comes to protected Internet accounts, one of the biggest pains is maintaining
Passwords can be relatively easy for the wrong people to figure out --
especially if they know something about you -- your dog's name, where you were
born, etc., etc.
There are even programs that will run through lists of common passwords and try
to use them to get into your e-mail (as some well-known people have
unfortunately found out) or to sign on to your bill pay or banking records.
Many of these secured services will lock out attempted uses of the wrong
password -- and that user may be you, if you can't remember which password you
Although there are programs that remember all your passwords for you,
the risk, of course, is in the wrong person could get access to that program.
If the system recognizes the difference between upper and lower case letters, there's added protection
in using some combination: "maRgaRet." Some people suggest adding characters such as ~, < and *
to, if possible, make the password even more secure.
We say "if possible" because some systems can't handle these special characters;
however, all of them should be able to handle the underline character, such as
Another password approach is to use the first letters of words in a phrase you can remember
-- MaryHadALittleLamb or MHALL, or something a bit more challenging.
Some password systems require at least eight characters, some of which have to
be numbers and capital letters.
passwords should be periodically changed, and some services force you to regularly
change them, there are people that use a system that incorporates the number of the
month, such as "Mar09garet."
"Margaret," by itself, would not be a good password. In addition to it
being a common name -- maybe even the name of the user -- any word in a common dictionary is in the "vocabulary" of password cracking
What you don't want to
do is write the password down on a post-it and stick it to the computer monitor
(it's been done in companies!) or even somewhere under your desk (people
know this is a good place to look).
When You Delete Data It's Still There
hard drive keeps a fairly good record of the recent sites you've visited, the
pictures you've looked at, and even the files you think you've erased.
"Deleting" a file as it's normally done does not really erase it
-- it only deletes the index entry that points to the original file. Assuming the data has also been erased is a little like pulling the index card from a card catalog
in the library and assuming the book it points to is also gone!
Likewise, with your computer the data is still there (for those
who know how to find it) until that space if overwritten with new data.
There are programs available that will restore "deleted"
files. These are handy to have if you accidently delete a file you need. Of course,
the quicker you "undelete" a file the greater the chance of completely restoring
it before it's overwritten by something else.
Government computers and corporations with
trade secrets use computer deletion programs that not only delete the index
entry, but overwrite the original data space at least two times with randomly
generated data (gibberish).
The major cell phone companies provide high-speed wireless internet for
both "smart phones" and laptop computers. In the latter case this capability is
into the computer.
Although this approach -- often called 3G or 4G -- is much faster than the standard telephone service, it's not as
fast as today's high-speed home Internet connections.
cell phones are actually miniature (and in many cases rather sophisticated)
computers. Some even have miniature hard drives.
When you click on a computer hyperlink you may be taken to a computer site thousands of miles away. This means that the signal may have to be routed through
dozens, if not hundreds, of relay points.
If it weren't for error correction, momentary interference or interruptions could easy scramble the message. To stop this from happening data is sent and received in blocks of information. Before a block is sent it's mathematically analyzed and a checksum (a calculated value reflecting the nature of the original data) is transmitted along with the data block.
If the checksum on the receiving end doesn't match the checksum of the original data block, an error signal is transmitted to the originating source
and that data block is immediately sent again.
You might assume that the blocks of data are all sent over the Internet using the shortest route between computers. That's not necessarily the case. In fact, depending in Internet conditions, the blocks of data within a single message can take very different geographic routes getting to their destination.
This is actually one of the strengths of the Internet. If problems develop at one or more relay points, traffic is automatically rerouted. As we will see in the next module, this feature was a cornerstone in the original Internet design.
Each block of data that is sent over the Internet carries an "address." (There will be more on this in Internet Module 4.) Once the individual data blocks arrive at their destination, they are combined in the intended sequence.