You Are Creating Password The Wrong Way

Was it m@nk3yP@$$w01rd or m0nk3yp@ssw0!rd?

For 20 years, the standard advice for creating a “strong” password that is hard to crack has been to use a mix of letters, numbers and symbols.

It’s so ingrained that when you go to create a new email account you’ll frequently get praising or finger-wagging feedback from the computer on how well your secret code adheres to these guidelines.

And you’re supposed to change it every 90 days.

Now, the man who laid down these widely followed rules says he got it all wrong.

“Much of what I did I now regret,” Bill Burr, a 72-year-old retired former manager at the National Institute of Standards and Technology told the Wall Street Journal.

In 2003, the then-mid-level NIST manager was tasked with the job of setting rules for effective passwords. Without much to go on he sourced a whitepaper written in the 1980s. The rules his agency published ended up becoming the go-to guides for major institutions and large companies.

The result is that people create odd-looking passwords and then have to write them down, which is of course less secure than something you can memorize. Users also lean on common substitutions, like “zeroes” for the letter O, which a smart hacker could program their password cracker to look for. Or they pick one “base” password that they can memorize and only change a single number. That’s also not as safe.

“It just drives people bananas and they don’t pick good passwords no matter what you do,” Burr said.

The new password guidelines are both easier to remember, and harder to guess. The NIST’s revised tips say users should pick a string of simple English words — and only be forced to change them if there’s been evidence of a security break-in.

Image: File picture illustration of the word 'password' pictured on a computer screen taken in Berlin© File picture illustration of the word ‘password’ pictured on a computer screen. Image: File picture illustration of the word ‘password’ pictured on a computer screen taken in Berlin

Not only did the old password format frustrate users, it wasn’t even the best way to keep hackers at bay.

For instance, “Tr0ub4dor&3” could take just three days to crack, according to one viral comic whose assertions have been verified by security researchers, while “CorrectHorseBatteryStaple” could take 550 years.

For some excellent information on Creating Strong Passwords from Cloudwards Click Here

Autoruns by SysInternal

This utility, which has the most comprehensive knowledge of auto-starting locations of any startup monitor, shows you what programs are configured to run during system bootup or login, and when you start various built-in Windows applications like Internet Explorer, Explorer and media players. These programs and drivers include ones in your startup folder, Run, RunOnce, and other Registry keys. Autoruns reports Explorer shell extensions, toolbars, browser helper objects, Winlogon notifications, auto-start services, and much more. Autoruns goes way beyond other autostart utilities.

Autoruns‘ Hide Signed Microsoft Entries option helps you to zoom in on third-party auto-starting images that have been added to your system and it has support for looking at the auto-starting images configured for other accounts configured on a system. Also included in the download package is a command-line equivalent that can output in CSV format, Autorunsc.

You’ll probably be surprised at how many executables are launched automatically!

Screenshot

Autoruns

Usage

Simply run Autoruns and it shows you the currently configured auto-start applications as well as the full list of Registry and file system locations available for auto-start configuration. Autostart locations displayed by Autoruns include logon entries, Explorer add-ons, Internet Explorer add-ons including Browser Helper Objects (BHOs), Appinit DLLs, image hijacks, boot execute images, Winlogon notification DLLs, Windows Services and Winsock Layered Service Providers, media codecs, and more. Switch tabs to view autostarts from different categories.

To view the properties of an executable configured to run automatically, select it and use the Properties menu item or toolbar button. If Process Explorer is running and there is an active process executing the selected executable then the Process Explorer menu item in the Entry menu will open the process properties dialog box for the process executing the selected image.

Navigate to the Registry or file system location displayed or the configuration of an auto-start item by selecting the item and using the Jump to Entry menu item or toolbar button, and navigate to the location of an autostart image.

To disable an auto-start entry uncheck its check box. To delete an auto-start configuration entry use the Delete menu item or toolbar button.

The Options menu includes several display filtering options, such as only showing non-Windows entries, as well as access to a scan options dialog from where you can enable signature verification and Virus Total hash and file submission.

