As ‘Game of Thrones’ Returns, Is Sharing Your HBO Password O.K.?

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The seventh season of “Game of Thrones” returns on Sunday, and if you’re like a significant chunk of HBO’s viewership, you can watch it thanks to the login credentials tracing back to your friend’s ex-boyfriend’s parents.

But if you listened to the headlines after a court decision last July, you might fear a SWAT team could bust down your door in the middle of your illicit “Veep” episode. Countless news sites reported that sharing your password would be a “federal crime,” while others suggested you might “go to jail” for it.

The less hysteric truth is more complicated but experts largely agree: You are in very little danger of legal trouble by sharing your password or using a shared one. The laws remain murky, but the government is unlikely to prosecute you, and the streaming video services have shown no desire to go after customers.

(We’re not saying you should use someone else’s password. As an ethical issue, it’s probably a good idea to pay for it. The same goes for news.)

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A short investigation into the mysterious tweets from press secretary Sean Spicer

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One possibility is that they are passwords, tweeted out as whoever is behind the account gets used to the new security procedures governing it. There are a lot of theories out there on how it might have happened. By far the most likely is that of the Guardian’s Alex Hern, who identified one possible way that could happen, if the @PressSec account has two-factor authentication activated.

Two-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security for password-protected accounts, and it would be good for the official account of the press secretary for the White House to have it. In fact, it would be good for anyone with a Twitter account to have it. According to a brand-new Pew report on cybersecurity, about 52 percent of Americans have used two-factor at some point to manage an account.

In case you are one of the 48 percent of Americans who haven’t used it, here’s how it works: In addition to entering in a password, two-factor requires users to enter in a randomly generated code that changes with each login, usually sent to your phone through either an app or a text message. For Twitter, those codes are sent via text by default, from a number that should look familiar to any longtime Twitter users: 40404.

It’s Not Your Grandparents’ Fault They Keep Getting Scammed Online

Tutor Helping Senior Woman In Computer Class

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The success of these hacks and scams have led many software developers and security professionals to gripe about the so-called “stupid users” who simply cannot be saved from themselves and their terrible passwords. While it’s true, in a tautological sense, that removing all humans from the network would make it exceptionally secure, being “stupid” and being “poorly educated” are two very different things. There are a lot of smart people out there that simply don’t have the right information to keep themselves safe online, including seniors…

Yanking grandma and grandpa (or anyone else who doesn’t know how to respond to technogeek phrased pop-ups about ActiveX controls) offline is clearly not the answer. But given the rate at which seniors are being targeted, we could be doing a better job of getting basic information to this particularly vulnerable group.

 

Saudi scholar issues fatwa against stealing someone else’s WiFi

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A Saudi scholar issued a fatwa against using another person’s WiFi without permission, since theft cannot be tolerated in Islam.

…The WiFi fatwa is far less provocative, although the need for it confused some commentators. Why not just encourage people to put passwords on their private Internet?

“We do not need a religious edict to pinpoint such basic things,” a Saudi blogger noted, according to the Gulf Times. “Private property should remain private, especially [since] the owner paid money for the services. Nobody should just take advantage.”

Announcing Our Worst Passwords of 2015

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“123456” and “password” once again reign supreme as the most commonly used passwords… demonstrating how people’s choices for passwords remain consistently risky.

…Some new and longer passwords made their debut – perhaps showing an effort by both websites and web users to be more secure. However, the longer passwords are so simple as to make their extra length virtually worthless as a security measure.  For example, “1234567890”, “1qaz2wsx” (first two columns of main keys on a standard keyboard), and “qwertyuiop” (top row of keys on a standard keyboard) all appear in the top 25 list for the first time, but they are each based on simple patterns that would be easily guessable by hackers.

Sports remain a popular password theme. While baseball may be America’s pastime, “football” has overtaken it as a popular password… When it comes to movies and pop culture, The Force may be able to protect the Jedi, but it won’t secure users who choose popular Star Wars terms such as “starwars,” “solo,” and “princess” as their passwords. All three terms are new entries on this year’s list.