All of the information, instructions, and recommendations on this Web site are offered on a strictly
"as is" basis.
Remember "Murphy's Law."
Please take the proper precautions before
attempting any of the tips or modifications listed here.
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News, Interviews, Netcasts / Podcasts
Stay Informed! News Sources
Netcasts / Podcasts: News, Interviews, Tips
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Security & Privacy
- privacytools.io provides knowledge and tools to protect your privacy against global mass surveillance.
- Panopticlick will analyze how well your browser and add-ons protect you against online tracking techniques.
- IP/DNS Detect - What is your IP, what is your DNS, what information is sent to websites?
- DNS Leak Test - When using an anonymity or privacy service, it is extremely important that all traffic originating from your computer is routed through the anonymity network. If any traffic leaks outside of the secure connection to the network, any adversary monitoring your traffic will be able to log your activity.
- DNS Nameserver Spoofability Test: Can you trust your Domain Name Servers?
- Established to serve as a one stop site for access to the latest resources on information security as well as measures and best practices for the prevention of cyber crimes.
LastPass is a password manager. It helps you be more secure by making it easy to use a different password for every Web site.
- LastPass uses: AES-256 bit encryption with PBKDF2 SHA-256 and salted hashes to ensure complete security in the cloud.
- User data is encrypted and decrypted locally at the device level. Data stored in the vault is kept secret, even from LastPass.
- The user’s master password, and the keys used to locally encrypt and decrypt user data, are never sent to LastPass’ servers, and are never accessible by LastPass.
- LastPast Configuration
- On the Login screen: Uncheck "Remember Email"
- On the Login screen: Uncheck "Show My LastPass Vault After Login"
- Under: Preferences > General: enable "Automatically Logoff when all browsers are closed for (mins)" and set the time to 1 min
- Equivalent Domains: These are different domains that belong to the same entity. Also some Web sites my switch to a different domain for authentication.
- Go to: My Vault > Account Settings > Equivalent Domains
- Some "Equivalent Domains" to add to LastPass are:
- comptia.org, certmetrics.com
- nysed.gov, ny.gov
- nycboe.net, nycenet.edu
- apple.com, icloud.com, itunes.com
- Make sure to:
- Export your encrypted LastPass Vault data on a regular basis: Tools > Export To > LastPass Encrypted File
- Download and keep a copy of the current LastPast executable. This will allow you access your exported data, if LastPass.com is not available or you don't have Internet access.
- SecurityNow! Episode #256: In-depth review and evaluation of LastPass (00:52:28 - 01:53:00).
- Review: LastPass password manager (thetechherald.com)
- LastPass Review & Rating (PCMag.com)
- Video: Why use LastPass?
- Wikipedia Article on LastPass
- Password Haystacks by Steve Gibson
- Am I An Idiot for Still Using a Password Manager?
- Five Best Password Managers
- Busting Password Myths, Paul Ducklin and Chester Wisniewski take a look at the thorny issue of password rules and regulations.
- How to choose a strong password - simple tips for better security
- Random Word Generator
- Using passphrases of 3 or more random words have proven to be more secure that random characters, as long as they're long enough.
- As NoScript requires user interaction to train it, you may want to do the following:
- Install uBlock Origin
- Install NoScript
- Go into Add-ons Manager > Extensions
- Disable NoScript, but, choose "No, just stop blocking scripts" when you see the Security Downgrade Warning.
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- Web Browser. Open Source.
Web Browser Add-ons & Pluggins
- Whenever you find yourself with too many tabs, click the OneTab icon to convert all of your tabs into a list.
- When you need to access the tabs again, you can either restore them individually or all at once.
- Available for Firefox and Google Chrome
- This provides tree-style tab bar, like a folder tree of Windows Explorer. New tabs opened from links (or etc.) are automatically attached to the current tab. If you often use many many tabs, it will help your web browsing because you can understand relations of tabs.
- Easy one-click toggle to disable or enable proxy server settings.
- DownloadHelper is a tool for web content extraction. Its purpose is to capture video and image files from many sites.
- re: Conversion: Disable the automatic conversion in DownloadHelper, since it will add a watermark/logo to the resulting video. Use FormatFactory to convert the downloaded .flv to .avi or .mp3.
- E-mail client. Open Source.
- Free Web-based e-mail with losts of on-line storage. Supports POP3 (Post Office Protocol) and IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) so you can use Thunderbird to access your Gmail account. Using Thunderbird allows you to store your e-mail locally which allows you to backup your e-mail.
