Monthly Archives: May 2009

How Much Security is Enough Security?

A contact of mine asked me what did I think about RoboForm, a password manager and web form filler solution. My answer was:

It definitely beats having your browser save your passwords in an unencrypted fashion.

Cyberspace┬ásecurity measures are similar to those of the real world. You can put a 4 ft. fence around your house. But some people can jump that. You can raise it to 8 ft. Still some people can jump it, but this time is less people. You can add barbwire to the top of it. Less likely people will jump it. You can electrify it, put trip mines and crocodiles around it… you get the idea. The security measures will however always be breakable. The question is, how much of a profitable target are you? the higher the value, the higher your defense system needs to be. Again, this mirrors real world situations. In the cyber-security world, there are ways to hack into your computer without even knowing the access passwords. Those are however advanced techniques and the ordinary home user is unlikely to become a target of those who can do that, simply because there is not much profit in it compared to other potential targets.

My point is the answer to your question is, RoboForm is the 8 ft fence, more or less. Better than most people have – 4 ft fences, or no fences at all! You just have to have higher security than the average user, and the probabilities of being the target of an attack will decrease simply because there are all those other people with much lower security standards. It’s like if you and a friend are running away from a bear. You don’t have to be faster than the bear – you just have to be faster than your friend ­čśë

Problem Accessing Shared Files Over a Network

A client of mine contacted me with this problem. His Outlook data file was in another computer as a shared file on a peer-to-peer (no server) network, both computers running under Windows XP Pro. However he was getting an access error when trying to open Outlook. The error was of course not verbose enough to troubleshoot anything.

But when I tried to open the shared folder containing the data file from the remote computer, I got a more detailed error. “Not enough server storage is available to process this command”. Ok I can work with that.

The problem had nothing to do with Outlook as you probably gathered. It didn’t even had anything to do with the computer running Outlook. The target computer, the one hosting the shared file, was acting as a server. However due to a registry problem, it was unable to provide access to the file. So, registry editing time. Added the appropriate entry to it, restarted, problem vanished. Another happy customer.

Contact me if you have a similar problem and need help resolving it.

Outlook 2007 – Something New You Need to Know

So if you are in the same boat as me, you have Outlook 2007 and just installed Office 2007 Service Pack 2 for it, available through Windows Update. Computer is running on Windows Vista Home Premium.

If you use new mail desktop alerts, that little window that appears for a few seconds when a new mail arrives that tells you who is from and the subject, it might not be working following the installation of the latest update.

I unfortunately don’t have a workaround for it yet. At least not one that is worth it. I do┬á know that by disabling User Account Control (UAC) in Vista the new mail alerts work again. However disabling UAC is not something I’d recommend. As much as I don’t like it, UAC does make it harder for an malign intrusion to succeed. Same goes for running outlook as an administrator.

So stay tuned as events develop and hopefully Microsoft will come up with a hotfix on this very soon…

To be continued.

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So a month after my original article above, out of the blue and while checking on something else I tried a preview of the desktop alert and it worked! sent myself a test email, and it worked! I haven’t changed anything with the specific purpose of handling this. The only major changes I can think of is Vista Service Pack 2 installed, and uninstall and re-install of Trend Micro IS 2008. But I cannot tell what change made the functionality of this return to normal.
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I guess it was too soon to claim victory – 2 days later, it is once again not working…

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Update 12/14/10: Well it only took 17 months for Microsoft to fix this… I installed an update for Outlook 2007 today (KB2412171), and out of the blue the functionality of the desktop alerts was restored…