I spend a lot of time cracking passwords! No, not for stealing software or information, for doing computer repair! One of the most common home or small business computer service repair calls I get is that Bob, fill in the blank here lost his password / forgot his password / left the company and never told anyone his password, and we cant use the computer or software.If you have physical access, most times you can reset a password on any version of Windows XP. Some vertical applications get a little trickier but I still can usually figure out a way to get in to clear the existing password and then let the customer reset it.And no, Im not going to teach you how in this article, sorry. But what I can do is help you figure out a way to never forget a password without writing down. An especially bad practice that I see all the time is someone will write down the password on a post-it note and put it on the monitor. Which is a particularly ugly breach in security.But I can understand the problem. Chances are you have many passwords to remember if you use a computer at home or at work. And since many of the systems automatically force the user to change their password every 90 days, this becomes quite a challenge to remember them all.There are some good ways to create a password so that you cant forget it. And you can easily meet the minimum requirements of at least 8 characters with at least three being punctuation or numerals too. But the best is 15 characters (I wont go technical on you but lets just say that the stored password of over 14 characters are much more difficult to crack). I cant even remember who taught me this method but Ive been using it for years.The first thing to remember is not to use childrens names, birthdays, or any information that someone might guess. This includes common names found in the dictionary or some other know source. The reason for this is there are many cracker programs out there that use these common sources to check against password to break them. So stay away from common words or expressions.Even the programs that generate random characters can be beat by another program designed to emulate that type of software. The idea behind them is good and they can provide a stronger password but for most user that creates a bigger problem since who can remember W#8hY*2l-Km$!1d, let alone type it.So whats the secret? The easiest way Ive found to remember a password is to associate it with a person or event that youll never forget. Something that even a good friend might not know but also something that you couldnt forget even if you wanted to if you tried.If the password is for windows or a windows program you have up to 127 characters most times. So use a phrase instead of just one word. So if you have a phrase (or song lyric) burned into your brain you could use it too. When I need a quick password when working at a clients I normally look at the machine or something on the wall and use it for the password. One of my favorites is I hate Compaqs model 2780! or use any computer name).When I was five we moved to the corner of 85th street and pacific. Most people I know now dont know that and I doubt it would come up in any conversation. So if I used 085TH@pacificst5 that contains something I can easily remember and also meets the high end password requirements.Or how about the first love of my life (which dumped me in about 2 weeks)? I wont use her real name to protect the guilty but heres that one, http://2wKJeN06.OrG an, I added organ since she was organic (I think). See how this works? Ill bet we all have lots of things, events, people, and the date or age we experienced them to use.One weakness any password can have is if someone slips in a keylogger program on your computer. Keyloggers record all the keystrokes that a user makes and regardless how tough you make your password, if they can see the key strokes, theyve got you. And its much easier than you think to do a stealth install.There is one way to get around this issue, use extended characters. If you hold down the alt key, then press one or more numerals you get one of those weird characters with double dots on top or a symbol. But the keylogger still shows the character, but a way around it is to use Alt 0160. This extended character is a space and hides the fact that you used the Alt method to create it. So they wont be able to duplicate it even if they see it.There is no perfect solution for passwords. But you can and should take some steps to insure that you take the appropriate precautions whenever you create one. Keep it over 15 characters, use numerals, punctuation, and alphabetical characters. Combine elements that are easy to remember but not common information like birth dates or childrens names. Use associations that make it easy to remember.And never communicate your password in any documentation or emails. Dont display them on your computer or loan them to friends or associates. Random generators can be helpful but arent bullet proof. Change your passwords on a regular basis just in case. Always have a master or Administrator password that can be used to go in and change users passwords when necessary.Id much rather fix hardware or software problems than crack passwords on a "computer repair" service call. It makes my job a little easier and can save you a lot of money.
One of the biggest possible security leaks, both for private individuals and companies, lies in not being thorough about removing data from old hard disks. When data is not wiped or securely deleted from a given hard disk, it becomes possible (if not always easy) for people to attempt and recover the data. For innocuous data such as mundane documents and other such files, this possibility may not seem like much of a risk.However, for hard disks handling confidential information such as financial matters, personal information, and the like, this becomes a serious issue. It has been shown that most people and organizations are not careful about their information that is left on old hard disks. On a survey of a typical sample of old or recycled hard disks, it is more than likely that one would be able to recover some personal information, or even confidential information on a larger scale. These include company employee information, financial transaction information, and so on.This happens because ordinary file deletion or disk reformatting is not enough to dissuade a determined hacker from recovering data. Normal deletion does not actually remove the file data from the hard disk itself. Instead, the deleted file is just marked 'deleted', and the space allocated to the file is marked 'available'. This 'available' space would not be overwritten until the system runs out of other hard disk space, leaving it vulnerable to recovery.Even hard disk reformatting does not overwrite the files that are on the hard disk. Instead, it just reallocates the existing space for new use. Hence, some traces of the data previously on the disk might remain, especially if the hard disk does not become filled with new data.To be more secure about removing data from a hard disk, there is no better solution than performing a hard disk wipe, short of physically destroying the hard disk. This second option is generally frowned upon, since it is a waste of resources. (Recycling old hard disks is the better and more environmentally friendly option. To prevent any mishaps regarding the unintentional exposure of confidential information, all recycling facilities are required by law to wipe the hard disks before redistributing them.)Now, a "hard disk wipe" works by overwriting the data on the disk multiple times with random sets of data. This thorough masking of previously existing data is usually not performed during regular file deletion in the aims of conserving system resources. And indeed, a secure deletion is often not strictly necessary, in everyday computer use. But when secure deletion becomes necessary, a hard disk wipe offers the solution.A hard disk wipe program usually runs from a removable storage device such as a CD. Simply by loading this program into the computer with the hard disk to be wiped, the process could be implemented. This means that it is possible to perform the hard disk wipe on multiple computers relatively easily.The hard disk wipe is a relatively uncommon process that is nevertheless invaluable for secure deletion of information from hard disks.
