“Websites have a responsibility to protect the people who depend on their services. They've been ignoring this responsibility for too long, and it's time for everyone to demand a more secure web. My hope is that Firesheep will help the users win.”
Is that true? Well, test the waters yourself with Eric Butler's Firesheep extension for Firefox--a one-button way to collect the unsecure logins and passwords being thrown across open Wi-Fi networks!
Security rivals thermal paste as the most important thing you have to keep in mind when building or using a system. Every bit of software on your PC should be updated; every external access point into your digital life, closed. There's no reason why you should be handing over the keys to the castle to random Internet strangers. Powerful virus protection, a strong firewall, and a bit of common sense -- among other tricks -- will go far to preserve your fortress of a system.
Now that's all well and good for the desktop in your living room, but what about third-party machines? We've all had to jump on a system over which we've had no control--no observance or administrative rights to ensure that every bit of the operating system checked out to ideal security standards. You can always head over the falls in a barrel and type your passwords and login credentials blindly, with no foresight or worries that you're inputting valuable information on a potentially infected machine. That, or you can do what I'd do: Make sure that your every keystroke and action is somehow safeguarded through the use of portable applications that you can carry on a storage device of your choice (cough USB key cough).
And that's exactly what I'll be exploring in this week's Freeware Files: Five awesome portable apps that you can carry with you to increase your security presence on a PC that isn't yours. These aren't panaceas--you'll still want to be as critical and as cautious as you would previously. However, they're a step in the right direction toward (hopefully) a data-leak-free lifestyle.
Email encryption is a task that's often misunderstood and frequently confusing. In fact, I can't think of anyone on my list of friends right now--geek or otherwise--who actually encrypts their email. That's not because email encryption is a bad thing. In fact, there are some pretty compelling benefits to being able to conceal the contents of a message. Suppose you have to quickly email a friend or loved one access to your online banking account for some reason. You aren't going to want to just send that information straight into the digital ether. An unhappy coworker or an industrious packet sniffer can pick out the contents of your message and compromise your security in a short amount of time.
You usually have to walk through a ton of hoops to get your hands on powerful email encryption. It's a hodgepodge of certificates, authentications, digital signatures, strings of text exchanged as keys, et cetera. Or, at least, it was. A helpful piece of freeware called Comodo SecureEmail is attempting to simultaneously reduce the headache and maximize the benefit of email encryption. I'm proud to report that it's super-easy to use so long as you know how to work your way around a typical configuration screen. More importantly, it's a great way to set up the encryption handshake between you and new email contacts without rendering you lifeless from all the different options and authentications.
Click the jump to check out Comodo SecureEmail's features!