Category Archives: Security/Privacy

Did You Know 4.0

XPLANE is happy to present Did You Know 4.0 — another official update to the original “Shift Happens” video. This completely new Fall 2009 version includes facts and stats focusing on the changing media landscape, including convergence and technology, and was developed in partnership with The Economist.

As Garr Reynolds mentions over at Presentation Zen this morning, yes, this project was created with “off-the-shelf slideware” (Keynote and GarageBand, actually, along with Photoshop and Illustrator). Content by XPLANE, The Economist, Karl Fisch, Scott McLeod and Laura Bestler. Design and development by XPLANE.

For more information, or to join the conversation, please visit The Economist’s Media Convergence conference site at, or stop by for all things Did You Know.

Luxury Type

“I\'d like to encourage designers to open their mind and consider using some of the other typefaces that are often pre-installed on computers these days. There really are some great choices that are being completely ignored. Granted, not every user is going to have them, but those who do will get an enhanced experience, and those who don\'t will be just fine, so long as you specify appropriate alternates (as in MOSe).

Let us compile a list of useable typefaces that we can count on being installed at least some of the time — as well as good alternates for them that are more reliable. Here\'s a few I came up with. I think you\'ll notice that there are not only some great faces here, but even some that are considered classics or essentials.”

Things you don’t want Google to find

“”Hacking Google’ isn’t exactly new. That is, using the search engine to look for confidential information. But as McAfee’s senior vice president for Risk Management George Kurtz demonstrated today at RSA conference, that didn’t prevent users and organisations to post those goodies online for anyone to find. ‘You almost get bored finding all these password files. It used to be fun in the old days when you found a password file. Now you just go to Google and find thousands of them,’ Kurtz said.”

Concrete steps to protect yourself online

“One area where we ‘geeks’ in the culture are not doing a very good job lately, is in providing concrete advice to our friends and family about how to protect themselves online. Viruses, spyware and security breaches at large institutes make big news, but really the greater risks are from our own actions and practices online. In particular in exposing ourselves to identity theft and other crimes that are occurring on a smaller scale every day.”

Crypto Law Survey

“This is a survey of existing and proposed laws and regulations on cryptography ó systems used for protecting information against unauthorized access. Governments have long restricted export of cryptography for fear that their intelligence activities are hampered by the crypto use of foreign states and scoundrels. Since the rise of crypto use over the past decades, governments increasingly worry about criminals using cryptography to thwart law enforcement. Thus, many countries are considering laws focusing on maintaining law-enforcement and national-security capabilities through regulation of cryptography.”

Computer Security Archives Project

“Computer security as a discipline was first studied in the early 1970s, although the issues had influenced the development of many earlier systems such as the Atlas system and Multics. Unfortunately, many of the early seminal papers are often overlooked as developers (and sometimes researchers) rediscover problems and solutions, leading to wasted time and development effort.”

Verisign Seal

“On November 4, 2003, VeriSign announced a new ‘trust enhancing’ seal which they built using Macromedia’s Flash technology. This new seal makes a connection to their server and displays, in a dynamic text field, the name of the company that bought the certificate. The seal then invites you to click the seal to verify it. This is intended to make people feel more secure about the authenticity of the site they’re visiting. But that is a false sense of trust. The purpose of this page is to demonstrate how poorly designed and implemented VeriSign’s approach really is.”

Google as Big Brother

“…For all searches they record the cookie ID, your Internet IP address, the time and date, your search terms, and your browser configuration. Increasingly, Google is customizing results based on your IP number…”

Password Usability and Typability

“There is a tension between usability and security. Nowhere is that more obvious than with passwords. System administrators want their users to use passwords like ‘WeRQ#$^zfbr’ and users want to use ‘bob.’ I believe it’s possible to find a reasonable compromise between both.”

Secure Password Generator

“The password generator allows you to create random passwords that are highly secure and extremely difficult to crack or guess due to an optional combination of lower and upper case letters, numbers and punctuation symbols.”