Security in terms of "computer security", such as protection of information, protection from theft or data destruction.

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532
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18answers
61k views

How are pseudorandom and truly random numbers different and why does it matter?

I've never quite got this. Just say you write a small program in any language at all which rolls some dice (just using dice as an example). After 600,000 rolls, each number would have been rolled ...
285
votes
11answers
12k views

How can I give my wife emergency access to logins, passwords, etc.?

I'm the digital guru in my household. My wife is good with email and forum websites, but she trusts me with all our important digital stuff — online banking and other things that require ...
243
votes
28answers
49k views

How to mess up a PC running Windows 7? [closed]

Ok, so for my PC class I have to find 3 hacks that would mess up the lab's PC. Me and my partner are going to mess up the PC and then another team will try to fix it. The system on it is Windows 7. ...
137
votes
9answers
18k views

Is it really possible for most enthusiasts to hack people's Wi-Fi networks?

I heard from a trusted computer security expert that most enthusiastic users (even if they are not professionals) using only guides from Internet and specialized software (e.g. Kali Linux included ...
114
votes
7answers
16k views

How to use the Internet while Heartbleed is being fixed?

There are many websites who are not currently vulnerable, but I have no idea if they were vulnerable a few days ago. For example: twitter.com: Not vulnerable right now, but the certificate is from ...
106
votes
8answers
8k views

What is the danger of inserting and browsing an untrusted USB drive?

Suppose someone wants me to copy some files to their USB stick. I'm running fully-patched Windows 7 x64 with AutoRun disabled (via Group Policy). I insert the USB drive, open it in Windows Explorer ...
105
votes
5answers
8k views

How do identify whether my Linux computer was hacked?

My home PC is usually on, but the monitor is off. This evening I came home from work and found what looks like a hack attempt: in my browser, my Gmail was open (that was me), but it was in compose ...
100
votes
14answers
90k views

“This file came from another computer…” - how can I unblock all the files in a folder without having to unblock them individually?

Windows XP SP2 and Windows Vista have this deal where zone information is preserved in downloaded files to NTFS partitions, such that it blocks certain files in certain applications until you ...
96
votes
24answers
11k views

How can I make a Windows PC bullet-proof for home users? [closed]

I realize that virus-proof on a Windows PC is far fetched, but in the interest of keeping time spent as the "family-tech-support" to a minimum, I am looking for ideas to lock a computer down to the ...
80
votes
8answers
20k views

My colleague often shuts down my machine through the LAN - how do I prevent it?

This might sound weird. My colleague and I were working on a Windows machine. He frequently shuts it down through the LAN. He usually follows these steps: Access command prompt, enter shutdown -i. ...
69
votes
10answers
6k views

How to destroy a CD/DVD rom safely?

I have old CDs/DVDs which have some backups, these backups have some work and personal files. I always had problems when I needed to physically destroy them to make sure no one will reuse them. ...
67
votes
11answers
39k views

How to reliably keep an SSH tunnel open?

I use an SSH tunnel from work to go around various idotic firewalls (it's ok with my boss :)). The problem is, after a while the ssh connection usually hangs, and the tunnel is broken. If I could at ...
66
votes
10answers
5k views

Securely erasing all data from a hard drive

I am about to sell my old desktop PC and I am cautious about some of my sensitive information being available to the purchaser, even after reformatting the hard-drive, using data recovery software. ...
62
votes
11answers
108k views

How to wipe free disk space in Linux?

When a file is deleted, its contents may still be left in the filesystem, unless explicitly overwritten with something else. The wipe command can securely erase files, but does not seem to allow ...
60
votes
13answers
9k views

How is Linux not prone to viruses, malware and those kinds of things?

How is Linux protected against viruses? This question was a Super User Question of the Week. Read the blog entry for more details or contribute to the blog yourself
53
votes
6answers
3k views

Is there a point in installing antivirus on Ubuntu?

I have recently started using Ubuntu. I am wondering about the point of installing antivirus programs on Ubuntu. On SuperUser, I found the opinion that it only detects "windows viruses" and removes ...
52
votes
13answers
75k views

Which TrueCrypt Algorithm is the safest?

