Password Security and Management

An ancient, cast-iron padlock

The Setup

In 2010, several popular web sites were hacked and their password data stolen. If you were part of one of these sites, you may already know about this since emails warning of the break-in were sent out to users. If not, then why worry, right?

Why worry, indeed.

The Problem

The problem is twofold. On the one hand, hackers, over time, have managed to get their hands on what turns out to be a very large list of passwords, that have given them clues how passwords are utilized by all sorts of people from different walks of life. The list is in the millions of passwords, so it’s an incredibly large sample size. This has allowed programmers to write increasingly accurate cracking algorithms by which they can crack weak passwords quickly and effortlessly. A 16-character password, virtually uncrackable five years ago, is now child’s play (almost literally, given the cut-and-paste nature of the practice in a so-called “script kiddie’s” hands).

On the other hand, the computing power necessary to crunch through billions—yes billions, with a B—of password combinations per second is relatively cheap and commonplace.

For example, a password that many people would think secure, for example, Rumbl3H0use, might seem secure, but given today’s password-cracking knowledge, coupled with cheap hardware, this is almost a painlessly easy password to crack.

The Solution

A solution, at least for now, is longer, randomly-generated passwords, at least 23 characters long. Passwords that length require immense amounts of computing power and crackers will forego trying to casually break those in favor of the low-hanging fruit of passwords like the above (or even better, your mother’s or kid’s name followed by a number—so trivial).

Of course, committing a 23-character password to memory is not a reasonable expectation, especially if you use a different password (which you should be doing and crackers know you’re not) for each of the average 25 online accounts most people have.

Enter password management software

The idea behind password management applications is that you need remember only one password, the master password that unlocks the password manager itself. Once it is unlocked your list of passwords becomes available to you. From there it is a simple matter of copying and pasting the passwords into the appropriate fields for the sites you want to access. Some password managers have browser plugins that will fill these fields in for you once you enter your master password. Many of them have mobile counterparts to their desktop apps. Three good ones are 1Password ($49), LastPass (free, $12 a year for the “premium” version), and KeePass (free, open source).

Using a password manager to generate random, minimum 23-character passwords is one of the best defenses for your most valuable online assets (or Facebook) against the increasingly sophisticated password-cracking underground. And while it may give you a sense of security (maybe even security-through-obscurity) to think your data would never be a target, think again. They’re out there and they’re harvesting data all the time. Even if it’s true, for now, that you’re not worth their time, why make it easy for them if you ever do become a target?




Video Transcription – A Tool for Pros and Joes

Video transcription companies like Word Wizards have been assisting the professional video production industry for a long time, making the lives of editors, producers, and audio mixers much easier. As with any industry, time is money, and wasted time in post can be reduced significantly with the use of a standard or time coded transcript. On the other hand, we are noticing a recent trend of an increasing amount of amateur film producers and regular house hold consumers starting to utilize the power of transcription services to make their lives easier and make their media more accessible.

Save The Predators

A “predator” is someone who acts as producer and editor on the same project, and in some instances they are the writer as well. Typically, “predators” work for those companies who lack big corporate budgets and are operate out of small, typically unsung post hoses and production companies. A transcript with time code can help these individuals manage their media, organize their product, and make their cuts and refinements with a complete written account of their video reels and the gems they seek within. The predator may be unsung, but they are often responsible for seemingly impossible work loads, and are often known to produce broadcast quality media at astonishing prices. Keeping your predators healthy and happy is paramount, with long hours, insane expectations, and impossible deadlines always weighing heavily on their, and only their, shoulders. Transcripts help these heroes of small cap production stay on target, saving time, money, and stress from being otherwise wasted.

Save the Predators (use transcription services)

Media Management for the Consumer

More and more consumers are turning to transcripts with time code for a cost effective solution to manage personal media such as home movies, video clips, and family audio recordings. Let me play out a scene for you; you have all your old home movies sitting in a box (or boxes) somewhere. Slowly they loose quality over time and so you decide to digitize the footage and store it all on a hard drive. Someone wants to watch the part of your high school graduation ceremony when the speaker says her famous quote that inspired you to achieve greatness. You could spend hours looking for that one tape, and even more time searching for the spot where the graduation speaker says her legendary piece. With a time coded transcript you can use the “find” feature in your word processing software to find her quote and exactly where in the tape it was. Time coded transcripts allow you to search for anything in your media and identify exactly where it is and what it says. Home movies 2.0!

Got tapes? need transcription? Were here to digitize and clarify!

Pros, Joes, and Twinkle Toes

Whatever your reason for shooting video or recording audio, transcription services can make your life better and more efficient. Our mission here is to give you the told to make your media project as easy and efficient as possible while protecting your limited budget and resources. If your new to the concept of transcription, we invite you to try it out and see for yourself how powerful this tool really is.