Saturday, July 30, 2005

Don't worry, your data is password protected. Yeah? How?

Many security and privacy incidents are caused by stolen computers, both laptops and desktops. Often you hear the phrase "Don't worry, the information is password protected." The next question has to be "What kind of password protection?"

Many people think that requiring login passwords in Windows provides an effective level of security for the data on the computer.

Not true.

Ok, maybe it'll take a determined hacker a month to get through?

Not true.

Maybe you need the kind of James Bond tools that the CIA and computer forensics folks have access to?

Not true.

This may be old news to those in the security business, but anybody with an internet connection and physical access to the computer in question can use a free online system to "recover" those pesky passwords that you've "lost". Thanks to Inter-Alia for pointing to Windows XP Login Recovery, which is a free online service that'll crack the password file that you can get off any XP computer with a simple boot disk. I assume that once you have the password, you can have access to all the stuff on the drive that has been encrypted using Windows' native encryption, too.

Scary stuff.

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