Password Managers: Yay or Nay

Recently I started using Intel’s True Key application across a number of my devices. This includes my iPhone, iPad, Laptop and Desktop PC. I have used some password managers in the past but never really felt the requirement untill maybe the last 6 month, this is due to me not only having a lot of account, but because the passwords are different between them. This would regularly lead to me having to either reset the password using my email or lead to a text to my phone that would then let me log in.

I elected to use Intel’s True Key based on a few things, the first was that I was aware of the fact that Intel owned Mcafee security. This gave me the impression that unlike some of the other password managers out there this is backed by an actual security company. Which you would like to think has influenced the security and design of this product. And the second reason this application was the one I choses was that it able me to use it on all of my devices meaning I could always have a list of passwords with me.

I have seen some password managers that store the information on the devices it’s self meaning if you don’t have that devices or it was to break you could be without your list of passwords. The True Key application has a nice feel to it, it has not been made overly complicated and works well. One of the nice features is the password generator feature, meaning that you can generate a 30 character password using letters, numbers and symbols. This works well with the fact that on the PC True Key will prompt to log into your accounts meaning you don’t have to type out a 30 character password. This means your online accounts can be very secure and the only password you will have to remember is your True Key master password.

It also removes the potential for unauthorized access to any of the accounts you use online as it is common for people to have a note-book with all of their acount details in. This could lead to numerous problem in the form of fraud or having accses to your own accounts removed. When all you really need to do is use True Key, on the iPhone it will use the fingerprint to log into the application meaning you wont even have to type the master password!

Overall as password managers go that I have use True Key feels like the best on out there in my opinion. Not only is it a product from Intel meaning you know it is going to be decent in regards to functionality and quality. But it is not overly complicated to use and offers a ranger of features across a number of devices that I havent seen from any other password managers.

 

5G Receives More Funding

Earlier this week I wrote about my prediction for home routers to be deployed using mobile data SIMs to connect them to the internet. Well yesterday an article was published by the BBC that states 5G is receiving £16m to fund ‘trail hubs’ these hubs will most likely be in the key cities of the UK and will proved the basic infrastructure that can lead to further development and implementation of the 5G network.

It also goes to state how 5G should be delayed some time after 2020, this ties in nicely to the prediction I made that mobile data would be able to provide home routers connectivity within the next 5 years.

And in the final part of the information on the 5G funding it states that the government wants there to be better mobile data coverage on country roads and on railway lines than is currently present. As someone who lives in a fairly rural areas there is nothing more annoying that using your phone to stream music while your driving and also providing you with navigation and for you to lose the connection. This is not only irritating in regards to the music but can potentially cause a number of issues if you are unable to get your maps application to give you directions. I feel an investment in these ares would be significantly helpful as in some rural areas EDGE connection is the best you will be able to receive making your smart phone a not so smart phone.

 

Original article: HERE

 

Lenovo T400s: Ubuntu Machine Part 5

So after using the T400s as my daily driver for the past week I have found that the small screen is a slight limitation. Largely due to the fact that i tend to use it on a desk and have to lean in occasionally to see certain things.

Then I remembered that I had an old 21.5 inch monitor lying around somewhere, and I could find it then i would be able to utilise it in my set up. As part of the setup I modified an old file box that i had lying around by cutting 2 slits into it one on the front and another on the back. The purpose of this was to not only raise the T400s screen to around about the same level as the monitor but to also alow for me to attach a keyboard and mouse with out the being cables all over the place. I then found a USB hub that i placed within the box that the mouse and keyboard connected to. This mean that when the T400s was in the ‘Dock’ only one of the rear USB ports was being used.

When I connected the monitor I was unsure what would happen, as is the case with windows that you can occasionally be greeted by either an extended display or and extension of the primary display. But this wasnt an issue, as soon as the VGA cable was connected the monitor sprung to life and extended the desktop onto the monitor. This was a very pleasant experience as not only was i able to use a full size keyboard and mouse but for some graphical work i needed to do. So after using ubuntu across 2 screens and on more of a desktop based manner, I have the intention of installing Ubuntu to my main desktop PC that is currently running windows 10. This will of course be in the form of a dual-boot as im not yet ready to commit myself fully to ubuntu due to the requirement of specific software that i use not being available on Linux. But unless I need to use them certain application there is a high chance i will be using ubuntu because the dual screen felt smooth and clean.

 

CIA Hacking: Apple

There has recently been a lot of ‘Data Dumped’ regarding the CIA having hacking tools that target vulnerability in Apple devices. In an article posted by the BBC it suggest that the CIA have been hacking into devices from some of the biggest manufactures and tech companies such as Apple, Samsung and Microsoft.

This all came to light after Wikileaks release a huge amount of documentation that talks about and explains the CIA’s hacking tools.  Wikileaks states that there is an entire division within the CIA that is targeting mobile devices. This is allegedly the CIA’s Mobile development Branch. This branch has reportedly been developing malware to target Apple iPhone and iPads, it then goes onto state how the CIA has a number of local and remote “zero days” exploits that it has either developed its self or has received from another cyber security agency such as GCHQ. There is also speculation that they have purchased some of these exploits from a private companies and contracts that focus on finding vulnerability or zero day faults and then selling them for a profit.

