DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE

A reader shared her computer disaster and we want to pass on the warning. Her iPhone broke and she spent five hours at the Apple store before the guys at the “Genius Bar” (they really do have a “genius bar”) suggested she get a new one. Fortunately, she’d copied her contacts and appointments from her phone onto her Windows PC. Unfortunately, during backup, she didn’t notice a small box that was already checked and automatically encrypted the contents. Later, she didn’t remember the password to undo the encryption. “Keep trying to think of the password,” said the guys at genius bar. (Don’t think we need a genius for that advice.) Frustrated, she tried the $29 “iPhone Backup Extractor,” from Download.com, […]

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RUNAWAY GAME COSTS

In the Android world of tablets and phones, game costs pile up. We heard about a child who spent $70 on her new adventure game before mother caught on. Most of the money for these games goes for buying “equipment.” Like: everybody needs a light sword these days. Where have you been?

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DASHING TO AND FRO

What prompted all this examination of password protection, (see next post) is trying out a program called “Dashlane.” It has received lots of publicity, all of it full of praise. Our experience: not so good.

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WHAT’S THE PASSWORD?

There are several programs that will save your passwords and other critical private information — and they promise to be uncrackable too. We dutifully try as many as come in, and have come to the conclusion that you can do just as well on your own.

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IN THE VAULT

When we admitted to losing a smart phone with all our passwords stored on board, a reader wrote to suggest” “Why not use the Vault?”

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HACKED!

One in five hacked logins match Microsoft accounts. What’s happening is that people sign in to their Xbox, Skydrive, Messenger, Hotmail and other accounts with the same user name and password. In short, it may not be a good idea to use the same password for lots of different apps.

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LAST PASS

LastPass removes all passwords saved by your computer when you surf the web, so hackers can’t get at them. It also saves an encrypted version of your password list online and automatically fills in your passwords when you visit your favorite sties.

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PASSWORDS

DocLock lets you load an image which contains your password, so you don’t have to remember it. It also encrypts your files.

(CLICK UNDERLINE BELOW HEADING FOR MORE.)

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FREE PASSWORD PROGRAM

Everyone touts RoboForm Password Manager as a free online service for saving passwords. A new one we tried is PassPack.com, another free service that saves every password securely online. Sit down at any computer and recover those hard-to-remember passwords and “pin” numbers. You can also safely send passwords to colleagues, or share private messages. Start by logging in to PassPack and clicking on an icon to copy your password information to your clipboard. To paste it into your account, you can hold down “CNTRL” and tap the “V” key in Windows, or the Command and V keys on the Mac. The service has an option that lets you log-in automatically to all your favorite accounts as soon as you sign […]

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CODE CRACKER

ElcomSoft’s password cracker is so good they almost went to jail for it. Now they have a new beta version for the iPhone and iPod Touch that can crack any password, encrypted or not, to retrieve address books, call logs, text message archives, calendars, photos, voice mails, emails, apps and Web history. The beta version is free to try at elcomsoft.com/download/eppb.zip. ElcomSoft is a Russian software company specializing in cryptography. They sell numerous programs for cracking encrypted files, passwords, protection codes, etc. Some are quite expensive: $1,400. But others cost as little $39. Is any of this legal? Well, apparently it is. We did some research and found that this is a more open issue than one would think. Several […]

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