Friday October 10 | Hacking the Hacker’s Mind

October 9, 2008 at 11:55 am | Posted in Coming Up | 2 Comments

We’ll look inside the mind and the methods of a computer hacker today on Charlotte Talks. Researchers at UNC Charlotte are launching a project that will track the movements of hackers online. We’ll learn about some of their methods, what they are looking for and who is most vulnerable.
Dr. Tom Holt – Asst. Professor of Criminal Justice, UNC Charlotte
Dr. Bill Chu – Interim Dean, College of Computing and Informatics, UNC Charlotte

Listen to Show



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  1. The comment about having strong passwords is valid as is the comment about having them being inconvenient. However, there are methodologies people can use that allow them to have very strong passwords and easily remember them. First you one would adopt one’s own protocol, for example – alternating upper & lower case letters, substituting special characters for letters (e.g. @ for a or 3 for e) and beginning or ending your password with other characters (#, $, % etc.). The next thing is to come up with the string of letters – you can take a phrase: All Good Men Should come to the aid of their country. AGMSCTTAOTC or @gMsCtT@0tC#$%. Perhaps not the easiest to remember but very strong. This too is best: #$%@gmsctt@0tc – easier to remember with no upper/lower case. Go to to check your password.

    Also see:”Quantifying the Security of Preference-based Authentication” article PARC

  2. Regarding Macintosh security as a function of market share, it’s a red herring. There is no evidence, at least that I know of, indicating that malicious hackers have target Macintosh systems as Macintosh market share has grown, especially over the past few years. Microsoft Windows *IS* inherently unsecure, it always has been, and probably always will be. The Macintosh operating system is based on the old NextStep operating system and the BSD UNIX operating system, both of which are inherently more secure than Windows by design. UNIX-based operating systems predated Microsoft Windows by many years and they have remained markedly more secure than Windows-based systems despite having been adopted by professional scientists and engineers all over the world. It’s not a question of market share; it’s a question of design. There may be a spate of UNIX (and therefore Macintosh) viruses unleashed this morning, but it’s not likely and I don’t waste time worrying about it.

    I offer this thought. The only secure computer is one that is turned off. As long as we humans continue to use computers, it will be possible to compromise them.

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