If performance is of no concern, which TrueCrypt algorithm is the safest to use? AES Serpent Triple DES Twofish AES-Twofish AES-Twofish-Serpent Serpent-AES Serpent-Twofish-AES Twofish-Serpent
48
votes
5answers
2k views

How do anti-viruses work?

So I was thinking about viruses recently, and wondering how exactly antiviruses keep up? Considering anybody who'd been coding for a few weeks could hack together something do do nasty, nasty things ...
47
votes
5answers
3k views

What are the potential security issues when I keep using Windows XP? [closed]

Microsoft stopped updating Windows XP and the media warns us of security leaks. I actually just read that continuing to use Windows XP is "extremely" dangerous. Why exactly is this such a danger? I ...
43
votes
4answers
2k views

Should I install Internet Explorer updates although I disabled it?

I have disabled Internet Explorer in the "Windows Features" dialog. Nonetheless Windows Update alerts me that there are security updates for IE. I am aware that I cannot uninstall IE and it remains ...
40
votes
14answers
7k views

Would Microsoft Security Essentials be adequate protection? [closed]

Is Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) adequate protection for my computer? What is the experience with this product? I found out about a comparison of AV Suites. MSE did VERY well. One that I ...
39
votes
19answers
10k views

Destroy a hard drive without proper equipment [closed]

I need to make two hard drives unreadable. Unfortunately, I have some constraints which make this harder than usual (in particular, they rule out the answers to other questions): I don’t have a ...
39
votes
6answers
3k views

Security Concern with my Windows 7 Box at Work

This question may be weird and misworded but I'm not a Windows expert by any means so feel free to correct me. The group I'm in recently got new computers at work. They gave me a new computer and ...
39
votes
6answers
22k views

What is better for GPG keys - RSA or DSA?

ssh-keygen defaults to creating RSA keys, but gpg --gen-key prefers DSA/ElGamal. Which one - RSA or DSA - is better for GPG?
39
votes
1answer
98k views

What is 1e100.net and why do I have TCP ports open to it?

I see my PC has TCP connections open to 1e100.net. Looking at the content this seems to be a Chinese site and I immediately feared the worst re viruses/malware. Then I checked the whois record and ...
37
votes
1answer
2k views

Short, easy to understand explanation of GPG/PGP for nontechnical people?

Does anyone have a link to a good, but short (1-2 paragraphs) explanation of the benefits of using GPG/PGP signing and encryption for Email focused at non-technical readers? That is, why would someone ...
36
votes
8answers
17k views

How can I get a virus by just visiting a website? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Can a computer be infected by malware through web browser? It is common knowledge that you can get a virus just by visiting a website. But how is this possible? Do ...
36
votes
8answers
52k views

How can I tunnel all of my network traffic through SSH?

Whenever I'm using the internet from an insecure location (such as public wifi) I like to use an ssh tunnel (ssh -D port host) to ensure my traffic can't be sniffed. Unfortunately, there seem to be ...
34
votes
8answers
13k views

How safe is Firefox password manager?

I have been using the Firefox password manager for long time, but never checked/verified how secure it is.
33
votes
4answers
1k views

If a password is compromised, is a “similar” password also compromised?

Suppose a user uses a secure password at site A and a different but similar secure password at site B. Maybe something like mySecure12#PasswordA on site A and mySecure12#PasswordB on site B (feel ...
33
votes
10answers
1k views

Password Cracking Windows Accounts

At work we have laptops with encrypted harddrives. Most developers here (on occasion I have been guilty of it too) leave their laptops in hibernate mode when they take them home at night. Obviously, ...
32
votes
4answers
3k views

Can I permanently prevent Java security updates from installing Yahoo Toolbar?

Each time I get a Java security update, I have to remember to untick the box to install the yahoo toolbar browser plugin that they've decided, for some mad reason, is an important security feature of ...
31
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do some websites show the company name next to the URL?

