0792: "Password Reuse"

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Seamus
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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby Seamus » Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:17 pm UTC

So Google's dropping the "Don't" from their motto now?

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diotimajsh
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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby diotimajsh » Tue Sep 14, 2010 3:15 am UTC

Snicker-Snack wrote:I agree -- ever since I started using KeePass, password management has become a trivial problem.

It's alarming that people are still reusing passwords when nice password management products like KeePass are available.
Mm, but what about when you need to log into something on a computer/device that isn't running KeePass? (E.g., a friend's computer.)
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Zamfir
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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby Zamfir » Tue Sep 14, 2010 7:46 am UTC

diotimajsh wrote:
Snicker-Snack wrote:I agree -- ever since I started using KeePass, password management has become a trivial problem.

It's alarming that people are still reusing passwords when nice password management products like KeePass are available.
Mm, but what about when you need to log into something on a computer/device that isn't running KeePass? (E.g., a friend's computer.)

Friends? What are those?

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sonia
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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby sonia » Tue Sep 14, 2010 11:05 am UTC

diotimajsh wrote:
Snicker-Snack wrote:I agree -- ever since I started using KeePass, password management has become a trivial problem.

It's alarming that people are still reusing passwords when nice password management products like KeePass are available.
Mm, but what about when you need to log into something on a computer/device that isn't running KeePass? (E.g., a friend's computer.)


This.
http://portableapps.com/apps/utilities/keepass_portable

I computer-hop, so I carry around a four-gig pendrive with all my software and files on it.

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littlelj
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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby littlelj » Tue Sep 14, 2010 11:34 am UTC

DragonHawk wrote:
littlelj wrote:Seriously, though, it's a huge pest having to remember passwords, particularly since some sites have weird "no repetition of characters" or "must contain two symbols" or something rules, but they don't remind you of their rules when you log on.

Use a web browser that can "remember" passwords for you, and protect the browser's password bank with a strong unique password. Or use a password bank that works on your phone or whatever if you prefer. Or both.


That's all very well but I use more than one computer to access things, and one of them is at work - there is no way I am leaving cookies relating to my VISA card on my work computer.

DragonHawk wrote:Gene "spaf" Spafford put it best: "Using encryption on the Internet is the equivalent of arranging an armored car to deliver credit-card information from someone living in a cardboard box to someone living on a park bench."


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correnos
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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby correnos » Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:31 pm UTC

hintss wrote:
hatten wrote:Same username everywhere, different passwords everywhere. I keep all my passwords in a text file hidden somewhere in my directory structure. Got a bash script for accessing passwords, and another for creating new.

This was a real funny one!

awesome, I'll just send you a rootkit, get the path, search through it, then find your file using the bash script. :P

also, my private key for ssh is over 100. because someone said it had to be over 15 :D

Heh, mine's over 9000.

Anyways, I have a gpg-encrypted file on my systems that stores passwords for my lesser-used accounts. It's worked out fine so far.

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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby DragonHawk » Tue Sep 14, 2010 1:31 pm UTC

sonia wrote:I computer-hop, so I carry around a four-gig pendrive with all my software and files on it.

The idea of loading all of my data and software on to a computer which I know nothing about and have no control over scares the ever-loving bejesus out of me. A huge number of the computers out there are known to be compromised with nefarious software. Others have software with extremely dubious operating principles, even if it isn't outright evil. And who knows, maybe that computer is doing data harvesting on behalf of the owner.

I also avoid logging into sensitive accounts (e.g., banking, primary email, home PC, etc.) on any untrusted computer.

Yah, this sounds paranoid, but in today's computing climate, they really *are* out to get you.
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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby slakr » Tue Sep 14, 2010 4:43 pm UTC

Ugh... Same goes for the even-worse "security questions" that you have to choose from a total of 4 of the most common, easily-guessable/easily-socially-engineerable security questions (Pet names, high schools, etc). I hate those more than anything, because in my opinion, they actually decrease security.

