About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

12 December 2012

Aladdin - Password on a USB Stick

When Alvin first showed me his prototype for Aladdin in London 2 months back; I was a bit sceptical - and asked the question everyone seems to be asking - what if you lose it? It is a good question - but that is not what Aladdin is trying to solve - it is trying to solve a bigger problem - trying to remember, ever increasing numbers, of complex set of random alpha-numeric characters we call passwords. It is a far cry from Ali Baba, when all that was needed is "Open Sesame" (which incidentally is quite a strong password). 

The genius in Aladdin is that it works on almost any device that recognises USB keyboards. It generates and stores a set of randomly generated alpha-numeric characters;  and combining the key with another key or some input of your own (effectively salting the password) makes it a very versatile device for managing passwords. 

I think it is a brilliant concept; and one worth supporting. In corporates I have had exposure to; password management is a significant cost in IT; and this is a very neat concept in managing passwords. The problem of losing the devices remain with two exploits that come to mind - using the key itself to access systems (which can be addressed through some salting techniques) or resetting the affected passwords themselves. But for the normal user, I think these threats are compensated by the benefits of having a simple way to have strong secure passwords.

I think it's a worthwhile project; and I hope it gets full funding. I have ordered mine :)

Project Link on indiegogo: http://www.indiegogo.com/aladdin-key

10 December 2012

Movie: Skyfall

After buying the Blu-Ray box set in the morning (at a superb price of R1199 at Makro), I thought it was only apt that I watched the latest James Bond offering before diving into the box set. While the story tagline at IMDB "Bond's loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her, bringing MI6 under attack" captures the general plotline of the movie; the movie is far more than just the plotline. After all, it is a movie that features some great acting (Javier Bardem performs a brilliant role as the villain) and a really well written story - two things that won't normally be associated with a Bond movie.

While some of the previous Bond movies have been farcical (invisible cars come to mind), Skyfall raises some really uncomfortable questions. While the technical wizardry is over the top; the most direct question asked is the role of intelligence services in a modern era - an apt question given the increasing visibility of cyber-espionage. And, off course what is the role of traditional espionage in such a world. While the tagline in the credits say "Bond will be back"; in many respects this was a farewell movie of the old guard. And it was certainly one of the best movies in the 50 year series.