Some websites show the company name next to the URL (in Chrome) and some don't. How do I set this up for my website? Is there a reason why or why I wouldn't want to do this?
31
votes
3answers
9k views

Can admins monitor my activity locally even when I use a VPN?

My school has one of those super overreacting web blockers (specifically Fortisnet) that blocks things that should be accessible by a high-school senior trying to research projects. Despite many ...
30
votes
9answers
4k views

Why is the Internet said to be an untrusted network?

From Wikipedia In computer security, a DMZ (sometimes referred to as a perimeter networking) is a physical or logical subnetwork that contains and exposes an organization's external services ...
30
votes
1answer
27k views

Does Microsoft Security Essentials replace Windows Defender?

Does Microsoft Security Essentials replace Windows Defender?
29
votes
3answers
2k views

Is NTFS really secure?

I have Mac PC, in which I have created a Windows partition and have installed Windows using Boot Camp. If I log in to the Mac OS, I can read all the files from the Windows partition from Mac. If I ...
29
votes
6answers
24k views

scp to remote server with sudo

I have a file on server A (which is behind a NAT so not directly addressable). The file needs to be copied to server B in a directory restricted to root. I have an account on server B with sudo ...
29
votes
2answers
12k views

Is it a bad idea to use the same private ssh key on multiple computers?

I recently bought a laptop from which I need to access the same remote hosts that I do from my desktop. It occurred to me that it might be possible to simply copy the private key file from my desktop ...
28
votes
10answers
7k views

Determining if a hard disk has been removed and data copied from it?

Is there a method or a tool that can detect if someone has separated my hard disk from my computer, copied data from it, and returned it back? I want to be sure that no one has done this without my ...
28
votes
6answers
5k views

How to put fear of God (law) into Wi-Fi hacking neighbors [closed]

I live in an apartment and some new guys have apparently moved into one of the apartments. They have been shamelessly hacking into my WiFi. Mine was initially a WEP encrypted network and out of ...
28
votes
19answers
2k views

How to prepare your PC or laptop for theft

Of course preventing them from getting stolen is the top priority, but invariably, someone is going to get jacked. What are some good practices to minimize the damage incurred when your PC is stolen? ...
27
votes
9answers
7k views

Is there a keystroke that can lock the Mac OS X screensaver?

On Windows I can hit Windows + L to lock my desktop. On Leopard there doesn't seem to be this capability. While I can set the screensaver to come on very quickly, I would like to hit a key combo to ...
27
votes
4answers
48k views

Why does Nvidia create UpdatusUser account and is this a security issue?

While doing a backup I have found out the existence of an account called UpdatusUser on my Windows 7 box. It doesn't appear in the account management section of the control panel. Searching on the ...
26
votes
9answers
2k views

Why is it bad for me if my computer is infected, if I don't notice? [closed]

The situation I face is a family member whose position is the following: I don't want to update something that works, updates may break something. Look at our old computer that runs Windows 98, ...
26
votes
3answers
2k views

Can Google Employees See My Passwords Saved in Google Chrome?

I understand that we are really tempted to save our passwords in Google Chrome. The likely benefit is two fold, You don't need to (memorize and) input those long and cryptic passwords. These are ...
25
votes
17answers
4k views

How can I physically destroy data from a failed HDD?

I have a broken HDD that contains sensitive data. Since no software can access the disk, I can't wipe it using any of the tools generally suggested. Breaking the disk physically into very small ...
25
votes
7answers
2k views

How can I protect myself while using public wifi hotspots?

I frequently need to access secure resources (gmail, banking, remote desktop, etc) while on public wifi hotspots. What can I do to ensure that nobody can sniff my passwords or my other browsing ...
25
votes
2answers
18k views

How secure are password-protected zip files?

In modern zip utilities like 7zip, you can specify a password when creating a .ZIP file. But, how secure is this? What encryption algorithm(s) are used to secure password-protected zip files?
25
votes
4answers
2k views

Why erase file with random patterns instead of all 0's or 1's?

Computer files aren't actually removed when they are deleted on Windows. The address pointer is simply released and that space freed for overwrite later. For sensitive information, it is recommended ...