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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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Scott works with individuals and businesses in the Los Angeles area and online to protect their vital data, fortify their security posture, and realize the maximum potential of their technology investments.

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Android Device Manager

Android Device Manager Does Not Work in Internet Explorer

[Edit: As of July 11th it looks like this has been fixed. Android Device Manager is working in Internet Explorer 11 again in my testing. Original discussion follows.]

Last night I flashed my phone up to CyanogenMod 11 M8, and since then I’ve been putting things back the way they were and testing everything out. A few bugs were fixed from the M6 build I was running previously, and a few nice enhancements dropped too, everything was copacetic. But this afternoon I got around to testing Android Device Manager, Google’s integrated “find my phone” application, looking to reconfirm that I could locate my phone if it ever got lost, only to receive an unpleasant surprise. I’d log in to Google’s web application and have it persistently fail to locate my device. The map did not move, the “locate device” and “ring” controls did nothing, basically the tool was useless. This was very frustrating since (a) I knew it worked fine the last time I tested it, and (b) it’s a critical function that I wasn’t about to hazard living without. …

TrueCrypt

TrueCrypt: What Happened, What It Means, and What Happens Now

Based on the sum of the evidence that’s now filtered in, and in the consensus view of experts, the primary cause of the TrueCrypt crisis of the last few days was developer fatigue. After 10 years of thankless work developing the open source disk encryption tool, faced with the need to do major extending and refactoring of the codebase to support new technical requirements and demands from security auditors, the anonymous author or authors decided to throw in the towel. The way they did it tells of more complex motives, and has supplied ample fuel to the conspiracy theorists of the world. But importantly, there is no evidence that these events were motivated by any known security flaw or trust deficiency in TrueCrypt or in its build or distribution process, or by any act of coercion. And in spite of the apparently deliberate reputational damage committed by the developers, unless and until demonstrated otherwise, TrueCrypt is in fact still secure, and this story is far from over. …

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? …

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