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Take These 7 Steps Now to Reach Password Perfection
December 9, 2017 12:33 pm|Comments (0)

Your passwords are a first line of defense against many internet ills, but few people actually treat them that way: Whether it’s leaning on lazy Star Wars references or repeating across all of your accounts—or both—everyone is guilty of multiple password sins. But while they’re an imperfect security solution to begin with, putting in your best effort will provide an immediate security boost.

Don’t think of the following tips as suggestions. Think of them as essentials, as important to your daily life as brushing your teeth or eating your vegetables. (Also, eat more vegetables.)

1. Use a password manager. A good password manager, like 1Password or LastPass, creates strong, unique passwords for all of your accounts. That means that if one of your passwords does get caught up in a data breach, criminals won’t have the keys to the rest of your online services. The best ones sync across desktop and mobile, and have autocomplete powers. Now, rather than having to memorize dozens of meticulously crafted passwords, you just have to remember one master key. How do you make it as robust as possible? Read on.

2. Go long. Despite what all those prompts for unique characters and uppercase letters might have you believe, length matters more than complexity. Once you get into the 12-15 character range, it becomes way harder for a hacker to brute force, much less guess, your password. One caveat: Don’t just string together pop culture references or use simple patterns. Mix it up! Live a little! A quick for instance: “[email protected]$ ” does you way less favors than “chitown banana skinnydip.”

3. Keep ’em separated. If and when you do deploy those special characters—which, if you opt against a password manager, lots of input fields will force you to—try not to bunch them all together at the beginning or end. That’s what everyone else does, which means that’s what bad guys are looking for. Instead, space them out throughout your password to make the guesswork extra tricky.

4. Don’t change a thing. You know how your corporate IT manager keeps making you change your password every three months? Your corporate IT manager is wrong. The less often you change your password, the less likely you are to forget it, or to fall into patterns—like just changing a number at the end each time—that make them easier to crack.

5. Single-serve only. If you’re on the password manager train, you’re already all over this. But if you can’t be bothered, at the very least make sure that you don’t reuse passwords across different accounts. If you do, a retailer breach you have no control over could end up costing your banking password. See for yourself: The website Have I Been Pwned has nearly 5 billion compromised accounts on file—if yours is one of them, there’s a chance your favorite password might already be toast.

6. Don’t trust your browser. A convenient shortcut to remembering all those passwords, or getting a paid password manager account, is letting your browser remember them for you. You’ve seen the option yourself. You probably even use it on at least one site. Don’t! The option is convenient, but the underpinning security is often undocumented, and it doesn’t require that your password actually be, you know, good. If you need a free and easy option, go with a password manager like Dashlane instead of trusting everything to Chrome.

7. Add two-factor too. Hate to say it, but these days not even a password is enough. Many of the services you use today—social networks, banks, Google, and so on—offer an added layer of protection. It can come in the form of a code sent to your phone via SMS, or if you want to step it up, through software solutions like Google Authenticator or hardware like a YubiKey. SMS should be enough for most people; just know that like many entry level security precautions, it’s not perfect.

The Wired Guide to Digital Security

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Solve These Tough Data Problems and Watch Job Offers Roll In
October 28, 2017 12:00 pm|Comments (0)

Late in 2015, Gilberto Titericz, an electrical engineer at Brazil’s state oil company Petrobras, told his boss he planned to resign, after seven years maintaining sensors and other hardware in oil plants. By devoting hundreds of hours of leisure time to the obscure world of competitive data analysis, Titericz had recently become the world’s top-ranked data scientist, by one reckoning. Silicon Valley was calling. “Only when I wanted to quit did they realize they had the number-one data scientist,” he says.

Petrobras held on to its champ for a time by moving Titericz into a position that used his data skills. But since topping the rankings that October he’d received a stream of emails from recruiters around the globe, including representatives of Tesla and Google. This past February, another well-known tech company hired him, and moved his family to the Bay Area this summer. Titericz described his unlikely journey recently over colorful plates of Nigerian food at the headquarters of his new employer, Airbnb.

