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Showing posts from February, 2010

Why do I need a privacy filter? (3M's new Vikuiti Gold Privacy Filter)

I received my free sample filter from 3M a week ago now - it is one of the first of their new Vikuiti Gold Privacy Filters. Before I tell you about my experiences with it though, I think I ought to cover the question: 'Why do I need a privacy filter?'

So, what is a privacy filter? It is a thin sheet of plastic that fits over your screen to reduce the viewing angle. LCD manufacturers spend all their time increasing the viewing angle of their screens so that many people can view the TV from all over the room or crowd round a computer screen to share information. The problem with this is the advantage itself - what if I have sensitive information on my screen that I don't want everyone to be able to read? The privacy filter reverses the wide angle viewing trend to reduce it as close to straight on as is practical. The point of a privacy filter is to stop prying eyes and shoulder surfing.

Do you need a privacy filter? I was speaking to one professional a little while ago and t…

Coventry Building Society Grid Card

Coventry Building Society have recently introduced the Grid Card as a simple form of 2-factor authentication. It replaces memorable words in the login process. Now the idea is that you require something you know (i.e. your password) and something you have (i.e. the Grid Card) to log in - 2 things = 2 factors. For more about authentication see this post.

How does it work? Very simply is the answer. During the log in process, you will be asked to enter the digits at 3 co-ordinates. For example: c3, d2 and j5 would mean that you enter 5, 6 and 3 (this is the example Coventry give). Is this better than a secret word? Yes, is the short answer. How many people will choose a memorable word that someone close to them could guess? Remember, that this isn't a password as such, it is expected to be a word and a word that means something to the user. The problem is that users cannot remember lots of passwords, so remembering two would be difficult. Also, having two passwords isn't really…

Keylogging Trusteer's Rapport

Let's get some perspective on this first: no security product is 100% secure and just because there may be an obscure way round a product doesn't mean you shouldn't use it and that it won't protect you against a lot of attacks. How secure is your Anti-Virus (AV) product? Certainly not 100%, so we need layers of security. Rapport is another layer of security and could help protect your machine.

I have said in my previous post about this issue how well Trusteer dealt with me. So, now to the method of keylogging Trusteer. It's quite simple really, but requires a special setup. Rapport hooks onto the keyboard driver to prevent keylogging. However, if you invoke the remote desktop feature in Windows then a different keyboard driver is invoked, which Rapport cannot hook onto. So, if you're using a remote desktop connection into your machine then Rapport will not be giving you the full protection (it still has other layers of protection that work in this scenario).


Trusteer's Response to Issues with Rapport

I have been getting a lot of hits on this blog relating to Trusteer's Rapport, so I thought I would take a better look at the product. During my investigations, I was able to log keystrokes on a Windows 7 machine whilst accessing NatWest. However, the cause is as yet unknown as Rapport should be secure against this keylogger, so I'm not going to share the details here yet (there will be a video once Trusteer are happy there is no further threat).

I have had quite a dialogue with Trusteer over this potential problem and can report that their guys are pretty switched on, they picked up on this very quickly and are taking it extremely seriously. They are also realistic about all security products and have many layers of security in place within their own product. No security product is 100% secure - it can't be. The best measure of a product, in my opinion, is the company's response to potential problems. I have to admit that Trusteer have been exemplary here.

Why do I ke…

Cisco TACACS+ Password Length

I have recently come up against a problem with using the 'new' wireless network at work. We are using Cisco kit and TACACS+ to interface onto Microsoft's AD in the back end. Technically, usernames should be able to be up to 31 bytes long (not a problem there) and the password up to 254 bytes. However, the web portal implementation that we are running has a problem with my password. It would appear that passwords of up to 16 characters are fine, but passwords in excess of 16 characters don't work.

We are currently investigating this, as it seems like a real problem, especially as we are recommending that people switch to using longer pass phrases, in excess of 16 characters. Hopefully vendors will catch up with this soon, as many still have problems with so-called 'special characters' such as punctuation and other common symbols.