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Christopher Frenz

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Top Stories by Christopher Frenz

When dictating password policies to users, it is common for such policies to require that users generate passwords that contain a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as numbers and special characters. Moreover, it is well established that the strengths of such passwords are further enhanced if the passwords do not in any way resemble dictionary words, since minor substitutions of dictionary words and names are often included in the dictionaries used in dictionary-based attacks and in some rainbow table variants. Thus "D3veloper" would be a less than ideal password since potentially it's an easily guessed variant of the word "developer." A common recommendation for dealing with this issue is to suggest the use of randomly generated passwords such as "0Y=/S?tV". However, such passwords often pose great difficulty for many users to remember, which ca... (more)

Your Computer's Immune System

Parallels have often been drawn between the computer security landscape and the biological world, since security threats such as computer viruses and worms can be viewed as digital incarnations of common biological threats.  Similarities exist in terms of modes of reproduction as well as infection, and some research even suggests that digital threats follow the laws of evolution that predict these threats will become more sophisticated and effective as time progresses.  A logical extension of this concept has always been to therefore consider the idea of computer security as a fo... (more)

Why 'LiveCD' Should Be a Part of Every Computer User's Vocabulary

Throughout the last decade, society has witnessed an explosion of network connectivity among PCs and mobile devices as well as a vast proliferation of networked applications, ranging from Web-based email to online banking. The end result of this is that network connectivity has become an almost indispensable resource for many individuals. Yet along with the convenience and flexibility of anytime, anywhere network access, society has also seen an increase in computer-related security and privacy concerns, with the most dreaded being the possibility of identity theft.  While numero... (more)

The Development of a Perl-based Password Complexity Filter

If you watch the news regularly, it is easy to notice that in almost any given week some company seems to have experienced an electronic break-in or in some other way experienced a form of computer or network compromise. While computer security professionals can help to mitigate such risks via the proper configuration of firewalls, careful crafting of Access Control Lists, the application of updates, and the judicious application of file permission, among other measures, it's important that one of the most fundamental ways of improving the security of a computer or network resour... (more)

The Open Source Advantage in Secure Application Development

The security benefits and risks of Open Source code is one of the most debated topics in information security today. The views of proponents of the Open Source model are typified by Eric Raymond's argument that Open Source software is intrinsically more secure since its open nature lets a greater number of programmers view the source code and uncover potential security threats before they're released to the wild. Fewer people see closed source software, on the other hand, and so the odds of uncovering a potential security threat before a system cracker finds it is diminished. Op... (more)