Vol. XXII, No. 3
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January, 2010

Miscellaneous Notes

Miscellaneous Notes is an irregular feature of the CSA Newsletter.

Upgraded Parallels®

CSA upgraded its MAC® workstation recently, and an upgrade to the latest version of the MAC operating system had been performed earlier. As a result, the version of Parallels (with Windows® and AutoCAD®) had been outmoded, but no upgrade had been performed. In addition, everything on the previous desktop MAC had been moved to the new machine by the standard, automated MAC process. Shortly after the new year, Parallels was upgraded to the latest version (5.0) on the new MAC. (Parallels is the program that permits a user to run Windows and Windows applications on a MAC.) The version in use was 3.0, not the more recent but still not current version 4.0. To my great surprise, the upgrade process was very smooth. I was able to upgrade Parallels without reinstalling either Windows or AutoCAD, and I was, in a matter of less than an hour, able to use AutoCAD again. This was both unexpectedly easy and straight-forward; it makes Parallels seem an even better program.


Ashlee Vance authored an article entitled "If Your Password is 123456, Just Make it HackMe," which was published in the print edition of the New York Times on January 21, 2010 (available on line the prior day at www.nytimes.com/2010/01/21/technology/21password.html?ref=technology and last accessed 01/21/10). The article concerns a theft of passwords -- 32 million of them -- from a company called RockYou. There was a bit of a surprise in the passwords, which were posted on the web for a short time. Believe it or not, nearly one percent of the passwords were "123456." (At least "password" is no longer among the most common passwords. It was in the mid-90s. Even network administrators often used it on secondary machines.) This highlights the common problem we all face today: creating and controlling a huge number of passwords that seems to grow in number every day. Some security experts pretend that users will really create a different and secure password for each site that needs a password, but few are so naive. In any case, it is clear that this is a problem for all users of the Internet who expect any level of security.

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