The Weekly Round-Up: 22.01.10

Bet you I can guess your password...
Written by The Round-Up, Contributor

Bet you I can guess your password...

You may not know this, but as well as being tall, handsome, devastatingly clever and witty (think Cary Grant but with an extensive knowledge of PHP), the Round-Up is also psychic.

The Round-Up will now demonstrate this mind-bending power by revealing the password your boss uses to access the most sensitive systems in your organisation.

It is...

Wait for it...


Or (for those of you with a slightly more lazy boss)… 1234.

Yes, an analysis of 32 million passwords exposed in a recent security breach has revealed the most commonly used ones are, well, not exactly that hard to crack. 123456 came top of the list, followed by 1234. Third on the list was - and you may have guessed this one already - 123456789.

The Round-Up has no idea how someone would remember such a random string of numbers.

Number four on the list was 'Password'. Those of you that work in IT security are probably now laughing hysterically, weeping quietly or changing your password.

Number five on the list was 'iloveyou' which is probably OK for logging onto your home PC but slightly odd if that's your password for the company finance system.

Unless you are really, really into finance.

Still - it's not like things are getting worse. The same problem was identified in an analysis of Unix passwords 20 years ago, according to data security company Imperva, which did the most recent password analysis.

It warned that for enterprises, password insecurity can have serious consequences - employees using the same passwords on social network sites that they use in the workplace brings with it the possibility of compromising enterprise systems with insecure passwords, for example.

It's a fair point, although the Round-Up would suggest that it doesn't really matter if you force people to make their passwords ridiculously complicated - they're still going to write them on a scrap of paper and stick it on the side of their monitor anyway…

By the way, the Round-Up would just like to say how nice you look in that suit. Oh, you've just had it dry cleaned? Nice. Did you by any chance leave the company's customer database in the inside pocket when you took it to the dry cleaners?

If you did, you're not alone (although you are a very, very silly individual). Bringing a new meaning to the phrase 'being taken to the cleaners', in the last year roughly 4,500 memory sticks have been left in pockets as people take their clothes to be washed at the local dry cleaners.

Chances are, in the unlikely event the memory sticks were password protected, it was only by '1234' anyway, but the Round-Up digresses.

On the plus side, there were half as many USB sticks abandoned compared to a year ago the study found, which suggests people are either more security savvy or now too mean to get their clothes dry cleaned, you scruffy lot. The company that did the survey - Credant Technologies - reckons it's more likely to be down to users now storing information on smartphones and netbooks.

Handy then that netbooks are still too large to be left in the pockets of your dry cleaner-bound clothing. Don't get too comfy though: it's only a matter of time 'til your laptop goes through the washing machine - after all, today's netbook is tomorrow's Dick Tracy-style wrist gadget.

Barbie: often associated with glamour, pretty clothes and the colour pink. Not often involved with IT, which is usually associated with drudgery, comedy T-shirts and the colour beige.

But all of this could be set to change very soon.

Barbie has had lots of careers over the years - from nurse to rock star, vet to aerobics instructor, pilot to police officer. In fact, her 125th career is approaching fast and for the first time, consumers can help select what it will be by choosing from a range of possible jobs, including architect, environmentalist, news anchor, surgeon or - wait for it - computer engineer. Go computer engineer!

"Computer engineers have lots of different specialities. They can do anything from building computers to making video games," says the voting site here.

The winning 125th career will be unveiled on 12 February at the New York Toy Fair and the Round-Up would love to see it be the computer engineer. For one thing, it could inspire a few girls to actually get interested in IT which would do something to address the appalling lack of women in IT departments. But secondly the Round-Up wants to know what accessories she would get. A server? A spreadsheet? And how soon before we see an Action Man CIO?

That just leaves enough time for a quick canter through the other big news of the week.

Want to check out the UK's best landmarks from Stonehenge to Loch Ness without all the bother of actually going there? This one is for you .

Not a fan of the taxman? You're not the only one.

Thinking about getting a robot in your life? Then you'll be wanting to read this.

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