How to Use FileVault

Found on Mac OSX 10.3 and later, FileVault is a great tool to make sure all your data is completely safe at all times. FileVault encrypts the files, as in it stores them as a Sparse Disc Image, which is essentially one large file and uses a key derived from the user’s password.

It is always safe to take some extra precautions for your Mac and FileVault will help you do just that by allowing you to encrypt your drive.

Encrypt the entire home folder into one file

The entire home folder can be encrypted into one big file. If iTunes, iPhotos and movies are all moved out of this, the file size can be kept small and this helps improve the reliability. By going to Preferences in iTunes, you can go to Advanced and allocate where your iTunes library need to be kept. Then by going to Consolidate Library in Advanced, your files will be moved by iTunes. The same can be done for iPhoto by just moving the iPhoto library.

Create a maintenance user account

By clicking on Accounts in System Preferences and adding the user there, a maintenance user account can be created. It should be ensured that it is an Administrator account to allow unhindered access to system privileges. This account is critical, as without it the FileVault gets corrupted.

Create a complete backup of the Mac

By logging into the maintenance account, a complete backup of the Mac’s contents can be made into an external drive. This saves everything on your Mac and a restore will return your system to its exact current condition.

Create a backup of all your files

After logging out of the maintenance user account and logging in the normal user account, a backup of all the files on the Mac can be made using the Retrospect solution.

Create a whole-drive backup solution

Creating a backup solution of the entire drive is optional, but it is advisable to do so. The SuperDuper software and an external drive can be used for this. It is always safe to have a bootable backup of all the files as you never really know when your system decides to take a walk on the wild side.

Set a master password

A master password can be set by going to Security in the System Preferences option. It is recommended to write down the master password in a secure place in case you forget it.

Request password to wake computer

The settings on the bottom can be changed to request a password to wake the computer, whenever it is on sleep mode. Automatic login can be disabled as it leaves the system open to anyone and everyone while you are away or busy….not a very good idea if you have confidential material on your Mac.

Find more great Mac articles in our articles section.

For more great Mac articles, resources, tools and downloads, visit: Macintosh Tools. You can also visit our blog for the latest industry news and tips.

5 Mac Security Tips You Can’t Live Without

So, you’ve bought a new Macintosh, and now you may be wondering how to make it safer. There are several things that you can do which will protect your Mac from viruses and hackers. Macs are already very difficult to hack, but don’t let that fact allow you to become lenient with your security.

1. Download all of the software updates available. This seems like a no-brainer, but some Mac users forget to download the newest updates. You can even set your computer to automatically download new updates. However, some dial-up users encounter trouble when trying to downloaded updates. If you are a dial-up user, the best suggestion is to leave your Mac on overnight and let it download. Apple releases many programs that fix bugs in iLife applications, and in Mac OS X. Probably the most important of these updates are the security updates. Apple periodically offers security updates for its operating systems (Panther and Tiger).

2. Be careful what you download. Some people use P2P downloads for Macintosh (I.E. Poisoned). Be careful when downloading using a P2P because you do not know where the music or file is coming from. Some P2P users specifically make corrupted files to send via music downloading programs. Generally, it is a good idea to stick to iTunes, because those files are ACC Protected and offered through Apple so they certainly won’t have viruses.

3. Choose the best and safest Internet Browser. Safari comes standard on all new Macs as part of iLife. However, some people do not enjoy Safari as much as others. Some say that Safari is not as safe from hackers as other browsers. Safari can also be a problem if you are going to a web page that requires a version of Internet Explorer or Netscape to view it. You can download Internet Explorer and Netscape for Mac, but again, some believe that these browsers are not as safe from hackers. Many people believe that Mozilla Firefox (my personal favorite) is the safest browser to use because of its customizable features. Firefox is available for downloading on the Macintosh.

4. Don’t be afraid to buy anti-virus software. If you have to download files from the internet as part of a job or hobby, then it is probably a good idea to have some sort of anti-virus software on your Macintosh. Apple provides a wide-variety of anti-virus software that is constantly updated.

5. Finally, keep an eye on those e-mail attachments and instant messages. Some hackers have programmed viruses to IM you from one of your friends’ screen names. Don’t click on any link without knowing what it is first. Most e-mail providers use virus scans automatically, but you should always be extra careful when downloading an attachment. If it is from someone you do not know, don’t trust it.

Apple computers are very safe from hackers, but they can always be improved. Keeping a computer safe, and running well requires a great amount of time and energy. Just remember that if your computer is safe, your Apple experience will be much more rewarding.

