Heartbleed Headaches & How to Make Them Go Away!

My favourite quote about passwords has always been:

Passwords are like underwear“Passwords are like underwear: we should not leave them lying around, and should change them regularly.” 
– Unknown

Most of us manage the first part quite nicely and keep our passwords hidden, however changing them regularly? That is another kettle of fish entirely!

I’m sure by now you will have heard of the Heartbleed Bug – a serious vulnerability in OpenSSL encryption, used by significant numbers of popular websites to protect data. This weakness can allow access to confidential data, including names, passwords and cookies. For more information about the Heartbleed Bug, please check out Heartbleed in a Nutshell.

This vulnerability has been active for over 2 years, making it incredibly likely you need to sit up and take this seriously!

Mashable produced a list of affected websites, so please check there for a more comprehensive overview, however many websites you use everyday are among those affected, including:

The thought of changing your passwords for all of your accounts is very overwhelming. Overwhelming, but necessary. As I was pondering possible password combinations, I saw a twitter post detailing a 50% sale on 1Password – a piece of software that can help you store, generate and protect your passwords, while you only have to remember (yep, you guessed it) 1Password!

I decided that in the interests of managing all of my passwords for various accounts, buying a license for 1Password was a sensible decision! It is also available for iOS, which helped seal the deal.

To get started on your Mac (or PC), you simply purchase the license, download 1Password and enter the license information. Their support website is helpful in getting set up.

Installing the 1Password browser extensions for Chrome, Safari & Firefox, made the next stage in getting set up a lot easier. For each of my accounts (e. g. Facebook, Twitter, etc.), I would change and save a new password. With the extensions installed, 1Password prompted me to see if I wanted to save this new password. Easy.

I also downloaded the 1Password app for iOS, and it was super simple to log in to my account and do a wifi sync, meaning I can now access all my 1Password information on all of my devices.

1Password offers a host of other features, including the ones outlined in the image below.  So far I have added extras like credit card and passport details. Really handy for when you want to do some online shopping, but don’t have your credit card on hand. Same goes for booking flights when your passport is at home…!

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 4.26.09 PM

Next on my list is to use Strong Password Generator to help me create sensible passwords. As I only have to remember ONE, I feel much less concerned about making a password too difficult.

Have you used a password management tool before? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Image Credits:
Underwear – by Keri-Lee Beasley (made with paper by 53)
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All other icons freeware found at iconarchive.com

Getting a little Headspace

My mother calls it Active Mind. You know, when you can’t sleep because your brain is just ticking over with so much STUFF! The bills that need paying, friends that need helping, that thing you had forgotten that you had to do for work that needs to be done by tomorrow, reflecting on failures in parenting, or even pondering possible holiday destinations – all of these things can help keep sleep at bay. Nearly all the women in my family have suffered from this ‘affliction’, and we all joke about not being able to turn our brains off or being unable to wind down.

I am not really into fluffy stuff like meditation or “going to a happy place” or visiualisations or the like, but at the (relatively!) advanced age of 37, I am willing to give something new a good old college try in the name of research. I decided to do what any self-respecting Digital Literacy Coach would do – I turned to technology!

I know what you’re going to say… Technology with its screens and lights doesn’t sound like a logical choice, but stay with me!

Headspace AppA colleague (Nora) recommended an app called Headspace. “Keri-Lee!” she proclaimed, “Have I got an app for you! You have to try Headspace.”

I began downloading immediately, and then asked, “What does it do?”

“It’s a meditation app,” my colleague replied.

Well, that’s something different, I thought, and promptly forgot about it. However, the holidays rolled around, and I stumbled across it again. Why not give it a crack?

It was 5am. My son had just woken me up (apologetically, at least), and having settled him back to bed, I was wide awake and in need of more rest. Time to try this app. I watched the 3 or 4 short starter animations (which were very good, I thought), then lay back to listen to the actual meditation part – 10 minutes in total.

At the end of the first meditation, I actually went back to sleep. That is simply UNHEARD of for me. I felt very refreshed when I awoke, which was a definite bonus.

I was putting the kids to bed later that night, when it struck me I should try it with them too. How nice to think about potentially breaking the cycle of Active Mind with my daughter and son and teaching them the skills of quietening their minds! They were quite excited about getting to use the iPad close to bedtime (it’s the little things..!), and both seemed to enjoy it, though the soporific effects it had on me were somewhat lost on them.

StatisticsThe next morning, they both proudly announced they had slept longer than they usually do, by about 30 minutes. Well hey! That’s better than a kick in the head!

We have created a nice little routine now, where we have a story, then get them tucked up ready for their Headspace. We’ve just had day 3, and all seems to be well from their end of the house.

So to the nitty gritty. The app is free – for the first 10 days of meditations. You can choose to sign up monthly, annually, biannually or forever. I have chosen to get a yearly subscription, I am so enjoying the quiet time at night. It seems a reasonable price to pay for my sanity!

Another thing that drew me to the app was the whole design concept. The simplicity of the images and the colour scheme really appealed to me. Their website: getsomeheadspace.com is also well set out, with a straightforward design concept which really helped me. If the design was poor, it would have turned me off the app itself for sure.

The infographics it includes in the progress tab are simple, yet effective. I can see this will be an excellent app/site to show students learning about infographics and design.

Check the video below to see the first animation in the series, or download the Headspace app and get started!