The tl;dr summary for those with short attention spans – Don’t open the attachment, be quick to delete anything you’re not sure about, and if you want to help in the fight against phishing, report it using the guidelines I’ve outlined below. I received a pretty awesome phishing email today. It included a significant attachment that I’m looking forward to analyzing at a later date. Since it will take me a while before I’ve got the time to run the analysis, I decided I wanted to forward it around to the appropriate organizations to ensure that they take some time and analyze it and make sure other individuals can be protected from it. It turns out that there are more places[…]

We are working with a security policy that treats two passwords of equivalent strength: 8 character password with two character sets represented (pick two of upper/lower/number/symbol) 6 character password with three character sets represented (pick three of upper/lower/number/symbol) The question arises, how equivalent (or not) are they? Well, it’s time to do some math. Total Possible Passwords One way to measure password strength is in the total number of passwords that one might be able to generate that meet that criteria. More would be better. There are 26 uppercase, 26 lowercase, 10 digit, and 33 ASCII-printable symbols available on the average keyboard (totaling 95 options). If we simply asked how many possible 6 character passwords are there, you can multiply 95 for[…]

A few years back, I was working as a tech writer for a company which made medical software. We were trying to get an important certification that we’d need to sell our product. And a crucial part of that was good documentation: we had to show how it worked, what it did, how it tracked everything, how it was secure, etc. Well, that’s what you have a tech writer for, so all is good. It’s important to know, I didn’t have any existing documentation to work with. There was a wiki which had the developers’ notes in it, but that’s it. Nothing by way of formal hand-it-to-an-outside-entity documentation. Okay, that’s not too abnormal; tech writing is expensive, and many companies[…]

One of the biggest complaints I’ve had with VMWare vSphere and VMWare ESX/ESXi over the last few years is that managing my virtual machines from my Mac computer was a hassle. The VMWare management utilities are all Windows-only, and even the few web-based tools either do not work or are extremely limited from a Mac. While it isn’t perfect yet, VMWare vSphere 5 has made it so you can actually do just about anything you need to using a Macintosh computer; you just need to go through a few hurdles. To enable the administration of your various virtual machines, storage, clusters, datacenters, and the like, you can now use the vSphere 5 Web Client. Before it can be used, it must[…]

I recently acquired a new iMac at work to replace the 4yr old one I was using. The new iMac came with Lion on it, and since I had upgraded to Lion on my work machine, I went ahead and upgraded all of my home machines as well. My Macbook Air is my primary “workstation away from work”, and keeps client data. Because it does, I use FileVault on it. Under Snow Leopard, that only encrypted my home directory. Under Lion, FileVault now encrypts the entire drive, not just $HOME. However, if you upgrade, you have to explicitly convert your machine to use the new FileVault. And you need a lot of disk space to do it… I have a[…]