Ask Leo! #370 – Are password managers safe? Facebook layout, mice that prevent booting and more…

The Ask Leo! Newsletter

*** Featured

Are Password Managers like Roboform and Lastpass safe?

Recently, I tried to use RoboForm for an account at a large financial institution, but I couldn't get it to work. In response to my inquiry, this institution said they do not permit log in using credentials that are stored on software because the security of the password could become jeopardized if my computer were hacked, invaded, etc. Is this true? Am I safer not to use RoboForm?

*

Technically, they are mostly correct.

But not-so-technically I believe - strongly - that they are seriously misguided.

Using a password manager like Roboform is significantly safer than the alternatives most people choose.

The real problem is that most people will not do what your bank really wants you to do.

And I'll admit it - I don't do what your bank wants you to do either.

Continue reading: Are Password Managers like Roboform and Lastpass safe?
http://ask-leo.com/C5555

* * *

*** Answercast

Answercast #33 - Jumbled Facebook, super cookies, complicated usernames, get your own email address and more...

How could a website still identify you after you clear cookies? Are you safe with a complicated username? How to work through problems with mice, installing games, recovery partitions, email photos and more.

Listen

Continue reading: Answercast #33 - Jumbled Facebook, super cookies, complicated usernames, get your own email address and more...
http://ask-leo.com/C5556

How do I fix my Facebook layout problems?
Some webpages do not translate well through the numerous screen resolution settings available in Windows. If you are having problems, you may need to play around with several zoom features.
Continue reading: How do I fix my Facebook layout problems?
http://ask-leo.com/C5557

How do I keep my PC running all the time?
A screen going black after a time is either a power setting or a screensaver. It's an easy setting to change.
Continue reading: How do I keep my PC running all the time?
http://ask-leo.com/C5558

My grandson uses my email address, can he use something else?
Setting up a good email account is very simple, so there is no need to share an account with a grandson. A few simple steps are necessary to separate the accounts.
Continue reading: My grandson uses my email address, can he use something else?
http://ask-leo.com/C5559

Connecting my wireless mouse to my computer causes it to not boot - what do I do?
Your computer's BIOS will be set to look for boot devices in a certain order. If that is causing problems, you will need to reset your boot order.
Continue reading: Connecting my wireless mouse to my computer causes it to not boot - what do I do?
http://ask-leo.com/C5560

Can I unselect the recovery partition when I backup my C: drive?
A full backup needs to be a full backup. I explain why you need to also backup your recovery partition.
Continue reading: Can I unselect the recovery partition when I backup my C: drive?
http://ask-leo.com/C5561

Does using complicated usernames add anything to the security level?
Complicated usernames add such a small benefit to your online security that it's hardly worth the effort. Better to focus on the basics.
Continue reading: Does using complicated usernames add anything to the security level?
http://ask-leo.com/C5562

Why does CCleaner clean up Internet Explorer items when I don't use Internet Explorer?
It's not unusual to find remnants of Internet Explorer in your system – even if you don't use it as a browser. I explain why.
Continue reading: Why does CCleaner clean up Internet Explorer items when I don't use Internet Explorer?
http://ask-leo.com/C5563

Installing my game to an external drive doesn't work, what do I do?
Gaming off an external drive can be very slow, or not work at all. I give my recommendation on where to install the program.
Continue reading: Installing my game to an external drive doesn't work, what do I do?
http://ask-leo.com/C5564

Why does IE8 crash when I attempt to attach a photo to email?
Internet Explorer crashes when adding pictures to an email. I go through a number of steps to clean the system.
Continue reading: Why does IE8 crash when I attempt to attach a photo to email?
http://ask-leo.com/C5565

I cleared cookies and more, so how did a web site still know it was me?
Websites have several methods of tracking visitors, from tracing IP addresses to dropping cookies. I walk through various steps needed to go anonymous.
Continue reading: I cleared cookies and more, so how did a web site still know it was me?
http://ask-leo.com/C5566

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*** Last Issue's Articles

*** Word o' the Week

two factor authentication

Two factor authentication is a mechanism for verifying identity that relies on two different types of things, both of which must be correct, in order to allow access.

Traditionally authentication has been in the form of something you know: i.e. a password, and perhaps the accompanying answers to a set of security questions. Since this is simply based on knowledge (if you know your password you must be authorized to access this account) it's easily transferred from one person to another - intentionally or otherwise.

The most common form of two-factor authentication adds something you have to the requirements - you must prove that you are in position of something specific, something that is completely unique to you and of which there is only one.

A popular implementation of this is in the form of key chain fobs or smartphone applications such as Google Authenticator which present a 6 digit number that changes every 30 seconds. That 6 digit number is generated by a cryptographic algorithm and is tied to your account in such a way that only your device has the correct number for your account at any point in time. Because the algorithm used to generate the number is based on a form of cryptography it's not possible to predict the numbers that would be displayed without the secret keys held by the authentication system.

You then simply "prove" you have your phone or key chain fob by entering the number displayed on it when requested.

Another factor that can be used is something you are, which typically boils down to facial recognition, fingerprint scanning or other biometric measurement.

While each can be used in isolation - something you know, something you have or something you are - as the very common "single factor authentication", requiring more than one increases security dramatically. While two-factor authentication naturally requires two, it's actually a subset of "multi-factor authentication" which can require two or more.

Word o' the Week features a computer term or acronym taken from the Ask Leo! Glossary. If there's a word you're not sure of and would like to see defined, click here to let me know.

*** Thoughts and Comments

Slight Change

Since it seems most "news" or other excitement happens at the beginning of the week, not the end, I'll be adding my comments to the Tuesday newsletter instead of Friday's. OK, ok, and it also seems like more people actually see the Tuesday newsletter contents - probably something about preparing for a weekend when Friday's newsletter arrives Smile.

That means the recommendation that you'd normally see here now will be in Friday's newsletter.

But I still have a recommendation for you!

I'm writing this on Monday, July 9. You know, the day when the media has been almost hysterically telling us that the world will come to an end because so many people will lose internet access?

Somehow we're all still here. Feels like Y2K all over again, if you ask me. It was very, very frustrating to watch the media make overblown and inaccurate statements about this whole affair. I'm sure a few people were affected, but nothing to warrant the panicked claims of doom that I've been seeing in the last few days.

So let's take all that fervor and attention and turn it to something more useful, shall we? Something that actually will help keep your machine safer.

Bill Pytlovany has released an update to the highly regarded WinPatrol, specifically learning lessons from the Stuxnet virus that we've also heard about in the news. Information about the latest update is here. You can also download and run WinPatrol - as I do on all my Windows machines - from that link as well.

Yes, it has my formal recommendation: WinPatrol - Get alerts to important changes to your computer. It's a great lightweight utility that sheds light on some of the changes that happen on your machine - malicious or otherwise.

And with the new version even more so.

Maybe I don't need to do ebooks in anything but Kindle?

In last Friday's newsletter I asked you to participate in a one question survey about what formats I should produce my ebooks in, in addition to Kindle.

Results have been ... underwhelming. And even that's an understatement.

So, based on the response it may well be that my energies are best spent on producing the next title on Kindle, rather than converting existing books to any other format. I'm OK with that, actually.

However ... it's also possible that the survey suffered from "the Friday effect", and few people even saw it.

So I'll leave it open 'til the end of the week.

If you want to see my ebooks in other formats, please:

Take this one question survey.

(If PDF is your choice - which I wasn't actually expecting - just let me know in the "Other" section option.)

I'll let you know the results next week.

'till then...

Leo
Leo A. Notenboom
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