Archive for September, 2011

18 Types of Residual Income

September 23, 2011

When deciding how you would like to structure your personal finances with multiple streams of income and you are a full-time worker, you may wish to supplement your income with a second job.  However, just like your first job, your salary will still be subjected to income tax.  Moreover, the salaries from both of these jobs are considered linear income.  What you would like to do for yourself instead is earn residual income.

If the "linear income" you are earning from your day job is not enough, you should look into one of these 18 types of residual income to help you gain greater financial independence.What is linear income? It is the income you are earning from your full-time or part-time job.  With this type of income, the amount you earn is tied to how much you work.  The more you work, the more you earn; the less you work, the less you earn.  Let’s face it.  Sick time, vacation time and PTO can only cover so much of your off time before you start not getting paid for not working.

On the other hand, residual income (also known as “passive income” or “royalty income“) involves doing the work once and being paid for this work many times over, over a period of months or even years.

From the viewpoints of residual income, many types of professionals are not as wealthy as they appear.  Doctors, dentists and chiropractors only see a fixed number of patients per day.  Salesmen can only speak to so many potential customers per day.  Attorneys can only meet with so many clients per day.  Overall, these professionals are earning a linear income.

Because a linear income shows almost immediate results, people tend to get caught in the trap of viewing a linear income as being of little value to them.  For those who would genuinely like to live off a linear income in the future, the hard work must be put in now.  Once you’re working a steady job with a linear income, you can begin working on your plan to create a stream of residual income, setting aside two to four hours after work each day or part of your weekend to make this dream a reality.

If you do not know the types of residual income you can earn, here is a list to get you started:

Believe me, this is not an exhaustive list of the types of residual income you can earn.  Nonetheless, if you ask yourself this question right now, “What percentage of my day did I spend creating residual income?” and your answer is zero, you may wish to spend this evening or the weekend examining how you can turn residual income into a second source of income for you.  But as the saying goes, “Rome was not built in a day.”  With careful, consistent, and persistent planning, the royalties, profits, fees, or revenue earned from your endeavor will earn you residual income for years to come.

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Francis Unson

Common Password Mistakes and How to Create Stronger Passwords

September 20, 2011

A password is a secret word or string of characters that is used for authentication to prove identity or gain access to resources.  We encounter passwords in our daily lives, at the ATM, when logging onto our home or office computers, or logging into our table TV decoder when purchasing a pay-per-view event.  We use passwords several times per day when we are using our computers, such as retrieving e-mail from servers; accessing programs; databases; social networking websites; or even reading the morning newspaper online.  Computer passwords are our first, last, and best line of defense against damaging intrusions.  Companies rely on passwords to protect sensitive information from hackers.  The use of poorly designed passwords could leave us vulnerable to: identity theft, financial loss, invasion of privacy, exposure of proprietary company data, and sharing sensitive or embarrassing information.  Here are some common password mistakes that users make, including examples of bad passwords.

The password is easy to locate

Even though people can create passwords with little security, IT professionals can be equally guilty of failing to enforce the rules. Here are some common password mistakes made by users and network admins alike.

Monitors are the last place anyone should find your password.

Whether the password is long or short, complex or simple, a password that is written down on a Post-it note and stuck on your monitor, beneath your keyboard, or in your desk drawer (that has no lock) offers as much protection as a system that has no password in the first place.  Your best bet is to create a password that you can memorize easily or retrieve from your (password protected) mobile phone.

The password is too short and simple

“susan”

“12345”

“APPLES”

These passwords share two other things in common: they contain fewer than eight characters and they use a single character set, where the first password uses all lowercase letters, the second uses all numbers, and the third uses all uppercase letters.  Most password policies require that a password be at least eight characters long, with even more restrictive policies requiring the use of at least two or more character sets.

The password is too common

Even though people can create passwords with little security, IT professionals can be equally guilty of failing to enforce the rules. Here are some common password mistakes made by users and network admins alike.

If any of these look familiar to you, change your password RIGHT NOW

Many users create passwords out of common phrases, obvious patterns, or combinations of words.  Part of the repertoire that hackers employ includes English and foreign language dictionary attacks.  Ironically, correctly spelled passwords are the easiest to crack by dictionary attacks.  Simply transposing a letter or number to its visual equivalent (swapping an “O” for “0” (zero) in “passw0rd”) is not enough.

Using the same password for all your accounts

If a hacker succeeds in cracking your password for one account, be it your e-mail account or your Facebook account, chances are, they will attempt to use that same password for every other online account that they determine is yours.  It is in your best interest to create a unique password for each online account that you own.

The password contains personal information

Avoid creating passwords that contain your name, home address, phone number, birthday, driver’s license, Social Security number, passport number, or similar information.

The password is based on your kids’ or pets’ names, nicknames, the names of characters in books or movies, or celebrity names.

“Bobby”

“Jenny”

“Scruffy”

“MrFluffy”

“PrincessLeia”

“EdwardCullen”

“MattDamon”

If your Facebook profile can be viewed publicly, hackers can derive passwords based on the captions of your family photos or the books and movies that you “like”.

Reversing or capitalizing the last two types of bad passwords

Even though people can create passwords with little security, IT professionals can be equally guilty of failing to enforce the rules. Here are some common password mistakes made by users and network admins alike.

Some words spelled backwards are other valid words. "Stressed" and "desserts" are two of them.

