Your email. Your bank account. Your address and credit card number. Photos of your kids or, worse, of yourself, naked. The precise location where you’re sitting right now as you read these words. Since the dawn of the information age, we’ve bought into the idea that a password, so long as it’s elaborate enough, is an adequate means of protecting all this precious data. But in 2012 that’s a fallacy, a fantasy, an outdated sales pitch. And anyone who still mouths it is a sucker—or someone who takes you for one.

No matter how complex, no matter how unique, your passwords can no longer protect you.. (Wired Magazine: Kill the Password: Why a String of Characters Can’t Protect Us Anymore)

In a shocking article written by a person who can only be called a computer superuser, he explains why Internet security has finally become a myth

First off, most of us commit fundamental mistakes with passwords. Some people even use "password" or "123456" as their password. This means the bad guys hardly even have to guess. They'll try those first and be correct often enough to make it worth their while.

We're told passwords need to be long and random and include upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and even punctuation to be safe, but with the processing power available using today's personal computers, cracking even elaborate passwords is possible. 

And even where a password is long and effective at thwarting even automated guessing, the bad guys can simply get on the phone and trick a customer service person into giving it up. All they need is one or two facts about you. Sometimes the bad guys bluff their way into an account with no information at all! They change the password and then rummage around for information they can use to bluff their way in more easily to some of your other accounts.

One mistake many of us make (and sometimes are forced to make) is to log into some site using our Facebook or Twitter login. This linking of accounts has made it much easier for the baddies to take over or modify to their benefit everything you value online, obtaining credit card numbers, your bank account login and pin, If they are pranksters, they could log into your Facebook account and leave offensive racist or sexist posts.

Back to passwords for a sec. The usual advice was not to reuse passwords on multiple sites and to make them long and hard to guess. They also told us not to write them down. I'm reminded of that poster you often see in print shops: "You want it good and cheap and fast? Pick two and call me back." Even one long and elaborate password would be hard to recall without writing it down, but most of us have at least a half dozen sites requiring passwords. It's become impossible to follow the best password advice.

But what about fingerprint or iris scanning? They have a big problem. There are ways to copy and use them. If a crook or prankster figures out how to duplicate your fingerprint or iris pattern, you're screwed. At least you can change a password.

Even if all that stuff worked, there are so many ways to go around the front end straight to back end of a computer system. A baddie can install software to record information over a period of time that could be short or long and then use that information to the detriment of one or hundreds of thousands of people. For example, it could collect credit card numbers given to an online merchant and then sell them to the highest bidder or, if he's a prankster, dump them on any of the sites where password trading goes on.

You can find out more about this topic by pursuing the link following the italicized paragraphs at the top.

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Does it emulate Windows well enough that I can run all my most useful software on it?

Good question... Gallup's Mirror?

There is an Windows emulator called Wine on it but it isn't always the perfect solution. It does run a lot of programs but also a lot that doesn't run. You never know until you try.

There are plenty of free alternatives for MS Office like Libre or Open office, fully featured programs (for free I may add). Linux Mint (an offshoot of Ubuntu) boasts 40731 packages in it's library that are free to download. The library is similar to a free app store built in to Ubuntu/Mint.

The turn side is that Linux/Ubuntu is an entirely different operating system. There are plenty of similarities with Windows but there is also greatly different approaches which need some familiarising.

Linux (Mint is the operating system of choice for me if you are going to give something a spin) recognizes that people are hesitant to change operating systems. For that purpose they have created a downloadable distribution (short distro) that will run from CD, DVD or USB stick so you can give it a spin before you even install it.

All flavours of Linux that I am aware of are free to download at: I suggest you start with Linux Mint or Ubuntu.

There is specialized Linux distros for medical use, musicians, hackers, Windows Vista lookalikes, and I have even glanced a Christian version of Linux somewhere. Take your pick, burn a CD or two and try some out. Use common sense when installing and multi booting. Word of caution, multi boot with Windows 8 is currently still poorly supported.

I hope this was informative for you.

The program that most concerns me because it's unique is ThumbsPlus. Originally a program designed to create thumbnail gallery pages for large numbers of photos, so many features ;have been added to it that it's become indispensable. I so wish it were on Mac, and I even asked the developer (Cerious Software) when a Mac version would be available and they basically it would not be feasible. What's makes it so valuable to me? I shoot huge quantities of photos in sets. ThumbsPlus makes it easy to perform multiple operations on each photo on a batch basis. I can rotate the ones that need rotating while making color adjustments, sharpening them, watermarking them, renaming them, and more, all in one pass.

I had a Mac for a while assuming there must be a Mac program that could do what ThumbsPlus could do in as easy and friendly a way.

No. So I'm a pro photographer who uses a PC, not a Mac. If ThumbsPlus doesn't run flawlessly on Linux, not interested.

Meh, no worries. We all understood you! Thanks for the good information!

GM would I be able to run the programmes I use for CAD on Ubuntu if I migrated and thanks for the advice on password generation

I guess that phone ain't so smart after all. (snicker,snicker) :)

If someone wants your information badly enough, nothing short of the greatest security measures the world has to offer is going to stop them.

I, for one, really wouldn't care about having things stolen. I don't own a single credit card (debit only, even then my account's emptied quicker than its filled). My facebook is pretty meaningless, and I highly doubt anyone could post more offensive things to it than I already do (what can I say- I love trolling). Nudes? Not a problem, my body's sexy as hell and I'll probably be the one posting them before anyone else has the chance (hence my FetLife account). Maybe if you've got things to protect its an issue but me, I'm an open book lol

This is what I call a "pat me on the head" post. Consider your head patted on.

That last point is one most people don't know. Being in possession of child porn is a crime against which there is no legal defense under a legal concept called "strict liability." A merciful prosecutor who isn't trying to be reelected might not prosecute you and a conscientious judge might make the effort to find a reason not to send you to prison, but basically any child pornography in your computer, no matter how it got there and no matter whether you even know it's there, exposes you to serious prison time and having to report yourself as a sex offender everywhere you go once you get out.

Basically, the burden of proof is reversed, if you're lucky. If you're unlucky, even proving your innocence wouldn't matter.

To make matters worse, there's the ambiguity of what constitutes child pornography. In effect, a nude or pornographic image of an underdeveloped skinny Russian girl—of which there are probably at least 10's of thousands if not 10's of millions on the Internet—who's 23 but looks 15 can be deemed child pornography on a prima facie basis. It would be up to you to figure out who she is and find a way to prove she isn't a minor. Now, if you're not a pedophile but you're into that body type and you have hundreds or thousands of such images on your computer, you better hope the FBI never comes to take a look. 

Perfect tool for governments to shut up and lock up undesirables then. Cleaner then lining 'm up against the wall and shooting them.

Would you mind putting up some reference material before I go rooting around on some people I don't like computers?


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