the same password for different applications which makes life easy for intruders of all kinds. According to a recent survey, nearly 50% of users have the same password for all the sites they visit on the Internet. Moreover, almost 90% of them don’t change their password periodically. Imagine what would happen if any of your accounts were to be hacked; the hacker would gain access to all your email, bank and social networking accounts and may even wipe out your presence from the Internet!
Just for a scare, try this: search your email for some of your own passwords. Most probably, you will find a lot of your own passwords, either because you have emailed them to yourself or because some websites email your password when you register or when you click on the ‘I forgot my password’ link. So, if a hacker manages to access your email, he can easily break into your other accounts.

You can prevent this from happening by creating passwords that are difficult to crack. Unfortunately, increasingly sophisticated technology, coupled with our own carelessness, may render even supposedly ‘robust’ passwords vulnerable to attack by an experienced hacker.

So, how can you create a truly secure password? Although no password can be 100% secure, you should use a combination of words, digits and special characters to create a password that will be difficult to crack. It’s also important to be aware of the methods used by hackers to crack a password.

According to Eric Thompson, founder of AccessData (a technology forensics company that helps detect and investigate cases of fraudulent data access), most passwords follow a pattern. (In fact, AccessData has developed a ‘password-guessing’ software). He says that people, typically, choose a readable word as the base for a password—it may be a word that is pronounceable in English but not included in a dictionary. When pressed to add a numeral or symbol to make the password more secure, most people add ‘1’ or ‘!’ to the end of that word.

AccessData’s software, which uses a ‘brute force’ technique that tries thousands of passwords until it guesses yours correctly, can easily figure out such common passwords. When it incorporates your computer’s web history into its algorithm—including all your information on Twitter, Facebook and other such sites—AccessData’s software can come up with a list of passwords that is highly likely to include yours as well.

AccessData’s research found that a typical password consists of a root word plus an appendage. The appendage is a suffix to the root word in 90% of the cases.
The first operation of the AccessData software is to test a dictionary of about 1,000 common passwords, like ‘letmein’, ‘password1’, ‘123456’ and so on. Then, it tests each of these words with about 100 common suffix appendages, like ‘1’, ‘4u’, ‘69’, ‘abc’, ‘!’ and so on. Believe it or not, the software recovers about 24% of all passwords with these 100,000 combinations.

Then, the software scans a series of increasingly complex ‘root dictionaries’ and ‘appendage dictionaries’. The ‘root dictionaries’ include a common word dictionary (5,000 entries); names dictionary (10,000 entries); comprehensive dictionary (100,000 entries); and phonetic pattern dictionary (1/10,000 of an exhaustive character search).{break}

The software runs an exhaustive four-character-string search of each dictionary—the most common lowercase, the second most common initial uppercase, all uppercase and final uppercase. It also runs the dictionaries with common substitutions: ‘$’ for ‘s’, ‘@’ for ‘a’, ‘1’ for ‘l’ and so on. The appendage dictionaries include all two-digit combinations, all dates from 1900 to 2009, all three-digit combinations, all single symbols, all single-digit plus single-symbol and all two-symbol combinations.

This exhaustive process succeeds in cracking even the most ‘foolproof’ passwords. The company’s research indicates that the ‘sweet spot’ of a typical password is a seven- to nine-character root plus a common appendage and that it’s much more likely for someone to choose a hard-to-guess root than an uncommon appendage.

The good news is that you can use certain techniques to create robust passwords that cannot be cracked even by using such sophisticated software programs. Choose a password that doesn’t contain a readable word. Mix upper- and lower–case letters. Use a number or symbol in the middle of the word, not at the end. Don’t just use ‘1’ or ‘!’, and don’t use symbols as replacements for letters, such as ‘@’ for a lowercase ‘a’. And, of course, create unique passwords for different sites.

Confused? Think it will take too much time? It needn’t be that difficult to create a robust password if you follow some simple rules. Rule No. 1 is to start with an original but memorable phrase—for example, ‘Moneylife says know what’s coming’ or ‘My first Maruti was a real lemon so I bought a Toyota’. The phrase can be anything, but make sure it’s something you can remember easily without writing it down.

Next, convert the simple phrase into an acronym. Be sure to use some numbers, symbols and capital letters, too. Thus, ‘Moneylife says know what’s coming’ can become ‘MLskwc’ or [email protected]; and ‘My first Maruti was a real lemon so I bought a Toyota’ can become ‘M1stMwarlsIbaT!’

That’s it! These mnemonic passwords are hard to forget, but they contain no guessable English words. Using the same method, you can also create site-specific passwords; for example, ‘It’s 45 degrees in May, so I use Gmail’ can become ‘i50dgiMsIuG’ (50 is not the real temperature; it’s for the month number multiplied by 10). Based on the phrase, you can change your password almost every month; for November, it becomes ‘i110dgiNsIuG’ and for March, it’s ‘i30dgiMsIuG’ and so on.

