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April 8, 2006

Mac Security Alarm System

by @ 5:56 am. Filed under Virus, Security
RogueAce writes "A program named iAlertU sounds a screeching siren when someone attempts to steal your Macbook. Thanks to the sudden motion drop sensors that Macs use to park the hard drive, iAlertU can detect when your Macbook is being picked up, moved or closed. Also, by using the handy remote that comes with the Macbook, you can turn the alarm on and off like you would a car, which the Macbook responds to by making the all too familiar chirping sound and a flash and flicker of the screen. The code behind it is from a guy named Christian Kleins."

April 7, 2006

IRS Leaves Taxpayer Data Largely Unprotected

by @ 10:58 pm. Filed under Virus, Security
LogError writes "Two weeks ago, Department of Treasury received a D-minus grade in the Federal Computer Security Report Card for 2005, down from a D-plus grade in 2004. The majority of Treasury systems are those belonging to IRS. The government-wide computer-security grade for 2005 was D-plus, while Homeland Security and Defense both received an F. Grades are based on reports submitted to Congress by the agencies; the reports are required under the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002.8 The scores are meant to reflect whether departments meet federally mandated security standards."

March 18, 2006

Login Errors

by @ 2:23 am. Filed under Virus, Stats, Security

We finally tracked down a few problems with how our login cookies interacted with Internet Explorer. You may need to login again, but we’ve identified the issues and they should be all fixed up now.

This may also fix some problems people were reporting with viewing stats.

If you still have any problems, please send us feedback using the feedback form or let us know on the forums.

March 8, 2006

Secure Blogging

by @ 10:15 am. Filed under wordpress, Virus, WordPress.com, Security

Ever since I started working on Automattic and WordPress.com full-time I’ve found myself working at places like cafes and various other places with wireless internet connections around town. It’s nice because they make far better hot chocolate than I do. I’ve also been lucky enough to find myself at some great conferences around the world, for example I’m heading to SxSW Interacive next week. Any conference worth its salt these days provides free wifi.

This is great, but the internet can be a dangerous place. What most people don’t realize is that almost everything they do on the internet, with the exception of things like e-commerce, is transmitted in clear text. This means the data could be readable to anyone who listened. People use things like “packet sniffers” that let them observe and log traffic on a local network, for example that free wifi connection you and 50 of your closest trusted friends are on.

There are ways around this using things like VPN or SSH tunnels, but mostly they’re beyond the reach of us mere mortals to use. I know personally if I’m a techy conference I’m less likely to post to my blog because someone could just “sniff” my password and traffic and cause all sorts of travel.

We’ve made it so you never have to worry about this on WordPress.com. You’re safe blogging here now.

Using the same technology that online stores like Amazon.com and your bank do, we’re now securing all the important bits of your blog using SSL. What this means is that when you’re logging in or posting to WordPress.com, all of your traffic will be encrypted so anyone “sniffing” it will just see a bunch of gibberish. This is free and immediately available for all our users.

On a technical level, what we’ve done is restricted your login cookies to be SSL-only, which means they will never be transmitted in the clear, and we’re encrypting the cookies sent in the clear to make it difficult for anyone to impersonate your login.

There are still one or two kinks we’re working out, particularly for this main blog, but at worst you may see a security warning about the SSL certificate. If you have any problems please let us know using the feedback form.

Also, because we love you so much, we’ve made the code we’re using to do this available as a WordPress plugin. All you need is a SSL certificate and WordPress 2.1-alpha.

Anyway, now when you go to conferences or that sketchy coffee house blog without fear.