The End of The Password?

by Louise Pope on July 23, 2014

downloadAsk anyone what their biggest fear about using their computer is, and the most common answer you are likely to get is being hacked.  With reports of viruses that target passwords impacting industry big shots like eBay and Amazon, it’s easy to see why people may be nervous.  Like many, much of my identity is now digital.  Everything from my personal history to my financial life to my most basic identity (birthday, address, social security number) can be found somewhere in my online accounts. How can I protect myself?  The answer lies in the first and arguably oldest line of digital defense, the password.

I learned long ago that password1 or abc123 is unwise.  It’s unlikely that anyone who takes security seriously would make that mistake these days.  But the flip side poses a real problem too.  The smartest route is a long and complex password.  But how can you remember that, especially if you’re required to change it on a regular basis? The easy answer is to just write it down, right?  But doesn’t having my password on a sticky note near my computer defeat the point of a secure password?

Alternatives to the password are on the horizon. Biometrics, such as fingerprints, may seem to be the answer and are being used by companies like Apple and Samsung as means of unlocking smartphones.  The problem is that you can’t change your fingerprint, nor is it really a secret.  You leave it on everything you touch.  Other biometrics, such as facial recognition or usage behavior are being developed.  In many cases though, these require new hardware and slow the login process.

If you’ve signed up for a Gmail account recently, then you’ve already experienced another proposed solution – two-step authentication.  This involves a text message or phone call that sends you a unique code used to access your account.  Combined with a strong password, this works well.  Though many would argue this double layer of security is a good step forward, it’s also inconvenient and time consuming.

Nobody knows for sure what online security will look like in ten, or even five years. Perhaps there is no perfect solution. However, most experts agree that it’s likely that the password as the sole means of security will soon be a thing of the past.  While the added steps or new technologies may be off-putting for some, the growing concerns about piracy and privacy in the online world means change is coming.

Personally, I welcome the change.  Like a lot of technological changes, once you get used to it, you quickly start to wonder how you got along without it.  Businesses and individuals will have some choices and be able to pick from the variety of the security options.  Keeping abreast of the options, thinking about what makes sense for your business, and communicating your concerns and interests to your technology partners will help make this transition not only less stressful, but also more valuable for your business.

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Yay or Nay: Wearable Tech in Business

by Rachel Racanelli on May 14, 2014

ELYSIUM-POSTER_612x380I’ve done posts on wearable tech before, but never about its future integration within businesses.  While we are still on the forefront of wearable tech for personal use, it’s looking likely that businesses both big and small may be adopting it sooner than we think.  I’m curious as to what growing pains may come out of adopting such new, invasive methods.  I also don’t believe it will be relevant in every industry, but it’s looking like the range will be broad.

What can we expect?

Google Glass, or some other form of wearable with a camera would allow technicians in the field (ehem, CARTWHEEL!) to stream what they are fixing, thus allowing team members at the office to assist with more accuracy.  For a company like ours, this could make appointments go faster, freeing up the schedule to fit more into one day.

There are also new innovations hitting the healthcare industry, allowing health practitioners to take your blood more accurately, saving you and them time.  On a personal note, I’ve had enough botched blood draws to last me a lifetime, so this makes me happy.  In addition, there are new innovations for firefighters, construction workers (seeing through walls?), and emergency first responders.  I’m just skimming the surface.

When does it go too far?

What would you do if your employer asked you to wear a piece of technology that tracked your productivity, whereabouts, etc?  It’s scary to think that this may become standard in the work force.  We live in a world where it’s a battle to maintain privacy–and something tells me it’s only going to get harder and harder.  At Cartwheel, we hire carefully, and trust our technicians to do their work.  Bottom line, we get our work done, we respect the rules, and our privacy is maintained.  For some companies, this kind of policy may be long gone in a few years time.

All I really know is that wearable tech is coming whether we like it or not.  The question is, what will be greater?  The productivity, or the backlash?

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Ask an IT Guy: Failover

by Rachel Racanelli May 13, 2014 Articles

While I’m not the most technically inclined person in the world, I’m no slouch.  However, because I have a group of technical geniuses around me, there’s no reason for me to ever ponder how our technology runs so smoothly in the office.  After a quick discussion with one of the guys, I realized it makes […]

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Internet Security: A Perspective

by Rafi Kronzon May 13, 2014 Alerts

Over the past few months, there has been a rash of Internet security alerts (e.g. Heartbleed, IE exploit, Dropbox vulnerability).  Most media outlets covered some of these stories. Even the government has jumped on the bandwagon. While these stories make excellent headlines, they seem to be lacking in both historical perspective and in threat accuracy. […]

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Wires. I HATE wires.

by Rachel Racanelli April 10, 2014 Uncategorized

Wires are ugly and usually everywhere.  They make your shiny new electronics look terrible.  When my fiancé hung our new TV, it turned into a 3-hour project, because we hid all of the cords in the walls.  He was not happy with the work, but I was happy with the finished product! That’s all that […]

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Who was your favorite teacher in high school? And other questions I hate

by Rafi Kronzon April 10, 2014 Uncategorized

Hmm, I think I remember what I put, but did I capitalize the name? Or was it the other teacher? Why isn’t this working!!?? Those “security” questions you’re often asked when setting up an online account are called Knowledge Based Authentication, or KBA for short. Specifically, most web sites use static KBA, which means you […]

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