Want to compress a bunch of documents into a single encrypted file for archiving?

October 12, 2017

If so, take a look at BCArchive… This FREE program is specifically designed to compress a group of files/folders to a single encrypted file that is password protected.  I like the idea that, after installing, you can activate BCArchive from the Explorer file menu, which comes in real handy when you need to protect and archive files on the fly. Always keep in mind that when you password protect the file archive, to remember the password.

BCArchive is compatible with Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/8/10 (32-Bit/64-Bit)…

To give you an idea how good this program is, here is a list of the options:

  • Create Compressed and Encrypted Archive File Protected by Password
  • Create Compressed and Encrypted Archive File by Using the Public Key of Another User
  • Add Several Passwords to an Existing Archive File
  • Apply more than one Public Key to an Archive File Enabling a Number of Users to Decrypt the Archive
  • Generate New or Use Existing Secret/Public Key Pairs in PKCS-12/X.509 Format
  • Compress and Encrypt Data to a Self-extracted Executable Program
  • Synchronize, Import, Export Functions
  • Includes BCTextEncoder Utility

SOURCE: Jetico – BCArchive


FREE Security and Optimization Software That I Use To Protect My Computer(s)

October 3, 2017

I have been doing computers since the 1980’s. During that timespan of nearly 40 years I have never paid for antivirus software. As a matter of fact, when I purchase a new computer, one of the first things I do is remove the pre-installed security software (such as Norton or McAfee’s). I have found that these security software packages cause more headaches than they are worth; are a resource burden to the computer; require annual subscriptions, and are so embedded into the Windows registry and system that you have to use special uninstallers to remove them. One important point I do want to make is that if you ever decide to remove the current antivirus or antimalware software from your computer, make sure you visit the software developer’s site to determine if they have a special uninstaller you can download to remove the software.  If you don’t do this, you are at risk of leaving remnants behind of the software that can impact the continued operation of the computer and may conflict with any other security software that you install. For your convenience, here is a resource at eset (click here) that will help you with uninstalling security software.

What I have found that is that you can protect yourself with applying common sense and using good free security and optimization software. There are numerous options out there (for FREE), but the list below is the software programs that I use to protect my computers:

CCleaner – the number-one tool for cleaning your PC. It protects your privacy and makes your computer faster and more secure! Make sure you download the FREE version.

BitDefender FREE – featuring virus scanning (and removal), advanced threat detection, anti-phlishing, and anti-fraud. After uninstalling your other antivirus software and you install Bitdefender FREE, you will be asked to set up an account. Once done that task, you are good to go.  You do not have to do anything after that and as a matter of fact, you will forget it is even there.

Malwarebytes FREE – is a next-generation antivirus replacement. The first of its kind for home users, Malwarebytes for Windows employs four independent technology modules—anti-malware, anti-ransomware, anti-exploit, and malicious website protection—to block and remove both known and unknown threats. The FREE version does not auto monitor your computer. What I do is routinely scan my computer using Malwarebytes sort of as a second opinion and to complement BitDefender FREE.  If I were to buy software to protect my PC, then I would buy the Malwarebytes Premium edition.

AdwCleaner – is another product from Malwarebytes that is FREE. AdwCleaner does not monitor your computer in the background. Simply download, run, and scan on a routine basis to search for and remove adware, unwanted toolbars, potentially unwanted programs (PUPs), and browser hijackers.

Avira Safe Shopping – is a FREE browser add-on for Google Chrome that will alert you to sites that are criminal in nature by highlighting infected sites directly in your search results to ensure you know which sites are harmful before you click. Avira Safe Shopping is your browser extension, which ensures your safety and privacy while shopping online, and provides you with better deals from secure websites.

The list above is my personal preference and has served me very well in protecting my computers. Please feel free to comment below and reflect any other security software (for FREE) that you would recommend.


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Naked Security: Advising Us To Stop Using The Android Unlock Pattern To Secure Phone (to easy to crack)

October 1, 2017

How many of you are using an unlock pattern to secure your device? In a nutshell: it is far easier for an attacker to shoulder surf a pattern than a PIN.

A new report (PDF) from security researchers at the US Naval Academy and the University of Maryland Baltimore County has quantified just how absurdly easy it is to do an over-the-shoulder glance that accurately susses out an Android unlock pattern…. READ MORE


SOURCE: Naked Security


MiniTool Shadow Maker FREE – Quickly back up system and hard disk drives in case an accident happens…

September 28, 2017

These days, compared to yesteryear, there is a multitude of good options to perform a Windows Operating System, selected partitions, and even the whole disk backup (often referred to as disk imaging).