However, there is no need to use robust passwords for every site you visit. For general sites which don’t affect you personally or financially, use simple phrases to create passwords. Reserve your strongest, most distinct passwords for critical services—like your bank account, your computer and your personal e-mail.
You should also avoid using a public computer because the Windows operating system’s memory management feature retains any data that you input in the normal course of operations. When you type your password into a program, it gets stored in the system memory. When Windows swaps the page out to disk, it becomes the tail-end of some file on your hard drive, and it will sit there forever. Linux and Mac OS are no better in this regard.

There is one more password you will always need to remember—your ATM personal identification number (PIN). Although your bank provides the PIN, it is advisable to change it. Many banks offer the facility to change your PIN by using the ATM. The PIN consists of just four numbers, making it difficult to create another secure PIN; but you can do so by using your imagination. For example, you can use your mobile handset to create a robust and yet easy-to-remember password: your root phrase ‘Moneylife says know what’s coming’ becomes 6592 (using the digits corresponding to the first letter of each word—6 for ‘Moneylife’, 5 for ‘know’, 9 for ‘what’s’ and 2 for ‘coming’); and ‘My first Maruti was a real lemon so I bought a Toyota’ becomes 6758.

So, what are you waiting for? Can you create a robust and safe password using something like “Mahabharat mein Ghatotkach, jo ki Bhima ka putra tha, mara gaya” or “Yudhishthir ne kaha naro wa kunjaro”!

User

Videocon plans pan-India presence by February, to look at 3G phones

Videocon is planning to achieve a pan-India presence by the end of February. It will also roll out 15 more models of handsets in the next two months, in addition to exploring the option of coming out with 3G handsets

Leading conglomerate Videocon, which has forayed into the mobile handset space, has said that it plans to achieve a pan-India presence by the end of February and roll out 15 more models of handsets in two months, in addition to exploring the option of coming out with 3G handsets.

"We will be going beyond soft launches and will aim at having a pan-India presence. We will expand our footprint this month and fill in the balance by the end of next month and have a pan-India presence by the end of February", Rahul Goel, chief operating officer (COO), Videocon Mobile Phones, told PTI in the wake of the launch of the company's mobile handsets in Karnataka.

"Videocon has 12 models currently; we are not in the black-and-white space. We understand that there is a huge requirement for dual SIM phones and we are looking at developing more phones in that region,” he said, adding, "We are looking at launching 15 more models in the next two months.”

On whether a 3G phone was on the company's roadmap, he said, "We are positioning Videocon in the high-end space as well and will be coming up with high-end QWERTY phones and phones with 3G capability.”

On the timeframe for coming out with the 3G model, he said, currently, it was not possible to ascribe any specific timeframe, but once the private sector gets access to the 3G spectrum, it would be a matter of a month before the product would be rolled out, he said.

On Videocon's entry into the mobile handset space, Mr Goel said, "There is a huge potential in the market and a large base of consumers are untouched throughout the country.

"Other than urban & semi-urban (areas), the rural market is expanding rapidly and I think it is the right time to enter the market and we are doing it after a lot of research,” he said.

"There are 10 million-12 million mobile phones being purchased every month. There is no proper brand in the market addressing the requirements of the segment. Entering the mobile space is a natural extension for us, since we are already in the consumer durables space,” said Mr Goel.

"New operators have launched their cell phones, and in terms of numbers, we already have more than 100 million subscribers and it is getting bigger and better day by day. Replacement and advancement of cell phones is also a huge pie of the total,” said the COO of Videocon Mobile.

On the contribution of the mobile segment to the overall turnover of the company, he said, "We will have a significant double-digit share by end of next fiscal.

"Our benchmark is to be in line with consumer requirements and to be one of the top three players by 2011,” he said.

"A leadership position in two years we think is doable,” he said, adding, "We have a strong foundation and infrastructure, strong customer service, distribution, and product development (capabilities). We have invested in the right pillars to enable us to be leaders in the space,” he said.

"We want to be a one stop-shop for the customer whoever wants to by a cell phone of any range,” said Mr Goel. The company would shortly be airing its television commercials. "We do not have a brand ambassador now, but we shall use a celebrity eventually,” he said.
 

