Permanent Markers On Whiteboards

Alex Leonov's Blog

It sounds counter-intuitive, but it is the way to go.

I do a lot of similar-type work on whiteboards. Drawing grids and wireframes every time, and redrawing them when I accidentally touch any of the lines is really, really annoying.

Then it dawned on me. Now each of my whiteboards has a “hard-coded” structure drawn by permanent markers. During the day, I fill in the “blanks” with normal markers, and then wipe them off. Voila! I can continue on the new stuff immediately.

Two results come from this. 1 - you can spend some time and make the wire-framing neat and clean. 2 - working speed skyrockets because you don’t care of accidental wipes and don’t waste time on redrawing.

WiFi Security

Alex Leonov's Blog

Can someone tap into your WiFi?

If you use WEP - then yes, and you, sir, are reckless. Switch to WPA/WPA2.

If you use WPS and have a router older than 2012, then yes, and it will be brute-forced. Just disable WPS. You only used it a few times, anyway - admit it.

If you use WPA2 and a weak passphrase, then yes, and it won’t take long. Generate a random key to use for WiFi, and check it against popular password lists. “Rockyou” will be a good start.

If you have disabled WPS and use WPA2 with a strong passphrase, you are decently protected here. Focus on other weak links. For example, take the post-it with your password off the screen ;-)

The Cyberspace Administration of China - Cybersecurity Rules

Alex Leonov's Blog

China is working on cybersecurity standards for foreign companies. Sure, they have invited technology companies to participate, but what’s the goal?

It can be good, like increasing safety of operations. Or not, strengthening the controls and monitoring. Although, “good” or “bad” in this case is mostly a point of view.

What I like the most in the news is the name of the Chinese governmental agency. The Cyberspace Administration of China. Beat that.

Data sovereignty and national security, anyone?

So, Your Facebook Got Hacked. Now What?

Alex Leonov's Blog

My friend’s Facebook account has been impersonated. What is the best way to resolve this issue?

The first step is to contain the damage. Go to There, do all the steps, change password, enable two-factor authentication with your phone.

Then, think how that happened. If you don’t, it might happen again. For example, you might have clicked bad links, or used the same/simple password for Facebook and other websites. A good place to start is to look at what happened with the account. Did it post spam, or something? Maybe you gave some app permissions to post on your behalf.

The last thing to do is to observe. If it happens again, go through the steps above, and get someone good with IT help you out. Most likely, you are doing something unsafe - even without knowing.

Taking Care of Cybersecurity is Like Driving a Car

Alex Leonov's Blog

Anybody can drive a car. You don’t need to know the engine structure or wiring schematics. Mechanic can help with that.

Anybody can take action on cybersecurity. You don’t need the firewall configuration commands, or SSL implementation details. A specialist can help with that.

The first step is simple. Understand what security (cyber or any other) is about. It is a set of measures to protect your data (and other assets) against unauthorised use. In other words, it is Health and Safety, but for digital world.

Like with Health and Safety, you can prevent injuries even if you don’t know how to operate a broken leg. Just take the first step.

To continue the analogy, cars!

Reading E-Books Faster

Alex Leonov's Blog

I like to read books. Some of them are rather long, and I want to read them faster. There is a way to push that limit a bit more.

It is reading with only one word on the screen at a time. For example, with Kindle Word Runner or Spritz.

Now I have to wait until Word Runner is available in Kindle for iOS. Or find my dusty old Galaxy Tab (and a charger) and give it a go.

Which Antivirus Do I Pick?

Alex Leonov's Blog

I have an antivirus. Do I need a better one?

Most likely, no.

It is like a seatbelt in the car. Not having one is really, really bad. But once you got it, it doesn’t matter much what it is made of, or who installed it in the car.

There is an even better way to avoid malware. Don’t click on suspicious links, don’t download stuff you don’t know, don’t install apps you don’t need.

Car Hackers

Alex Leonov's Blog

I’m conflicted about self-driving cars. On one hand, I’m fascinated with them and can’t wait to have one. On the other hand, I work in cybersecurity…

If someone can hack your laptop, surely they can hack your car?

“Ransomware” can mean a totally different thing if the object in question is not your photo archive, but your safe arrival home. I bet you’ll pay that money in a hurry.

A car that can be started with a remote is unnerving enough, but a car that can be controlled by virtually anybody - that’s a next level. And, even if you have an override inside the car, how good will it work?