Reversing your home phone number or your granddaughter’s middle name may be more complex for you to remember, but not for hackers to decipher.  After all, hackers can do a reverse dictionary attack (where they look up all the words in the dictionary spelled backwards) in an attempt to steal your password.

Network system administrators are not off the hook when it comes to creating password policies.  Often times, companies try to use password policies to keep those mistakes from hampering security.  However, these policies must be done correctly in order to have an effect.  Here are some common password policy mistakes IT departments make.

Overdoing a good thing

If a network admin requires users to create new and extremely complex passwords every 30 days, the users may start to ignore the rules and keep the hard-to-remember passwords written down.

Applying password policies unevenly

Companies may require strong passwords for users during initial login, but at other levels of security, password policies may be much weaker.  Hackers who toil at cracking the user’s tough login password would be pleased to discover that security throughout the rest of the system is much more lax.

Allowing password policies to become outdated

While making users update their passwords every 30 days may be difficult for some users, not updating password policies at all would allow a system to become just as susceptible to attacks by hackers, who can rely on old information to gain access.

In order for users to protect themselves from identity theft, financial loss, or loss of privacy, users should actively and regularly create strong passwords.  Here are some guidelines to creating a strong password.

Keys to password length: length and complexity

An ideal password is long and has letters, punctuation, symbols, and numbers (e.g. spanning four character sets: lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters).  If possible, use a password that is at least 14 characters or more and spans all areas of your keyboard, using letters and symbols you use less frequently.

Create a strong password you can remember

Microsoft outlines a method to create a long, complex password:

Start with a sentence or two.

  • Complex passwords are safer and easier to remember.

Remove the spaces between the words in the sentence.

  • Complexpasswordsaresaferandeasiertoremember.

Turn words into symbols, numbers, or shorthand.

  • ComplexpasswordsRsafer&easier2remember.

Add length with numbers.  Put numbers that are meaningful to you after the sentence.

  • ComplexpasswordsRsafer&easier2remember2011.

Another site has additional suggestions for how to create a stronger password that is difficult to crack, yet easy to remember:

  • Choose two short, unrelated words (like your favorite exercise, animal, flower, or weather, for example) and join them with an arbitrary number and/or symbol.  Examples: “jump3$lily” or “dog+rain”.
  • Use first letters of a sequence.  For example: your nephews (named Jeremy, Roger, and Allen) and their ages: “8Je9Rog12Alle”.
  • Make a really long password from a sentence.  Examples: “IwentskydivinginApril87” or “0416istheBostonMarathon”.
  • Select a line or title of a song or poem, and use the first letter of each word.  For example: “Who ya gonna call?  Ghost Busters!” would produce “Wygc?GB!” or “You can’t always get what you want” yields “Ycagwyw.”  Even better, throw in a number or punctuation mark in the middle: “Ycag$wyw”.
  • Alternate between one consonant and one or two vowels, up to eight characters.  This creates nonsense words that are still usually pronounceable, and thus easily remembered.  Examples: “routboo,” “quadpop,” and so on.
  • Consider treating your password as multiple parts: a central core and a prefix and/or suffix when needed that is specific to the service the password protects.  For example: your core might be “gPw4” (that is, “generic Password for…”) and then if it’s a password for a newspaper website like the New York Times, you might choose to add “NYt” to the beginning or end of the password (“NYtgPw4”), while your password for eBay auctions might be “gPw4eBa” and your Yahoo! email password could be “gP4Y!e”.
  • Generate your own scheme very methodically.  Start with a word, and then delete a character or two, or perhaps just the vowels.  Throw in some numbers or punctuation.  Continue making the rules for yourself.  Choose something that would seem totally random to someone else but that makes sense to you.  Use your imagination!

Tester password with the password checker

Always run a password checker to evaluate your password’s strength automatically.  Your online accounts, computer files, and personal information are more secure when you use strong passwords to help protect them.

Protect your passwords from prying eyes

If these strong passwords are still too difficult to remember, go ahead and write it down, but keep the written password in a secure location.  Once you’ve created a strong password, continue with the suggestions below to keep it even safer:

  • Never share your password with anyone.  This includes family, friends, significant others, computer support people, and bosses.  If you need someone to read your email, many email programs (for example, Outlook) allow you use a “delegates” feature to enable certain persons do so without using your password.  Check with your email provider.
  • Never say “yes” when your browser asks you if you’d like to save your password.  Although it’s convenient, it’s not a good idea—especially when the computer you are using is shared.  Some computer viruses can even recover your passwords from your Internet browser and then e-mail them to random people or post them publicly on the Internet.  Stop this from happening in the future and to remove passwords that are already stored.
  • If you absolutely must write down a new password the first time or two you use it and until you can remember it easily, be sure you keep it in a very safe, hidden place—not a sticky note stuck to your computer or your desk!  Then, shred it—don’t just toss it in the trash—once you’re done.
  • Never send your password in email, even if the request looks official.  If you receive e-mail from someone claiming to be your systems administrator, requesting your password because they supposedly need access to your files, ignore it.  This is a popular phishing scam.  Remember, your computer support people will never ask you for your password for any reason.  If someone must ask you to change your password so that they can gain entry to your account, they do not have reason to be there!
  • Change your password often.  This is important, particularly for passwords that protect highly sensitive data.  And if you ever suspect your password has been compromised, change it immediately!

Google summarizes the above information in the following video:

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Francis Unson

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