Privacy Week: Using Better Systems

Big data is watching you. Choose privacy week May 1-7 #chooseprivacy

There are many applications that we use on a day to day basis, whether these are on our personal computers or mobile devices. Some of these applications gain permissions to access sensitive data such as your contact lists, photos, or even text messages when you install them. One way for you to manage the access these applications have is to adjust the permissions on your devices. Both Android and iOS offer fairly extensive application permission management, so you can turn on or off whether an app can access your photos or calendar if it is a music player for example.

mix of letters in background, letters in foreground spell encrypted

Another way to ensure your data is safe is with encryption. Encryption scrambles data based on an algorithm and cannot be unscrambled unless the correct key is provided. This type of encryption can be enabled locally on your device and there are applications that enabled encrypted communication, so anyone who were to intercept encrypted data would not be able to read it without that key. Two of the best encrypted messaging applications are Signal and WhatsApp which are available on both Android and iOS. iOS users also have access to iMessage, which is encrypted but only with others on the iOS platform.

Records leaked: January 7 million, Feburary 2.2 million, March 20.8 million. Everyday we give out select private information, deal with more of our data being ocllected without disclosure, have our private information sold without our consent, see corporations fail to keep our private information safe. Only you can take control of your date and keep it safe.

Here at Brookens Library, we try to ensure the privacy of each of our patrons. When you use a public computer, whether with a NetID account or public account, all information from that session is automatically removed and the account settings are wiped when the computer is restarted. When you return a book or other item to the library, our system removes the record so that nobody has access to who checked out what item and when. Anything that gets printed at our circulation desk that contains personal information, or anything that could possibly identify a patron, is securely shredded.


Learn more about your digital privacy:

ALA Choose Privacy Week

Privacy Paradox

Protect Your Privacy

Weapons of Math Destruction eBook | eAudiobook | Book

Privacy Week: 3 Reasons Why Your Passwords Are Bad and How to Fix Them

Many of us entrust companies that sell products online with our addresses, credit card numbers, and bank information. While the security on their end is dependent upon them, there are some things we can do to prevent malicious users from accessing our data. One of the most basic security devices we use on a daily basis is a password. A password is like the key to a door, the more complex it is the more difficult it is to enter unauthorized. Here are some common mistakes when it comes to creating passwords:

  1. It’s way too short!
    • 13+ characters at all times people. Do you know how long it takes to crack the 10 letter password “mynamejeff” in 2018? Roughly 3 months, if you change it to “mynamejeff2” the cracking time will jump to roughly 2 centuries. But just to be future proof you should go a bit further. Make it a 13-character password, “mynamejeff222”. Now it will take roughly 369 millennia to crack that bad boy!

black and white spinning clock hands

  1. You don’t test your passwords
    • There are plenty of sites online that will show you just how long it takes to crack your password. One such site is You can see the estimated amount of time to crack your password as well as see how long it would of taken in 1992 for example.

Password strangeth bar going from fair to good to strong as more characters are typed.

  1. You use dictionary words
    • Sorry but even though the word skateboard has 10 letters, it will still be cracked in less than a second. Hackers check all words with meaning first before they start making random guesses. Lucky us there’s a way around this. Mix and match words! Sure, skateboard may be guessed instantly and so will turtle but a skateboard_turtle isn’t a real word and will take over 624 trillion years to crack.

tiny turtle on a tiny skateboard using his front legs to roll forward

For a more in depth look into strong passwords read on

By taking all of these factors into account you will be able to create some of the strongest passwords ever. Admittedly however, it can sometimes be hard to think up a good password. So next I’ll teach you tips on how to make your own easy to remember but hard to crack password. So with current technology passwords equal to or greater than 13 characters long are pretty much uncrackable. Meaning step one is to make sure whatever password you make is at least 13 characters long. Furthermore, it should be easy for you to remember. One of the best and easiest ways to do this is simply use sentences as passwords. Something like, “I really like Chinese food” or “this password is to hard to crack” are great examples. Unfortunately, due to the misconceptions of what makes a good password many sites have all sorts of hurdles you have to jump threw to make a valid password. Due to this it’s generally a good idea to make passwords that include at least 2 special characters, 2 numeric characters, and 2 alphabetic characters while avoiding using any 3 or more of the same character in a row. An easy way to accommodate this is to integrate these into your current password. For examples replacing “o” with “0”, “a” with “@”, “i” with “!”, or “space” with “_ “, to name a few. Just make sure whatever you substitute makes sense to you. Using this concept our last to example passwords might look like this, “!_re@11y_l!ke_ch!nese_f00d” and “th!s_p@ssw0rd_!s_h@rd_t0_cr@ck”.

