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Scott Brown is a professional software developer and computer security expert. He has extensive industry and field experience in system administration, application development, and security management.

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Something Rotten Has Occurred in TrueCrypt Land

An extremely significant event affecting TrueCrypt has occurred. It is not yet clear whether it is legitimate or a hoax, and if legitimate, what it means. The truecrypt.org web site has been redirected to a sourceforge landing page advising that development has ended and warning, ambiguously, that the program either is not secure or may not be secure in the future. The messaging proceeds to push users onto BitLocker or other native disk encryption programs. A newly built, apparently legitimately signed, but crippled set of installers numbered version 7.2 are offered. No one is sure exactly what has happened, whether this is a defacement or the real deal, and if it is real, how to interpret it. The matter is still unfolding and being debated. …

procexp

Process Explorer 16.0 Adds VirusTotal Integration

Author Mark Russinovich just dropped version 16.0 of Sysinternals procexp, an indispensable utility that displays a tree view of every process on a Windows system along with its resource consumption. Procexp’s visual representation of the activity on a system is so useful for performance tuning that I not only keep an instance in my toolkit, but also place one right smack on the desktop of pretty much every machine I’m responsible for. Version 16.0 is a big feature update boasting newly added integration with cloud antivirus service VirusTotal. …

XP EOSL

Windows XP End Of Support Life Coming Soon

As a reminder, Windows XP will officially reach EOSL (End Of Support Life) on April 8, 2014, a milestone in the making for over a decade, finally coming up a little over eight months from now. On this date, Microsoft will stop publishing new fixes for security holes and bugs in XP. It will no longer be possible to use XP securely, and the degree of exposure and danger will begin to ramp up thereafter, like a proverbial ticking timebomb. …

TrueCrypt Container Sizing for Optical Media

One of the most consistently referenced articles here is my procedure for preparing and burning encrypted CDs with TrueCrypt. It ranks highly on Google for “truecrypt cd” and “truecrypt dvd”, so those referred are often searching for the best TrueCrypt container size to use with optical media. However, while I made a size recommendation for CD-R’s explicit in the original article, I only mentioned DVD-R’s in passing, enough to match the keyword but not to convey the actual answer people are looking for. Allow me to correct that omission now. …

TrueCrypt 7.1a Released

A minor update to the TrueCrypt free open-source disk encryption tool arrived today, version 7.1a, some five months since the release of the previous stable version. I have upgraded several systems to the new version without issue, including two laptops with pre-boot authentication and full disk encryption, and a media server where I use TrueCrypt to create and work with encrypted file-container volumes as part of my backup process. …

TrueCrypt Benchmark, Hardware-Accelerated AES Enabled

A Look at the Performance Impact of Hardware-Accelerated AES

In 2010, semiconductor manufacturers began migrating the algorithmically intensive portions of the AES cipher on-die in the form of the AES-NI instruction set. Many cryptographic APIs and applications have enabled support for this new technology, and none hesitate to tout the promise of major performance improvements. Intel demonstrates 3x to 10x acceleration versus pure software implementations, while the authors of TrueCrypt set the expectation of 4x to 8x speed gains. Can these performance boosts be recognized in practice, and how much of these gains can be captured in present day, real world scenarios? …

TrueCrypt 7.1 Released

Sparse remarks in the changelog for today’s updated release of the TrueCrypt free open-source disk encryption tool, version 7.1, the first new release in nearly a year. Primarily it looks like they have added support for Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. I venture the usual assessment that this update may safely be viewed as optional for users already running at least TrueCrypt 7.0, the most recent major release, absent those experiencing any specific issues. …

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