Author: Sylvie Barak

Hacker offers password protection tips

Your password is weak, WEAK I tell you! Well, actually, we’re not the one’s telling you, John P of One Man’s Blog and the CEO of iFusion Labs is.

John P reckons it would be easy peasy to hack around 20 per cent of people’s passwords, simply by using the following top 10 list:

  1. Your partner, child, or pet’s name, possibly followed by a 0 or 1 (because they’re always making you use a number, aren’t they?)
  2. The last 4 digits of your social security number.
  3. 123 or 1234 or 123456.
  4. “password”
  5. Your city, or college, football team name.
  6. Date of birth – yours, your partner’s or your child’s.
  7. “god”
  8. “letmein”
  9. “money”
  10. “love”

But even if you’re not dummy enough to use one of the above, John P believes he could still get his grubby paws on your password protected data, because you’re probably still not careful enough with your password selection.

While hackers can easily carry out a Brute Force Attack to crack your not-so-cryptic passcode, you could apparently greatly reduce the risks simply by choosing a longer and more secure password. Yes, seriously.  It’s that easy.

Basic common sense, says John P, means you shouldn’t be using the same password for all your logins, for a start. Why? Because it’s like putting all your eggs in one basket.

A hacker gets hold of one and he has access to everything. Also, while your bank website may have extra security measures to protect against brute force hacking attempts, other sites you use the same password for probably don’t.

“So, all we have to do now is unleash Brutuswwwhack, or THC Hydra on their server with instructions to try say 10,000 (or 100,000 – whatever makes you happy) different usernames and passwords as fast as possible,” writes John P.

But you could thwart John P and his fellow minions of darkness by simply making your password that little bit longer. How much longer? Well, Mr. P was kind enough to draw up the following table:

Password Length

All Characters

Only Lowercase

3 characters
4 characters
5 characters
6 characters
7 characters
8 characters
9 characters
10 characters
11 characters
12 characters
13 characters
14 characters

0.86 seconds
1.36 minutes
2.15 hours
8.51 days
2.21 years
2.10 centuries
20 millennia
1,899 millennia
180,365 millennia
17,184,705 millennia
1,627,797,068 millennia
154,640,721,434 millennia

0.02 seconds
.046 seconds
11.9 seconds
5.15 minutes
2.23 hours
2.42 days
2.07 months
4.48 years
1.16 centuries
3.03 millennia
78.7 millennia
2,046 millennia

Even the seemingly minute difference of mixing up upper and lower case letters makes the world of difference, according to J.P, and “adding just one capital letter and one asterisk would change the processing time for an 8 character password from 2.4 days to 2.1 centuries.” Blimey.

Signing off with some useful tips, John P reminds password paranoids out there to diversify their passwords, use different ones for different websites, substitute some letters for numbers and for those with shoddy memory, to use Roboform to store all of your passwords in an encrypted format.

There now, aren’t you feeling more secure already? You’re welcome.

How to cook eggs on a Fermi card

Who doesn’t enjoy a good bit of mythbusting? And Legit Reviews certainly gets top marks for its cracking attempts to cook an egg on a smoking hot Fermi card.


Apparently forum members had been bandying around comments and photos, implying that Fermi was running so hot, it could be used as a BBQ grill, but ever the realist, LR’s Nathan Kirsch hooked his system up to a temperature monitor, made himself a little aluminum plate, cracked an egg and began benchmarking.


Kirsch notes that there had been some problems with the version of Fermi reviewed by press last week ( but that the latest build ( had incorporated “minor tweaks and bug fixes” which apparently solved some of the overheating issues.

True, there were still some problems with dual monitor idle temperature, but apparently Nvidia’s boffins are working hard to get those fixed this week, ensuring that the system’s fan should kick in when temperature reaches around 70 degrees C, rather than around 80 degrees C.

But until the problem is fixed, LR decided to test the theory that the card was actually so hot it could be used to cook a fry up. Kirsch configured his system leaving the GTX 480 card to sit at idle with two monitors plugged in, at an ambient temperature of a shockingly high 87C. But even that wasn’t enough to cook his super free range egg.


“After nearly 45 minutes of running benchmarks and playing some games the egg white was turning white, but it was nowhere near cooked,” writes Kirsch, adding “if you turned the fan down lower you might have some better luck.” 

