Making a Stronger Password: Here’s How

We’ve already shared 5 concrete steps to improve your security, in light of recent events. With mobile privacy being in the spotlight, I want to build on that by discussing “What’s wrong with your pa$$word,” a TEDTalk given by security researcher, Lorrie Faith Cranor in March.

“… A smart attacker, on the other hand, does something much more clever. They look at the passwords that are known to be popular from these stolen password sets, and they guess those first.”

Now, it might not be as surprising today as it was last week, but your password likely isn’t as good as you think it is. Don’t worry, this isn’t your fault. Cranor says that most password meters (the software that ranks how strong your password is when you’re setting up a new account online) today are too soft. The most effective password meters are the ones that make people work a little longer before giving approval. Here are a few things that would make your password stronger:

(Updated with some key points – see bottom of post)

1. Make it memorable, but not personal

Everyone understands the memorable part. Obviously, you need to remember the password or else you’re locked out like everyone else. What is also important to remember is that you can’t make it too personal. While this makes it easier to remember, it makes it easier to guess and no one needs that.

One tip we shared in our earlier blog was creating a password from the first letter of words in the title of a favorite song. In Matt Young’s case, that was Meatloaf’s song, “I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That).” You can even use the parentheses. It would look like this: IWDAFL(BIWDT). To add in numbers and an extra special character, substitute the number “1” for “I” and a “+” for “T” and you end up with 1WDAFL(B1WD+).

2. More is more

Short is sweet but, in this case, size matters. It might be easier to remember a shorter password but think of it as a numbers game: each character in your password could be one of 26 letters (upper- and lowercase), 32 symbols, or 10 digits, totaling 94 possibilities.

Simply put, more characters are better. Each additional character multiplies the possible outcomes by 94. A 4 character password has over 78 million possibilities, while 6 characters have 689 billion different possible outcomes. Nowadays, 8 or 10 characters are recommended to ensure password’s strength. Using 10 equals over 52 quintillion possibilities (that’s 52 followed by 18 zeroes).

3. Break the norm

Make sure to use your full arsenal of characters. Like the first point stated, you can interchange characters. Replace various letters with numbers or other characters. This adds variety to your password and decreases the chances of anyone guessing your password. Even a long password can be easily guessed.

4. Browser beware

Although it’s convenient, it isn’t a good idea to have your browser remember all your passwords for you. In the event you lose your laptop or your computer is stolen, all your info is open for the taking. View the hassle of constantly entering your password as reassurance that you’re keeping your data safe. Or consider using a password manager app that encrypts your passwords such as BlackBerry’s Password Keeper app, which protects them with 256-bit encryption.

5. Show some support

Your password can only do so much. It’s a depressing fact but it’s true in today’s tech world. Support your password by turning on two-step authentication wherever it’s offered. Here is a list containing all the sites that have enabled two-step/two-factor authentication.

6. Different strokes for different folks

Again, taking the inconvenient route could be the reason behind saving your data. Using a different password for each site or application you use prevents hackers from using your information from one site to access the rest of your accounts. It might sound crazy, but a password manager app could actually let you do that. And you’d only have to remember one password to get into your password manager!

Consider all the items that you’re likely to store on your smartphone. In the past decade or so, it’s gone from a simple list of contacts and numbers to – photos, addresses, banking information, emails, other passwords.  As your mobile phone increasingly becomes the center of your computing world, it only stands to grow as your keeper-of-information. Getting into the habit of building stronger passwords matters today more than ever. If I’ve taken away one thing from this TEDTalk and the news cycle of late, it is that mobile security matters, and that’s not changing anytime soon.

Note: After writing this, I have learned from our resident security evangelist, Alex Manea, that the majority of my points refer to security systems that allow infinite password attempts. While my points are correct, with BlackBerry, the rules are completely different. BlackBerry will only allow 10 attempts. Because of this, a password doesn’t necessarily need to be long or strong. It just needs to be hard to guess.

Alex gave an example. if you had to guess a simple password (4 digits, no numbers or symbols, and all lowercase) on a BlackBerry in 10 tries, your chances would be less than 0.003%. After that, the device would wipe and you wouldn’t have access to any of the data.

So, to end this addendum, if this highlights anything, it’s the additional BlackBerry advantage that is its usable security. Alex made a great point, “What would you rather type every type time you unlock your phone: ‘avkb’ or ‘1WDAFL(B1WD+)’?”


