Let Run VPN Server On Windows 8 To Allow You Securely Transmit Data At Any Public Place Which Relies On A Public Internet Connection

Using VPN (Virtual Private Network), one can securely transmit data back and forth in a public place which relies on a public Internet connection.  Wait, what is a public Internet connection?  It’s just an Internet connection in which just about anyone who has a computer can tap into and use.  A good example would be at a Starbucks.  Transmitting data in a public location is a very dangerous thing to do (i.e., only if you’re connecting to the public Internet connection), because you never know someone might do something nefarious nearby.  He or she might sniff the network traffics, and this means anything you transmit through a public Internet connection can be intercepted by such a person.  With VPN, it will be a lot harder for such an evildoer to actually get hold of your data in a public place.

Why using VPN can safeguard your data better when you’re connecting to a public Internet connection?  VPN will create a safe connection between your computer and a VPN server, and whatever gets transmitted through a VPN connection will be encrypted.  Nonetheless, VPN isn’t an end to end encrypted connection.  What this means is that when your data leaves VPN server so it can go to a server which hosts the web service on the Internet, the data will become unencrypted.  How come?  The Internet isn’t opening up an encrypted channel with your VPN server!  To put this in another way, it’s only the computer which you use to connect to a VPN server can actually open up an encrypted channel with the VPN server.  This is why you need a VPN client.  Nowadays, you don’t have to install VPN client much, because most operating systems (i.e., Linux, Mac OS X, Windows) come with a VPN client by default.  You might have to install a VPN client if you’re connecting to a non-standard, third party VPN server/service.

You can imagine the VPN encrypted channel as in a VPN tunnel or just a tunnel where cars travel through.  When a car got out of a tunnel, the daylight will hit the car in every direction.  Got the gist?

VPN is definitely a good thing to have when you are using the Internet in a public location.  Even though VPN isn’t an end to end encrypted connection, it’s still going to prevent the hackers in a public location from hacking you.  Of course, he or she can try, but it won’t be easy!  Let say, the hacker cannot magically insert himself or herself between the VPN server and the web service (which locates somewhere on the Internet and you want to connect to).  If the hacker wants to hack you in a public spot when you’re using VPN, he or she must hack your VPN connection first, and then everything else would be secondary.

To be even more secure, you can totally transmit all data within HTTPS protocol (a secure/encrypted hypertext transfer protocol), and this way the hacker is going to work even harder.  This means, a hacker must first hack your VPN connection, and then your HTTPS connection afterward.  VPN connection itself is already a difficult thing to tamper with.

Right after the break, you can check out a video I made on how to allow Windows 8 to host a VPN server/service.  Running a VPN server/service on Windows 8 allows you to go just about anywhere and connect back home for a VPN connection.  Of course, if your home network isn’t secure and already being infected with hackers’ exploits, then your VPN connection might as well be rendered insecure.  So, make sure your home network is actually well guarded.  A well guarded home network will definitely ensure your home devices such as a Windows 8 computer — which runs VPN server — won’t be tampered with.  I think a well guarded network equates to deploying all security elements within a network, and this means something as a strong firewall, strong antivirus software, strong network security policies, and the list would go on.

Using BitLocker On Windows 8 To Encrypt Your Hard Drives

BitLocker Drive Encryption

BitLocker Drive Encryption (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’re using Windows 8 Pro and Enterprise, you don’t really have to rely on a third party encryption software to encrypt your files and hard drives.  You can totally rely on BitLocker as this is what came with Windows 8 Pro and Enterprise by default.  Anyhow, right after the  break you get to see me use BitLocker in real time to encrypt a C: drive on my Windows 8 Pro computer.  Enjoy!!!

