Archive for the ‘Security’ category
Being able to remotely control your computer is an age old geek trick. But what about changing BIOS settings or installing an operating system remotely? With Intel AMT KMS this is within reach for any geek with the right hardware.
Intel vPro is a management platform built into Intel processors and other hardware that allows companies to manage their desktops and laptops out-of-band (OOB). That means the computers can be managed no matter if the computer in on or off, and even if the operating system has failed or there is no hard drive present.
With Core processors Intel introduced Active Management Technology (AMT) 6.0 which introduced a slew of new features including Keyboard Video Mouse (KVM) Remote Control. This means that with the right hardware configuration you have full remote access to your computer no matter what state it’s in.
Most geeks are familiar with VNC software that runs inside your operating system, but Intel AMT KVM runs at a hardware level which allows you to go remote with your computer in the case of a total system failure or even without an operating system installed. Let’s get started and set up Intel AMT KVM so you can go remote with your computer.
Today I tried to load and activate VIP Access on my iPhone. The app loaded OK from the app store, but finding the page on PayPal where I could activate it was another story.
For those of you out of the loop, VIP Access provides a means to use your iPhone as a second authentication factor. When installed, the software provides a different six-digit code every 30 seconds. This code is used to verify your identity at sites supporting this VeriSign identity management technology—like PayPal. See Figure 1.
Installing and launching the free software on my iPhone 3GS was easy. The first screen included a video and other information about how to use the service. So, having lost my VIP “football” for PayPal, I was anxious to try this out. That was where the fun began.
There are no references to this service on PayPal. Neither searching nor browsing turned up anything useful. Finally, I searched Google and found someone who had solved this lack-of-information challenge by actually sending a message to PayPal.
It turns out VIP Access activation uses the same link used to activate the VIP token, as shown in Figure 2.
In the activation form, enter the VIP Access Credential ID into the Serial Number field. The rest of the form is self-explanatory. After jumping the activation hurdle, everything worked as advertised.
If you’re like most users, you’ll have a single user account on your Mac, and it will be the sole administrator account. What happens when you either lose or don’t remember this password? It’s a pretty common scenario. However, there’s an easy way to do this with a Mac, which is somewhat counter-intuitive if you come from a PC background.
On the weekend, I was updating my wife’s MacBook. Since I’m recent Mac convert, I’ve been customizing my own MacBook Pro, while also installing some apps and programs onto my wife’s computer. For some reason, she didn’t have a password for her user account. I don’t know how she managed it, but when I started installing apps, it started creating some problems because her password field was left empty.
I don’t know why the behavior of the Mac changed, but it had to do with the fact that I was installing some applications. A few days later, we noticed that the Mac would no longer let us update software because when we tried to enter password that was empty, it no longer accepted it. That meant that I had to reset the password.
After quickly reading over the procedure here, I went looking for my wife’s OS X DVD. She didn’t have it with her, but I had mine for my MacBook Pro. I had already tried updating her OS X to 10.6.5 using this DVD, but it didn’t work. However, I thought that I might be able to boot with the DVD and access the system configuration this way.
Here’s what we did:
- Insert the DVD into the superdrive and restart your Mac.
- Press the key ‘C’ while it reboots. This will make it boot from the DVD. Depending on the age of your Mac, it could take a few minutes.
- Once it’s booked up, access the ‘Utilities’ menu and click Reset Password. You can now enter a new password.
If you’re using a DVD that didn’t come with your MacBook, you should try and use one that’s closest to the OS X version that you’ve got installed. For example, my OS X 10.6.5 worked fine on her OS X 10.5.8 Mac, but there might be problems if the versions are very different. If you don’t have your DVD, try using one of your friends’. If you aren’t technically inclined, this will save you a trip to the Apple store.
Paypal’s New Security Card Fits Inside Wallet – The Consumerist.
Like the idea of the Paypal security key fob, which auto-generates a 6-digit code that must be entered every time you use your Paypal account, but not so hot on its bulky shape? This year Paypal introduced a credit-card sized design that fits inside your wallet.
If you live in an apartment complex you’ve probably noticed more than just the passive-aggressive network IDs that your neighbors use—very likely you’ve had problems with your wireless connections dropping out, or just not being as fast as you’d like. Here’s a quick fix.
Of course, this isn’t the only thing you need to do to make sure your wireless network is running at maximum speed, but for today’s lesson we’ll show you how to pick the right channel to make sure you can stream the new Futurama episode to your laptop without skipping.
Note: if your Wireless network is working fine, please don’t mess with it. Or at least, don’t blame us if you break it.
If you’re constantly being called on by friends and family to provide tech support, troubleshooting, and computer advice, you’ve probably had to install security applications on other people’s computers more than once. Heck, you may do it just about every day. If so, you might want to grab SSDownloader — an open source app which makes downloading current versions of popular antivirus, antimalware, firewall, and utility software a snap.
When you launch the portable app, it automatically refreshes its database and presents an excellent selection of free security apps for Windows computers. Included are popular free apps like Avast!, Security Essentials, Malwarebytes, HiJack This, Comodo Firewall, CCleaner, AutoRuns, and Process Explorer — as well as loads more.
Trial versions of programs like Nortonare also provided in case you’re trying to appease someone who demands “name brand” protection (yes, there are still people like that — and they’re not all familiar with our go-to apps).
SSDownloader is an excellent way to make sure you’ve always got up-to-date installers at the ready. Need something with more options? Check out Anti-Malware Toolkit — or Ketarin, if you’d rather go the DIY route.
Help protect your kids online
With Family Safety, you decide how your kids experience the Internet. Limit searches, monitor and block or allow websites, and decide who your kids can communicate with in Windows Live Spaces, Messenger, or Hotmail.*
Family Safety is part of Windows Live Essentials, which includes free programs for photos, movies, instant messaging, e‑mail, blogging, family safety, and more. Get Family Safety or get them all—they’re free!
* The Family Safety Filter must be installed on each computer your children use. If the Filter isn’t installed, the safety settings can’t be enforced.
Most people realize that some passwords are harder to guess than others. But a new online tool allows you to see just how much variation there is.
The appropriately named www.howsecureismypassword.net has a single, simple purpose: you type in your password and the site tells you how long it would take a desktop PC to crack it, presumably by a brute force attack (that is, literally trying out every possible combination of characters.)
It should be noted the site promises that “no data is stored or transferred anywhere.” If you are still a little paranoid, it might be worth typing in a dummy password of the same construction. So, for example, if your password was smith1952, try something like jones1948 instead.
The mathematics of the calculation seems simple enough: as best I can tell it works on the basis that longer passwords take longer to crack, adding numbers as well as letters increases the difficulty, and adding other characters such as punctuation marks adds even more.
The tool does note when you type in one of 500 most popular passwords, but otherwise doesn’t seem to distinguish between dictionary words and random strings of characters. In reality, actual words are usually considered less secure as they can be cracked using the much quicker technique of running through all the words in the dictionary.
Even with these limitations, and bearing in mind that the results should only be taken as comparatives rather than absolutes, the results are staggering. To give one example, a password I use for discussion forums would apparently take 13 minutes to crack, while a longer one I use for my webmail access would take 138 million years!