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  1. #16
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    Thanks. I do use Netflix, so I guess it can stay.

  2. #17
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    Like user dsf, I too create a system image every month using just the Windows 7 Backup & Restore function. And I agree that there is no need for a third-party tool. But there's one other step I do: Go into the WindowsImageBackup folder and suffix the recently created image folder name with the date and optional label. For example, my machine is named EARTH so I would rename the newly created EARTH subfolder to something like EARTH-20140704_BeforeDeviceDriverUpdates. When you need to restore an image when booting up from the system repair disk, you will see these names.

    Another reason for renaming the system image folder is that if you don't, I think the next system image will not do a fresh complete image but overwrite the existing one with just differential changes. I don't trust Windows to apply/restore these differentials properly in an emergency. It's better to keep things simple and only restore single complete images.

    I have restored my computer's system image several times this way without a hitch.

  3. #18
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    Re 'Monitoring your system for rogue software' (7/3 Windows Secrets):

    I've been using Win Patrol (http://www.winpatrol.com/download.html) for years and recommend it very highly. The product is excellent at monitoring/reporting any attempted Registry changes, file associations, etc. before the fact- it then gives the user the option of allowing or rejecting. Lots more functionality in this program. Support is as good as it gets.

    P.S. Bret Lowry (Ruiware, LLC) recently purchased Win Patrol from founder Bill Pytlovany (BillP Studios). Greg has excellent credentials and I'm certain will continue to maintain and enhance Win Patrol for many years to come.

  4. #19
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    Two more issues worthy of discussion:

    1. Using VPNs to prevent websites from tracking my browsing habits, monitoring my searches, and discovering my geographic location. I've had good luck with Witopia and Private Internet Access, but a VPN is only as good as the vendor. I have no way of knowing for certain whether these vendors (or others) are trustworthy or maintain records of the real IP addresses that connect to them. Both could be run by NSA so far as I know.

    2. Outbound firewall control. Fred Langa and other writers have generally dismissed it as unnecessary, but allowing any program to "phone home" without my permission disturbs me. I've tried Zone Alarm and two different products called "Windows Firewall Control," this one and this one. All three solutions produce cryptic information about outbound connections that is beyond my ability to decipher. Is there a better way? In a perfect world, the firewall would produce a message to the effect that a particular program is attempting to connect to a particular server and give me the option to allow or deny the connection. Early versions of Zone Alarm worked like that, but then vendors (and Microsoft) began to disguise the services with obscure names, making it nearly impossible to determine who is phoning home or why. Promiscuous outbound connections are rampant and should be controlled.

  5. #20
    3 Star Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    Bob

    Firefox plus AppArmor set to Enforce
    What is AppArmor ? I did a addon search and came up nil.

    Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

  6. #21
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    He did say, "In Linux, ":

    AppArmor can also be used to lock down Mozilla Firefox for increased security, but it doesn’t do this by default.

    HTG Explains: What AppArmor Is and How It Secures Your Ubuntu System:

  7. #22
    3 Star Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    Ooops I did not get that. On the computer I wrote it on I guess I have it.



    Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnReam View Post
    Tools like EMET appear to be possible bloat ware, possibly severely degrading your computer experience more than helping. The Pros and Cons of these tools must be considered, tested, and reported in articles such as this from WS. To simply recommend software is not enough. Tell us the 'Secrets' Windows Secrets Newsletter.
    EMET is definitely not bloatware but will get a more fleshed out detail report in an upcoming article. I only had so much room this go around so it was devoted to the checklist.

  9. #24
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    "Microsoft's Windows FireWall; Security Client; EMET; Key Scrambler; SuperAntiSpyware: MBAM Pro; Spybot Search & Destroy; WinPatrol PLUS; Avast! Anti Virus and a few other all up to date, latest versions"

    I think that's a bit much honestly. You have five similar programs?

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsf View Post
    I would welcome a more detailed article revisiting the whole question of backups in the light of current threats.

    I have a gut feel that the Win 7 backup Control Panel applet provides all I need. So why do so many people advocate applications like Acronis?

    I have twice "lost" a hard disk, fortunately back in the xcopy days. Restoration (from multiple floppy disks) took a few hours, but was complete and certain. And putting a floppy disk in the drive each night to take the daily incremental backup (to go home) was quick, easy and dependable. Which is the way it should be.
    Because in the case of a full recovery, Acronis gives more options and in particular I'm speaking both for Win7 as well as Windows 8. 8 and it's 'file history' and it's 'restore to image' doesn't get you back to right where you were before the oopsie. Acronis is way better.