Along those same lines, you can steal a lot of identities if you only know the last 4 digits of someone's social security number. :P

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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby alahos » Tue Sep 14, 2010 5:12 pm UTC

I thought for half a second that in the next to last panel, he had written "make Battletoads", as in Battletoads prank calls...

Nitrogen
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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby Nitrogen » Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:39 pm UTC

I'm pretty sure hat guy is referring to the Hale-Bopp mass suicides in March 1997... He lost his flock that day. Bahahaha.

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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby Villain » Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:53 pm UTC

A fun little bit of bilingual bonus: "Reuse" is, appropriately enough, the German word for "fish trap"

I wonder if this is intentional..

GlennX
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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby GlennX » Tue Sep 14, 2010 7:00 pm UTC

Black Hat man is missing a trick, instead of just storing a password he should store all password attempts. That way he'd catch 4 passwords for idiots like me who use several and haven't quite got a system for remembering which is used where...

Maybe I shouldn't be typing that in a forum I took four tries to log into.

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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby RabbitWho » Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:26 pm UTC

Tyrannosaur wrote:I am just waiting for Google to turn evil... unfortunately it's destined to happen....

why aren't they playing Modern Warfare 2, anyway? It's a cooler game...


I thought the point of this is that they don't need to turn evil.. they're some of the richest people in the world.. why would they bother turning evil? How could they possibly benefit? all that would happen would be that people would stop trusting them and they'd loose all their business.

Anyway I don't think there's anyone silly enough to use the same pa.... oh my god i have to phone my parents...

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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby AvianMinded » Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:43 pm UTC

Am I the only one hung up on hat guy's mention of March 1997?
"There is a BIG difference between finding the shotgun and finding the guy WITH the shotgun."

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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby RabbitWho » Tue Sep 14, 2010 9:07 pm UTC

AvianMinded wrote:Am I the only one hung up on hat guy's mention of March 1997?



Maybe he really really didn't like The English Patient?

thebrew221
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Re: "Password Reuse" discussion (#792)

Postby thebrew221 » Tue Sep 14, 2010 10:12 pm UTC

glasnt wrote:Google's logo isn't right, unless it's supposed to be set back in Cod2 days.. even then, I've never seen the google logo with a circle around it?

HI JOEE

On topic: my passwords are different for important things. Throw away accounts get one of a few passwords, based on when they were created, and what kind of security I want on them. With all this security, it sucks how ATMs expect a password to protect your money that has a 1 in 10,000 chance of being cracked.


That's your own fault, then. I bank at BoA, and their PINs are from 3-8 digits, most people just choose 4. Mine's 7 digits, for instance. Without using a 4 digit PIN, your chances go from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 111,111,000.

A word of warning though, I once got into a spot of trouble due to my PIN. I'm from the USA, but while traveling in Israel, there was one ATM which only allowed 4 digits, no more. There was no other ATMs nearby either, so I had to have a friend loan me some money. I don't use ATMs (especially ones not with my bank) enough stateside to let you know how common it is here, however.

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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby Bobic » Wed Sep 15, 2010 2:11 am UTC

I've never heard of a company that thought it was making too much money

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BioTube
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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby BioTube » Wed Sep 15, 2010 2:18 am UTC

At some point, you stop running out of ideas of what to do with it.
Frédéric Bastiat wrote:Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.

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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby Kaijyuu » Wed Sep 15, 2010 2:22 am UTC

Bobic wrote:I've never heard of a company that thought it was making too much money

Andrew Carnegie.

Not a company, if you want to get technical, but he was friggin' rich and controlled the steel industry.
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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby YTPrenewed » Wed Sep 15, 2010 2:53 am UTC

I don't know very much about Google but from what I've heard of them they really do seem to be a strange exception to the general rule that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Perhaps previously being an underdog to Microsoft taught them mercy or something. o.o

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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby Hobadee » Wed Sep 15, 2010 4:05 am UTC

Does no one else use PasswordMaker? This isn't even close to a problem for me - different password per site but only 1 I have to remember. Plus I can't be phished.