Titericz earned, and holds, his number-one rank on a website called Kaggle that has turned data analysis into a kind of sport, and transformed the lives of some competitors. Companies, government agencies, and researchers post datasets on the platform and invite Kaggle’s more than one million members to discern patterns and solve problems. Winners get glory, points toward Kaggle’s rankings of its top 66,000 data scientists, and sometimes cash prizes.

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Alone and in small teams with fellow Kagglers, Titericz estimates he has won around $ 100,000 in contests that included predicting seizures from brainwaves for the National Institutes of Health, the price of metal tubes for Caterpillar, and rental property values for Deloitte. The TSA and real-estate site Zillow are each running competitions offering prize money in excess of $ 1 million.

Veteran Kagglers say the opportunities that flow from a good ranking are generally more bankable than the prizes. Participants say they learn new data-analysis and machine-learning skills. Plus, the best performers like the 95 “grandmasters” that top Kaggle’s rankings are highly sought talents in an occupation crucial to today’s data-centric economy. Glassdoor has declared data scientist the best job in America for the past two years, based on the thousands of vacancies, good salaries, and high job satisfaction. Companies large and small recruit from Kaggle’s fertile field of problem solvers.

In March, Google came calling and acquired Kaggle itself. It has been integrated into the company’s cloud-computing division, and begun to emphasize features that let people and companies share and test data and code outside of competitions, too. Google hopes other companies will come to Kaggle for the people, code, and data they need for new projects involving machine learning—and run them in Google’s cloud.

Kaggle grandmasters say they’re driven as much by a compulsion to learn as to win. The best take extreme lengths to do both. Marios Michailidis, a previous number one now ranked third, got the data-science bug after hearing a talk on entrepreneurship from a man who got rich analyzing trends in horseraces. To Michailidis, the money was not the most interesting part. “This ability to explore and predict the future seemed like a superpower to me,” he says. Michailidis taught himself to code, joined Kaggle, and before long was spending what he estimates was 60 hours a week on contests—in addition to a day job. “It was very enjoyable because I was learning a lot,” he says.

Michailidis has since cut back to roughly 30 hours a week, in part due to the toll on his body. Titericz says his own push to top the Kaggle rankings, made not long after the birth of his second daughter, caused some friction with his wife. “She’d get mad with me every time I touched the computer,” he says.

Entrepreneur SriSatish Ambati has made Kagglers a core strategy of his startup, H2O, which makes data-science tools for customers including eBay and Capital One. Ambati hired Michailidis and three other grandmasters after he noticed a surge in downloads when H2O’s software was used to win a Kaggle contest. Victors typically share their methods in the site’s busy forums to help others improve their technique.

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H2O’s data celebrities work on the company’s products, providing both expertise and a marketing boost akin to a sports star endorsing a sneaker. “When we send a grandmaster to a customer call their entire data-science team wants to be there,” Ambati says. “Steve Jobs had a gut feel for products; grandmasters have that for data.” Jeremy Achin, cofounder of startup DataRobot, which competes with H2O and also has hired grandmasters, says high Kaggle rankings also help weed out poseurs trying to exploit the data-skills shortage. “There are many people calling themselves data scientists who are not capable of delivering actual work,” he says.

Competition between people like Ambati and Achin helps make it lucrative to earn the rank of grandmaster. Michailidis, who works for Mountain View, California-based H2O from his home in London, says his salary has tripled in three years. Before joining H2O, he worked for customer analytics company Dunnhumby, a subsidiary of supermarket Tesco.

