The only thing keeping me from doing my victory dance at the moment is the presence of my wife in the living room. Like many of the people in my profession I’m a member of LinkedIn, so I was very concerned when I heard LinkedIn had been hacked. Then why the urge to do a victory dance?

Thanks to the Udacity course on Cryptography I understood everything I read about what happened and what LinkedIn did wrong. All the effort I put into doing the homework, all the effort in watching the course videos, all the frustration in trying understand the concepts.

Frustration aside, I really enjoyed  the course. I just did not have the math background for the Cryptography course. It wasn’t that I could not understand what my instructor was saying, I simply could not comprehend the notation they were using. If I had taken only that course I might have been able to stay up but as the weeks passed and I found myself unable to comprehend the articles on Wikipedia, I realized that I would be repeating this course. That doesn’t mean I gave up.

I like the way Udacity teaches but it means a lot of work. There is about 90 minutes of video in an average weeks work. Just watching 90 minutes of lecture does not mean you will learn. They reinforce the lessons with homework involving study material not covered in the lecture. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how much extra work you are willing to do. Having to dig for the material ensures you understand it but can be very frustrating too. If you don’t have the background, the journey to comprehension can be a very long and tedious one.

I passed the final and was surprised by how much I did know but it was also obvious how much I still did not comprehend. I will be repeating the course.

Then in a single day, LinkedIn gets hacked and validates all that effort. Thanks to my course, I understand what happened, I understand my exposure, I understand where LinkedIn got lazy. Seven weeks ago I would have read what the security experts were saying, nodded my head, changed my password on LinkedIn and gone on. Today I fully understand what was being said. I feel sorry for all the people that got their passwords hacked. I feel bad for whoever at LinkedIn made a very bad decision. At the moment though, I’m a very happy person.

I think I’m going to go outside for a few minutes.

© Copyright 2012 Byron Seastrunk, All rights Reserved. Written For: Opinion by pen