Few Things You Should Do After Upgrading To Or Installing Windows 8

I just upgraded my computer from Windows 7 to Windows 8.  The upgrade went smoothly except it had to restart couple times; it also asked me to free up around 20GB of disk space.  I installed all my system files and a game on SSD, and so my SSD had almost always been full.  I moved my game over to my other drive, and once I did that Windows 8 allowed me to move forward with the upgrade.  I had always backup all of my data, and so I was ready to go with the upgrade of Windows 8.  You should backup your data before you do anything major to your computer system.  You never know when your data will get corrupted or something would go so wrong during a major system update/upgrade and so on.  Without doing proper backups for your data, you might lose so much data that you find yourself doing a facepalm and wonder what had you done to yourself.  Anyhow, in my case, the upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8 went super smooth, and I got to keep most of my files, software, and settings.  If you upgrade not from Windows 7 to Windows 8, I think Windows 8 will not allow you to keep most of the stuffs you got.  During the upgrade to Windows 8 from an older version of Windows, the upgrade process checks to see what you can keep and what you cannot keep.  Eventually, Windows 8 upgrade process lets you know about the stuffs that you can keep and the stuffs that you have to do without if you decide to move on with the upgrade to Windows 8.  At this point, you have to think seriously, because if you have not had any backup for your data and move forward with the upgrade to Windows 8, you might lose some serious data.  Losing them data forever!!!  This is why I insist you to do a backup for all of your data before go ahead with the upgrade to Windows 8.

Windows 8 is a lot different than Windows 7 as it emphasizes on syncing the Internet features and data with your local system and data.  An example of this is how Windows 8 allows you to sign into Windows 8 with Microsoft email address. This way, new emails from the email account that you’re using to login into Windows 8 will show up on the Start screen whenever you login into Windows 8.  Obviously, you can always change the method of how you want to login into Windows 8.  You can do this by getting into Desktop view/mode first > move your mouse pointer to the hot corner at the bottom right > Settings > Change PC Settings (at the very bottom) > Users > Switch to local account or otherwise.

I think the first thing you should take care right away right after you had upgraded to Windows 8 is to make sure your Windows 8 security is up to the task.  Some of the third party security solutions may not work correctly with Windows 8 yet, because the developers for these third party security solutions might be in the process of making their software to be compatible with Windows 8.  I found this out with Norton Internet Security 2013 as this security software would crash on me whenever I try to use it on Windows 8.  I found out that only Norton Internet security 2012 is compatible with Windows 8, because it is listed as compatible on Microsoft Compatibility Center website.  In my opinion, it’s an ironic that newer Norton Internet Security software fails to work on Windows 8, but the older version is doing alright on Windows 8.  Anyhow, in my case I completely uninstalled Norton Internet Security 2013 and replaced it with McAfee 2013.  For you, I suggest you try out your Internet Service Provider security solution first to see if it is compatible with Windows 8, and this way you don’t have to actually pay more money for third party security solution.  If your Internet Service Provider doesn’t provide you a security solution, then you can always use the free security software that came with Windows 8 by default.

The security software that came with Windows 8 by default are Windows 8 firewall and Windows Defender.  Windows 8 firewall is just as good or even better than some third party firewall solutions.  With that being said, I’ve found Windows 8 firewall to be a tad more complicated than third party firewall solutions, but it’s not that difficult if you just switch on block all incoming connections and allow all outgoing connections in the specific firewall profile that you’re using on Windows 8.  How to turn on Windows 8 firewall?  Make sure you are in Desktop view/mode and move your mouse pointer to hot corner at the bottom right corner of the screen > click on Search > highlight Settings > type firewall into the Settings search box at the top > click on the Windows Firewall link which appears on the left hand panel > manage Windows 8 firewall from here.

Windows 8 came with Windows Defender, and if I’m not mistaken Windows Defender is a two in one solution.  It used to be called something else as I don’t entirely recall what it was called, and it was and still is used for malware detection, but now on Windows 8 the operating system combines this malware detection capability with a new antivirus detection capability.  So, in a nutshell, Windows 8 Windows Defender is two solutions in one as it can detect both viruses and malware.  I think this is a good deal for the folks who do not want to install a third party security solution such as Norton or McAfee.  To check to see your Windows 8 has the proper security elements in place, you should go to Desktop view/mode > Settings > Control Panel > System and Security > Action Center > expand the Security portion and make sure firewall is on and other security elements are in place.