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How to Tune-In to the BlackBerry Passport Event Tomorrow

PP event

It’s the day before our #BlackBerryPassport launch and we’re holding a series of exclusive events in Toronto, London and Dubai. If you’re not able to attend in person, fear not. We’ll be live streaming all the action from Toronto and will be posting video coverage of the event afterwards, as well. Read all the details below to ensure you don’t miss out on any BlackBerry Passport news.

  • The event will get underway on Wednesday, September 24th at 9:00 AM ET and will start simultaneously in each city.
  • The live stream link is: http://live.blackberry.events/
  • For those socially-savvy members of Team BlackBerry, please take part and drive the conversation using #BlackBerryPassport on your social media site of choice.

Of course, we’ll have a ton of coverage lined up on Inside BlackBerry – we’ve got teammates on the ground in each city to bring you coverage as it happens. Keep it locked right here and remember to have your say using the hashtag or in the comments below.


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Recap: The Porsche Design P’9983 Smartphone Launch in Dubai (VIDEO)

Porsche Design, P'9983, BlackBerry

Last week, we unveiled the elegant, luxurious Porsche Design P’9983 smartphone from BlackBerry at an exclusive event in Dubai. The unique device has garnered a ton of attention since that launch and we want to give you an Inside BlackBerry peek at footage captured at the launch.  Below you’ll hear from executives, see beauty shots and read what fans were saying in social media.

It’s clear from the video that the same time and care that went into designing this new smartphone, went into planning the unveiling. With a new glass-like BlackBerry keyboard, secure BlackBerry 10.3 software and long-lasting battery the P’9983 is the ultimate productivity tool for professionals. If you’re interested in the line of Porsche Design smartphones from BlackBerry, read this Q&A by Eric Lai with Roland Heiler, Managing Director of the Porsche Design Studio.

Wish you were at the event, but appreciate the inside look? Let us know all about it in the comments below.


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What is the BlackBerry Family?

As we prepare to unveil what is probably the worst-kept secret in the mobile industry, I want to thank everyone in #TeamBlackBerry that has stuck with us faithfully through the years. Tomorrow, we hope that you find that your loyalty has been rewarded.

While I was a BlackBerry user for most of the 2000s, and bleed Black today, there are many members of the BlackBerry community with much greater seniority than me. I thought it would be appropriate to let two of them share their thoughts on the eve of tomorrow’s launch.

Karl Nieva and Kim Cooley are both long-time members of the BlackBerry community, sharing their knowledge and tips with new users via forums, blogs and social media for years. When BlackBerry created its BlackBerry Elite program two years ago, both Karl and Kim were invited to join.

As with Ryan Blundell’s touching story about his son Keian’s love of BlackBerry devices, both Karl and Kim are sharing stories about how for them, BlackBerry is so much more than a phone maker – it’s helped to build lasting friendships or bring families closer in profound, not always-expected ways. Because while BlackBerry is about Serious Mobility for Serious Business, we also recognize that work is not 24/7. Helping to connect people and create friendships and families is the privilege of being a communications provider, and a privilege that we don’t take lightly.

***

Karl Nieva’s Story

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My name is Karl, and I’m the proud father of two lovely boys. They’re known in the social media realm as K1 and K2. K1 is an independent, 11-year-old who loves being outdoors: running long distances, biking, and snowboarding. K2 is a cute and loving 8-year-old who loves and mimics everything his big brother does.

BlackBerry has been part of our lives for ten years. A decade ago, my BlackBerry 7230 was primarily used for business. However in more recent years, we found the kids adopting them for personal use. K1 uses the Torch for taking pictures and surfing the web, while K2 uses the 9700 to listen to music and take photos.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to beta test BlackBerry OS 10.3 on my BlackBerry Z30. One of the features we use a lot is the BlackBerry Assistant. While I use it for typical business purposes such as checking my appointments on the calendar, we’ve recently adopted a different use for it. You see, K2 has Down Syndrome and his reading and speech skills are not up to par with other 8-year-olds. We’ve been using BlackBerry Assistant to help him read a few sentences into the Assistant. We’re finding this method not only improves his reading but really helps him enunciate his words better.

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Every morning, K2 brings down the sheet of paper where I’ve written: “What is the weather for Waterloo, Ontario?” He grabs my Z30, proceeds to tap the BlackBerry search icon, taps the microphone icon, and reads the sentence. The joy in his face when BlackBerry Assistant reads the weather is priceless. I will continue to add a few sentences for him to read and ask BlackBerry Assistant.

