Hi there, me again, this time with a quick tip to improve your mobile security. So without further ado let’s get started.
Mobile phones these days contain more information about the owner than you’d really like. We do banking on the move, online purchasing, personal and business email. Almost every aspect of your life is found on your phone. So what happens if your phone falls into the wrong hands? The lucky person that finds it now knows who you are, where you live, what you look like, where you go drinking at the weekend. Every thing you do with your phone is on show. But what can we really do to prevent this information falling into the wrong hands?
Passwords are a good way to protect personal information, but only when used properly. I recently spammed my gtalk contacts asking a simple question. For every 10 sites you use, how many different passwords do you have. The results were shocking. While some of the more security conscious people used a different password for almost everything, the rest used only one password for everything from email accounts to social networks and even banking.
I may have found a solution in the form of a very simple app. While I know this won’t fully erase the problem, it will certainly make it more difficult to obtain all the information.
You can grab it free from the Google Play Store and it’s called: Passwordcard
Using passwordcard may seem a little confusing at first sight, but rest assured its really quite simple. Here’s the play store description.
A low-tech solution for generating secure passwords and remembering them safely. Companion App to passwordcard.org website. Doesn’t use Internet connection; scan QR code from site!
Generates a credit-card sized card with random letters and numbers for you, letting you pick secure passwords and remember them safely. You only have to remember a colour and a symbol (e.g. "red star" or "yellow umbrella").
Basic instructions from the website are as follows:
Pick a direction. You don’t have to go from left to right to read your passwords, you can go from right to left, up or down, or even diagonally. It’s probably a good idea to pick one direction though, even if you use your PasswordCard for multiple passwords. Pick a password length. Eight is pretty secure and usually acceptable. Again, it’s a good idea to pick one length. Pick a colour and a symbol for each password. You can use one password for all your sites, but that still wouldn’t be very safe. It’s a good idea to at least have different passwords for very important sites, such as Internet banking sites. Change your passwords on your websites to the one(s) from your PasswordCard.
It even has the ability to specify a card and it’s contents such as a numeric only area and adding symbols, so you can use your birthday or phone number as a card. As you can see, it’s similar to a password generator but without the need to list individual passwords for each site, just pick a colour and symbol. I also believe it to be more secure. For example, you use a password protected wallet type app to store all your randomly generated passwords. If somebody gets hold of your phone and manages to open your wallet, they then have access to a huge neat list of accounts. Using password card, all people will find is a card filled with seemingly random characters. Sure they still have a huge list of all your passwords, but they still have to figure it out, which will take a very long time. By choosing only 8 digit passwords going left or down, you already have over 200 possible combinations, but you can choose the length and direction so there are literally thousands of possible combinations.
Hope I’ve convinced you by now, I’m running out of things to say :-)
Moving on. Last week I mentioned I was playing with the new Xperia Play ICS beta software. A week has passed since I installed it and in all honesty I can’t really see a difference in performance. A few games have minor glitches such as shadow gun, I can’t resume a saved game, but I’m sure that will be fixed. I also seem to be getting minor drops in data connection from time to time but lasting only a few seconds.
The new feature I like most is the smart-ish dialer. It’s the only feature I miss from my old HTC. Sadly the Sony version falls short of the mark because it won’t find a contact based on the name, e.g 686 to find mum. It will only find by part of the number, so you have to know at least a small part of the phone number you wish to call.
Another handy addition is a standard feature of ICS, settings button in the notification area, I’m always wanting to change screen brightness or some other settings related tasks, and now I can :-)
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are stable after applying a fix from XDA-Developers, remember the rom doesn’t come with Wi-Fi by default. The main launcher has had a bit of a face lift but personally I struggled to notice, although the widget selection screen is completely different. The settings menu has those handy quick sliders that again are standard in ICS, but oh so helpful. In terms of performance there is almost no difference, although it can feel slightly slower with heavy use. From what I can see after using the beta for a week, it’s just about ready for prime time, although (I hope you’re reading Sony) you may want to find an alternative keyboard, as I find the stock Xperia keyboard so clumsy and horrible to use its almost easier and quicker to write a letter and send it by royal snail. The Xperia game launcher has also had a small face lift and now looks more like the UI of the PlayStation 3. It features a new layered look with currently install games, recommendations and a link to the play store. One feature I find missing, or moved is the ability to take screenshots which was previously in the power menu. If there’s a hardware button combination to take a screenshot, I haven’t found it yet.
Now after a recent gaming spree with Craig of Land of Droid, I have discovered quite a lot of Gameloft games are very buggy and often don’t work or are unplayable due to graphical glitches or control problems. It’s hard to shoot marines when the right stick is stuck going down… As a result I shall be passing my findings onto both Sony and Gameloft, then heading back to gigglebread. It’s pointless having a gaming device if it’s impossible to play games.
Here’s a quick list of the faults I’ve found. Feel free to add more in the comments so we can build a bigger list for Gameloft and Sony to help them fix these issues.
9mm HD – all working fine.
Dungeon hunter 3 – occasional reboots after longer periods of play.
Spiderman – doesn’t open.
Eternal legacy – graphical problems, lots of red triangles around UI framework.
Shadow guardian – starts but exits when pressing new game.
Sacred odyssey – control problems
Rainbow six – control problems
Star front collision – graphical problems with red triangles around UI framework.
Backstab – all working fine.
That’s all from me today, but rest assured I’ll be back in the near future for more random randomness and ideas.