T1 technology is a quantum improvement in the world of communication. This technology replaces the earlier one which depended on conversion of sound into analog signals which were carried through a pair of copper wires again to be converted back to sound at the receivers end.When T1 technology is opted for, the first visible difference to a non technical user is that the service provider lays an optic fiber cable and this becomes the medium of transmission instead of the conventional copper wires.The other more vital difference which obviously is not apparent to a non technical user is, the sound is now digitized and the digitized signals are transported along the fiber optic cables. This gives exceptional clarity to the voice and telephoning now becomes a pleasure. The noise and disruptions which are inseparable accompaniments of a conventional phone conversation, is completely absent in this system.The biggest advantage of T1 phones is their capacity to carry huge volumes of traffic. One T1 line can support as many as 24 simultaneous conversations.The other advantage is these lines are not dedicated to specific phones. Rather, these exist in a pool and once a line is free it reverts to the pool. This allows at least 100-150 people to use a single line capable of supporting 24 conversations without ever having to wait till the other person is through with his discussion. This leads to maximum utilization of this facility.In the highly improbable event of all the lines getting busy, your existing phone network can be programmed to allow spill over so that nobody ever waits for a free line.When you sign up a contract with a service provider, his representative visits your office and checks the already existing infrastructure. He checks up the circuits you had already installed in your premises. After that he proceeds to install the new system. The pieces of hardware usually installed are routers, T1 pipes and Ethernet cables.It usually takes thirty to forty five days from the date of the signing the contract for the new system to be fully operational. So, if you decide to go for the new system, please be prepared to accept this time lag.Another very important aspect which you must keep in mind while signing a contract with a service provider is his assurance regarding availability of this service. Though most providers claim a 99.99% availability rate, please ensure that this is incorporated in the contract with a penalty clause to be imposed on the provider, should the availability rate fall below the agreed rate.These contracts are usually for a period of at least three years. Should you terminate the contract prior to the expiry of the contract, you are liable to pay the unexpired amount of the contract together with some sort of a penalty. So, carefully assess and reassess your requirement of a T1 phone line before signing on the dotted line.The last thing which you must be keeping mind before negotiating with a service provider is that there is very stiff competition among them and they are prepared to go to any length to net another new customer. So, in spite of all the posturing by the sales person, refuse to be cowed down and ruthlessly haggle to squeeze out as much benefits as possible from the service provider!
Your computer has been programmed to store recently opened files in a folder named: Recent Documents. This has been established to make accessing of documents easier. Most people find this feature helpful and use it regularly. Others, especially those working on shared computers find the feature cumbersome and can hinder their privacy. It is true that the Recent Documents folder is a double edged sword. It can be very useful, giving the user quick access to recently opened documents while at the same time giving other individuals a window into the inner working of your computer.If you are one of those people on a private computer and find the Recent Documents feature helpful, then keeping it will not prove to be problematic. But, if you do not use this feature, no matter if you are in a shared or private computer; it is advised for you to disable this.Disabling the recent documents folder has been found to decrease the time that it takes to boot Microsoft Windows, and privacy comes as an added bonus. If you are using the Windows Vista version, it may help that you switch your start menu to the Classic view first so you can follow the instructions. What is the Classic View? The Classic view for the start menu is similar to those found in older versions of Windows and not the updated one of Vista. To switch to the Classic Start Menu view, Right Click on the START button found on the lower left hand side of your screen. In Windows Vista, this appears as an icon of the Microsoft Windows logo. Click Properties, pick the Classic Windows view and click OK. Now that you have changed it you can follow the same procedure for other Windows version when disabling the Recent Documents folder. In order to disable the feature, follow these steps: Click START, then Click on the RUN tab. Type 'Regedit' on the text bar. This will open a new window, browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Policies/Explorer. After you have done this, create a new DWORD value, this is essentially the same as creating a new folder. Create the DWORD value using the Key NoRecentDocsHistory and pick 1 for the value. That's it!You have just disabled the Recent Documents Feature of your computer. In order to make this take effect, restart your computer. After that is done, you will no longer have a record of your "recent documents" .Now that your recent documents have been disabled, you will be able to notice a slight difference in the time it takes for your computer to boot. Also, you do not need to worry about people who might be snooping around looking to get a look at what you have been up to recently. The Recent Documents folder is just one of those things that you can do without. Pretty much like the appendix in Human Anatomy. The whole can still function fully without that one part. In all cases, this can be viewed as a preventive action that helps you avoid any problems when it comes to your privacy.