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Archive for July 13th, 2009

Paper Claims ‘Strong Passwords’ Accomplish Nothing

Posted by rjbiii on July 13, 2009

But make it hard on users, that is. The abstract (PDF) follows:

We find that traditional password advice given to users is somewhat dated. Strong passwords do nothing to protect online users from password stealing attacks such as phishing and keylogging, and yet they place considerable burden on users. Passwords that are too weak of course invite brute-force attacks. However, we find that relatively weak passwords, about 20 bits or so, are sufficient to make brute-force attacks on a single account unrealistic so long as a “three strikes” type rule is in place. Above that minimum it appears that increasing password strength does little to address any real threat. If a larger credential space is needed it appears better to increase the strength of the userID’s rather than the passwords. For large institutions this is just as effective in deterring bulk guessing attacks and is a great deal better for users. For small institutions there appears little reason to require strong passwords for online accounts.

H/T: Schneier on Security

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Preview of MS Office 2010

Posted by rjbiii on July 13, 2009

Microsoft has announced details of upgrades to its office suite, and PC Pro Posts a preview here. Among other things, the article discusses changes to Outlook:

As far as the desktop applications are concerned, the Ribbon interface first introduced with Office 2007 has now been rolled out across every application, including Outlook.

Outlook also sees the introduction of two new email features for office workers drowning under a deluge of email. The Conversation Clean-Up tool will condense long email chains into summaries of the conversation, allowing you to catch up with all the key information without having to open dozens of different messages individually.

Outlook will also have a new Ignore Conversation feature that allows users to opt-out of round-robin emails that don’t concern them. Adams gives the example of a long email discussion about a dinner engagement that you know you won’t be able to attend. One click of the Ignore Conversation button will junk any further emails on that topic.

Other changes include an entire line of web-based apps, a la Google; better image editing within Word and PowerPoint; and fewer licensing categories (reducing the number of ‘versions’ of the suite from its current eight to five).

H/T: Slashdot

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