December 25, 2011
Indirect brute-forcing passwords?
I am still in the process of reading James Fallows’ article on his wife’s Gmail account being hacked, but I was struck by this statement:
For reasons too complex to explain here, even some systems, like Gmail’s, that don’t allow intruders to make millions of random guesses at a password can still be vulnerable to brute-force attacks.
Let me guess: this margin is too small to explain how this works. But I would love to know; in my world, the definition of a brute-force attack requires millions of guesses at a password.
December 3, 2011
Unsubscribing the easier way
As usual, only after I did all the work the long way did I find the easy way.
Halfway through November’s stack of catalogs, which I promise was huge (six inches high at least, maybe eight), I got a response (from Patagonia, thank you) saying, “We use Catalog Choice, maybe you should submit a request through them.”
Sure enough, Catalog Choice was exactly what I needed. I could fill out an initial form with name and address (and specify “name variants” at the same address, so I can cancel catalogs being sent to A, H and A too) and then find each catalog in their system, fill in a customer number and key code from the mailing label (if they’re there) and click a button. They then take care of formatting and sending the appropriate email message or submitting the correct form. In some cases they forward you to a form on the company’s site, which is fine; basically what they’ve done is automate as much of the process as possible.
These are the companies I was able to submit requests for through Catalog Choice:
- L.L. Bean (addressed to H)
- Crate & Barrel
- American Girl (twice)
- Grandin Road
- CP Toys
- Magic Cabin
- Target (confirmed fairly promptly)
- World Wildlife Fund
- Crazy Shirts (responded immediately with a nice email confirming removal)
- Mindware (my third request, actually; I’ve emailed them twice and missed their response to my first one)
Then these companies I requested removal the long way:
- Vermont Country Store by site “contact us” form; responded promptly and nicely.
- Garnet Hill by site “contact us” form; responded promptly and nicely
- Land’s End (Kids catalog) by site “contact us” form; responded promptly and nicely.
- Young Explorers by site “contact us” form
- One Step Ahead by email
- Patagonia, as mentioned above, needed a few emails but was ultimately very helpful
- Wine Country Gift Baskets by site “contact us” form; responded promptly and nicely. (I wonder how I wound up on that list.)
- Giggle by email
- Mile Marker Sports (my SportHill dealer) by site contact form
- Ballard Designs by email
- Eddie Bauer by email
- Title Nine has a very good contact preferences form on their site
- Prana via site “contact us” form
- Home Decorators Collection has a “catalog unsubscription request” option on their contact form
- Athleta by email
- Sundance and Company Store have responded positively to my requests back in October, but they haven’t kicked in yet; remember, these things get queued up weeks in advance.
- Cricket by email
- B&H Photo has a form on their site; put in your catalog number and you’re off the list, poof!
All this represents a stack of glossy paper that weighs almost as much as one of the babies. That’s paper that has to be harvested from trees, processed, bleached, etc. etc. and then shipped across the country so I can dump it in our recycling bin. I hope Catalog Choice lives up to its promise so I can stem that flow a bit.