Tuesday, January 4, 2011 6:57:15 PM
Where and WHY to use passwords?
Where it's best to use passwords? Basically everywhere. Imagine you get your personal laptop stolen and all your personal information in there used against you. Imagine your Opera opened and every ebay, amazon and other shopping accounts used and all just because you didn't set up your Master Password...
How to set up Opera Master Password
Got to Menu -> Settings -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Security -> Set Master Password. Set up your password then select Ask for password -> Once per session, the setting will ask for a password each time you run Opera, you can set it up to ask for password each 60 min etc. Then select Use Master Password to protect saved passwords, that setting will prevent unauthorized use of your saved passwords even if Opera was opened.
Why passwords are important?
As I said before all the sensitive data is within you computer, if you don't protect it anyone that gets your hands on your computer can use it as much as they want. Starting with browsing data, which most likely contains not only your login and password info but as well as your web profile. You could easily be a victim of a identity theft. So if you have a chance to set up password for your stuff then do so. Do not neglect computer password just because you're too lazy to type it in each time you log onto it.
How to create a password that will be hard to crack?
Best passwords are long passwords, passwords that are made up of 20-30 characters, it's best if your password doesn't make sense to you and anybody else. Don't forget to use upper and lower case characters, don't settle just for one type. Always mix letters and numbers as well as other symbols if they're allowed. Use passphrase instead of standard password.
Weak Password: ilovemydog
Strong Passphrase: tHesuNin432wAsdeLicaTemilK
Don't ever use things that have close connection to you, say NO to your/your best friends/your mother's date of birth, forget about using the name of the town/city street or anything that has any meaningful relevance to you. Don't ever save you passwords in a document file named passwords.txt/doc etc. I wouldn't also save my personal passwords via any other program or any on-line utility, except Opera.
Except using Opera to memorize all your passwords save them on your PC and sync them with DropBox. Try using LockNote to save the passwords locally. Everything you put inside LockNote is encrypted with AES 256bit encryption, one of the most advanced encryption types. Feel you have the control over your passwords. More details about LockNote in overview and here.
Monday, December 20, 2010 10:44:19 AM
Most of people are unaware how unprotected their system is in reality. Why not tighten your local security? There are many ways to keep your personal computer secured. Many of which are not often spoken of frequently. I remember people constantly complaining on how Microsoft doesn't provide the security we all want... so here it is, some of things which every Windows user should know and follow, but most just omit.
Keep up to date with every single Microsoft application you have installed. Most of the updates are Security Updates, if you won't install something you might be left vulnerable to attack (old versions of software are often hacked long ago).
Turn off file sharing and discovery
Probably the easiest hack of all called NetBios Hack, usually takes less than 15 seconds to get access to your system. To turn off file sharing go to Start -> Control Panel -> Network and Sharing Center -> Advanced sharing settings (left hand sidebar) then turn OFF following on both 'Home or work' and 'Public': Network Discovery, File and printer sharing, Public folder sharing. Turn Password protected sharing ON.
Probably the most used by hackers vulnerabilities. Disable remote access to your computer going to Start -> Control Panel -> System -> Remote settings (top left sidebar) -> Remote -> Remote Assistance, and UNcheck 'Allow Remote Computer assistance Connections to this computer'. Then below this in 'Remote Desktop' select option 'Don't allow connections to this computer'.
Restrict Anonymous User Access
This venerability can be used to do IPC$ Share Remote Netbios Attack. By default anyone who anonymously connects to your computer can see some of the information such as user account names their account policies, their details as well as share names. To restrict anonymous access to your computer you need to change certain registry key value. Open RegEdit either open Command Line and type 'regedit' or go to Start in 'Search programs and files' type 'regedit' then press enter. Registry Editor should appear. Locate key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\LSA\RestrictAnonymous. Right click key and select 'Modify'. Change 'Value data' field to '2' (just two without quotation mark) Other field values are as follows: 0 (this is a default value, which relies on default permissions, allows anonymous to see your details), 1 (doesn't allow enumeration of user accounts and names), 2 (doesn't allow access without explicit anonymous permissions). Most popular malware that uses this system vulnerability is Conficker.
Don't ever use the same password for everything, especially for your PC and especially if you're using your laptop in Public places such as schools or work. Usually when you set up a password for your user account the password is set to 'Password never expires'. To fix this go to Start -> Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Computer Management. In the tree view on the left select Computer Management (local) -> Local Users and Groups -> Users. Then right click your account name and select Properties, tick OFF 'Password never expires' option. Remember to change your password regularly. (If you think someone might have seen your password then change it immediately.)
Anti-virus and Firewall
If you already have Microsoft Security Essential then do NOT forget to turn ON Windows Firewall and configure it to tighter security options. If you use other anti-virus and firewall software (I personally recommended Comodo Internet Security) do not forget to configure it.
Auditing is a way to log who and when logged or tried to log in onto your machine as well as list of active files directories. By default it is not turned on. To turn it on go to Start -> Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Local Security Policy. Then select Local Policies (see left sidebar) -> Audit Policy (double click). To log everything double click each policy then select 'Audit this attempts': 'Success' & -'Failure'. To access logs go to Start -> Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Event viewer -> Windows log.
No need for it? Turn it off. Go to Start -> Control Panel -> User Accounts -> Manage another account, then select Guest account and Turn off Guest account.
If your password is set then auto logon will automatically be turned off, to check it go to open Registry Editor (see how to do it above) and navigate to key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\AutoAdminLogon if the Data (value) is '1' then right click select 'Modify' and change 'Value data' to 0 this will disable Auto Logon (1 is auto logon enabled).
Make sure that only one account on your PC does have administrator rights.
Turn system restore on, go to Computer -> System Properties -> System Protection -> Protection Settings, and select your system drive (most of the time (C:)), then click Configure and select option 'Restore system settings and previous versions of files'. I'd recommend setting 'Disk Space Usage' to 5% of disk capacity (3% is default if I remember correctly:).
If you've got all of these configured then you've got most of the basic system security tightened.