Paulo Fretowski enjoys writing about computers because he uses them for his job with BizNicheMedia.

Computer Networking For Your Business

Network your computers! Transform your business with computer networking.

So what is a computer network? What does it do for your business?

You may already understand the significance of this, but for all of you that want to know that have computers at home and/or at the office, a computer network is an interconnected group of computers. Networking computers basically maximises the usage of your hardware resources.

For example a printer can be shared amongst users thus avoiding the purchase of another printer.

The other main advantage is the sharing of documents, calendars, meetings, internet access and the ability to send and receive email. But best of all you increase your business productivity!

If you are a small business the minimum requirement is two computers. You only need to network two computers. This is a really basic setup and does not offer any security to protect your files.

The best way to go about it, is to get yourself a small business file server. One of the most popular server operating systems is Microsoft Windows 2003 Small Business Server which is a file, print, email server in its basic form. There is also an enhanced version that provide proxy and firewall features.

There are many hardware platforms to choose from, but through experience I found that IBM, HP and Dell provide that most stable and supported platforms. Servers nowadays are not expensive and can be acquired for under $2k for a basic setup.

Then you will need to add an UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) to protect your server from power fluctuations and black outs, a tape backup unit and software to save your precious data, extra memory to improve performance, extra hard disk drives for fault tolerance and protect your system from storage device failures.

Since everyone is on the internet today, you will be obtaining a broadband service in the form of cable or dsl type connection, add a router, add a modem and you are nearly there.

You will need to acquire an internet domain by registering it with any of the domain registrars available, a web hosting service for your website.

The internet domain is very important because it defines your internet identity. Your email addresses will be setup according to your domain name.

This projects a professional image in comparison to a hotmail, gmail, yahoo or isp account. The email service can be an in-house type which is the best option or hosted at your ISP.

You will require applications loaded on your server and desktops, configure network security, user profiles, logon scripts etc.

As you can understand, even though it may seem a straight forward procedure, there are complexities in installing, setting up, maintaining a computer network. and would be best to employ the services of an IT specialist.

Ipnotech has been providing professional information technology solutions and services for the last 15 years.

Alfred Buatti is the owner of Ipnotech. Alfred has been a Novell Certified Engineer back in the early 90s and has progressively embraced the latest Microsoft business solutions such as Windows 2003 and Exchange 2003 server to meet current business’ requirements.

He is a Microsoft Certified Professional and has worked for clients such as ANZ Bank, Alitalia Airlines, Commonwealth Funds Management, Bankers Trust Australia and was instrumental in the design, implementation and maintenance of the IT infrastructures of Saeco Australia, CMS Coffee Machine Services, Lonsdale Accounting, Regent Finance and Mortice and Tenon.

Whether you need desktop installations or server deployments, you can rest assured that you are getting an enterprise quality solution and service at the right investment level for your business.

We operate in Melbourne and suburbs.

Our in depth experience can help your business in the following IT areas:

Computer networks, IT infrastructure management, Windows 2000/2003 servers, Exchange 2000/2003 servers, Backup solutions, Terminal servers, Local Area Networks, Router configuration, Internet security Data recovery, Desktop management, Wired and Wireless networks, Wide Area Networks, Domain registration, Web hosting, Remote support, Virtual Private Networking.

You can find us at: http://www.ipnotech.com to get more information.

A Stitch in Time Saves More Than Nine

Be afraid… be very afraid! Is your computer running slowly of late? Are files vanishing with regularity from your hard drive? Is your hard drive’s light blinking madly even when you are not accessing the same? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, it is high time that you scanned your PC for malwares.

There are different types of malwares out there in the wild and they are targeting vulnerable PC’s like yours. Most people just install an antivirus program and are contented in the knowledge that their computer is safe from prying eyes. This is a gross misunderstanding. There was a time, a decade of so ago, when a decent antivirus was more that sufficient to protect your PC from various kinds of attacks, but nowadays it is not adequate. While new and dangerous viruses are being unleashed with rapid regularity, some new breeds of malware are ruling the roost. These are generally termed as malwares and consist of adwares, trojans, keyloggers, spywares, etc. Then there are phishing websites that look like a real website, but are a disguised version of the same.