I found out that when I told Windows 8 not to turn on networking sharing feature during the upgrade process, Windows 8 got my Internet connection listed as Public or Guest connection.  Perhaps, this doesn’t matter much if you had tightened Windows 8 firewall’s public firewall profile or you use a third party firewall solution.  Nonetheless, I didn’t like how Windows 8 listed my computer under Public connection when my computer actually was and is connected to a private Internet connection.  Don’t get confused when I say private Internet connection, because what I meant is a home connection or an office connection.  So, I had this changed.  How?  Desktop view/mode > right bottom hot corner > Settings > Change PC Settings > Home Group > and turn on the sharing feature.

Once you got all security elements for Windows 8 up and running, now you should make sure all data is intact and the software are working.  In my case, I had to move the game which accounted for 14 GB worth of data from the large secondary drive back to SSD.  Remember how I had to move this game from SSD to the large secondary drive since Windows 8 upgrade process asked me to free up around 20 GB worth of disk space?  Yep, this is the very game I’m talking about.  Anyhow, just make sure your software are working correctly.  If you have a software that would crash on Windows 8, you can go to Microsoft Windows Compatibility Center to see the software you’re running is actually compatible to Windows 8.  If not, you have to either contact the software developers and urge them to release a Windows 8 compatible version of the software or switch to another software which has the same features as the original one.  By the way, let me warn you that whenever you install  anything on Windows 8, you are doing so at your own risks.  After all, Windows 8 has just been released.  This is why you should do research first before installing any software onto a computer which runs Windows 8.  Good luck to you on this front.

Now, you should try to check to see if there is any update for Windows 8.  I know, if you had picked an option of which to allow Windows 8 to automatically update your computer during the upgrade process or installation process, Windows 8 will automatically update  your computer with newer updates whenever newer updates come out.  These updates might be related to newer drivers, newer system files, and so on.  I don’t think Windows 8 will know the software that you install not from Windows Store (or not a core part of what makes Windows 8 come to live) has newer update or not.  I might be wrong though!  Automatic update is fine and all that, but sometimes you just want to do an update on demand.  Like right after you upgrade to or install Windows 8, right?  No sweat, Windows 8 also allows you to do a manual update.  How to do this?  Get into Desktop view/mode > right bottom hot corner > Settings > Change PC settings > Windows Update > click on the button that says Check for updates now.  If you there is something to be updated, click on the link which has the option to allow you to do a manual update, and this link usually locates above the Check for updates now button.

I think this should be it for you guys, and just get familiar with Windows 8 features.  To get familiar with how to use Windows 8 is going to be challenging for people who do not like to learn how to use a brand new operating system, because Windows 8 does feel like it’s a brand new operating system on the surface (i.e., not an iteration of the original operating system).  Underneath though, if you know how to use Windows 7, you should get rather comfy with Windows 8 soon once you get over with the challenge of knowing how to navigate Windows 8 on the surface (i.e., I meant of the Windows 8 Start screen and other newer Windows 8 trivial features and not about Microsoft surface tablet which also uses similar graphical user interface to Windows 8).

Securely Delete Files On Windows 7 With Eraser

English: A candidate icon for Portal:Computer ...

English: A candidate icon for Portal:Computer security (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How do we delete files on Windows 7 securely?  Unlike Mac which comes with a utility by default for deleting data securely, Windows users have to seek out and install a third party software which will allow them to delete data securely on Windows 7.  Nonetheless, download a wrong third party software for this very purpose might do more harm than good.  What if you have downloaded a malware?  This is why I usually cringe whenever I have to download a third party software  for whatever purpose.