- To backup your Gmail by downloading all the mail to your your local hard drive
- Go to: Settings > Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab > POP Download section:
- Enable POP for all mail (even mail that's already been downloaded)
- When messages are accessed with POP "keep Gmail's copy in the Inbox"
- This setting will leave everything on-line in Gmail but you'll have a local duplicate of everything in Thunderbird that you can then backup.
- If you can't afford to loose the contents of your Gmail account, then make sure to download and backup on a regular basis.
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- VLC media player is a highly portable multimedia player supporting most audio and video formats (H.264, Ogg, DivX, MKV, TS, MPEG-2, mp3, MPEG-4, aac, ...) from files, physical media (DVDs, VCD, Audio-CD), TV capture cards and many network streaming protocols.
- It can also convert media files, transcode and act as a streaming server over unicast or multicast and IPv4 or IPv6.
- Audio/Video playback. Supports All Major File Formats, including RealAudio.
- To play XviD and DivX videos you may need to install the XviD codec on your computer. Try VLC Media Player first.
- Free and open source software for video recording and live streaming.
- High performance real time video/audio capturing and mixing, with unlimited scenes you can switch between seamlessly via custom transitions.
- Studio Mode lets you preview your scenes and sources before pushing them live.
- Helps to analyse your audio files by showing their spectrogram.
- Too often low quality audio files are upscaled to a higher bit-rate to make it seem like it's higher quality.
- A spectrum analyser will let you see if the file is in-fact a high quality audio file.
- How to Check the Real Bitrate of Audio Files
- Establishes what codecs (audio and video) are required to play a media file.
- Determines whether these codecs are installed on your system.
- Isolates problems associated with these codecs.
- Isolates problems associated with media files
- Shows framerate, duration, aspect ratio, bitrates, "hidden" info, and more.
- Fast, stable, user-friendly image browser, converter and editor. It has a nice array of features that include image viewing, management, comparison, red-eye removal, emailing, resizing, cropping, retouching and color adjustments. Its innovative but intuitive full-screen mode provides quick access to EXIF information, thumbnail browser and major functionalities via hidden toolbars that pop up when your mouse touches the four edges of the screen. Free for home users.
- Warning: FastStone Image Viewer v4.6: The embedded EXIF thumbnail image is not updated when an image is cropped and saved to a file.
Unfortunately, this failure allows the viewing of the original thumbnail image using readily available tools. Also, Android OS phones using Gmail automatically display the preview of this incorrect EXIF thumbnail by default.
This is a privacy/security issue.
See: Cat Schwartz Exposed
- DVD Flick can take a number of video files (avi, wmv, etc) stored on your computer and turn them into a DVD that will play back on your DVD player, Media Center or Home Cinema Set. You can add additional custom audio tracks, subtitles, as well as a menu for easier navigation.
- A CD ripper, audio encoder and converter for various formats. It can produce MP3, MP4/M4A, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, Bonk and FLAC files. Can convert FLAC to MP3. Free, Open source.
- A multifunctional media converter. Converts all popular video, audio, and picture formats to other formats. e.g. flac to MP3, mkv to avi, flac to mp3, etc.
- A tool to edit metadata (ID3, Vorbis Comments and APE) of common audio formats. It can rename files based on the tag information, replace characters or words from tags and filenames, import/export tag information, create playlists and more.
- Non-destructive / lossless merging of multiple mp3's into one file, so audio quality is not degraded.
- You can directly cut, copy, paste or change the volume with no need to decompress your files for audio editing. This saves encoding time and preserves the original quality, because nothing will be re-encoded.
- A tool to convert, especially ogm and mkv, files to avi, with subtitle and audio track selection, video resizing, bitrate selection and codec selection.
- A utility to split mp3 and ogg files by selecting a begin and end time position, without decoding.
- By not decoding, editing, then re-encoding an MP3, you won't degrade the audio quality.
- CUE Splitter is a freeware tool that split a single big audio track, mostly an album or a compilation, into the relative individual audio tracks, using information contained in the associated "CUE" file. (MP3, APE, FLAC, OGG, WAV, WMA, etc.) See: Split CD Images To Individual Tracks
- Dia is a program to draw structured diagrams.
- Dia has been the go-to Visio alternative for many years.
- yEd is a powerful desktop application that can be used to quickly and effectively generate high-quality diagrams.