User

COMMENTS

Ganesh Ambildhuke

6 years ago

I want a videocon Mobile phone Full thuch Screen 3. 2 Inces Screen 3.2 MP camera & Ato Focus 3G Service WiFi Conectivety All Fiture Loded & Chiffly And Very Low Price I want Ok

Ganesh Ambildhuke

6 years ago

I want a videocon Mobile phone Full thuch Screen 3. 2 Inces Screen 3.2 MP camera & Ato Focus 3G Service WiFi Conectivety All Fiture Loded & Chiffly And Very Low Price I want Ok

Ganesh Ambildhuke

6 years ago

I want a videocon Mobile phone Full thuch Screen 3. 2 Inces Screen 3.2 MP camera & Ato Focus 3G Service WiFi Conectivety All Fiture Loded & Chiffly And Very Low Price I want Ok

yogesh

7 years ago

Here are the MRPs of all Videocon mobiles in Maharashtra.
V204: Rs.1,695

V1301: Rs.2,750

V1302:Rs.3,095

V1303: Rs.2,895

V1306: Rs.2,800

V1401: Rs.3,450

V1403: Rs.3,695

V1405: Rs. 4,050

V1502: Rs.4,995

V1604: Rs.5,595

V1750: Rs.9,795

V2950: Rs.18,995


All of these products except V1750 are in the market. V1750 is expected to launch by Early Feb 2010.

SUVARNA

7 years ago

V1750 PRICE

SUVARNA

7 years ago

V1750 Peice

SUVARNA

7 years ago

PRICE

dheeraj

7 years ago

i need a reqrutment department no

It was a break

More downside on the cards

Last week, we had headlined our newsletter as “Make or Break”, declaring that a big move was coming. We had said, “Watch 17,200 on the Sensex for a major decline.”Our logic was that the “market’s trading band has narrowed down to an extreme. This usually presages a major move. We can’t say at this moment whether the market will end higher or lower but a big move is certainly coming. If Asian markets open low on Monday and the Sensex ends below 17,200, that would be an early sign of reversal of the uptrend. The rise has gone on for too long without a correction and it’s time for bullishness to cool down a bit.”

Indian markets plunged this week following weak global cues. Fears that China’s central bank may tighten its lending norms and US President Barack Obama’s proposal to limit risk-taking at US banks weighed heavily on market sentiment in the later part of the week. On Monday, 18 January 2010, the Sensex was up 87 points from Friday’s (15 January 2010) close, ending the day at 17,641, while the Nifty closed at 5,275, up 23 points.

Fears of stimulus tightening by the Indian government weighed heavily on market sentiments on Tuesday, 19 January. The Sensex declined 155 points from the previous day’s close, ending the day at 17,486 while the Nifty ended the day at 5,226, down 49 points. On Wednesday (20 January 2010) the market tried to hold on to its level; the Sensex declined 12 points while the Nifty closed at 5,222, down 4 points. During the day, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said that the government was taking steps to contain inflation and the situation was constantly under review. Sharad Pawar, agriculture minister, said that the prices of milk and related products were set to rise because of the demand-supply mismatch. Kaushik Basu, economic advisor to the finance ministry, said that food prices will cool off in one-two months and inflation will turn around.

Thursday was a day of mayhem. Once 17,200 was broken, the Sensex declined a massive 423 points from the previous day’s close ending the day at 17,051, while the Nifty closed at 5,094, down 127 points. During trading hours, the Indian government said that the food price index rose 16.81% in the 12 months to 9 January 2010, while the fuel index was up 6.34%. The rise in food price index was lower than an annual rise of 17.28% in the previous week. As per reports, excise duty collections between April to December 2009 were down by 13% at close to Rs70,000 crore, whereas revenues via customs duty were also down by a whopping 28% at around Rs59,000 crore. Service tax collection was also down over 6%, with the government collecting slightly over Rs36,000 crore. The total collection of indirect taxes in the first nine months was about Rs1,66,000 crore, down by 18% compared to the last fiscal. On Friday, 22 January 2010, at the end of the day, the Sensex declined 191 points from the previous day’s close to 16,860 while the Nifty closed at 5,036, down 58 points. According to research firm EPFR Global, investors have pulled $348 million from China equity funds in the week ended 20 January 2010, the biggest outflow in 18 weeks. Asia ex-Japan equity funds took in only $29 million because of China-related outflows, though global emerging market equity funds attracted $748 million in fresh money in the week to 20th January. We expect the Indian market to open lower on Monday, 25 January 2010, on the back of weak European and US markets on Friday. The Sensex has a support at 16,600. If this support is breached, we may see another round of sell-off, all the way down to 15,500.
 

User

COMMENTS

M.R.Borkar

7 years ago

I maintain my earlier stance.Sale 1/5th,
n cover 1/3rd of it at 15500 level, so that ur profit is booked n still u maintain
ur holding in qty stocks. U will be able to stand at the gate n collect "Kisan Deva's Toll from Gopi;s"

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