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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger
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    TOP STORY

    Five small and essential apps to armor your PC


    By Lincoln Spector

    Protecting yourself from the criminals of the Internet shouldn't cost you a fortune. In fact, it doesn't have to cost you anything.

    Firewalls and antivirus programs can't do all the work of safe computing — small, targeted utility apps that encrypt your files, keep your passwords safe, and clean up your PC add to your protection.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/2010/06/03/01 (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    Last edited by revia; 2011-01-19 at 18:34.

  2. #2
    New Lounger
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    I use another free archiving application that has a much better UI, and supports TAR, RAR and AES. Izarc at http://www.izarc.org/

  3. #3
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    passpack.com for passwords. It's entirely Web based (though you can also download a Windows app for offline use). It has all the usual password generation, storage, etc. The advantage is significant: one place for your passwords. Now you don't have to keep everything on a USB flash drive, or update password databases between your different computers. And, by the way, it's free.

  4. #4
    Silver Lounger t8ntlikly's Avatar
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    For passwords I use Steganos Password Manager 11 although it is not free. The only drawback is that their tech support is in Germany. What I really like most about this program is that I can also use it (when installed) from a USB drive. So when I need to access a site and I am away from my computer I can simply insert my USB drive and click on the appropriate site.
    For encrypting folders I use Password Protect USBAgain this program is not free.
    Thanks John
    Teamwork is essential; it gives the enemy other people to shoot at. (Murphy's War Laws #39)

  5. #5
    New Lounger
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    Thanks for covering TrueCrypt. I have been thinking about using this program for a while. Following the "If you give a mouse a cookie" book train of thought:

    Since most users have one drive (eg C on their machine, is it advisable to use TrueCrypt on the whole drive (what are the pros and cons?), or should there be a disk for data (eg D: )? If the later, what are the preferred open source hard drive partition programs to carve out a second partition? Or, is it better to use a "file container"?

  6. #6
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    I have used in XP Professional an application for password management called Typhoon Password. It's available from typhoontools.com. They also have a nice zip utility as well. Unfortunately I have not been able to make the password manager work like it should since I put in IE8. It brings up a little box down by the system tray in which you can copy and paste your passwords into the appropriate spots on your login screen. It also can generate new random passwords, (impossible to remember!), for new sites. Unfortunately, Typhoon Tools free utilities do not install into Windows 7! Curious! As for that operating system, I am quite fond of Norton Identity Safe in Norton Internet Security 2010. You see, I don't want to have to remember all these passwords, it gets to be a real pain-in-the-ass. File encryption can be dangerous because if you forget the password to open the encrypted files or vault, those files are gone forever! The files cannot be restored from a backup because those are encrypted too! I have also noticed that encrypting files slow even a fast computer down and everything takes forever to load! I would never even consider encrypting an entire drive...that thought terrifies me just thinking of it!

    My security is quite simple. My desktop who selected people are allowed to use contains no sensitive material that others would find useful. All users are physically supervised while on. If you want to use my machine than these are the terms you accept, period no questions asked. On my laptop whenever I walk away from it the lid is closed and it is protected by a main password. If I feel insecure still, I pick it up and take it with me to order coffee or whatever. No big deal if I have to log on to the wireless network again! Those who leave their stuff sitting there are just lazy is the way I see it. Nothing beats physical security, be proactive!

    As far as incoming security and by that I mean firewalls and antivirus/antispyware. You get the best protection if you pay for it! I do not trust software that is free! I've been burnt and had to reinstall operating systems on account of free software used in this area. I use a highly restricitive corporate security suite, Symantec Endpoint Protection on the desktop since it is hard wired to the router. It blocks everything including tracking cookies placed on your system by privacy violating marketers. On the laptop I use Norton Internet Security 2010 and scan for tracking cookies on a regular basis. The difference between Corporate and Home security suites is that the corporate suite blocks everything from entering and the home one allows tracking cookies on and then you have to scan for them. I have also found Symantec[ products to have superior behaviorial analysis and that has prevented rootkits from being installed better than anyone else's stuff. Always remember to use the Public setting in Windows 7 on a public network or unencrypted wireless connection because you are truly hidden from others seeing your computer on the network. A great idea this! When it come too effective security I adhere to the KISS factor, Keep It Stupid & Simple, it works everytime! These other solutions are for lazy people and will get you in trouble eventually!

  7. #7
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    I can't believe the most obvious and most widely used password keeper was not mentioned instead--the feature-rich, open source KeePass Password Safe: http://keepass.info

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Morse III View Post
    I have used... blah blah blah
    ...will get you in trouble eventually!

    Wow. verbose much?

  9. #9
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    I use a lot of open source apps and free security apps these days and have found them really effective. Starting out as a total non-techie, I discovered Windows Secrets a couple of years ago and find it a reliable source of info on useful stuff like this.

    I like Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and SUPERAntiSpyware and use them as part of my customised security package. Malwarebytes has excellent forum support - they also have a specialist forum for the diagnostic HijackThis. SUPERAnti-Spy is a really useful app too - I use it regularly for clearing out cookies/flash cookies.

  10. #10
    Gold Lounger Roderunner's Avatar
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    My 'modus operandi' for saving passwords:- 1, write your passwords using notepad slightly larger than normal. 2, take a snap shot of it with snipping tool or printscreen etc. 3, copy the photo to your mobile/cell phone. 4, password protect if you want using winrar,winzip or 7zip then burn to disc (2 copys) and stash in 2 separate locations. There is another method at my disposal, I have an AOL mail address so I can attach one of the zipped files and use my main mail address to send to AOL and save it on there servers. I have saved mail that is 3 years old and its still available.
    O wad some Power the giftie gie us, to see oursels as ithers see us!

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