Showing posts from December, 2017

Internet Security III: Salting Your Hashes

Internet Security Part I: Cryptography and the DarknetInternet Security Part II: Slowing Things DownInternet Security Part III: Salting Your Hashes
Salting your hashes helps protect against rainbow attacks. No I'm not making this up, this is fairly basic web security.

If you waded through my previous rambles on this topic you'll recall that hashing is a way of protecting user passwords. A hash is an algorithm that generates a very large number from data (often text). The hash represents the data, kind of like a fingerprint. Hashing can be used as a way to verify that data hasn't been tampered with - if the hash is transmitted with the data then you can hash the data yourself and check it matches what is expected. Hashing is also a way to check passwords without having to store the password. When a user supplies a password the password can be turned into a hash and compared with the stored hash. If the two hashes match then the user has supplied the right password and this …

Internet Security II: Slowing Things Down

Internet Security Part I: Cryptography and the DarknetInternet Security Part II: Slowing Things DownInternet Security Part III: Salting Your HashesHere's an interesting geeky snippet you probably don't know. The substantial part of progress in computing technology over the last handful of decades has been about making computers, and computational processes, faster and more efficient. However, there is one very important area of computing technology where significant improvements have been made in deliberately making things slower and less efficient (and no it's not Windows startup time - that's just a coincidence). Making the process more "computationally expensive" as us geeks like to say, just so that you think we're clever and will hopefully pay us more money.
By now some of my geek friends will already know what I'm talking about, because this actually is a rarity. Normally when we make things slower it's by mistake, there really are very few …

Twagging and the Garden Hip Hop

Twagging was the Northern English vernacular for cutting school back when I was a wee nipper. Something I never did, nor did I ever receive a detention. Signs of a seriously misspent youth of which I am appropriately ashamed.

A pasttime I did indulge in was garden hopping. This involved finding a row of suburban dwellings with adjacent gardens separated by fences, normally six foot high. Just high enough for a kid to shinny over. So long as the fences at the start of the row and the end of the row are bordered by roads or paths it's possible to scramble from start to finish with the only obstacle between being a series of fences in various states of disrepair and angry occupants similarly in varying states of disrepair. Even if the occupants were in the garden and could see you coming they were usually surprised enough that you could get across their garden and into the next before they'd even decided they ought to try and stop you. Looking back to see their faces was fun but…