Director’s Greeting: Issue #32

Greetings!

I’m an upstanding citizen.  Last week, I found a credit card and some cash in a parking lot.  I turned it in to the policeman cruising by.  I only park in handicapped spots because now I’m actually eligible.  I don’t litter. I don’t speed (much).  I pay my taxes.  I tend to follow the rules, and my “permanent record” is a pretty boring read.  But this week, I crossed over to the dark side.  I became a liar and a hacker!

 

First, the lie (and I think this qualifies as a white lie if you believe in those).  My son is what teachers politely term a “reluctant reader.”  He’s dyslexic; he likes to say he’s got a word scramble built in. So, he hates to read, but he loves animals. And when he came home with four teeny tiny abandoned kittens on Monday, I told him the best way to socialize kittens is to read to them.  Big, fat lie!  But it worked.  They sit in his lap, turning their heads as the pages go by, and he’s logged more reading time in the past few days than over the entire summer.  Yup, I’m a liar. Anybody want a kitten? They’re very well socialized!

 

And now to the more serious offense, the hacking.  We got a nifty new phone system at work this week. I’m not a techie, but even I find it cool.  It can do all kinds of stuff, which I discovered on a training webinar provided by the phone vendor.  A very nice lady walked us through all the features and functionality.  Then, she gave us our direct dial numbers, her direct dial number (in case we needed help), and the default password, which we were instructed to change upon logging in.

 

A couple of hours after the training, I figured I’d go in and customize my settings before I forgot everything she told us and because those demos always make it look much easier than it actually is.  I typed in my phone number (which acts as the username) and then the default password.  And for a minute, I couldn’t figure out why I had so many messages and such a long call log on a brand new number.  And that’s when it hit me!  I’d mistakenly typed in the trainer’s phone number, and she had never changed the default password on her account! Yikes!

So, here I was in somebody else’s voicemail, hoping I wouldn’t see or hear anything I wasn’t supposed to, and I could not for the life of me figure out how to log out!  I tried x’ing out, but I had hit the “remember me” button so that didn’t work.  I clicked around, but felt like an even bigger snoop with each passing second, until I finally found the log out button.  Whew!  Later, I confessed later to a co-worker what I’d done expecting her to laugh at my mistake.  But it turns out that she had done the same thing! Two hackers at DRI! What is the world coming to?

Anyway, I figured I’d take a minute to share this story with you so that you can use it to remind all of your employees to change their default passwords and not change them to something like 1234.  And I also wanted to ask if there are any wise souls among you who have solved the password problem.  You’re not supposed to use the same one twice.  You’re not supposed to write them down.  You’re not supposed to use elements that are easy to guess (kid’s names, birthdays, etc.).  So, how do you keep track of them all?  Oh no!  It has just occurred to me that I really am a rule breaker because I, someone who certainly knows better, have done every one of those passworddon’ts.  So, if you know the secret, let me in on it.  And if you don’t, perhaps you can tell me how to find homes for kittens.

Buffy Rojas

DRI International

Director of Communications

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