Archive for September, 2006
Been fairly busy with work (migration & integration) and play (Relic/THQ’s Company of Heroes ftw!) hence no updates at the blog. Here’s a quick post on 3 lifesaving applications that I’ve used recently till I can find the time to do a proper update. First off are 2 small password protected and encrypted notepad editors that are install-less and a couple of KB’s in size and the last application is a small dictionary program.
I needed to store the license keys of some application in a shared folder but couldn’t be bothered with NTSF permission et cetera, so I just dumped the file into the encrypted text file, place a password, go over to the users terminal, open up the text file, supply password, copy insert the license key and delete the text file after I’m done (confident no snoop would stumble upon it or open it during the duration of the install).
Fsekrit’s weighs in at a mere 50KB and it’s self-contained install-less notes editor (somewhat like notepad) application that uses very strong encryption (256-bit AES/Rijndael in CBC mode).
Download from here.
Similar to Fskerit, LockNote allows you to write, save, and automatically encrypt the notes you write from a stand-alone, install-less application. Also uses encrypted AES 256bit encryption technology from the CryptoPP program library.The advantage over Fskerit is that you can easily convert text files you already have by dragging them into LockNote. The downside? It’s almost 5x the size of fsekrit at 259KB.
Download from here
TinySpell is a cross-application spell checking utility that warns you of misspelled words and suggests replacements when you press the autosuggestion hotkey. If you suddenly change between application, eg. WLW to MSN and back, it’s a little slow in detecting the change though.
Download from here.
One thing most people have aside from 2 credit cards (or more) is 2 email addresses (also maybe more). For myself, I have 3 email addresses. Hotmail for personal, Gmail as a online storage and Mailcity as a dummy account (you won’t believe the amount of crap that gets send to the last one). Here’s a screenie.
Alot of us have had to register at various sites in order to;
1. view contents,
2. download stuff,
3. get redirected to another site (some won’t even tell that you need to subscribe but harvest your email anyway – damn them).
Being in the ‘business’ of evaluating softwares, I get my fair share and needless to say, suffer through the inevitable spam that follows. I’d normally enter a dud email address (eg. firstname.lastname@example.org) to see what the registration wizard does. If it’s a harvest attempt then they can very well have my dud email. If not, then I’ll have to re-register again as the first time confirmation was sent to the dud email account. (Nevertheless, spam still arrive at my dummy account and I had to purge it weekly).
I can cut down the number of steps considerably by using a service provided by Spambox which essentially creates a temporary email inbox and then forwards all mails that goes there to your regular inbox - till the time you specified expires and the temporary inbox gets purged (Spammer will now receive a bounce notification of a non-existing mailbox ). This might be especially helpful if you’re registering at a site that needs to be finalized with a user-action confirmation email. Just set your Spambox time limit for a day, get confirmed, and your record is wiped clean when your temporary mailbox is purged after a day.
Two of my software reviews only available at that site at the moment are:
Head on over if you wanna read it and lend your support.
Today we’ll go over a simple way to encrypt sensitive files on your hard disk, external hard disk, usb thumbdrive and CD. TrueCrypt is a free, open source encryption application that works on Windows and Linux. It creates a virtual hard drive in the form of a single file that will read and write encrypted files on the fly.
1. Download TrueCrypt, install and launch.
2. Select “Create Volume” which will launch a walkthrough wizard. Choose “Create a Standard TrueCrypt Volume” and select Next. Hit the “Select File” (it really should be called “Create File” actually) button and navigate to a location to create your virtual encrypted drive file – which is really a file that acts like an encrypted folder. Type a name for it. I’ve created it in “C:\Documents and Settings\xxx\My Documents\stuff.ben”. try to pick a non-important filename (naming it private or encrypted will only make people more curious). your file can have any or no extension (i made mine *.ben). Hit Next.
3. Choose an encryption algorithm from the dropdown box. Next. Choose the size of the virtual encrypted drive file. You have to comit to a size (realize that it’s non-growable and regardless of how many files you throw inside, it will always show that size.Next.
4. Choose a password. If you don’t choose a badass 20-in-length alphanumeric password, TrueCrypt will complain, but you can choose to accept your wussy password as well .
5. Format the virtual encrypted drive file. (Don’t worry, you’re not formatting your hard drive but preparing the virtual encrypted drive file.) This is where the coolness factor comes in, TrueCrypt gathers random information from your system like the location of your mouse pointer to incorporate into the encryption algorithm. Done. Exit or create another…
6. Now you’ve got a virtual encrypted drive file, you need to mount it to use it. Choose “Select File” and navigate to the location in which you created it. Select an available drive letter from the list and then hit the “Mount” button, and enter the password.
7. The virtual encrypted drive will be mounted. Go to My Computer and listed alongside all the other drives on your computer, there will be a new one listed corresponding to the drive letter you selected. Drag and drop all your sensitive data to this drive and work from it as if you would any other disk.
8. Once you’re finished working with the data, in TrueCrypt, select the mounted drive and hit “Dismount”. The drive will no longer be available and it’s now totally encrypted.
How to use it on your external hard disk & USB thumbdrive.
TrueCrypt does need not be installed to work. Just dump truecrypt.exe, truecrypt.sys, and your virtual encrypted drive onto a tumbdrive or external hard disk. On the move, just stick it in any computer, launch truecrypt.exe, and browse to your virtual encrypted volume.
How to use it on a CD.
The cool part about using a CD is you can use the autorun function to launch truecrypt.exe whenever you pop it into a CD-ROM drive (unless autorun has been disabled on the machine). To create an autorun file, open a notepad and insert these lines:
and save it as Autorun.inf.
Burn truecrypt.exe, truecrypt.sys, your virtual encrypted drive and the Autorun.inf file to your CD root. The uncool part? it’s read only (naturally being a CD-ROM).