  11. #26
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    There's only one real way to protect your OS and that's not to directly use it (i.e., browse in a virtual machine with golden recovery point). No other scheme will be adequate enough and folks that depend on virus scanners and firewalls are just given a false sense of security. I do like and use the above to protect my Host OS but I rarely if ever browse the Internet with it (a few sites that keep my fingers crossed never get infected). That's why I use my XP VM (and often recovery if I need to or not like 3 or 4 times a week) along with another cool virtualization tool called Sandboxie (so I'm in essence double-sandboxed) for my security needs and, so far, I've also been lucky (since if a hacker really wanted too, he/she can eat your lunch). Virtualization is never discussed often enough for it's security and it should be; it shoud be the main defense listed period. Still, I dare the OPs here to finally do so and add that to the arsenal of baseline security. All I hear though is crickets chirping which leads me to believe you want folk to get infected (my only guess is job security).

  12. #27
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    In Susan Bradley's article "Revisiting the WS Security Baseline: Part 1" she mentions a program called MalwareBytes and that she now uses the Paid version. I was going to go to the Paid version as well this past year but one thing stopped me dead in my tracks. I remember when one purchased software and had to renew it each year and the onus was on the individual who had made the purchase. Now, if one wants to buy MalwareBytes for their computer, instead of a single license for one machine one gets to install the software on up to 3 computing devices. So what's wrong with this? Nothing except now the customer is forced into a "subscription" if you want the Paid version. What this means is that once again another website now has one's credit card information and each year one is billed on the day you bought the software. For those that don't have a problem with websites sitting on their credit card information and making an automatic purchase once every year, that's great. But many of us like myself don't like nor want websites to have this sort of control over how, who and when I use my credit card.

    On top of this, there's a dirty little secret most folks are not aware of: the software "subscription" you bought into just a few years ago for say, $20 bucks a year may now be up to $35 or more. Now how many people keep track of software purchases over the years? Exactly, and that's what software companies realize which is why they've moved to pushing "subscriptions" on an unsuspecting public. Furthermore, these software companies are keenly aware that those who purchase a "subscription" won't install the program on 3 computers because they don't have this many computing devices. So they offer the customer up something they will never use and there's no lost revenue for the software company. How divine! It used to be one could buy software and use it indefinitely on their computer and when one felt it was necessary to move to a newer version you could do so When You Wanted To. Now, software creators would have us believe that if we don't upgrade to the next version of their program then we'll have nothing but trouble and problems if we keep using a previous version. That's just Hogwash!

    Miss Bradley should have made mention of this pricing scheme in her article so folks reading it would have more information available to them as to whether or not they too would like to move to the Paid version. I'm sure there are now some folks who have signed on to the Paid version of MalwareBytes and don't realize now that every year for as long as the credit card is valid that they'll have a charge on the anniversary date of their purchase. For now, I'm sticking to the Free version that doesn't have all the bells or whistles as the Paid version but then there's one less website that has and is sitting on my credit card info. This is known as Peace of Mind.

  13. #28
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    One free app I would add to the list: Secunia PSI. Helps me know when I have an application that is vulnerable, out-of-date, or end-of-life.

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baodad View Post
    One free app I would add to the list: Secunia PSI. Helps me know when I have an application that is vulnerable, out-of-date, or end-of-life.
    PSI was included in the article, under "Keep Windows and apps up to date:":

    Use Secunia’s Personal Software Inspector (PSI; site) to help scan for outdated and/or unpatched software.

    Bruce

  15. #30
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    Security Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by jpdemers View Post
    There's one surfire way to keep your security questions safe from educated guesses: lie.
    I've never had a pet, which makes the name of my beloved first puppy quite a challenge to a would-be hacker.
    And not even my parents know the city of my birth.
    My bank requires me to answer some questions truthfully as they match to the data they hold when they validated me as a customer for the purpose of meeting UK money laundering rules.

    I have to tell the truth about:
    - my name
    - my address (which anyone can look up in about three minutes)
    - my date and place of birth (which anyone can lookup in about 30 seconds)
    However, I can lie about:
    - My mother's maiden name (does not even have to be a name - just a reliably remembered response)
    - My Memorable Address (does not even have to be an address - again just a reliably remembered response)
    There was quite a delay in getting them to accept the above two items - put on hold whilst the phone teller "spoke to security"!

    The worrying thing is that my bank selects security questions at random and sometimes they only use questions which I have to be truthful about - and which can be looked up.

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