Yes You Can Shred a Hard Drive

Mark Berry December 12, 2013

Normally when I decommission a computer, I use Darik’s Boot and Nuke to wipe the hard drive to Department of Defense standards. However, if the hard drive has crashed, you can’t wipe it but it probably still contains recoverable data, so for security it must be destroyed. Also, shredding is probably the only safe disposal option for SSDs, which can’t be wiped using standard programs.

I found a place nearby that does hard drive shredding for $9.95 while you watch.

Before

2013.12.12.Hard drive before shredding

After

2013.12.12.Hard drive after shredding

In San Diego, check out Total Secure Shredding.

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List Users and Their SIDs

Mark Berry December 15, 2012

An incredibly useful one-liner:

wmic useraccount get domain,name,sid

Run that from an administrative command prompt while logged in as a domain admin to list all the users and their SIDs. Very handy when trying to decode security events, file permissions, etc. Credit goes to this article.

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Free Laptop Anti-Theft Tracking

Mark Berry September 5, 2011

This is pretty cool:  preyproject.com.

You install a small piece of software on your laptop or phone. If you lose the device, log in to the Prey web site and change the device’s status to Missing. The software will capture a screen shot, webcam shot, geographical location (using GPS or WiFi triangulation), and a bunch of system and network info. You can even sound a loud siren through the speakers if you think the device is nearby. I tested it on a laptop and it geo-located it within one house!

Up to three devices are free; Pro plans are available. Works with Windows, Mac, and Android.

I read about Prey in the article 4 simple steps to bulletproof laptop security. Besides, theft and loss recovery, the article also describes strong passwords, fingerprint readers, and full-disk encryption, all of which I’m already using.

Contact MCB Systems if you’d like to beef up laptop security in your environment.

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Configure Security Auditing by Subcategory Using Group Policy

Mark Berry April 16, 2011

I like to be able to review the Windows Security log to see who has logged on to a computer, among other things. This means that I need to audit Success as well as Failure events. However, with Windows 7 and 2008 R2, my old auditing policies are generating so many events that it takes a huge Security log just to hold one day’s worth of events. I finally dug in to audit subcategories to disable some overly verbose events.

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How Secure are TrueCrypt and BitLocker?

Mark Berry August 3, 2010

I’ve been using TrueCrypt for a while, and have recently switched to BitLocker. My main purpose is to encrypt backup disks that are taken off site, though I plan to use BitLocker for an internal data volume as well.

Recently a colleague noticed that a $495 program called Passware Kit Enterprise is claiming “Instant decryption of BitLocker To Go USB disks.” In fact they claim to be able to decrypt BitLocker and TrueCrypt disks, as well as PGP volumes. Really? How does that work? Are my efforts to encrypt sensitive data useless?

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