Well, kudos for the effort, and we can only hope Nvidia is going to fix that dual monitor problem pronto, because hard boiled or runny, that’s certainly not an eggsemplary temperature.

US uni to hand out iPads to students

Getting a University education just got trendier, as Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania announced Wednesday it would be kitting out all new 2011-2012 first years with iPads, to lighten their book load – and their wallets.

If handing out the hyped up iPads wasn’t enough, the uni is also doling out brand spanking new Macbooks, but is charging all students $500 per semester in charges for the digital luxuries. Talk about teching advantage.

With thousands of e-book classics now online, courtesy of Google and short copyright laws, Seton Hill students can probably expect to spend very little time teetering atop wonky chairs in a dusty library to find their course material. Which somewhat takes all the fun and character out of university life, but hey, it’s hipster heaven.

Of course, Apple will also be able to cash in on students downloading books from its iBookstore, eat your heart out, Amazon.

 Seton Hill isn’t the only too-cool-for-school University out there bestowing fruity toys on its student body. George Hill University will also purportedly be offering its students either a Macbook or an iPad this coming September.

Core Blimey, and here we were thinking apples were for the teacher, not the bloody students.

Firm yanks bras after promotion code Snafu

Here at TechEye, we love a bit of scandal. Especially scandal involving women’s underwear and social media, which is why we had a good chuckle earlier today over a particularly titillating social media snafu by US based firm, Spanx. 

Spanx, a U.S. company which manufactures footless pantyhose and other undergarments for women, apparently made quite a boob of itself when the CEO’s free bra promo code was leaked to the general public, used and abused, subsequently forcing the firm to back out, leaving countless women bra-less. 

“Dear Valued Customer, thank you for your recent order of a Bra-llelujah bra on,” reads the email received by countless bamboobzled women.

 “I would like to personally thank you for your interest and support of Spanx. Unfortunately, the LaurieAnnBra promotion code you used to receive a free bra was a code I set up only for my personal use and somehow got leaked to a large distribution.  Due to the overwhelming use of this code, we are not able to give away free bras.  We will need to cancel your order,” the distressing letter, by CEO Laurie Ann Goldman herself, continues.

Knowing that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, however, Laurie Ann had the good sense to offer a pacifier.

“To make up for any inconvenience, I’d like to extend a special opportunity to you, 30% off any order on This offer can only be redeemed through customer service at 888-806-7311 (we’ve
learned our lesson on using web codes!) and is only valid through April 4th.”

Still thinking of tricking your way into the woman’s knickers? Well, tough luck, because Laurie Ann has thwarted your evil designs:

“This offer is not for everyone.  Please be ready to provide customer service with your original order number,” she writes sternly.

In true comic genius fashion, she ends her email with “Thank you for your understanding and support,” which is just as well, seeing as her customers currently have very little in the way of, erm, support after having their bra orders yanked.

One time customer, Kimberley Pinelli Stowe, reacting to the email on her Facebook page wrote, “Seriously, those Spanx underwear were the most uncomfortable things I ever wore. They’d have to give me a free bra to get me to try it.

“Spanx needs a spanking,” she concluded.


TechEye gets invited to cyber sex show

Us hacks get invited to the most titillating press events on occasion. True, mostly the events are long winded, boring server launches, or financial analyst days, but sometimes, just sometimes, an invite will land in our inbox that will somewhat excite us.

Today was one of those days, with TechEye getting an invite to San Francisco’s Cybernet Expo , the premiere trade show for the adult internet business.

The event, due to take place in the heat of July, from the 8th through the 10th, will apparently include “Intensive Training” sessions, which are a “series of single-instructor classes designed to teach attendees various tactics for operating successful adult entertainment businesses on the internet.” Hmmmm.

Connor Young, President of YNOT Network, the operator of Cybernet Expo, also announced his org would be “using some new software this year, so registering for the show is easier than ever.” And here we were thinking this expo was all about the hardware.

“You can register one person, a group of people, and even log back in later to look up the details of your registration,” Young said, which is great news for TechEye, as we plan on registering a full Harem.

In terms of sugar daddies, eMerchantPay has apparently committed to a big investment into Cybernet Expo 2010, picking up the top Diamond Partner position. grabbed a Platinum Sponsor package, whilst the adorable sounding, attorney Eric M. Bernstein and have all signed on for the Gold Sponsor package.