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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby dwandschneider » Wed Sep 15, 2010 6:45 am UTC

I am assuming that Hat Guy was referring to the fact that on March 14, 1997 Tara Lipinski became the youngest women's world figure skating champion.

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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby anon123 » Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:45 pm UTC

Food for thought: Google already IS evil (by their definition of evil). Evil (to them) means not being like Microsoft, not thinking about the bottom line, and producing goods out of the goodness of their heart without asking anything back. If Google lost its advertising leg, I don't think it would continue on with all the Googlers happily continuing to work without pay because they simply love providing their services so much. This isn't meant to call out Google - I think EVERY company is evil by this definition. The only notable exception that I can think of here is wikipedia.

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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:58 pm UTC

anon123 wrote:Food for thought: Google already IS evil (by their definition of evil). Evil (to them) means not being like Microsoft, not thinking about the bottom line, and producing goods out of the goodness of their heart without asking anything back. If Google lost its advertising leg, I don't think it would continue on with all the Googlers happily continuing to work without pay because they simply love providing their services so much. This isn't meant to call out Google - I think EVERY company is evil by this definition. The only notable exception that I can think of here is wikipedia.

Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit organization, so they're not a "company" if by that you mean a commercial corporation.

And I think there's still a distinction to be made between companies which pursue profit with little to no regard for, or even at the expense of, producing quality products (like Microsoft), and companies which aim to make enough profit to continue producing quality products and anything beyond that is extra but the product quality come first (like Google supposedly does).

Of course if the company can't make enough profit to continue operating then they will stop operating; that's true of any company, even a non-profit organization (which still needs to make enough money to operate, be it via donations of service charges or whatever; but no shareholders are skimming off the top of that, all of it goes back into the services provided). The differences is: an "evil" company will gladly charge more and not improve their products at all if they can get away with it; while a "good" company will gladly improve their products and not charge any more for them if they can afford it.
Last edited by Pfhorrest on Thu Sep 16, 2010 3:49 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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StNowhere
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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby StNowhere » Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:27 am UTC

dwandschneider wrote:I am assuming that Hat Guy was referring to the fact that on March 14, 1997 Tara Lipinski became the youngest women's world figure skating champion.


I know it made me question God.

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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby Elesti » Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:26 am UTC

First. Post. Ever.
That means I'm important, so pay attention to me.

Anyways... as for March 1997, I originally believed that Randall was just screwing with us, but the Facebook argument is extremely convincing, when put into perspective with the rest of the comic... hmmm.
For my passwords, I have few low security passwords, and a handful of High security ones for money related sites, as many others have already posted.

Oooh... now I get to make an avatar and some lame signature! I love new accounts!

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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby DragonHawk » Thu Sep 16, 2010 5:29 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Of course if the company can't make enough profit to continue operating then they will stop operating; that's true of any company, even a non-profit organization (which still needs to make enough money to operate, be it via donations of service charges or whatever; but no shareholders are skimming off the top of that, all of it goes back into the services provided).

It's been said "All 'non-profit' means is that they make sure all the money is spent by the end of year." While there are certainly a great many truly charitable non-profit corporations, it's important to realize not all non-profit corporations abide by the spirit of the law.
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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:28 am UTC

DragonHawk wrote:It's been said "All 'non-profit' means is that they make sure all the money is spent by the end of year."

That's not even true. Non-profits can carry balances on the books year over year no problem. They just don't have shareholders who can collect dividends or sell off their interest in the company (their shares) for profit. So all the money goes to paying the people who provide the services, and the overhead (supplies, administration) needed to actually keep the business operating so they can do so.