If you take these steps into account next time you make a password than you can rest assured that the likeliness of it being cracked is slim to none. Plus, you’ll have the benefit of being able to easily remember your password therefore lowering the need to use some sort of password manager that would be devastating if in the wrong hands.

Learn more about your digital privacy:

ALA Choose Privacy Week

Privacy Paradox

Protect Your Privacy

Weapons of Math Destruction eBook | eAudiobook | Book

How-To-Tuesday: MY-ILL


In this week’s installment, Megan is in search of the book Mr. Show What Happened?!? The Complete Story and Episode Guide. Brookens doesn’t have it! I-Share doesn’t have it! Should she give up? No way. Not when there’s INTERLIBRARY LOAN (MY-ILL)!!!!!


Meet the Team: Taliyah

Name: Taliyah

Major: Business Administration

Status: Senior

What is your favorite thing about being a student at UIS?  My favorite part of being a student at UIS is how open and nice the student body and staff is here. There are also lots of events here that teach us about our future plans and give us yummy snacks.

What are your goals for the semester? My goals this semester have been to be more attentive to my studies in order to obtain a 3.0 GPA or higher. I am also learning to create acrylic paintings and how to do acrylic and gel nails. 

If there were a reality TV show of your life, what would it be called? Why? If there were a reality show of my life it would probably be called “What Will Happen Next?” My days are never how I plan them, they are semi-structured but always spontaneous filled with countless adventures and experiences.

Are you involved in any clubs/activities/sports on campus? Or what are your hobbies?  I read and watch tutorials of paintings and how to to nails so that I may be able to self teach myself these future hobbies.

What have you learned since working at the library? I have learned how to give spot on customer service since working at the library. I have also learned how to communicate and consult with all different types of people from all walks of life. As well as being able to research properly and how to assist other with their research needs.

What are your post-graduation plans?  I plan to move to Tennessee or Texas and purchase a building to rent out and enjoy being job free for a while.

Extended Hours: April 30 – May 4

The week before finals calls for extended library hours and COFFEE! Monday, April 30 – Friday, May 4, the Library will be open an extra 3 hours each night so you have a safe place to study into the wee hours. We will also be serving coffee, tea, and snacks in the late evening.

Week Before Finals Week Hours:

Monday – Thursday: 8:30 am – 3:00 am

Friday: 8:30 am – 9:00 pm

Meet the Team: Ram

Name: Ram

Major: Biology

Status: Senior

What is your favorite thing about being a student at UIS? The small school allows me to create amazing friendships and lasting relationships. The University is also very helpful and understandable with my goals and offering me enough opportunities to achieve these goals.

What are your goals for the semester? I plan to graduate with my degree and apply into a radiology technician program. I also plan to get a job with my Biology degree.

If there were a reality TV show of your life, what would it be called? Why? If a reality tv show of my life were to exist I would assume it would be called “The Adventures of Ram Ankola”. I assume it would be called this because it is a good title to show viewers of all the traveling and daily adventures I do and plan to do.

Are you involved in any clubs/activities/sports on campus? Or what are your hobbies? My hobbies include traveling and adventuring many different areas of the country. I also enjoy keeping up with pop culture.

What have you learned since working at the library?  I have learned about many of the interesting programs the library offers from I-Share to ILL books. I have also learned how to perform intelligible research using databases and differentiating between good sources and bad sources.

What are your post-graduation plans? After graduation I am planning to get a job using my degree. I also plan to apply into a good radiology technician program to obtain my certification.

How-To-Tuesday: Study Spots

Study Spots

In this week’s installment of How-to Tuesdays, we take a look at what Brookens has to offer in terms of study spots. Do you work best when you can be alone, looking out into the horizon? We’ve got that. Do you need your friends and classmates around to talk through your assignments and keep you accountable? We’ve got that too. Plus, we have big, fluffy bean bag chairs, so you can rest your weary bones between assignments