Ask Leo! #383 – Securing Cloud Data, continuous backups, stubborn keyloggers and more…


The Ask Leo! Newsletter

*** Featured

BoxCryptor - Secure Your Data in the Cloud

One of the hidden issues in online storage is that of privacy. Specifically almost all online storage providers have the ability to examine your data or hand it over to law enforcement even if the provider has encrypted your data.

Hopefully most of us will never have to deal with the law-enforcement scenario, but even the realization that a rogue employee at an online data storage provider could peek into what we keep online can cause concern. For some, it's enough concern to avoid using cloud storage at all.

The solution is simple: encrypt the data yourself.

Unfortunately, implementing that "simple" solution isn't always that simple or transparent and can add a layer of complexity to online storage that some find just as intimidating.

BoxCryptor is a nicely unobtrusive encryption solution and free for personal use.

Continue reading: BoxCryptor - Secure Your Data in the Cloud
http://ask-leo.com/C5722

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*** Answercast

Answercast #46 - Help with smart phone connections, continuous backups, removing keyloggers, used machines and more...

Ever wonder how safe a smart phone is for banking, how to erase saved passwords from your computer, or if your computer wakes up for it's nightly backup? Worried about hacking or keylogging? Need to get your Favorites back? All that and more in this Answercast from Ask Leo!

Listen

Continue reading: Answercast #46 - Help with smart phone connections, continuous backups, removing keyloggers, used machines and more...
http://ask-leo.com/C5719

Can I safely use my smartphone for banking?
A smart phone will be more secure than an open Wi-Fi spot if you know how to use it safely.
Continue reading: Can I safely use my smart phone for banking?
http://ask-leo.com/C5720

What does it mean to tether a phone?
Connecting to the internet with your cell phone can be done in several ways, depending on what is allowed by your cell phone company.
Continue reading: What does it mean to tether a phone?
http://ask-leo.com/C5721

How do I enable auto-complete for the addresses in my Outlook Contacts?
Auto-complete only works for addresses that have been typed into the To: field, but there is a short-cut key that works just as well.
Continue reading: How do I enable auto-complete for the addresses in my Outlook Contacts?
http://ask-leo.com/C5723

Is a continuous backup still a good idea?
Any kind of a backup is a good idea and can save the files you care about after a crash or a hack.
Continue reading: Is a continuous backup still a good idea?
http://ask-leo.com/C5724

How do I erase all passwords saved on my machine?
There's only one way to erase ALL passwords saved on your machine. You probably aren't going to like it!
Continue reading: How do I erase all passwords saved on my machine?
http://ask-leo.com/C5725

Will a scheduled backup wake my machine up if it's sleeping?
Some backup programs can wake up a sleeping machine, but there are still a few things that could go wrong and cause a backup to fail.
Continue reading: Will a scheduled backup wake my machine up if it's sleeping?
http://ask-leo.com/C5726

How do I remove these keyloggers that remain after I removed a keylogger?
Once a keylogger has control of your machine, it is very difficult to remove completely. Trying to do it without reformatting might be a long road.
Continue reading: How do I remove these keyloggers that remain after I removed a keylogger?
http://ask-leo.com/C5727

How did someone in another town login to my Facebook account?
How did someone else manage to log into this account? We can only look at the basic steps for good account security.
Continue reading: How did someone in another town login to my Facebook account?
http://ask-leo.com/C5728

How do I get access to system information and other things I can't on this machine I've received?
There are ways to gain administrator access to a used machine, but fully cleaning that computer is still your best bet.
Continue reading: How do I get access to system information and other things I can't on this machine I've received?
http://ask-leo.com/C5729

How do I get favorites to work in IE9?
Sometimes switching to a different version or browser will solve problems like this.
Continue reading: How do I get favorites to work in IE9?
http://ask-leo.com/C5730

Why do some drives not read CDs or DVDs that others will?
There are a lot of differences in the quality of CD/DVD drives and their ability to recover data from a disc.
Continue reading: Why do some drives not read CDs or DVDs that others will?
http://ask-leo.com/C5731