A non-profit's board of directors, or their appointed administrators, are physically and financially able to write themselves checks from the non-profit's accounts, of course; but anything like that is going to look extremely suspicious in an audit, and so generally just is not done. I've worked for a non-profit, with access to their books and accounting practices, and while the head administrator can write me checks for my services no problem, and as far as the bank would care she could write herself a check too, we have to have the secretary-treasurer write checks for her (the administrator's) pay, otherwise if we ever got audited that would look very, very bad. The board of directors themselves, including said secretary-treasurer, are not actually paid at all; I'm not sure that's standard practice at all non-profits, and if it's not, I'm not sure how they handle writing checks to themselves, but I'm sure there has to be some kind of oversight or else the IRS would be very unhappy.
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Mr. Wonko
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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby Mr. Wonko » Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:44 am UTC

I've already thought about this before, but this comic made me actually do something about it.
I just wrote a little password generation python script which takes two strings as an input (website & seed/password) and outputs a semi-random safe 10-letter password. I'll probably never know if I profitted from it, though...

I wonder if Randall is keeping track of the number of people changing their passwords after reading this comic :mrgreen:

joxer
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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby joxer » Thu Sep 16, 2010 2:02 pm UTC

1password for Mac and iPhone (coming for PC I think). Contains a strong password generator, allows you to control things like digits and special characters, whether it's somewhat pronounceable etc. Great for work where I have to change passwords every three months - set to pronounceable with some digits and keep hitting generate until I hit upon one I think I can type and will pass the most stringent systems (newer linux boxes are pretty strict) I have to access here and will pass on all of them. It also encrypts and backs up the password file. For the web stuff it enters them for me so they can be as secure as the site will take, keeps the credit card info, secure notes, random stuff goes into secure notes (licences, auto insurance, serial numbers etc.). And then it syncs wirelessly to the iPhone so I always have the info at hand when needed. I'm using 30 characters here btw just because I can't trust Randall anymore ;-).

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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby cavedeamon » Fri Sep 17, 2010 12:15 pm UTC

People are paranoid. I guess I am too. I use 2 passwords both strong. I use one for important stuff and one for forums and such. Then with each password I add a unique prefix depending on where I use the password. Like the first 6 characters of the websites ip addres or md5 hash of the site domain. something like that, so even if one site is compromised it will only be one site while still making the whole password easy to remember.

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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby anon123 » Fri Sep 17, 2010 6:01 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit organization, so they're not a "company" if by that you mean a commercial corporation.

I was thinking of company in the idea that something is produced - I generally think of nonprofs as organizations that provide a service, but don't produce goods. Though I suppose there may be examples I am not aware of here.

Pfhorrest wrote:And I think there's still a distinction to be made between companies which pursue profit with little to no regard for, or even at the expense of, producing quality products (like Microsoft), and companies which aim to make enough profit to continue producing quality products and anything beyond that is extra but the product quality come first (like Google supposedly does).

Think I disagree here - I would say that both Microsoft and Google aim to make the best products they can given the tradeoffs they have to make (in Microsoft's case this may have not been true years ago, but I would say today the companies are very similar in this respect). This means that if either sees some issue that drastically affects performance for example, they are probably more likely to just throttle their services temporarily so a user doesn't see it before they go fix the problem. If that weren't the case for either company, they know they would lose business, because they have to make the best tradeoffs they can given their time and resources. However, both also only exist because they know at the end of the day they need to make money, and if in one way or another the services they provide don't produce money they wouldn't invest in it. In Google's case, their money tie is advertising as I mentioned - that means everything they do must one way or another tie back to their advertisement business OR be a new venture they believe in the long term will net them money independently (which they have yet to do but they are certainly trying). Microsoft sort of has these silos that need to stand on their own, and each product they produce needs to make money. I believe their goal is that if a group can't make money they'll pull the plug/reduce investment in it, but they also certainly have lots of independent little investments/pet projects and they hope some will become successful (like Google does).

This ties back to my earlier point that all companies, including Google, are evil (we can extend this analogy to the other competitors as well - Amazon, Apple, etc). Sure, they want to produce great products - but only because they know at the end of the day they made choices that will net them the most money. They don't invest in new ideas or make product improvements because they have tons of money lying around and just feel like working on code for extra quality; they invest in new ideas because it will tie to their advertising business to produce cash flow, or because users might see a problem and they don't want to damage their reputation/usage (which also hurts cash flow).

