TWT Newsletter, Issue #023 –, – Are password managers essential?
Hello to our loyal subscribers! Another month brings another feature packed TWT newsletter right into your inbox. This month we’re going to discuss password managers or password vaults. Are these utilities the new essential security tools for the modern world wide web? Several security experts believe so.
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In this months issue:-
1) What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
2) Is a password manager as essential as an antivirus?
3) Tip of the Month – Print screen can be used for bug reporting!
4) Free Utility of the Month – Mozilla Thunderbird
5) Internet Explorer 8 is here
What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
When we were done with that, we went back to basics and started our new tutorials sections looking at the very basics of working with your computer. The keyboard, the mouse and understanding how files are organised on your PC. Visit this link if you are interested in learning more.
Of course we’ll not be resting on our laurels in April either, as we spring back into action to bring you even more great content!
Is a password manager as essential as an antivirus?
You all know the drill by now, the vast majority of Windows security experts recommend that regular users run an antivirus when they surf the web. We are certainly not going to recommend that Windows users abandon the antivirus package any time soon, but with so many sites on the modern world wide web, is the password manager just as essential?
To answer that question for yourself, think about how you log on to sites on the web. If you are like most users you have the same password for each site, or perhaps the same three or four that you can easily remember. Invariably these will be words, names or dates. How many sites do you access on the web? For some users it’s dozens and dozens.
Now, imagine for a moment one of those sites was hacked. Your password would be stolen from the sites database. If you are like most users, this password will also fit dozens of other sites you visit too. Suddenly, your Facebook, e-mail and bank accounts are within reach of a potential hacker and it could be days before you’re even notified that there was a security breach.
How does a password manager help with this? Password managers, sometimes called password vaults, work in two ways. Firstly, they let you log into sites on the internet much quicker, just by the click of a button. Secondly, they safeguard and remember all your passwords (except one, your master password) Lets take a look at an example.
Bob, who doesn’t have a password manager, logs onto several of his favourite websites while using the internet. A couple of online forums for his stamp collecting hobby, his bank account, his mobile phone service page and his webmail. Bob can only remember a couple of simple passwords which are easy to guess and are transmitted over the internet for each site he visits.
Bob transmits the same easy to guess password to all his sites, because he can’t remember several different ones
Alice is also a member of the stamp collecting forum but she uses Roboform, a password manager utility. When she signed up for the forum, she generated a random series of letters and numbers and used that for her password. She doesn’t need to remember her forum password or any other password, because Roboform remembers them for her. All she has to remember is her master password, which is entered into Roboform and NEVER used or transmitted across the internet.
Alice can use a different, hard to guess password for every site she visits, because her password manager remembers them for her
Now, when disaster strikes, and the stamp collecting forum is hacked, Bob is worried. He used the same password for his e-mail account! The hackers can easily see his e-mail in the forum they just broke into, and now he’s worried about all the personal information he might lose. Alice on the other hand, is not so concerned. All of her passwords are unique and they are all random sequences of numbers and letters. The hackers can’t ever get her master password (as long as she keeps her computer secure and memorizes her master password, without writing it down) because it’s never transmitted over the internet. Alice doesn’t need to worry about her other passwords being stolen since they are all totally different from each other.
The problem with doing things Bob’s way is that the more sites you visit and participate in, the worse the problem gets. With more and more sites on the internet these days, lost and stolen passwords are only going to become a bigger and bigger problem.
If you want to be safer and more productive online, it’s time you investigated Roboform! You can see a video of Roboform in action by clicking here. Unfortunately, Roboform only works with Windows machines (and Windows Mobile and Palm hand-held devices). If you need a multi-platform password manager, check out SplashID or the Ironkey (a fully encrypted USB drive with a built-in password manager).
Tip of the Month – Print screen can be used for bug reporting!
Sadly, in the world of computing, things don’t always run to plan. As computers get more powerful we demand more and more complex software to run on them. As software gets more complex, so inevitably there are more bugs, or errors, in the software. One of the trickiest things for software vendors is responding to bug reports that contain little or no information. To help with this process, did you know you can press the “print screen” key, to make a copy of your screen? The screen isn’t actually printed to a printer, instead it is placed in the computers clipboard and can be pasted into any compatible graphics program.
If you’re not familiar with using the clipboard, you can learn more about it here.
Free Utility of the Month – Mozilla Thunderbird
How is it that we have made it to 23 issues without mentioning Thunderbird? Shame on us for neglecting this e-mail software from Mozilla, the same people who brought us Firefox. Thunderbird is fast, stable and compatible with a wide range of e-mail services. When it comes to sending and receiving e-mail, Thunderbird is top of the pecking order! To find out more or to download this excellent e-mail utility, click here.
Internet Explorer 8 is here
Last month we talked about how some people are still using Internet Explorer 6 and how that was a terrible thing for their security and for the web in general. Well, even Internet Explorer 7 is set to go the way of the dodo now, as Internet Explorer 8 has finally arrived.
Available for Windows XP and Windows Vista (those brave enough to have moved to Windows 7 already are still stuck with the beta version included with that operating system) loading up the new browser many users will be comforted to see that Microsoft has not overhauled the interface completely this time. Many of the improvements introduced in this version help speed up your web browsing experience, including “accelerators” which make it easy to perform common tasks, such as e-mailing a link or shopping for an item. Forget copy and pasting between tabs, accelerators make it so that you can perform these operations without even leaving the current page.
Also new and neat are “web slices” which some people are calling “RSS 2.0”. Web slices are small snippets of information from regularly updated websites, such as news sites or e-bay auctions. When the website updates, so does the web slice, giving you a slice of the action directly in your browser, no need to stop what you are doing to visit the site.
Webmasters are happy to see that Microsoft finally seems to be making an effort to be more standards compliant. In the past, Internet Explorer has bent the rules for how websites should appear. Because IE has been the dominant web browser for so long, this meant that many sites had to change their code to work properly with IE. Hopefully as IE8 becomes more commonplace, we can put that behind us (it’s about time!). For the occasional site that has been optimized to work specifically with IE7’s nonstandard HTML, there’s even a compatibility mode.
So, IE8 seems to be a step in the right direction for Microsoft and the internet in general. If you are an IE7 user we recommend you upgrade right away. If you use Firefox or another browser, you may still want to take a look, as the web slices and accelerators are powerful features that may yet convince die-hard Firefox fans (like myself) to switch. You can learn more about IE8 by visiting the IE8 video preview page, or by downloading it here.
Thank you for reading, that’s all for another month. We hope that you enjoyed our newsletter, if you didn’t then please let us know why, you can contact us by visiting this page. If you have enjoyed this newsletter, feel free to pass it on to all your friends and family, or better still encourage them to sign up for their own copy! Until next month, keep checking Top-Windows-Tutorials.com and enjoy happy, safe and stress-free computing!