Thursday, June 14, 2012

Top Ten Hacked LinkedIn Passwords...

You've probably heard that millions of LinkedIn password hashes were hacked recently.  Investigators and hackers went right to work on cracking those hashes, and the results are starting to come in.  In particular, the most common hashes have been cracked, and here are the top ten in order, starting with the most common:
link, 1234, work, god, job, 12345, angel, the, ilove, sex
Not exactly a creative bunch!  Several of those I might have guessed within a few minutes.  Probably within a few hours I'd have guessed them all.  I can imagine that many people wouldn't feel particularly concerned about the security of their LinkedIn account – it's not like a bank account or something.  But still – with passwords that weak, there's really not much reason to have a password at all!  And it wouldn't take much effort to do much better...

Crotalus ruber...

Crotalus ruber
Otherwise known as the red diamond rattlesnake, the most common species where we live (in the mountains of San Diego County).  I had a slightly unusual experience involving Crotalus ruber yesterday.  The photo at right is not mine, but it looks very much like the rattlesnakes we see most often here.

Rattlesnakes are quite common out here in the summertime.  They need fairly warm weather in order to be active (a consequence of being cold-blooded animals).  From roughly May through October it's not at all unusual for us to find rattlesnakes in our yard.  During the warmest months (July through September) they're most common.  We know they're not particularly dangerous to us, but they certainly are to the two cats we have that live in an outdoor cattery, and to our four dogs.  We keep our dogs vaccinated against the rattlesnake toxin, which mainly buys us time to get a dog (if bitten) to a veterinarian for treatment.  We've never had one of our dogs bitten.

Debbie and I have gotten pretty good at spotting rattlesnakes (they don't always make their signature noise!) and at removing them as a threat to our animals.  Our approaches, though, are completely different: Debbie uses a sharpened hoe to chop them into pieces; I capture them with a snake-stick and relocate them to Cleveland National Forest.  This reflects our different understandings of rattlesnakes: Debbie perceives them as evil incarnate, I see them as an important part of our ecosystem (but not in my yard!).

But back to yesterday...  I was working from home, and around 11 am I wandered out to our living room to watch the orioles feed for a minute.  I heard what sounded sort of like a continuous rattlesnake rattle, but it didn't sound quite right (had an odd sort of warbling going on), and it never stopped (normally the rattling is frequently broken by periods of silence).  From inside the living room, all I could tell about the location was that it was somewhere in the direction of our outdoor cattery.

I ran outside, grabbed the snake-stick from its hanger, and got a five-gallon covered pail.  Then I (carefully!) went out to the cattery.  The first thing I saw was Koa and Kama (the two outdoor kitties) standing right in the middle of their cattery, wide-eyed and carefully watching something to the south side.  They were fine.  I walked around to the south side of the cattery, looking for the rattlesnake – which was still making that odd-sounding rattle.  Usually the rattling lets me locate the snake immediately, but this time I was having trouble – the rattling didn't seem to come from a definite place.  Suddenly the sound changed: it sounded like what we usually hear, and it was coming from a definite location.  WTF?  I spotted the rattlesnake, curled up just outside the cattery.  But then the sound changed again.  By this time I was a little closer, and I figured out what was going on – there were two rattlesnakes there! 

One of them (the one that had been silent) was only about 4 feet away from me.  Their coloring makes them very hard to spot in our soil, and this one was no exception.  It was also curled up just outside the cattery, near the southeast corner.  I picked it up with the snake-stick, at which point it uncurled and I could see that it was a fairly large adult, just under 3 feet long.  After depositing him (not happy at all!) into the pail, I went back and got the other one.  It was bigger – close to 4 feet long – and much thicker.  Into the pail with it!  I closed the lid and tied it down well (wouldn't want it to come open in the truck!), then we took a trip together to a nearby stretch of Cleveland National Forest with no homes anywhere nearby.  There I let them go, and they slithered off in opposite directions, still rattling away like mad.

Two rattlesnakes in the same place at the same time.  That's a first for me...