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In our last issue, we talked about putting your admin password in the KeePass password vault. Your passwords to websites like your bank, your eBay or Amazon accounts, etc., are just like money: you need to keep them safe and secure. In this issue I'd like to expand on what I briefly mentioned in the last issue, the SafeHouse program, which can create a 4Gb encrypted "virtual partition" on your flash drive, as explained in step 2 of our AA 12-Step Rehabilitation Plan. Not only are your passwords just like money: you probably have other sensitive personal information such as your Social Security Number, bank account, investment account and insurance policy numbers, etc. stored on your hard drive - they're just like money to a thief too.

You may think this sensitive info is safe because it's protected by your Windows password, but what if your hard drive crashes or your computer gets stolen? If so, there goes your password vault and your other sensitive personal information! One solution is to synchronize your files daily to an external hard drive that you plug into the USB port of your computer. But again, "bad things happen to good people" like you - a burglary, a fire or other disaster can take both your computer and your external hard drive. Oops! There goes your data! You can replace the hardware devices, but the information stored on them is irreplaceable!

People like me who think they know everything are very annoying to those of you who actually do.

Click to see full-size!If you escape a burglary, a fire or other disaster alive, you most likely have your keyring with you, right? (And if you didn't escape, the game's over - you're hopefully in heaven and aren't bothered by earthly cares!) So if you have the daily habit of plugging your flash drive into a USB port and synchronizing your "Documents" folder and possibly your email data folder to the flash drive, your data is safe from nasty disasters, right? Wrong! How many times have you heard about people losing their keys? And if your flash drive is on your keyring, anyone who finds your keys has your sensitive info. That's why you need to keep the SafeHouse program and encrypted data on your flash drive: if you click on the thumbnail photo it will enlarge to full-size, and you'll see "Open My Private Files on G:".

Click to see full-size!When you plug your flash drive into a USB port and enter your password, up pops a bigger, Explorer-like window - that's the 4Gb encrypted "virtual partition" on the 8Gb (or larger) flash drive. Now you have access to all of your sensitive info: you should synchronize your files from your hard drive to your flash drive on a daily basis (or you can even run a program in the background that will keep your files in sync minute-by-minute), and you can open the files on the newly-visible G: drive with a word processor or spreadsheet or any appropriate program if you need to access them while you're away from your computer, your PC gets lost or damaged, etc. Just be sure when you're back at your PC to re-sync any new or changed files on your flash drive with those on your hard drive, and close the SafeHouse Explorer-like window before you try removing your flash drive from the USB port.

Click on Online PC Support for worldwide PC service   &   Offsite Backup Services for securing your files!

And like I wrote in our last issue, using the same mnemonic password for your admin account, your KeePass password vault and your SafeHouse encrypted "virtual partition" means that you'll be keeping that password fresh in your memory, so you'll be sure to remember it when you need it most!

The program that syncs your files is (strangely enough!) called FreeFileSync from http://www.sourceforge.net, and is free, just like KeePass and SafeHouse. So why aren't you using these free programs? "It'll never happen to me!" - you may think. Famous last words! Or, "I don't understand all that technical stuff," or "I just don't have the time to backup and sync my files every day." If that describes you, then just click on the Offsite Backup Services link above, and spend a few bucks a month to backup and sync your computer (PC or Mac) automatically. It's worth it for your peace of mind, even if nothing bad ever happens to your files!

Check out the article Security Lessons Learned from Pwn2Own Contest - a contest between "white hat" hackers ("white hat" means they're good guys, they don't try to steal your info) to see who could crack Safari, Firefox and Internet Explorer browsers and gain full access to the computers and phones running those programs.

It was the very first time the iPhone 2.0 had been successfully hacked. Safari on the Mac was the first one hacked, then Internet Explorer and finally Firefox on PCs. The hackers were unable to break through the Google Chrome browser to access the computer. Admittedly, these hacks succeeded only because the computers were logged in to the admin accounts. The lesson to be learned: don't do your day-to-day work logged in as admin!

The goal of our CN.Net-News is to share information that we think you'll find helpful as you wrestle with that little monster on your desk, your computer. And we aim to present this information from a Christian worldview. Thanks for your time!

Yours truly,

"Dr. Bob the CompuNerd"

RobertD HoskEN
See the "nerd" in my name? (It helps if you're a little dyslexic!)
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