Tag Archive | "Security"

Vault is a MicroSD card hardware security device, from Google.

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Google’s ATAP team has announced Vault, a hardware-based, cross-platform microSD card based solution for encryption of data both at rest or in transit.

Google Vault MicroSD Hardware

ATAP is a Google unit that looks at Advanced Technologies and Products and among a number of their announcements on the Google IO stage in San Francisco was project Vault. With the help of former L0pht member .mudge ( Peiter Zatko) the team has developed a hardware encryption device that they think anyone, and any system can use. Starting with a developer kit and a business-focused customer based the team aims to solve the problem of encrypting communications by having a simple hardware unit (inside the MicroSD card) and a simple file system based input and output mechanism. The open-source developer board was demonstrated on stage.

It looks simple, and that’s good because people and business don’t use security methods properly if they are too complex and time-consuming but inside there’s a “suite of cryptographic services” along with an NFC chip, a hardware random number generator and 4 GB of isolated sealed storage. “Two Vault users can communicate end-to-end without exposing any cryptographicly sensitive data to the host systems” says Zatko. Vault is operating system agnostic.

You’ll obviously need to trust Google though but with the development kit being fully open-source, including the CPU and the software this might become the best solution, even if you don’t trust Google. Don’t expect peer reviews to be done in a week though!

We haven’t found a Google page for the ATAP Vault project yet but the ATAP page (which redirects to project Tango) is here.

Similar: This isn’t the first MicroSD-based security solution on the market. Blackberry’s Secusmart unit has a similar solution for governments.

Tracking saves the day. $3000 of equipment, and thief, found!

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I wrote last Thursday about how my old technology would be useful while I was away on a weekender but something happened during my weekend in Holland that puts another angle on the tactic. Perhaps an expensive smartphone is worth taking with you because we had over $3000 of smartphones and laptops stolen from a holiday home at the weekend and because one of the stolen items had GPS tracking enabled we were able, with the help of local police, to find the equipment and thief in under 2 hours.

‘Headless’ friends in Holland wish to remain anonymous.

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I urge you to buy a Chromebook; for security’s sake.

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It’s over 9 years since I posted the first set of articles on the Carrypad blog…which became Origamiportal….which became UMPCPortal. I wanted to relay some thoughts on my personal need for a mobile internet device I called the Carrypad. I wrote about 5-7-inch screen sizes, web browsing, operating systems, GPS and use cases: Bed, sofa, toilet, plane, train and ship. I was, even if I do say so myself, spot-on, especially with the toilet! But I didn’t think enough about security.

My first mention of security was when I did a mini review of the Pepperpad 3 in October 2006.

…I was able to check for software listening on IP ports. It all looks pretty clean and with the automatic updates, there should be no need to worry too much about security. Low maintenance is always a good thing.

Admittedly the threat-level was lower 9 years ago but I should have paid more attention to security over the last 9 years and today there’s absolutely no excuse because the Internet is now a messy place.

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The Lucky 13 Security Checklist. Prepare your Windows PC for better on-the-road security and privacy.

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I’m preparing to go to Mobile World Congress where one of my worries will be security and privacy. To that end I’ve hardened my Windows build and written it up below as a checklist of tasks that I urge you to look at and consider, especially if you’re connecting to unknown hotspots.

The checklist has evolved from work I did training journalists in Ukraine, work I’ve done here on Windows 8 tablet security and work I’ve done on Clean Computing with Chromebooks which, interestingly, would have a checklist just half as long as this. Points 1-7 don’t apply to a Chromebook. Unfortunately I’ll be needing video editing and gallery management tools in Barcelona so I can’t use a Chromebook as my main PC there.

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Low-Cost Windows wins for journalists in Ukraine, despite risks.

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With an annual budget of $100-$200, journalists in Ukraine have a problem with their computing equipment. Each journalist needs a mobile phone and, if they want to work away from the office PC, a laptop. Financial restrictions mean that little attention is given to licensing, security and privacy or quality.  Privacy and security risks are huge but some journalists have no perception of this at all.  Fortunately it doesn’t take much to improve the level of online literacy with some basic training and organisations like the Deutsche Welle Akademie are able to provide it. I joined DW in Ukraine for two weeks in November to give some training and I learned that the new range of low-cost, lightweight Windows laptops are going to help these journalists a lot, despite Chromebooks being better for privacy and security in some situations.

