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Google Fortifies the Security of Chrome with Improved Encryption Protection

Google is all geared up to improve its security settings with its next release of Chrome browser. It is now going to encrypt all search queries sent from the software. The next version of Chrome is now available in the beta channel and all searches will be encrypted using the Secure Socket Layer (SSL).

When a browser uses SSL to encrypt any information from a browser to a website, then you get a green padlock on the web address in the address box. Google calls this little padlock, ‘omnibox’, as it works as a place to put in your search terms as well as insert your URL.

As a user, you will not see much difference in your browsing experience, because of this new feature. Of course, you will notice an improved speed in getting your search results because of Google’s use of the SPDY protocol in the software.

Encryption is the new way to go

Though Google started using encryption for search queries for Chrome users signed in to their Google accounts in 2011, it has now extended to all the browser users whether logged into Google account or not.

Mozilla started encryption for Google searches performed through Firefox browser in July 2012. Apple followed next by enabling search encryption on Safari by September 2012.

Encryption is one of the safest ways to search online today. It prevents a marketer from getting information from a website about searches performed.

How to enable BitLocker Drive Encryption on Windows 7

Bitlocking of Physical memory drives started with Windows Vista and has been continued in Windows 7 however if we use the BitLocked drive on a Vista or XP machine we might face some problems. Problems like partitions on the drive would appear as FAT32 and all space would appear occupied. Users might see another small partition formatted as FAT 32 other than the one which has the data on it.  This happens only if the media was encrypted using the BitLocker in windows 7 and now the drive is used on a Windows XP or Windows Vista machine. Now when you take this disk on other XP or Vista machine then the entire media would be displayed as using FAT32 and totally occupied. You would also not have any read/write access to the drive. If you connect such drive to a Digital camera, or an MP3 player then the device would not detect the drive at all.

This happens because when Windows 7 encrypts a drive using BitLocker it creates a discovery volume which is formatted in FAT32 file system in case of removable media. This discovery partition created by Windows 7 remains invisible in Windows 7 but gets visible in other operating systems. This discovery partition carries the BitLocking code which is an auto run application which allows the user to read and write to the encrypted partition. The discovery partition is visible, but the actual encrypted partition goes invisible. This post is for discussing the reasons of this kind of problems and how to fix the same.

First and foremost I would like to mention that there is no concrete resolution for this problem but there are two workarounds for dealing with such situations. Both the workarounds are mentioned below.

Method 1: Decrypt the partition using any Window 7 computer. This can be done by clicking on the start menu and typing bitlocker in it. This will list BitLocker Drive Encryption in the Start menu and we need to click on it. If the system asks for elevation then elevate the controls or just provide the Administrator’s password if prompted. Once the Window for BitLocker opens click on Turn Off BitLocker. You will find this option under Removable drive block and after clicking on this option click on Decrypt. This action decrypts the attached removable media and then it can be used on other Windows XP or Windows Vista computers without any problems.

Method 2: Format the removable media with FAT file system. Before doing this make sure that you connect your encrypted media to any Windows 7 computer and take the backup of data saved on it. To format the drive connect it to any Windows based computer and then open Computer window to view the drive once it gets detected and installed by the operating system. Now Right Click on the drive and click on Format in the context menu. When you have the Format Window select FAT as the file system and format the drive using it.

Please note that the methods given above are only workarounds and they sacrifice the BitLocking encryption done by Windows 7.

How to Secure Your Network With Encryption and A Security Key

Wireless Network Users face the risk of unknown/unwanted individuals gaining access to their private files, information and photos on the network. This could lead to unfortunate circumstances when someone who is able to receive the signal from your network indulges in illegal acts such as identity theft.

One way to protect you from this risk and such attacks is to set up a ‘security passphrase or key’. This way you can prevent unauthorized access to your network by anyone picking up your network signals. Encrypting data exchanged on the network is also another way to protect your network.

To set a security key, use the ‘Wizard for setting up a new Network’

 

  • Click Start, open Control Panel, and then type in “network” in the search box –– click on Network and Sharing Center, and then click on “Set up a new network or connection

Take note that Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA/WPA2) is considerably more secure than WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy). If WPA or WPA2 doesn’t work, then it is suggested that you upgrade your network adapter that works with WPA or WPA2. All your devices, including router, computer and access points must also support WPA/WPA2.