All these things have just a single intent in mind and that is to secure your private information without alerting you. Are you sure that your bank’s website is the genuine? Hid you check out for the ‘https://’ in the url or not? Did you visit your bank’s website by clicking on the link you received, purportedly, from your bankers via an email that threatened that your bank’s account would be freezed unless you changed your password. The email included a link to the password changing section of your bank’s website. You can bet that this link leads to a phishing website that resembles your bank’s website accurately.

Even if you have not received any email and are just checking your account status via online banking, is there any guarantee that your details are not being compromised? If your computer is infected with a keylogger, each and every keystroke of yours is being recorded and is being sent to some unauthorized person via the internet. Yes, these people can easily gain access to your credit card information and even the details of your bank account, including the logging name and password. Does this sound very scary? It should and you should be afraid… very afraid, unless you have taken proper precautions.

There are certain programs available for free on the net and by using them; you can thwart the intentions of these malicious persons. Though no program guarantees to protect your PC from all types of attacks, the level of protection gets enhanced if you install a few of them. You can search and install a few freeware programs like ‘Adaware’, ‘Spybot Search & Destroy’, and ‘Spywareblaster’ to enhance the security of your PC while surfing the net or while accessing your email. Ensure that you download them from the author’s or publisher’s website only. Install them and update their signatures on a regular basis, preferably daily. This will help increase the security of your PC.

I’ll follow up with more articles which will further educate you about these creatures, how to identify them, how they gain access to your PC and how you can prevent them from attacking your PC. I’ll also follow up with in depth articles that will guide you to keep your computer safe and secure.

The author of this article is a freelance typographer and also writes articles. He can be contacted at: parsibagan@gmail.com

Laptop Locks and Security Tips

There are several things to keep in mind when deciding on a laptop lock. How often do you travel with your laptop?

If you take it with you everywhere, from home to school to work to the coffee shop then you need something light and portable. No one likes to carry more weight then they have to. So a big clunky lock will always get left behind and never used.

What kind of places do you take your laptop to? If you spend a lot of time in public place, like coffee shops and libraries, then a stronger laptop lock is for you. They are also heavier, but it may be worth while to carry the extra weight.

How important is your laptop to you?

Of course, this is an easy question… However consider this. If you back up your laptop daily and will not miss the information because you can restore it in a few minutes, and you have an older laptop you wouldn’t mind replacing… Then you may consider not even using a lock.

You may say: “I wish someone would steal my laptop, I could use a new one!”

I hear this often. It’s a bad idea.

What if your laptop grows legs and walks away in the middle of working on something important?

Is the value of your old laptop worth claiming on insurance? Your deductible may be too high. And it may cause your insurance rates to increase.

Also, do you want to be “Forced” into an upgrade when you are not ready? If you use Windows XP you be forced to buy something new that comes Windows Vista. Do you have the time to learn a new operating system?

Most important: How much is your information worth?

Do you have client’s personal information on your laptop? If your client’s information falls into the wrong hands the privacy laws hold YOU responsible because YOU did not secure your data on your laptop.

You may say: “My information if safe, I have a password on Windows!”

I’m sorry to break the bad news to you. The Windows password is a tamper proofing level of security at best. It can be bypassed with simple software that can be downloaded for free for anyone who has access to the Internet.
So why even use the windows password?

Like I said, it’s a good tamper proofing feature. The software that allows a thief or hacker to bypass the windows password does not reveal your password. It allows them to set a new password. In other words, you will know that someone has reset your password because your password will no longer work.

Make sure you lock you laptop to the desk with a laptop lock and log out of windows when you leave you laptop at your desk while you take a break. If you are heading out for a longer period of time, take it with you.

The bottom line is that it is your responsibility to protect it.

Ben Kayfetz has been providing laptop locks and other security solutions since 1991.

How to Manage a Voice and Data Communications Network

In order to build a modernized business, you will need to first practice using a standard computer and familiarize yourself with all the functions that your business requires. Once you know the drill, you can then proceed in building a network of computers and start learning how that works and how a server can manage these units effectively. But work doesn’t end after a network is built because networks require administration to function properly and steps are needed when expanding the functionalities of the network. Mastering this yields a great milestone leading to many new possibilities in making your IT business flourish.

One of the possibilities may lead to that network becoming a voice and data communications network. This is a special type of network that has units that are capable of transmitting both voice and data packets as a form of communication. In order for voice and data communication networks to be properly managed, you as a network administrator must do an assessment and see if all the units and network setup are physically capable for these communications. The network size or components of the individual computers in the network may serve as a bottleneck and hinder the overall performance if voice is used. By complying with the requirements through means of research or hiring a 3rd party to help assess, the network should run smoothly without problems.

