Internet Safety and Protecting Your Cookies

The Modern Dilemma A friend asked me, “What can I do to keep safe on the Internet?” These days, most Internet access is through browsers. But not all of it. I do not use web mail. Electronic mail should be done with a dedicated tool like Thunderbird, configured for viewing messages in plain text form, […]
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Will Random Fake Fingerprints Undermine Biometrics?

Last year I wrote about fingerprint biometrics for authentication. In that piece, I discussed making fake fingerprint patterns. Now a student has taken that one step further and created random pattern fake fingerprints one can slip on the end of a finger. The iPhone and other devices recognize these patterns as fingerprints. Why Would I […]
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PolicyKit Authentication Framework: Creating Your Own Rules

Last week I was explaining the important distinction between authentication and authorization, and how Linux  handles them in PAM and polkit, respectively. The PolicyKit Authentication Framework or polkit controls how subjects or unprivileged programs (such as a user’s shell) can be allowed to run mechanisms or privileged programs (such as normally root-only programs like mount […]
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PolicyKit Authentication Framework: From Authentication to Authorization

I started out working to prevent something that the manual pages said should already be impossible, and ended up exploring what was to me a whole new area of Linux security. Join me in my exploration. Don’t Let The Users Flip The Switch According to the manual pages for halt, poweroff, shutdown, and reboot, only […]
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We are still picking bad passwords

SplashData released its list of common passwords in January, and the top is much like last year’s. ‘123456’ and ‘password’ lead the pack again. There are four interesting issues here: First, people still choose poor passwords. I guess that’s to be expected. After all, remembering a dozen or more passwords can be difficult. For some […]
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