Encryption techniques for wireless

There are three types of wireless network encryption: Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), Wi-fi Protected Access (WPA/WPA2) and 802.1x.

Wi‑Fi Protected Access (WPA and WPA2)

WPA/WPA2 asks users to provide a security key, which once validated will encrypt all the data transmitted between your PC and the router.

There are primarily two types of WPA authentication, WPA and WPA2. Most experts recommend WPA as it is effectively more secure.

Users of WPA – Personal and WPA2 – Personal are given the same security key and is the recommended method for home networks while WPA-Enterprise and WPA 2- Enterprise are designed are used with an 802.1x providing distinct keys to each individual user. This mode is usually used in work networks

Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)

WEP is not a recommended option however this mode is still available to support old devices. To enable WEP you need to create a security key, which will encrypt all the information that one PC transmits to another PC across your network.

There are two kinds of WEP: open system authentication and shared key authentication. New Windows versions does not support automatic creation of network using WEP shared Key authentication as it is one of the least secure option .

To create a network profile using WEP

  • Click ‘Start’, open control panel, type in ‘Network and Sharing Center’ in the search box and then click Network and Sharing Center.
  • Click “Set up a new connection or network”
  • Click “Manually connect to a wireless network, followed by “Next”
  • On the “Enter information” for the wireless network you wish to add, under ‘Security
  • Type” click WEP, complete the remaining page and click “Next”
  • Click “Change connection settings”, click the “Security Tab”, and click “shared” under “Security type”
  • Click “OK”, followed by “CLOSE”

How can I tell if my BIOS supports BitLocker Drive Encryption?

A complete disk encryption feature designed by Microsoft, the BitLocker Drive Encryption provides full protection to your data by providing an encryption for your important data. Well, if you wish to use this BitLocker Drive encryption system with your Trusted Platform Module (TPM) for securing your computer’s operating system drive, there are certain requirements that you should meet with. Well, most primarily it is extremely essential that your computer includes a well suited BIOS. If in case the BitLocker Drive encryption and the TPM system fail to work together with your BIOS and the TPM security hardware, then you should immediately contact your hardware manufacturer for the related troubleshooting details and its particular configuration.

The BitLocker Drive encryption also helps you by protecting the operating system drive of your computers without a suitable TPM based security hardware. However, in such cases, you being the user should insert the BitLocker start-up key into your computer using a flash drive. But, this should be done before you start your computer. How to activate the Bitlocker without the TPM security? Well, in order to make use of your BitLocker without the TPM security hardware, it is extremely essential that your computer BIOS supports the USB Flash drive processing in its initial startup process.

When you start up this BitLocker Drive encryption settings wizard in your computers operating system drive through the Windows Explorer or the Control Panel, by default the system checks for the most compatible TPM before it follows any step for enabling the BitLocker feature. However, in order to implement this exclusive feature in your computers without the appropriate TPM, you should first modify the current require additional authentication at startup Group Policy setting. Also, you should choose the Allow BitLocker option without selecting the check box for compatible TPM. As a result of this, the BitLocker Drive encryption system will then make use of the key information that is stored in your USB drive for encrypting all the content stored into the particular drive. Once the drive is properly encrypted based on this method, you should then insert your USB key into the computer every time it is started. This will help you to validate that you are authorized to access all the content stored in this protected drive.

However, if you are using the BitLocker Drive encryption on your computer for successfully running the Windows Server 2008 or perhaps the Windows Vista, you should also enable the desired require additional authentication at startup Group Policy setting. This is necessary for configuring the startup methods for all the computers. Also, when you enable the BitLocker for the first time and before the drive is encrypted, the Bitlocker feature setup wizard provides you the chance to check the availability of your USB flash drive in the initial starting process. In case the BIOS does not support the particular functionality, you will not be able to encrypt the desired drive. However, you can follow the other methods for protecting the content in your drive.

Google Slurps up Confidential Personal Data

The attorneys hired by Google reckon that its harvesting operations intended for WiFi data will be judged in the proper area in the USA. This is the latest statement made by the firm, despite the fact that the hacks being taken at Google nowadays come non-stop. In fact, Europe, at present, is one of Google’s biggest court frenemies.

The Director of Public Policy of Google, Pablo Chavez said in a letter for the Congressman that harvesting any data from wireless networks, despite being unencrypted, was, and still is, legal in the United States. In fact, he was very direct in saying that he believes what they did was not in any violation with regards to American laws. They merely collected payload data from certain networks that have been readily configured to be publicly accessible. Since the networks were not secured with the means of any encryption technology, everything was accessible, even with the use of the user’s device.