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*** Last Issue's Articles

*** Comments

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What can we learn from Mat Honan?

geoff writes:

It's very interesting and downright scary to realize how easily complex data and identity protocols can sometimes be undone by basically leaving out the human interaction factor. I have had a personal experience with my online banking account that perfectly illustrates this. This bank employed a password system which required customers to change passwords every 90 days , and actually required a fairly complex password, along with an assigned numerical user id. Occasionally I would find myself locked out for no apparent reason other than a glitch in their system, so I would call a very friendly and helpful customer service rep who would reset the password. On one particular occasion I misremembered my user id, replacing one digit with another. Since no other information was required my password was reset ("abcd" was the temp password I was always given ha-ha). I logged into what I thought was my account (hadn't realized I was using the a the wrong user ID yet), an found most of my money had disappeared. It took me just a few moments to realized I had accidentally hacked into someone else's account! I remember reading an interesting article by a security research expert who made the point that very often the weakest link in security is a very well meaning customer service person or even in large companies where persons in a far flung department who will divulge security information under the impression he's just helping an unfamiliar fellow employee who forgot his ID or password. This researcher was really quite amazed to find that he could find these weak links created by individuals just trying to be really helpful and literally talk his way through all the layers of security designed to stop brute force entry. In my own case with my bank I was not even asked for the last four digits of my ss let alone the whole thing, which I would think is the usual minimum. They have since implemented a two factor authentication but that incident has always stuck with me and I think this article well illustrates how seemingly minor overlooked human interaction factors (i.e. when the security passes from software to interacting people) the whole process can be unraveled.

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What can we learn from Mat Honan?

Nan Mac writes:

Leo... I'm another idiot who, while happily gleaning all kinds of pertinent info from your newsletters - allowed your constant 'back up' warnings to go in one ear and out the other...for years. Two weeks ago my laptop crashed. A computer tech said all was lost. Later, having a light bulb moment, she popped my PC hard drive into her Mac and was able to recover my photos, for which I was extremely grateful. However, all else was lost. I feel for Mr. Honan and everyone who has lost all their data. It is SO disconcerting.....like having part of your brain's memory wiped out. I am currently shopping for an external back up system. Nan

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Is the Cloud Dangerous?

bob writes:

My only problem with the 'cloud' is that more and more things are getting pushed there. Companies assume that every person has constant unlimited access to the internet, which I don't. I have to check every piece of software I buy, twice, AND ask an assistant (because I have been caught out before) just to make sure I can use it offline. Even trying to look at the manual for my current mouse results in a 'not connected' message if my modem isn't on. The 'cloud' is fine, for those who want to use it. I just wish the rest of us were not being forced to.

That's a very legitimate concern. I can't imagine using online services heavily if you're connected via only dial-up, for example. I would hope that there are viable offline alternatives for most things folks want to do - even if it means not using one companies offering, but someone else's instead.

-Leo

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Could someone set up a Facebook in my name?

sVen writes:

Thanx for another excellent article, Leo.

Another small note is that there are lots of people with same names. There could be 597 facebook accounts with the name 'Jane Madison'. Twelve of them might live in Anchorage, AK. A few might have other interests in common, like fishing, reading sci-fi, and watching the 'Red Green' show. Only the email address is unique. And even that can be similar. If someone has a facebook account under the email Jane123 @ TMail.net, there's nothing to prevent someone from opening an email called Jane1234 @ TMail.net, and then opening a facebook account, or any other type of account, with that email.

*** Leo Recommends

Dropbox - Share files across machines, with friends and publicly for free

I've been using Dropbox for a quite some time now and recently came across perhaps the most compelling reason to finally recommend it to you.

One of the common questions I get is "how do I share [files, photos, documents, whatever] with my [friends, business associates, contacts] without using email, and without having them show up on the public internet?

Dropbox solves that, and a lot more.

Continue reading: Dropbox - Share files across machines, with friends and publicly for free
http://ask-leo.com/C4540

Each week I recommend a specific product or resource that I've found valuable and that I think you may as well. What does my recommendation mean?

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Leo A. Notenboom & Puget Sound Software, LLC.
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