Kill the password

Okay, two Wired articles in a row. Sorry, but they’re super interesting this week. Today we’re pointing you in the direction of Kill the Password. In this one Mat Honan, whose digital life was erased by hackers this summer, talks about passwords and how they can’t keep us safe in a world of interconnected accounts and easy to Google personal information.

“The common weakness in these hacks is the password. It’s an artifact from a time when our computers were not hyper-connected. Today, nothing you do, no precaution you take, no long or random string of characters can stop a truly dedicated and devious individual from cracking your account. The age of the password has come to an end; we just haven’t realized it yet.”

Adria Richards talks about building secure websites at The Nerdery

Beyond the Norm from The Nerdery on Vimeo.

Last night we got to play host to the Twin Cities Web Design & Standards group, which featured speaker Adria Richards , who is probably most well-known for discovering an unsecured database on former (perhaps if we ever get a ruling on the election) Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman’s website.

Though is a little hesitant to talk about the Coleman security issue, she doesn’t want to be that person who can only talk about one issue, she said the best thing about the whole debacle is that it has brought the idea of keeping websites secure into the limelight.

Oftentimes, she said, websites will blather on and on about how they won’t sell your information, and how it’s private, but they never talk about how secure your information is.

Take a look at the video when you have some time. It was a nice overview about the different kinds of attacks websites can suffer if you don’t secure them, and there’s a great q&a session towards the end where a few of our nerds offering up some advice on securing information.

This is not at all political – except in that it sort of is.

Self-proclaimed web nerd Adria Richards was otherwise minding her own business as a technology consultant when she read a Twitter post that Sen. Norm Coleman’s website had crashed – due to an onslaught of donor activity, the campaign said.

When Adria found the site, she noticed (and documented) an unsecured database of donor information – readily available to anyone who knew where to look. A few Flickr posts later, Adria found herself busy as a nonpartisan media pundit on web security matters. Adria’s social media habits and reporting on her blog went on to influence stories in more mainstream outlets.

As first-time hosts of The Twin Cities Web Design & Standards Group, we welcome group organizer David Skarjune and Aden Networks’ founder Adria Richards to The Nerdery next Tuesday evening to discuss her experiences, as well as:

  • Website design; past, present and future
  • Security risks of web 2.0
  • Website compromises (XSS, SQL injections, incremental GUID)
  • Famous sites that got hacked and how they did it
  • How to keep your client site safe and secure

Beyond The Norm: Building Secure Websites
Twin Cities Web Design & Standards Group
Tuesday, May 12 from 6-8 p.m.

Even if you work/live at The Nerdery, please register here.

Nerdery Interactive Labs, a division of Sierra Bravo Corporation, is a nonpartisan, for-profit organization.