However, he did submissively admit that the practice was a mistake on the part of Google. He even reiterates that sticking to the US laws and doing the right thing are two very different matters. What he considers as a mistake was the fact that they collected payload data. He ends his statement by profoundly saying the word “sorry”.

It was only very recently that the best law enforcement authorities in Connecticut, with a claim on thirty states, decided to launch a set of combined investigative procedures into how the street view fleet of Google was able to intercept and store certain communications only with the use of WiFi.

The French Data Protection has already found out that top secret passwords as well as emails were harvested. This is the main reason why Google is looked down upon in several of France’s neighboring countries. In fact, some have even blatantly expressed their anger towards the company and have vigorously warned numerous court actions.

However, Google remains, or, at least, claims, to be clean in such mess. They blame everything on a particular rogue software coder and strongly say that whoever was responsible for such mess will be subjected to internal disciplinary measures.

The Information Commissioner has already released a statement about accepting Google’s assurances, regarding the immediate destruction of any data that was collected from the United Kingdom.

Indeed, Google is in hot water these days, just because of a few things that some hired cars did. However, to date, Google assures that they have, and will, never intentionally collect or store any payload data from any WiFi site, such as personal information or log in pass keys. This was why it was a huge embarrassment for Google to admit that there really was a payload data collection that occurred.

Although Google might be able to get out of this dilemma because of their “It was all an honest mistake” admission, it seems that the company will be facing a huge downside caused by this mess.

The public now knows that Google develops services as well as products without being fully knowledgeable about everything that that particular product can do. Some critics have strongly shook their heads on this blatant display of desperation on Google’s part for collecting confidential data through illegal means, only to end up slapping their own faces and regret having done such collection.

Mozilla Strikes Users with Encryption

Inspired by the Web search option of Google, EFF, which stands for Electronic Frontier Foundation, along with the project they called the TOR, which actually decided to release last Thursday a new public beta version of an add-on of Firefox. This add-on can allow the browser’s users to encrypt information and other communications data with famous websites such as Facebook and Twitter.

The new add-on is called HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) Everywhere, which works by coming up with an HTTPS connection to several websites. However, it was emphasized in the release that although HTTPS is being used, unless the address bar is colored and an unbroken lock icon is displayed in the bottom right corner, the page cannot be considered as completely encrypted.

With the said add-on, it isn’t however guaranteed that IP addresses can be hidden and that the users aren’t potentially exposed to tracking from failed SSL sessions which can allow the display of unencrypted third party sites’ contents. But the thought that our often used websites can be encrypted is a big relief already, right?

For some who aren’t familiar with the word encryption, this is actually a technical term which connotes the process of transforming information to make it unreadable to other people or parties except for those who hold a password or key. The result of such process is known as encrypted information or encrypted data depending on the type of file that underwent the process. Through encryption, data at rest, such as computer files that are important but not use; in transit, such as data being transferred to other networks; and even private messages can be protected.

Long before the dawn of the World Wide Web, the military has already been using this process to cover certain communication data for security purposes. At present, several institutions, both government and civilian also use the said process in order to protect files and classified data. In addition, encryption can also be beneficial for the transfer of files to protect data between sources and receivers. Should security measures fail, it can still be assured that encrypted files are left untouched and unread.

Now that the encryption of websites is possible in the Mozilla Firefox browser, technology has proven once again that it continues to evolve and that it never fails to surprise its avid users. As we all know, while the World Wide Web expands each day, internet related crimes also grow in number which include hacking. However, with encryption, users are now becoming more confident that security is well provided and not taken for granted.

In addition to Twitter and Facebook, HTTPS Everywhere also works with:

  • Google Search,
  • Wikipedia,
  • The New York Times,
  • PayPal,
  • Ixquick,
  • EFF,
  • Tor, and
  • The Washington Post.

Hopefully, in the months to come, more sites will be added as this add-on continues to work. Furthermore, humps with regards to other security issues shall be polished so as Firefox users can be 100% secure of the browser. It is also safe to say that soon, other browsers such as Internet Explorer, Netscape, and Google Chrome among others will surely adapt to this new innovation not just for marketing purposes but for the greater benefit of their users.

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Call Now: +1 833-522-1003
Call Now: +1 833-522-1003