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On-line Security

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On-line Security

Postby Alchamist on Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:42 pm


There have been some rumours and events of late that have been getting a little out of hand. I would like to address a couple of concerns, as well as provide you some information that might well assist you in keeping your account safe and sound.

First of all, FOG has some of the most advanced security measures around. Passwords are double encrypted, and nobody here (not even myself with direct access to the database) can tell you what your password is. Also, contrary to popular belief, nobody on here can access and/or read your PM's other than the person you are sending them to. They are encrypted in the database so they cannot be read directly by any method other than send and receive (otherwise PM's would be fairly useless! :lol:). Private messages are just that - private.

As with all security systems, the weakest point is always the user. There are some simple rules to follow to keep your accounts safe (and this goes for any internet account, not just FOG ;)), and are both general advice as well as things that I have witnessed in my 25+ years of working with computers.

  • Never write your passwords down. You wouldn't write your PIN code on the front of your card - don't do it for your computer accounts.
  • Never use words or phrases that are personally identifiable to yourself as passwords - i.e. avoid things like date of birth, national insurance number, family names, street names, home towns, anything like that
  • Always make sure you use long words (at least 8 characters), and use a mixture of upper case, lower case, numbers and punctuation marks
  • Change your passwords regularly. The more often you change it, the harder it is to crack, and even if someone does, it will only be usable for a short period of time, limiting any damage
  • NEVER EVER tell ANYONE your password, regardless of how much you trust them. I will not give anyone my passwords, and will type them in myself in such a way that the keyboard cannot be overlooked at the time. If they insist on having your password (for example if you have to send your PC away for repair) then change your password for something simple, give them that, then as soon as you can, change it for a secure one again.
  • If you are unsure - Stop, check, ask. If you are still unsure, then don't risk it

I know regular password changes are a pain in the rear, and finding secure passwords might seem like you have to type rubbish all the time, but there are simple ways to create secure passwords without having to remember random combinations - for example:

Lets use the word "computer" as an example
  • First, change any letters that look similar to a number over to numbers - "c0mputer" (zero instead of o)
  • Next, look to change one of the letters to a punctuation mark that looks similar - "c0mput£r (£ instead of e)
  • Then capitalise a few of the letters - "C0mpUt£r"
  • Now, to add some more complexity, add a meaningful number to the end of the word (e.g. year of birth reversed) - "C0mpUt£r4791"
suddenly you have a good strength password to use, without having to remember random combinations of letters and numbers.

I hope that at least helps you keep your systems and accounts a little more secure in this digital world ;)

FOG Admin & IT Techincal Consultant

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Re: On-line Security

Postby domino on Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:55 pm

Might also be worth pointing out that you should never stick your password into any website/application other than those for which it is intended.

For instance, these websites that show you who's blocked you on MSN.. or that will import your MSN contacts and send the invites for whatever. None of these do what they suggest and harvest your information to 'spread' themselves.

Always, always be weary of links sent to you for anything, even if it's come from a 'friend'. It's entirely possible that it HASNT come from your friend and is infact a result of the aforementioned sites.

p.s. I know i'm a noob on this site but this is my profession and I work in the Web Hosting Industry so figured I'd share :)
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Re: On-line Security

Postby Dave_RAYNET on Fri Jul 31, 2009 11:18 pm

good points. Grouply is a classic.

If you get a link from a "friend" best thing to do is ask your mate if they sent you it.
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Re: On-line Security

Postby Roo on Sat Aug 01, 2009 12:32 am

Hi Guys
Thanks for the sound advice, will certainly take it all on board ..
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