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2/25/2016
10:30 AM
Adam Shostack
Adam Shostack
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Security Lessons From My Doctor

Why it's hard to change risky habits like weak passwords and heavy smoking, even when advice is clear.

By Lewis Hine - Lewis Hine: Newsies smoking at Skeeter's Branch, St. Louis, 1910, based on file from Library of Congress, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11158385
By Lewis Hine - Lewis Hine: Newsies smoking at Skeeter's Branch, St. Louis, 1910, based on file from Library of Congress, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11158385

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Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
2/29/2016 | 7:00:30 PM
Re: PW mgrs.
Well, it's all risk management, let's not forget.  Security and accessibility are at constant odds at each other.  Sacrifice the one for the enhancement of the other.  The real issue is balancing both so that people are educated in terms of engaging in "best practices" -- or, at least, if they're going to ignore those best practices, that they do so knowing the consequences and the risks.

And a related best practice: Minimizing the data you 1) collect and 2) put out onto others' systems about yourself.
Joe Stanganelli
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50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
2/28/2016 | 10:48:57 PM
Re: Change is difficult
Baby steps.  Start walking for 15 minutes every other day.  Build it into your habit over a few weeks.  Then increase the lengths of the walks or frequency.  Take steps to make vegetables more accessible.  Try vaping instead of smoking (it's how two family members and several friends of mine have quit!).  Is BIG change difficult?  Sure -- if you try to do it all at once.

But as the adage goes: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

So too with security habits in user behavior.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
2/28/2016 | 10:46:33 PM
Re: PW mgrs.
While we can all agree that putting your password on a sticky note on your monitor or in your top desk drawer is a terrible idea, many security experts have over the past few years reversed conventional wisdom and suggested that people DO write down their passwords -- on the condition that the password is lengthy, has a lot of entropy, and is otherwise nothing on the order of what a human would naturally select for him- or herself (i.e., the password is pseudorandom if not truly random) -- and then put the piece of paper somewhere truly secure, like your wallet.

Of course, even better -- should the piece of paper get compromised somehow anyway -- is to write down a hint that is meaningful to you but not meaningful to anyone else.

Doing this in a password manager is simply another approach to this thinking.
Dr.T
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Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
2/27/2016 | 6:54:48 PM
Re: PW mgrs.
Good question. I would suggest to anybody, if they could not manage putting a hint into a password manager they should not be online. Also agree, security is less of problem for many, they are concern on privacy.
Dr.T
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Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
2/27/2016 | 6:52:26 PM
Re: PW mgrs.
Agree. This is a good idea. Do not write your whole password anywhere. Or you can keep all those hints in your brain. 
Dr.T
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Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
2/27/2016 | 6:50:59 PM
Re: Thank you for educating your readers about the importance of online security
Agree. The change is difficult. Starting using a password manager would be a change too. Ultimate goal should be getting rid of whole username/password.
Dr.T
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Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
2/27/2016 | 6:48:42 PM
Re: Thank you for educating your readers about the importance of online security
1Password is good, some others are good too. But I suggest nobody should be using any password manager. If one could not manage a password they could not manage a password manager, they would put themselves in more risks.
Dr.T
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50%
Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
2/27/2016 | 6:45:27 PM
Change is difficult
Agree with the article. We could not stop smoking or start eating more vegetables or going to 30 minutes' walk every day or having a complex password since all these things are changes in our life styles. And change is difficult.
adamshostack
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adamshostack,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/27/2016 | 5:39:32 PM
Re: PW mgrs.
Joe--that's an interesting approach.  Would you suggest it to someone who's busy or forgetful?

 

For many folks I've talked to, security is a side effect: the real win is it's easier to use.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
2/27/2016 | 5:36:04 PM
PW mgrs.
I great piece of advice I got recently regarding password managers: Don't put your actual passwords in them; instead, put your hints in them.
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