Anyhow, I had found a third party software known as Eraser which allows me to delete files securely on Windows 7.  At first, I didn’t trust Eraser, but I looked around the web and only read good things to be said about this particular software.  Furthermore, I scanned Eraser with Norton and ClamWin antivirus software and found that Eraser to be free from virus and malware.  If Norton and ClamWin were effective at scanning for viruses and malware in this particular case, Eraser is not a virus or a malware.  I trusted the antivirus software scan results and so I installed Eraser and used it.

I found that Eraser is very simple to use and fast.  Perhaps, my desktop is somewhat beefy (powerful), therefore Eraser is able to utilize the horsepower of the desktop to securely delete files in a very fast manner. I had tried to delete a 300 MB file and Eraser zipped through the process with ease.  I forgot how long it took, but it was fast.

Since Eraser is quite powerful and useful in allowing regular computer users to securely delete files with ease, I went ahead and created a video which briefly demonstrated its ease of use.  Just a head up though, I actually somewhat talked lengthily about why do we need to delete files in a secure manner.  I hope such a talk won’t bored you too much.

Lastly, I do not condone you to use Eraser as a tool to cover up illegal activities, OK?  I recommend Eraser since it’s useful for regular computer users to remove sensitive data on their own computers, and in doing this they can protect themselves from leaking their personal sensitive information such as social security number from whoever that wants to forensically uncover these sort of data for nefarious purposes.  Anyhow, please enjoy the video right after the break.

How To Automatically Update And Upgrade Ubuntu With Crontab; Look Ma, No Need To Type Anything To Have My Ubuntu System Stays Up To Date

Official Ubuntu circle with wordmark. Replace ...

Official Ubuntu circle with wordmark. Replace File:Former Ubuntu logo.svg. Español: logo de Ubuntu + marca denominativa Français : Logo officiel d’Ubuntu. Remplace File:Former Ubuntu logo.svg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hi guys.  Some people prefer to not have to intervene at all with the update and upgrade processes of their Ubuntu system, because they rather have the system to be automatically updated and upgraded itself and just logged the progresses to a log file, in silence.  Of course, there are other people who prefer to have Ubuntu asks them for permission to upgrade through graphical user interface, and this is fine too.  Nonetheless, I like the former idea better.  Therefore, if you want to have Ubuntu automatically updates and upgrades itself without making a single fuss, then you should watch this video.  For your information, in this video, I will use aptitude command line instead of apt-get command line to allow Ubuntu system to be up to date.  How come?  Well, let just say I prefer aptitude package manager over apt-get package manager.  Nonetheless, you can just switch out the aptitude commands for apt-get commands, and you will still be able to achieve the same goal.  Enjoy this educational video!!!

Malicious Windows Gadgets May Allow Hackers To Take Control Of Windows Systems

gadget diferenciahoraria.info  sidebar windows

gadget diferenciahoraria.info sidebar windows (Photo credit: Diferencia Horaria)

According to The Verge’s “Microsoft advises users to disable Windows Gadgets following security vulnerability fears” article, it’s wise to disable Windows Gadgets feature on Windows Vista and Windows 7 as a temporary fix solution for the security issue in which hackers can take over Windows systems when users install malicious Windows gadgets.  So, it seems that the hackers can become a system administrator or a user if he or she can arbitrarily send commands to a gadget which has been designed to be malicious.  Also, The Verge mentioned that Microsoft will fade out Windows Gadgets feature on Windows 8, and so you won’t be able to use Windows Gadgets on Windows 8.

How to turn of Windows Gadgets feature?  Follow the steps below to turn off Windows Gadgets feature on Windows Vista and Windows 7.

  1. Open up Control Panel
  2. Click on Programs
  3. Click on Programs and Features
  4. On the left panel, click on Turn Windows features on or off
  5. Uncheck the box which labeled as Windows Gadget Platform

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