Creating stronger passwords… that you won’t forget.

Audience: Everyone
Take a read through the following article and its follow-up. I think it has some great points about user passwords. I have already been recommending pass-phrases as a good option for sometime now. One thing that I would like to add to this author’s thoughts is to make sure you use different passwords for every website, computer, phone, etc. This is to secure against key-loggers or a hacked database giving up your password. To help memorize these unique passwords you can combine a word or phrase that reminds you of the specific website, device, etc. with a core pass phrase. For instance:
Computer pass-phase: The-King-of-ROFL-rules-his-tech
Facebook pass-phrase: The-King-of-ROFL-rules-his-friends
Just try not to make it something easily guessed if one is discovered… maybe add a random number?

http://www.baekdal.com/tips/password-security-usability

http://www.baekdal.com/tips/the-usability-of-passwords-faq

Let me know your thoughts on this.
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For those of us who can’t remember many passwords try out a password generator and manager like Keepass. The best part is it is portable, so you can put it on a usb drive. My favorite trick is to put it in Dropbox, so I have access to it on all my devices. Did I mention both these are free?

This week in Malware

– recommended audiences: Home-user to Tech

I would like to have a weekly recap of Malware news on my blog. I think this would be useful to raise awareness a among home-users and maybe help inform a few fellow techs out there. This is my first edition. Feel free to give me your thoughts on this idea.

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The Number One Rule of Computing

The Number One Rule of Computing: Back it up! (imho)

target audience: home user

If you are reading this blog, then you probably live in a world full of data. Data that you depend on, for work, finances, travel, entertainment, and more. Without this data you day-to-day life would be turned on end. And yet, this data along with the technology that reads it can be fickle and fragile. I think most everyone has at some point tasted the bitterness of failure from forgetting to save a document. Many people have hung their heads in defeat as critical hardware went to an early grave. And a few people have even suffered theft, fire, or floods. Murphy can visit in many forms, so it is critical that we back-up all of our important data. It is not my intent to discuss specific products, or deliver a complete how-to (look for future articles) but rather to explain several varieties of back-up. Read on to find out the basics of back-up solutions for the home PC.

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Sandboxie

Why do you care? If you are running Windows XP you are vulnerable to a staggering amount of exploits including rootkits, and buffer overflow attacks. Many malicious programs will use these exploits to get into your systems without your (or your anti-virus’s) knowledge. One of the best ways to prevent Malware is to use a sandboxing program to isolate your system. Sandboxie is one such program. Check out these excellent posts about Sandboxie:

What is Sandboxie, and remembering to use it: http://remove-malware.com/antimalware/antimalware-tools/how-i-setup-sandboxie-for-my-family-and-clients/


Recommended settings: http://remove-malware.com/antimalware/anti-malware-howto/configuring-sandboxie-to-delete-sandbox-contents-automatically/

Remember: be safe out there.

Scare-ware and Rogue Anti-virus

A good read: http://billmullins.wordpress.com/2010/07/27/scareware-is-destroyware-not-just-malware/

Guess what I’m doing this weekend? That’s right, I’m already booked-up to remove malicious fake anti-virus programs from peoples computers. A problem that I’ve seen more and more in the last 18 months or so. Programs like these are often designed to trick you into paying for the removal of viruses and malware that aren’t even on your computer. Furthermore, they might disable your real anti-virus. Even if your current anti-virus recognizes one of these rogues you may still be at risk. They are craftily deployed to trick most users by with pop-up warnings like, “click here to remove infections.” The well meaning computer user wants to keep his computer virus free, and these rogues take advantage of this fear. While anti-virus, firewalls, and sandboxes help, education is key in helping people avoid these problems. Know what your AV’s user interface looks like. If in doubt, ctrl-alt-delete to kill a pop-up instead of clicking the X. And of course steer clear of the shadier sides of the web.
If you want more information on scare-ware and rogues, there are tons of websites out there that address these threats (but some of them are themselves malicious). One of my favorites is http://remove-malware.com/.

-Be careful out there-