Thank you BlackBerry for this wonderful tool: both for business and for our lives.

***

Kim Cooley’s Story

bb elite

Friends,

We’re this close to a new era for BlackBerry, and we would love nothing more than for you to be right there with us. It doesn’t matter what smartphone is in your jacket or jean pocket today. What you mean to our community goes much deeper than that, as you helped define what made BlackBerry so great.

I met all of you through BlackBerry ages ago. And to this day, we still remain in touch. People like @DearFloyd, a Chicago DJ and Photographer whom I met on CrackBerry in its infancy and became friends with. Or the lovely @CoachApryll, who immediately worked her way into my heart and family after we conversed in the CrackBerry forums, BBM, even Twitter.

coachapryll

There’s also the incredibly-talented publicist, Alyse Feldman (@ontheflyPR.) Of the millions of tweets on Twitter, I spotted and replied to a random tweet of hers asking a question about Foursquare for BlackBerry. I even sent her a SocialScope invite – we all know how long ago that was! From Twitter to BBM, we’ve stayed in touch all these years.

Every person I mentioned above has embraced another mobile platform…and that’s perfectly OK. But every time we think about how we met, our hearts and conversation take us back to BlackBerry.

See, it’s not just about the brand; It’s about the relationships we formed. These don’t necessarily translate into a bullet list on a PowerPoint or a 30 second ad spot. But for us, they are rich in memories that are tied intricately to BlackBerry.

Just last a week, a few friends were asked why they couldn’t live without their BlackBerry smartphones. Their response: “the BlackBerry community.” You and I are the very core of what BlackBerry was, is, and will continue to be. We’re the reason BlackBerry didn’t give up and won’t give up.

Soon, our community will celebrate the launch of something extremely special. Yes, it’s unique, but it’s also special because it marks the beginning of a new era that builds upon a decade-and-a-half foundation we helped build.

Welcome to the era of the BlackBerry Passport.


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BlackBerry Passport Square-Shaped Smartphone Price Confirmed as $599

Canadian company's CEO has revealed that the Passport smartphone will go on sale 2 weeks after Wednesday's global launch in many markets in Asia.
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BlackBerry Blend Appears on BlackBerry World Ahead of Passport’s Launch

The service is expected to be fully unveiled at the company's events in 3 cities on September 24, alongside the BlackBerry Passport.
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Q&A: 24/7 Productivity with Toto Wolff of the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One™ Team

toto-blog

The Formula One season is long and grueling. It is among the toughest series in all of sport. Competing requires team coordination of mammoth proportions, winning requires even more. To build the team of engineers, strategists and drivers on the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One™ Team, Toto Wolff has relied on his BlackBerry to stay productive and in-touch. I’ve created a virtual Q&A from his comments with us over the season.

DH: Tell our readers about yourself and your role within the organization

TW: I am the Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport so I am responsible for all Mercedes-Benz activities on racing tracks around the world, from F3 to Formula One. I’m also in charge of the commercial and business affairs of the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS team, which is equivalent to a CEO for the whole company.

DH: That sounds like my dream job. It must be a thrill!

TW: Well I’m not sure it’s everybody’s dream job because it’s a 24/7 job with constant travel. But it’s a highlight in my life, in my business career so far.

DH: You mention it’s like being the CEO for the whole company. How would this compare to say, a traditional public company?

TW: We have about 650 employees. It’s probably like any other regular company out there, there’s just one difference… we need to deliver 19 times a year in front of a global audience and every single race weekend we are being put against the competition. So the major difference between other companies is that you have to keep the development curve steep, you have to work on your organization, on your structures with a long-term view. But on the other side you have to deliver every single race weekend and that is quite a challenge.

DH: So, with that challenge, what does your typical day look like?

TW: There isn’t really any typical day because we are travelling so much, the only typical element is that I am always on the move, always working in a mobile way. In my role, I operate across a range of locations, in the UK we have Brackley and Brixworth. In Germany, Stuttgart, and the 19 race tracks we visit over the course of a season. Its mission critical that I can work as though I am at my desk, and BlackBerry enables me to carry on working wherever I am.

DH: Managing the team in such a mobile way . . . must present challenges?

TW: A Formula One team is the very definition of a mobile business. The team wouldn’t function without the ability to be mobile, securely mobile whilst doing the job. There’s no way you can do what we do, travel as much as we do, being in the airplane nearly every day, being at the racing track, without your mobile phone. Having the security of BlackBerry gives us the edge which is necessary in our business. I have to be able to do any task that I would be able to complete when sitting at my desk in my office.