Managing it is another story because like any type of network, you should make sure that the entire network is secure and that all known vulnerabilities are plugged. It is equally important to keep up-to-date with the latest tech news and see if there are new threats that may cause harm to your voice and data communications network.

Voice in a network is usually meant for the receiving parties to receive and any unauthorized access may affect the whole network and business in many destructive ways. Never underestimate security concerns even if security has never been an issue in the past. You never know what new harmful viruses and trojans may have against an unprotected network.

If your knowledge in setting up a voice and data communications network isn’t that great, try hiring a company that knows how to implement so both the security and performance are taken into consideration. Some companies can identify problems with the network and fix it right away whilst others evaluate all the components of the network and list down all possible items that need upgrading. Hardware plays an important factor in these kind of networks as insufficient requirements may prevent or slow down all operations involved. Voice contains audio data unlike the standard data which is text only making it weigh more in terms of file size and therefore, requires additional bandwidth.

Should you decide to upgrade the network, do some more testing and see if the voice and data operations still run at top performance. If the performance shows some decline, upgrading hardware should fix the problem. Managing a voice and data communications network is all about keeping your components up to date, observing network security and testing if their operations run smoothly.

Derek Rogers is a freelance writer who writes for a number of UK businesses. For information on Voice and Data Communications Network, he recommends Network 24, a leading UK provider of Communication Networks.

How Safe Are Mac Users From Spyware?

Currently, it is true to say that any Spyware program targeted at Mac computers would spread at a rather slow speed for one simple reason. And that is the fact that only about 3 per cent of the computers linked to the World Wide Web today are macs using Mac OS or Mac operating system.

What this means is that every time the virus attempts to spread, it will find that 97 per cent of the time they will be facing a PC or non-mac computer.

Unfortunately the result of this has been to give many Mac users a false sense of security that is laving an increasing number of them very vulnerable. The reality is that there are numerous Spyware and Adware malicious software in the market today that are capable of attacking and infecting Mac users.

There has even been talk for sometime now that it is only a matter of time before a hybrid software capable of infecting both Microsoft Windows and Mac OS hits the web. This kind of software ld spread very rapidly and wreck havoc amongst Mac users most of whom are vulnerable to such an attack due to the inadequate protection that most have.

Yet there is really no excuse and every Mac user should take the threat very seriously indeed and take a serious look at Adware and Spyware removal programs available for the Mac. The need for free mac spyware removal programs that are available online is rapidly growing and there is no reason why every Mac user should not take advantage of them and thus protect themselves from a real danger and threat that is capable of causing havoc and serious damage.

Read more on spyware dangers you must avoid for your Mac.

How to Protect Your Computer

It is very obvious that more people are using computers these days and more people are on the web on daily basis. For this reason most computer users are now increasingly concerned with web safety. Computer safety tips are sought after more and more. The predominant availability of personal computers and connections to the internet provides most people with around the clock access to information, financial services, and shopping. The World Wide Web is also an amazing tool for educators and students to communicate and learn. However, this frequent use of computer brings out more and more hackers and con artists and requires that web users observe some essential tips on how to protect their computer.

It is so unfortunate that certain individuals take advantage of the Internet to perpetrate criminal activities. As with any new technology, there are always individuals prepared to exploit this great new technology illegally for personal gain. Hackers can try to gain illegal access to your computer and then utilize that login to take over your identity, defraud you, or even launch internet attacks against other web users. By following the preferred computer safety tips outlined below, you can minimize the harm cyber hackers can do not only to your computer, but to many other people’s computer.

Unfortunately, there is not a single computer security method or technological solution that will eliminate online crime. These generally accepted computer safety tips highlight that using practices that include Internet habits as well as technological solutions can make a difference. Technical solutions (software) are increasingly necessary and cannot be eliminated with just good practices.

The following recommended computer safety tips will to some extent help you protect your computer from unauthorized access.

  1. Whenever you’re online or offline try to protect your private information. Make sure you know who you’re communicating with on the internet. Especially when you are in a chat room. Do not give out your password, social security number, and credit card number
  2. Remember the web is like a shopping mall where any body can enter. Protect your computer with the use of anti-virus software, a firewall, and anti-spyware software to ensure your computer is protected and secure
  3. Be sure that you do regular update of your computer
  4. Be sure to use very strong passwords to protect your information. Do not use your nickname or your surname. When using numbers, do not use your birthday
  5. Do not forget to back up critical files