I will concede "Don't be evil" is great marketing though ;)

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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:19 pm UTC

Without getting into the specifics of which corporation adheres to which philosophy, I still stand by my distinction that in principle, a company might think (for whatever value of "think" can be applied to a group of multiple people) either:

- "I want to [do X] awesomely, and in order to do that I need to make enough money [doing X] to devote my full attention to it. This is a way I can make enough money [doing X], so I'm going to do this."

or instead:

- "I want to make money, and in order to do that I need to do something people think is awesome. People think [doing X] is awesome enough to pay for, so I'm going to [do X]."


In the end, both of them need to make good enough products that people will pay them enough money to stay in business. But in the former case, making good products is the priority, and the money only needs to be enough to do that (though if they happen to make more than enough money, hurray); while in the latter case, making money is the priority, and the products only need to be good enough to accomplish that (though if they happen to make more than good enough products, hurray).

I agree that at least the vast majority of publicly-traded companies are of the latter type, but certainly plenty of private companies are the former (e.g. their owners have a passion for something and are good enough at it to make a living off of it), and I could imagine some public companies being the former as well. I believe Google was intended by its former private owners to end up a public company of the former ("good") type. Whether that has panned out or not isn't something I have an opinion on.
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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby Alanosaur » Sun Sep 19, 2010 2:35 pm UTC

My lack of reading the past 4 pages means I could have missed this being posted already.

He could totally use this to really screw with people.
Create a study to convince people that money truly is happiness. (If necessary, use all of those emails as study participants)

Then, take everyone's money. He doesn't need to use it or keep it, he just needs to convince everyone that all of their happiness vanished while they were tying their shoes.

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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby Optimystic » Tue Sep 21, 2010 1:15 pm UTC

Hey Randall, Google IS Evil. Google-Verizon "Net-Neutrality deal" anyone?

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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby Fysicist09 » Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:37 pm UTC

Like a few others, I have lurked for a while but just now registered specifically to answer this question.

March 1997 was the year that George Lucas re-released the Original Trilogy of Star Wars in VHS format so viewers could own it "one last time" before making the heinous revisions*. The re-release signaled the fact that Lucas was DEFINITELY going to revise the Original Trilogy, which so many Star Wars fans like me consider to be religion-worthy. Thus, the Black Hat Guy doesn't believe in anything anymore because of the high regard he held Star Wars in.

At least, that's my take on it.




*(These revisions include making Greedo shoot first in the Cantina, making Jabba appear in the Cantina, removing the dust cloud underneath Luke's landspeeder, and "opening" the windows in Cloud City so that viewers can see cloud cars fly by during the dramatic scene where Darth Vader proves the Force is better than Han's trusty blaster.)

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Re: "Password Reuse" Discussion (#792)

Postby Mr. Wonko » Thu Sep 23, 2010 5:07 pm UTC

Fysicist09 wrote:At least, that's my take on it.

Which sounds very possible to me. Nice find!

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Re: 0792: "Password Reuse"

Postby supraman6 » Fri Oct 08, 2010 2:13 pm UTC

Google is evil, search google NSA and you will find an article showing how they are working with the NSA and sharing all your private data with BigBrother.

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Re: 0792: "Password Reuse"

Postby DragonHawk » Sat Oct 09, 2010 5:00 pm UTC

supraman6 wrote:Google is evil, search google NSA and you will find an article showing how they are working with the NSA and sharing all your private data with BigBrother.

Google publicly announced they were working with the NSA to help secure Google's operations after Google was compromised by attackers in China. There is no evidence, to my knowledge or from a search, that Google is sharing "all my private data" with the NSA or any other government organization, except to comply with law.

So, cite a source, or cork it.
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tixrus
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Re: 0792: "Password Reuse"

Postby tixrus » Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:10 pm UTC

I fly so far under the radar no one would care......


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