DH: How do you manage traveling across the world each week? The logistics alone have my mind spinning.

TW: It’s mega. For me personally, it’s about 260 flights a year, which is quite a lot. I spent 270 nights in a hotel room last year, so travelling is a big part, but you know that is the job. But these days you can have your office in a hotel room, you can have your office in a car, or you can even have your office in airplanes. Today, you are always connected, which is great. That enables me to carry around my office on my BlackBerry device and be online all the time… be available for my staff all the time, and that helps.

DH: Naturally, I have to ask which technology and devices you use to stay connected?

TW: The device which connects me is my BlackBerry smartphone. As with many industries, we have very confidential meetings in Formula One, with our competitors, with the commercial rights holder, with the sport’s governing body, and my BlackBerry is a very important tool for me. It’s about technology, it’s about technical decision making and it’s about taking the right decisions at the right time. BBM, for example, is a channel I use to communicate constantly with Paddy Lowe, our Executive Director (Technical). I know that the tool we’re using, BBM, allows us to communicate with each other quickly, instantly and in a secure way. And that is important.

DH: You mentioned that you use BBM, is that your preferred method for communicating?

TW: I would say I’m a bit more traditionalist than the new generation. I would say I do 60-70 per cent on the phone and speaking to staff, speaking to partners, speaking to Mercedes-Benz. 30 per cent is emails and BBM. 10 per cent is my morning and evening routine; I hook into the various social channels, Twitter is something I look at, for example. Maybe it’s not even 10 per cent, maybe it’s about 3 per cent, but it’s definitely part of what I do with the phone.

DH: Let me go back for a minute, can you discuss the importance of mobile security?

TW: It’s a good feeling, and is actually mission critical, to know that you’re communicating through a secure channel. In an environment like Formula One where it’s all about speed and about how quickly you can implement new technologies and innovations, you need to have a tool in your hand which guarantees you security and the ability to message instantly, and this is what the device combines.

DH: Is there a downside to being, for lack of better phrase, on-call 24/7 with your BlackBerry?

TW: Well there is an upside and there is a downside. The upside is you can keep in continuous contact with your family. With my kids, for example, we use BBM Video. It’s great to see your kids and also I can show them where I am, I can show them ‘look this is the racetrack’, ‘this is the motor home’ and it is much better than just being on the phone or not there. I’m addicted to my BlackBerry because it’s the first thing I pick up from the side in the morning and it’s the last thing I’m looking at in the evening before I’m going to bed.

DH: Thanks for your time, Toto – any other last comments for the BlackBerry community?

TW: Yes, absolutely, I can’t live without it! My BlackBerry enables me to travel, visit partners, be at races and it makes no difference in the way I communicate whether I’m in the office or mobile. I don’t use the phone as a gimmick, I’m not somebody who watches videos all the time, listens to music, you can do that, of course, but I’m somebody who uses it as a business device, as a way of communicating quickly in a secure environment, in an efficient way. I’ve had BlackBerry devices for many years and I will definitely not change.

Let us know if you’re using your BlackBerry in a similar way to Toto Wolff. Are you on 24/7 relying on your BlackBerry to make things happen? Tell us in the comments below.


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BBM Adds Two New Payment Capabilities

I’m just back from Jakarta, Indonesia, where we announced two new payment capabilities inside BBM. Firstly, an enhanced BBM Money service in Indonesia. Second is integration with TransferTo, an international airtime remittance provider, which will allow you to gift mobile airtime minutes to your BBM Contacts globally.

bmoneyWhen it originally launched years ago, BBM was all about connecting people through instant messaging. Now it has expanded to also connect people with brands and retailers. As we continue to build and improve the platform, we’re working toward making BBM into a thriving marketplace for all kinds of commerce.

I go into all the details about both services in my full post over at the Business Blog, but here’s the executive summary.

TransferTo Integration: Send Airtime Internationally

This new integration lets you give prepaid mobile credit to people in your BBM Contacts list, across town or across a border. As almost 80% of mobile users have prepaid accounts, this feature will make it easier to make small value transfers between friends and family, and stay in touch.