In my opinion the fact that the CIA has been hording vulnerability on devices such as iPhones and iPads doesn’t come as a surprise, if you look back to the ‘San Bernardino‘ case from last year in which apple refused to give up the password to a phone that was connected to that case. This was huge news at the time because apple told the FBI it would not help them, and a lot of companies jumped on the band wagon and supported apple. But eventually a Israeli company sold the FBI and application that would allow them to gain access to the device. So people shouldn’t be surprised when this sort of things happens, my argument would be if a private company can develop tools to compromise an iPhone then the US Government and all of its many resources will be able to achieve the same thing. Granted the iPhone password cracking is slightly different to potential monitoring and recording on a mass scale, but even if there where to have recorded all of the convocations and retrieved as much data as they possibly could from all of the devices they infected. You have to consider the fact that around 15% of the population use IOS devices that would be an extreme amount of data to processes. I would also speculate that 99% of people would have nothing to worry about because unless you were targeted directly then you would just be a possible compromised device and nothing more to the CIA.

If this all interest you i would suggest you read into it more on the Wikileaks site its self. They are  calling this data dump ‘Vault 7‘ so feel free to browse that at your own leisure but there are thousand of pages and documents in this dump.

Lenovo T400s: Ubuntu Machine Part 4

I have been using Ubuntu as my daily driver now for about 4-5 days, and i had not really had to touch on productivity applications and other utilities of this nature. When you install Ubuntu it comes pre-packaged with a nice free office suite called LibreOffice. I have only really touched on the word processing application and was plesentaly surprised. Although it does look rather basic in comparison to other office packages such as the most common Microsoft office.

It does how ever have all the features needed for a nice writing exsperiance, i have not written any large documents on it yet but feel it will be nice and accessible when it come time to write some larger reports. I have also been able to download drop box to my Ubuntu system, this was nice because i can back up all of my word documents and images to my dropbox starlight from the file directory on the system. This is great because it means I can use these documents on a number off different devices quickly and easily, but it also means that if I decided to uninstall Ubuntu to do a fresh install it won’t effect any of ,y documents.

I have been using my Ubuntu machine to write most of these blog posts as well and was surprised and deleted to find a WordPress as in the Ubuntu Software Center. This is basically just a port of the website, but it is nice to have your browser and blog software somewhat separate. I found this useful during research stages as to not keep clicking on word press. It works well as I said it’s just the word press website but it has a nice logo and fits well in the launcher bar. 

I am still finding my feet with Ubuntu and have not yet hit any limitations as to what I can and can’t do within it. And as I keep exsplorimg I will keep finding solutions to the issue I have.

Home Routers Use Mobile Data Connections

I recently read an article that suggested 5G (5th Generation) mobile data could potentially be mainstream in the next 5 years. That led to me thinking for some rural areas, or possibly just areas with limited infrastructures the possibility of height speed Internet without the fiber connection.

I aware that there are currently providers that offer satellite Internet, and that can offer very hight speeds and consistency but it also has limitation, the first one being the price. Satellite internet is much more expensive than normal broad band making it an unrealistic goal for a lot of people. and the second limitation would be that due to the nature of the satellite there needs to be a reception disk placed on your property that can receive the incoming signal. For built up areas this again would not be a viable option.

So then the thought that by using mobile data, the same as a personal hotspot from your phone or a mobile dongle could open up the playing field for people to get hight speed Internet. I have seen that there are some routers that currently offer this ability but they again are enterprise grade or not really general consumer ready. One issue that would have to be considered if this was to be implemented would be the strain on the network, and although most places in the UK now have 4G it has been a few years to get coverage to most areas.

Data plans would be another issue, I recently read that T-Mobile are going to start offering a new totally unlimited data plan to play month subscribers, okay,  so these mobile contacts are fairly pricey but when you take of the cost of the phone and the text and calls unlimited data SIM could work out around the same speed as using an ISP. With all the money currently being sunk into the telecommunications infrastructure at the moment as well it could have a lot of potential to be implemented on a 4G network.

I would like to see a system like this to start being spoke about or implement by either the big mobile data providers or ISP, although I feel the ISP might see it as a costly investment it could open up the potential market to people who are otherwise still using a dial-up connection.

So as my prediction states in the next 5 years we will start to see technologies such as this being implement, or at least being beta test or developed. I appreciate that 5G is currently working in a controlled lab at the moment but with the development already at that stage 5 years is a long time!

 

Lenovo T400s: Ubuntu Machine Part 3

Another worry before delving into Linux is the lack of support for game, this turned out to be a common misconception. I will expand on that further in the next section, the first place for anyone wishing to play computer games these days is to download Steam. You can do this by either going onto the steam website, or the slightly more time-consuming way by going into the terminal and adding it that way. I opted for the quicker and more straight forward way as I didn’t see the requirement to use the terminal when steam offers a direct download.

After i installed steam and logged into my account i was concerned about the availability of games that i will have access too. And out of the 250ish game that i have connected to my steam account around 110 where available to play on my Ubuntu machine. For the record these where majority indie games such as Game Dev Tycoon and Software inc. Both of these games require low hardware specification, but i was very surprised to see ARMA 3 was available. I feel this could be largely due to steam trying to push Steam OS (Steams Linux Based OS) but there where still a vast amount of games to play. This was a genuine surprise to me as i was very much under the impression that Linux didn’t have game or supported them very well. I have not yet checked the compatibility of other game distributors such as GOG and Origin.

Another option is to use the Ubuntu software center i have only briefly looked through the games there and downloaded one to see what it was like. although it is a limited selection of games when you’re not paying for them it isn’t to much of a worry if you only download it to kill a little bit of time. playing games on Ubuntu wasnt without its challenges though, one of the games i attempted to install just would not load, and the download speed was terrible. I have a 10mb connection but was averaging 100kb-300kn max. This was frustrating because my windows Laptop on the same network was downloading games at about 8mb. After reading into this it is a common fault and there where a number of methods to fix this. I simply rebooted the device and it seemed to sort its self out that time. But if the problem persists then i will pursue the solutions i have found on-line.