- Create diagrams manually, or import your external data for analysis.
- Automatic layout algorithms arrange even large data sets with just the press of a button.
- yEd is freely available and runs on all major platforms: Windows, Unix/Linux, and Mac OS X.
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AntiVirus & Malware Scanners and Cleaners
- Links to free ISO files that you can use to create bootable discs that can clean an infected Windows system.
- Detects and removes malware that even the most well known anti-virus and anti-malware applications fail to detect.
- A free version is available.
- Searches your hard drive for so-called spy- or adbots; little modules that are responsible for the ads many programs display. But many of these modules also transmit information about your surfing behaviour and more to the net.
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- Process Monitor is an advanced monitoring tool for Windows that shows real-time file system, Registry and process/thread activity. Free.
SpinRite by Steve Gibson ( grc.com )
- Hard drive data recovery and maintenance
- I recommend that you run SpinRite on:
- all your hard drives on a regular basis.
- new hard drives before putting them into production.
- SpinRite v6.0 may stop responding to USB keyboard input on some systems.
- My experience is that the USB keyboard input stops working properly after SpinRite has been running for a while. This is more than enough time to select the drives or partitions and the operation level.
- Some have said that plugging the USB keyboard in the port under the Ethernet port works. That has not been my experience.
- Issue: SpinRite v6.0 crashes on drives/partitions that are over 500GB. I've had no luck with any drives 1TB or larger, on at least a dozen different PC's. All were updated with the latest BIOS available at the time. As suggested by SpinRite support I tried different settings in the BIOS, AHCI vs Legacy, etc., with no success. For now SpinRite v6.0 is useless to me because most of my drives are 1TB or larger. Hopefully SpinRite v6.1, which is seriously delayed, will resolve this failure.
- Beware: It's confirmed that some malware/viruses/trojans have been named SpinRite.exe. You've been warned. You should purchase a legit copy directly from grc.com to be safe and to support the author.
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- Create bootable USB drives from ISO images of CD/DVD discs.
- Can be used to create bootable Windows to Go on Windows 10 Professional.
- It can be used to create a Multiboot USB Flash Drive containing multiple operating systems, antivirus utilities, disc cloning, diagnostic tools, and more. Contrary to MultiBootISOs which used grub to boot ISO files directly from USB, YUMI uses syslinux to boot extracted distributions stored on the USB device.
- An easy-to-use utility for creating Multiboot USB/ISO.You may have seen many bootable ISO files like Linux live CDs , Antivirus rescue CDs etc. XBoot can combine these ISO files in to one Multiboot ISO file or create Multiboot USB in just few clicks.
- Use the Microsoft Windows and Office ISO Download Tool to download ISO's directly from Microsoft's servers.
- The Windows 10 ISO gotten from with this tool is better than the one created via Microsoft's Media Creation Tool, as it includes "install.wim" which can be used to deploy Windows 10.
- Lets you create an image of a bootable USB flash drive, then create a bootable USB flash drive from that image.
Warning: Due to the forensic nature of image duplication by ImageUSB, please ensure that you select UFDs with a storage size similar to the image you wish to duplicate. For example, if a 2GB image is copied to an 8GB USB Flash Drive, the drive will only be able to use two out of the eight gigabytes of storage space.
- A lightweight CD / DVD / HD DVD / Blu-ray burning application. Supports a wide range of image file formats - including BIN, DI, DVD, GI, IMG, ISO, MDS, NRG and PDI.
- A virtual CD/DVD-ROM emulator. Let's you access an image/ISO of a CD/DVD. (Formally known as SlySoft Virtual CloneDrive)
- For Windows 7 and newer, just right-click on the ISO, and select "mount" from the context menu.
- A virtual CD/DVD-ROM emulator. Let's you access an image/ISO of a CD/DVD.
- Allows you to easily rename files and directories. Replace numbers, insert strings, convert case, add auto-numbers, process folders and subfolders, and more.
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OneNote gives users an easily organized, tabbed workspace on which they can type notes, draw, grab links, and insert a variety of media. When connected to a Microsoft account, OneNote data will be synchronized between all your devices.
You may already have OneNote if you have Microsoft Office, or Windows 8 or newer.
Get OneNote for free on all your devices. (Windows, Android, iOS, Mac OSX (OS ten!))
If you don't have a Microsoft account (e-mail addresses ending with @msn.com, @outlook.com, or @live.com) you should go to Live.com and sign up for one.
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