One of the newer options that I recently was made aware of is “MiniTool Shadow Maker FREE”. I like the software that MiniTool develops and will be keeping an eye on (and testing) their rendition of this disk shadowing software. The purpose of this software is to provide you with an exact copy of your Windows OS that will allow you to restore your computer once a disaster occurs (and it eventually will). Disasters like a  system crash, hard drive failure, and more.

MiniTool ShadowMaker offers straightforward solutions to deal with all kinds of backup tasks, including system backup and disk backup. These backups contain exactly the same copy of all the data stored on the original disk or partition. Such backups allow you to recover your computer to the normal state when Windows works incorrectly or partition data get lost.

Main Features of MiniTool ShadowMaker

  • System and Disk Backup
  • Schedule and Event Trigger Backup
  • Differential and Incremental Images
  • Bare Metal Recovery and Universal Restore
  • WinPE Bootable media builder and PXE server
  • Password Protection and AES Encryption

SOURCE: MiniTool ShadowMaker Free 1.0


CCleaner was hacked and used to deliver malware to unsuspecting computers and Android devices…

September 18, 2017

This morning I am catching up on the tech news and the one thing that is jumping out at me is the news that CCleaner was hacked and used to deliver malware to unsuspecting computers and Android devices. I drilled down on this more and based on information from Piriform (the developers of CCleaner), a suspicious activity was identified on September 12th, 2017, where Piriform saw an unknown IP address receiving data from software found in version 5.33.6162 of CCleaner, and CCleaner Cloud version 1.07.3191, on 32-bit Windows systems. Based on further analysis, they found that the 5.33.6162 version of CCleaner and the 1.07.3191 version of CCleaner Cloud was illegally modified before it was released to the public.

All CCleaner users are encouraged to update their CCleaner software to version 5.34 or higher. The latest version is available for download from here.

CCleaner has been around for years and years and is a “go to” utility that is used by millions to clean and optimize their PC’s in order to protect their privacy and make things faster. I personally have used it for many years.


SOURCE: Piriform Blog – Security Notification for CCleaner v5.33.6162 and CCleaner Cloud v1.07.3191 for 32-bit Windows users


FREE Drive Wiping Tool To Erase All Data With No Method Of Recovery

September 12, 2017

Getting rid of an old computer? Before handing that old computer over to someone else, you may want to consider using “MiniTool Drive Wipe Free” to remove all data from the computer. Deleting your personal files is not enough. There are third party software utilities, readily available on the internet, that will let anyone recover deleted files. By using “MiniTool Drive Wipe Free” to wipe the drive, there is no method of recovery.

Wiping is the process of continuously writing some specific data to a hard disk or partition so as to overwrite original data stored on the disk or partition. Once wiping is completed, original data can not be recovered by any data recovery method.

To effectively carry out this operation I would remove the drive from the old computer and put it in a drive docking station such as the Sabrent USB 3.0 to SATA External Hard Drive Lay-Flat Docking Station. This docking station is inexpensive and will work with 2.5 or 3.5in HDD or SSD drives. Once the drive is in the docking station, connect it to a workable Windows computer and use the “MiniTool Drive Wipe Free” software to “wipe the disk” that is in the external docking station. After performing this operation, you can safely reinstall the hard drive back into the old computer and do with it what you want (i.e. donate it, recycle it, give to a friend, sell, etc…)


SOURCE: MiniTool Drive Wipe Free


Crystal Security – A cloud-based system that detects and removes malicious programs (malware)…

September 1, 2017

Crystal Security, a cloud-based system that detects and removes malicious programs (malware), is new to me. I am currently testing the portable version and so far the interface part looks great (user friendly). The detection engine, from I am can tell, is based on data gathered from millions of participating users systems around the world to help defend against the very latest viruses and malware attacks.

Due to not being familiar with Crystal Security, at this point, I will continue to test and use it solely as a troubleshooting application to inform when the possibility of malware exists. If you are familiar with Crystal Security, I would like to hear your experience with this. I do like the idea that there is a portable (no install) option.

I do recommend that you know what you are doing when using applications, such as this; so as not to cause accidental havoc to your PC.


SOURCE: Crystal Security