And just in case there are any potential exhibitors [exhibitionists?] out there, Jay Kopita, YNOT’s director of operations had an even more seductive prospect; “Exhibitors get access to free wireless Internet service,” he said, adding “I’ve seen some shows charge twice as much in one day for Internet access alone as we do for the entire exhibit space plus badge.”

Is that what one calls turning cheap tricks, these days? 

Intel makes mainstream servers mission critical

We’ve seen the last of Intel’s Xeon – or at least, we’ve seen the last of it released, as the firm launched its Nehalem based Xeon 7500 processor series on Tuesday. 

Claiming the “largest performance leap” in Xeon history, Intel reckoned the new series bumped up a 3x improvement across a range of benchmarks, which apparently means data centres can now feel free to replace 20 single core servers with just one Xeon 7500 processor based system. 

The new arrival is apparently something of a chip-send in terms of energy efficiency, computing speed and a whole plethora of other features, according to Intel, which longwindedly blew its own trumpet for an hour at the launch event. 

“It is not often that you launch a product so revolutionary you think it will change the market….But the Xeon 7500 will democratise the high-end, while delivering mission critical computing to the mainstream,” gushed Intel’s Kirk Skaugen, vice president of Intel’s architecture group and general manager of its data centre group.

“Moore’s Law enables us to deliver this…We have been in the server market for 25 years, have successfully moved the Web from Sparc-based architecture to Intel-based computing,” he continued. 

“The Xeon 7500 offers 20 new reliability features, many found for the first time in X86 architecture,” said Skaugen, giving the example of a feature called machine check architecture recovery (MCA recovery), which has been in mainframes, RISC and Itanium – and is now also in the Xeon 7500. 

“In a normal machine, a multi-bit memory error caused by cosmic or alpha rays is enough to halt the system….But MCA recovery notifies the OS of a multi-bit error and allows it to keep going,” Skaugen assured us. 

Indeed, with eight core, 16-threaded  performance, Intel certainly believes it is well placed to play an even bigger role than it already currently holds.

“There is going to be an explosion in data growth. Intel is committed to getting one billion people connected to the Internet,” Skaugen proclaimed.

“We want today’s supercomputer to be under every desk in the very near future. By 2013 there will be a million CPUs in just 100 of the top supercomputers….We believe there is a category for higher core count and broader memory capacity.” 

Skaugen went on to praise the Xeon 7500’s advances in scalability, which allow new designs to range from two-socket platforms up to 256 chips per system, as well as the purported 4x increase in memory capacity (up to 1 Terabyte in 4-processor configurations) and 8x increase in memory bandwidth.  

“At the end of the day, mission critical computing is about reliability and zero down time,” he concluded.

Warner Bros recruits student spies

Everyone knows students are a useless waste of space. Everyone, that is, except Warner Bros Entertainment, which believes the greasy gits could prove incredibly useful if seduced by a lucrative 12 month internship and cajoled into turning on their peers [peer2peers] as piracy spies.

The UK branch of the huge media corporation recently started a recruitment drive for a position as a tech savvy intern, a reformed file sharer willing to become turncoat and rat out fellow downloaders.

The student Warner Bros is seeking must apparently be “IT literate” and be well versed in the dark arts of “peer protocols, IRC, FTP, web forums and newsgroups. 

“Programming experience with Java or JSP and PHP, Perl or Python would be a bonus,” says the job description. 

The anti piracy intern would set up shop [ship?] at Warner Bros offices in London where s/he would be asked to set up various accounts at BitTorrent sites, whilst helping to develop link-scanning bots and trap file sharers by posing as buyers for illegal content. 

If an intern should chance upon an illegal tidbit from either Warner Bros or NBC Universal, s/he would also be required to send a heavy handed takedown request to both the site and its users. As well as gather as much information on the identities of the file sharers and site hosts as possible. 

For this, the intern will receive the princely sum of £17,500, which should barely cover living expenses in London, leaving not too much left over for the legal purchase of music and films online. 

Still, if you or any other lazy student with a degree in a computing related discipline you know is interested, feel free to check out the application. But don’t do the typical student procrastination routine, because last applications are due in by March 31.

Robots celebrate Passover

Science and religion don’t mix, right? Wrong. Or at least Israel’s College of Management and Academic Studies Robotic Research Institute doesn’t think so.