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Clean Computing for better Privacy with Chromebooks

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Your privacy is important. While you might be happy with people watching you doing ‘acceptable’ things, what if you change in the future? What if the definition of ‘acceptable’ changes and you don’t agree? What if you live in a country where freedom of speech is restricted? Chromebooks can’t hide you on the internet but they can perform as a clean client from which you can work and walk away knowing that there’s no locally-stored record of your activity.

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0.00008% Chance of False Authentication – Fujitsu PalmSecure

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Over at UMPCPortal last week I took a long look at Windows 8 security features. One of the weak-points in my opinion is authentication. It’s single-channel, requires no proof of ‘personal presence’ and it leaves the user to choose the level of security. Poor passwords are a killer and as a result I’ve been looking at alternative and two-stage solutions. PalmSecure is a palm-vein detection technology and it’s pretty much the best technology out there for laptops right now.

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Windows 8.1 Security Deep-Dive for Tablets and 2-in-1s

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Computer and digital security has changed a lot since I left my job as a security architect for a major ISP 8 years ago. At that time we were adding very expensive intrusion prevention technology into server farms and now the same technology is being used in consumer security software built into low-cost operating systems. The knowledge, tools and methods available to the consumer are vastly improved and a lot easier but, as always, the hacking techniques are getting more complex, the potential for vulnerabilities is greater and the rewards for the attacker increase as consumers move more information and financial transactions online.

As users we need to become more aware of the risks but even more accepting of the new ways to increase our personal data and identity security. Some of the tools are easy to use, others require a little bit more effort an all of them require the end user to trust a third party.

In this report I take a look at security on the latest consumer-focused Windows 8.1 mobile PC products and I compare the features available to common security requirements for individuals. I also take a look at a commercial solution from McAfee that is designed to improve on the standard Windows 8.1 offering.

For author background and audience notes, see footnote. A consumer-focused summary is provided.

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Enable Bitlocker on an Ultrabook (Without Windows 8.1 Pro)

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bitlockerimageI’ve been using a Bitlocker encrypted drive for a month now and it’s been totally transparent in terms of speed. I’m surprised. I’m also surprised that it was available on my Windows 8.1 (not Pro) OS. Inspired to boost security on my Ultrabook I’ve also enabled secure boot, increased the security level, made sure Defender and Firewall are working and, this is contentious, made sure my login is only via Windows Live account so the password can be changed remotely. Given the reporting and password / device management in the Microsoft Live account though, it seems worth it. Here’s how you can do it too.

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Chippy’s Ultrabook Customer Challenge – Basic Ultrabook with Personal Storage

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Sony Vaio T13How many times have you been asked if you can recommend a product without really having much to go on? It’s true to say that there are many customers out there that are not really sure what they want and so in that case you have to interpret requirements, add a bit of crystal-ball gazing and come up with an answer. Here’s an example I received recently and three choices for an Ultrabook to run Office apps and store media.

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TSA Ordering Up To $2.1M of Ultrabooks for ‘Mobile Missions’

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People often suggest to me that an Ultrabook is simply a lightweight laptop. There’s one very important thing they miss – it’s an Intel-based lightweight laptop. Why is that important? It’s important because if you get the word ‘Ultrabook’ into peoples heads, you’ve cut off a huge chunk of competition. Take this RFP for example; The TSA [that’s the USA governments Transportation Security Administration] is asking for proposals to fulfill a requirement for Ultrabooks for around 500 locations in a contract worth up to $2.1 million. This is a big win for Intel and Ultrabooks.

 TSA REquirements

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Intel ‘Ultrabooks For Business’ coming to IDF

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VPro imageOver the last few weeks I’ve been researching Ultrabooks for business. I’ve been trying to put together an article series on the security and manageability features you can expect in all Ultrabooks, in selected Ultrabooks with security features and in VPro Ultrabooks. I’ve had calls with Intel and spent way too much time looking at white papers. I’ve learnt about three levels of Identity Protection Technology (Intel IPT), Anti Theft features (Intel AT), 3rd-Gen VPro and Mcafee EPO and Deep Command, Remote KVM, VPro over WiFi, hardware AES encryption and TPM.  Honestly, this is the toughest subject I’ve ever had to deal with in my 6 years as a blogger. Not only are the subjects complex but there are so many options that it’s difficult to tell what you get with an Ultrabook and VPro Ultrabook and now, an ‘Ultrabook for Business.’

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