BBM Money: P2P Transfers, Mobile Top-Up, and Bill Pay

bbm-money-2-315x236We’ve been piloting the BBM Money mobile wallet service for the last year on BlackBerry devices. In Jakarta we announced BBM Money will be available by early next year for BBM users on Android and iPhone, in addition to BlackBerry smartphones. The service will allow people to send money to their BBM Contacts, top up mobile airtime accounts, and pay bills, online and at participating retailers. Built by  Monitise Indonesia and issued and managed by PermataBank‎, BBM Money leverages BlackBerry’s legacy in security and privacy, using passcodes and encryption to achieve bank-grade security for a variety of financial transactions.

We’ve gained great insights into the Indonesia marketplace during the pilot service we launched in early 2013, and from next year, will make available an expanded version available to anyone using an Android or iOS device, or a BlackBerry smartphone—no matter which bank they use (if they have a bank). Read more about the features over at the Business Blog.

Indonesia is really the perfect marketplace for BBM Money, for many reasons. It’s the biggest BBM market globally—and it’s growing at a rate of 150% annually. BlackBerry has a very strong brand there—and it shows in a number of awards we’ve won over the past year. It’s not just Indonesian consumers that love BlackBerry and BBM either. Many brands have started their own BBM Channels as a way to connect with their customers, including Coca-Cola, Qoo10, and Garuda Indonesia airline.

Beyond popularity, the Indonesian market is primed for mobile payments. It’s still largely a cash-based economy, and much of the population lacks bank accounts and credit cards. All of that is happening in the world’s fourth largest country by population, which has the second fastest rate of ecommerce growth in the world, behind only China.

Combine all that with BlackBerry’s reputation for mobile security and privacy, and you start to see that mobile payments make perfect sense, especially there, especially now. Get the full story at the Business Blog.


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BlackBerry Porsche Design P’9983 Premium Qwerty Smartphone Launched

The smartphone will be available from Porsche Design stores, select carriers and retailers starting October.
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OFFICIAL: Unboxing the Elegant, Unique Porsche Design P’9983 Smartphone from BlackBerry

P9983_KeyVisual_M

Today, BlackBerry and Porsche Design unveiled the latest smartphone from the partnership, the Porsche Design P’9983 smartphone from BlackBerry, at an exclusive event in Dubai. It’s definitely a smartphone that will get you noticed and with the power and security of BlackBerry 10.3, keep you highly productive. I’m one of the lucky few who got to see this exclusive premium smartphone first hand and, of course, just had to give it the same fantastic unboxing treatment as other Porsche Design devices in the stable. I could go on about the stunning glass-like finish on the iconic BlackBerry keyboard… but it’s better to see for yourself in my latest video.

Porsche Design P’9983 features:

A revolution of the classic BlackBerry QWERTY Keyboard – The unique, elegantly-designed BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard continues to provide the very best typing experience. The additional personalized auto-correction and next word suggestion help to type faster, more accurately and with less effort.

Secure communication and collaboration – BlackBerry brings world class security through encrypted BBM™ instant messaging for your business and personal needs, so you can feel safe in the knowledge all your communications are safe and secure.

Unique PIN – Be instantly recognizable as a Porsche Design user. The Porsche Design P’9983 smartphone from BlackBerry provides an exclusive Porsche Design PIN range – 2AAXXXXX – that sets the owner apart and makes them instantly recognizable among other Porsche Design users.

BlackBerry Priority Hub – BlackBerry Hub is the one place to manage all your conversations and notifications. The BlackBerry Priority Hub intelligently filters messages to give you instant access to the conversations and content most essential to you, helping you stay organized and focused on the most important tasks.

Exceptional battery performance – Power designed to keep up with you. BlackBerry is well known for amazing battery life. With the optimization of power consumption in BlackBerry 10, the P’9983 smartphone delivers exceptional battery performance. Enjoy peace of mind knowing that you can be productive and in touch with the people who matter all day long.

1x1_PD_Amazon_Appstore_ENG

More ways to access apps – Now on the P’9983, there are more ways to access your favorite apps for work and play.  Access the very best business and productivity apps through BlackBerry® World™; and get the latest Android apps and games through our consumer store, Amazon’s Appstore. We have more ways to access apps, whether it’s for work or play. We’ve got the apps for you!


Read more about this device in the official press release here, or read the Q&A with Roland Heiler, head of the Porsche Design Studio, the creative arm that was behind the new P’9983, or follow the tweets from the launch in Dubai on Wednesday at #BlackBerryPorscheDesign. Let us know what you think about the latest Porsche Design smartphone from BlackBerry in the comments below.


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