Large companies like Kaggle champs, too. An Intel job ad posted this month seeking a machine-learning researcher lists experience winning Kaggle contests as a requirement. Yelp and Facebook have run Kaggle contests that dangle a chance to interview for a job as a prize for a good finish. The winner of Facebook’s most recent contest last summer was Tom Van de Wiele, an engineer for Eastman Chemical in Ghent, Belgium, who was seeking a career change. Six months later, he started a job at Alphabet’s artificial-intelligence research group DeepMind.

H2O is trying to bottle some of the lightning that sparks from Kaggle grandmasters. Select customers are testing a service called Driverless AI that automates some of a data scientist’s work, probing a dataset and developing models to predict trends. More than 6,000 companies and people are on the waitlist to try Driverless. Ambati says that reflects the demand for data-science skills, as information piles up faster than companies can analyze it. But no one at H2O expects Driverless to challenge Titericz or other Kaggle leaders anytime soon. For all the data-crunching power of computers, they lack the creative spark that makes a true grandmaster.

“If you work on a data problem in a company you need to talk with managers, and clients,” says Stanislav Semenov, a grandmaster and former number one in Moscow, who is now ranked second. He likes to celebrate Kaggle wins with a good steak. “Competitions are only about building the best models, it’s pure and I love it.” On Kaggle, data analysis is not just a sport, but an art.

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Do Not Watch These Two New Wonder Woman Clips, Because They Are Too Awesome
June 14, 2017 1:15 am|Comments (0)

Given these tumultuous times, there’s a real comfort in knowing that WB/DC somehow managed to get a live-action Wonder Woman movie right while hilariously flubbing Batman and Superman. We should all be immensely looking forward to the film, which is why I very recommend you don’t watch these new, completely amazing…

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Check Out These 6 Handy Apps That Wouldn’t Exist Without Government Open Data
April 30, 2017 10:25 pm|Comments (0)

We might imagine apps are created by some clever geek building a startup out of a garage, and that might even be true. But those shoestring operations would not have resources needed to create these useful applications without data provided by government agencies.

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These Are Your Five Favorite Men’s Jeans
April 19, 2017 9:41 pm|Comments (0)

With four of the top five picks, Levi’s dominated our men’s jeans nominations, but it’s time to button up the single best pair. Check out the finalists below, and don’t forget to vote at the bottom of the post.

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These earpieces will let you understand a foreign language in real time
May 17, 2016 10:35 pm|Comments (0)

Earbuds

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Traveling in a foreign country and using Google Translate or a dictionary to help you communicate with locals? Waverly Labs has developed a real-time earbud translator so you can put that dictionary down: the Pilot earpiece.

Full story: http://on.mash.to/1NxkGeW Read more…

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Make the Most of Apple WatchOS 2 With These Apps
October 22, 2015 11:25 am|Comments (0)

Make the Most of Apple WatchOS 2 With These Apps

WatchOS 2 lets developers do more with their apps. Now let’s see what they do with this power.

The post Make the Most of Apple WatchOS 2 With These Apps appeared first on WIRED.



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IDG Contributor Network: Is your DNS set up for success? Ask yourself these 4 questions
August 28, 2015 9:05 pm|Comments (0)

Have you ever really thought about the importance of DNS to your business?

DNS, the Domain Name System, is sometimes called the “phonebook of the Internet.” Just as the phonebook allows you to look up names, addresses, and phone numbers of people and businesses to be categorized and referenced, DNS allows for domain names and their corresponding IP addresses to be organized and easily accessed. For example, a quick DNS query shows that the IPv4 address for networkworld.com is 70.42.185.102 (and there is apparently no IPv6 address!).

But DNS stores much more than just IP addresses. Email protocols rely on DNS extensively to store information about message routing (MX records), policy (SPF records) and digital signatures (DKIM). DNS also houses cryptographic keys for not only its own security uses, but also for email and now even websites (TLSA records). The extensibility, versatility, and ubiquity of DNS makes it an ideal choice for storing all kinds of information. Because so much depends on DNS, it is a critically important service; every time you use the Internet, you’re relying on DNS.  

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