Students at the college have been working on robots which can carry out a Jewish Passover ceremony from start to finish, even mechanically breaking off bits of Matza for fellow robot guests at the table.

Seder, the Jewish ritual feast that marks the beginning of Passover, requires that each attendee drink no less than four cups of wine, which is not a problem, as the robots appear to be able to pour flawlessly, and with the added benefit of retaining sobriety throughout.

Bitter herbs? The robot seems to have no trouble dolloping it onto various plates. Eat your heart out Pharoah.

Now, you see, if only the robots had been able to build the pyramids instead of Jewish slaves, or better yet, use SatNav capabilities to guide the Jews through the desert to the Holy Land afterwards, then none of us would have to suffer our way through a whole week of unleavened bread.

AT&T offers service, but won't sell it

One wouldn’t really expect a communications company to have, er, communication difficulties, but that’s certainly the case today over at AT&T, which this morning announced fab new mega sized bandwidth offerings, but obviously forgot to inform its sales staff, making it quite impossible to order. 

AT&T did much to trumpet the arrival of its Max Turbo U-verse Internet service, offering a heart pounding dedicated bandwidth of 24/3Mbit for $65 per month to no less than 120 markets around the US

The service, based on Very High Bitrate Digital Subscriber Lines (VDSL), had initially been piloted in Austin, San Antonio and St. Louis, but is supposedly now available to a much wider US audience, thanks to super-fast fibre networks which only switch to copper lines within a few thousand feet of the customer’s home – fibre to the node (FTTN). 

Sound cool? That’s because it is, even if it all works out to be rather more expensive after one factors in the mandatory TV bundling AT&T forces down punters throats if you want the new Max Turbo service. 

So, instead of $65 a month of your precious moolah going to AT&T for blisteringly fast Internet speeds, think more in the region of $122 for Max Turbo and the lowest available tier of HD TV service.

But even if you want it and are prepared to pay… you can’t have it. Our colleagues down at Icrontic were the first to pick up on this, after calling AT&T to order the brand new service.

Icrontic’s HQ is in the Detroit metropolitan area, supposedly a U-verse market, and Icrontic also has the unfortunate pleasure of having an AT&T TV package, so it fits the bill. Yet, when staff called AT&T to place an order for Max Turbo, the sales reps had no idea what they were talking about.

Not a crew to give up easily, Icrontic called another an AT&T rep and was told he also had no idea about the Max Turbo service.

Meanwhile, here in Mountain View, CA this reporter spent 20 minutes on hold waiting for a rep to give her the number of an AT&T PR person she could talk to on the subject, seeing as the firm conveniently left that off the press release.


Fermi finally tips up

After months and months and months of waiting, gamers rejoice, because Nvidia’s Fermi is finally here.

Announced by Nvidia’s GM of  GeForce, Drew Henry, at Boston’s Pax East the card is apparently “without a doubt,the best GPU [Nvidia] ever built.” Henry also said he was sure “the GeForce GTX 480 is something you’re going to be really delighted with.”

Not telling us anything we didn’t know before, Henry went on to say Fermi was “the most complicated GPU [Nvidia] ever built,” boasting three billion transistors, so roughly the same as four Intel quad core i7 CPUs.

Henry bragged that Fermi actually had such advanced compute capabilities that it would allow gamers to “blow some shit up.” We can only assume gamers will be delighted.

The GTX 480, said Henry, has a 1.5 GB frame buffer and 480 cores whilst the GTX 470 has a 1.2 GB frame buffer and 448 cores .

Nvidia is claiming that the 480 is some 2x faster than Nvidia’s older GTX 285. Henry also maintained the firm had invested a lot in PhysX.

For added incentive, Nvidia is apparently also shipping an interactive ray tracing app with every new GTX 470 and 480.

Throwing out a rather flimsy excuse for why Fermi tipped up so late, Henry asserted Nvidia had wanted to wait until PAX because that was the show all the gamers came to. 

Henry waxed lyrical about the passion of gamers and how laudable it was that some had driven 40 hours across country from Washington to be there and how others had packed up to 11 people in one hotel room to attend.

Nvidia had better just hope that with all that passion abounding, it doesn’t disappoint potential punters with a weak supply. Then again, that might just be TSMC’s fault.