Select entries in the User menu to view auto-starting images for different user accounts.

More information on display options and additional information is available in the on-line help.

Autorunsc Usage

Autorunsc is the command-line version of Autoruns. Its usage syntax is:

Usage: autorunsc [-a <*|bdeghiklmoprsw>] [-c|-ct] [-h] [-m] [-s] [-u] [-vt] [[-z ] | [user]]]

-a Autostart entry selection:
   * All.
   b Boot execute.
   d Appinit DLLs.
   e Explorer addons.
   g Sidebar gadgets (Vista and higher)
   h Image hijacks.
   i Internet Explorer addons.
   k Known DLLs.
   l Logon startups (this is the default).
   m WMI entries.
   n Winsock protocol and network providers.
   o Codecs.
   p Printer monitor DLLs.
   r LSA security providers.
   s Autostart services and non-disabled drivers.
   t Scheduled tasks.
   w Winlogon entries.
-c Print output as CSV.
-c Print output as tab-delimited values.
-h Show file hashes.
-m Hide Microsoft entries (signed entries if used with -v).
-s Verify digital signatures.
-t Show timestamps in normalized UTC (YYYYMMDD-hhmmss).
-u If VirusTotal check is enabled, show files that are unknown by VirusTotal or have non-zero detection, otherwise show only unsigned files.
-x Print output as XML.
-v[rs] Query VirusTotal (www.virustotal.com) for malware based on file hash. Add ‘r’ to open reports for files with non-zero detection. Files reported as not previously scanned will be uploaded to VirusTotal if the ‘s’ option is specified. Note scan results may not be available for five or more minutes.
-vt Before using VirusTotal features, you must accept VirusTotal terms of service. See: https://www.virustotal.com/en/about/terms-of-service/ If you haven’t accepted the terms and you omit this option, you will be interactively prompted.
-z Specifies the offline Windows system to scan.
user Specifies the name of the user account for which autorun items will be shown. Specify ‘*’ to scan all user profiles.

Related Links

  • Windows Internals Book
    The official updates and errata page for the definitive book on Windows internals, by Mark Russinovich and David Solomon.
  • Windows Sysinternals Administrator’s Reference
    The official guide to the Sysinternals utilities by Mark Russinovich and Aaron Margosis, including descriptions of all the tools, their features, how to use them for troubleshooting, and example real-world cases of their use.

Difference Between Windows 8 and 8.1

Ever since Microsoft announced that the upcoming update to Windows 8 will be called as Windows 8.1 and will be available for free to all Windows 8 users, many users who aren’t closely following Microsoft, seem to have confused Windows 8.1 as a service pack.

Windows 8.1

For those who’re under the impression that Windows 8.1 update is a service pack, a service pack mainly contains previously released updates and fixes, but doesn’t include new features. So, Windows 8 isn’t a service pack as includes new features.

As some of you may know, when Windows Vista was released back in 2007, it didn’t do well in the market and two years later, Microsoft released a polished version of Vista and named it as Windows 7, which went on to become the highest selling operating system in the history. The only major difference (leaving aside features) between Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 is that Windows 7 wasn’t a free update to Vista users and Windows 8.1 is absolutely free to all Windows 8 users.

As the “.1” in the Windows 8.1 name suggests, Windows 8.1 is based on Windows 8. Windows 8.1 update adds hundreds of new features and functionalities to Windows 8 without removing existing features, and is completely free to all Windows 8 users.

Windows 8.1 update is largely based on the feedbacks that Microsoft received by millions of Windows 8 users over the last year. According to Microsoft, this update will encourage XP, Vista, and Windows 7 users to upgrade to the newest version of Windows.

One can say that Windows 8.1 is what Windows 8 should have been, or we can also say that “.1” completes Windows 8!

Windows 8.1 adds the missing Start button to easily switch to the Start screen, an option to boot directly to desktop by skipping Start screen, settings to customize the Start screen, option to automatically set desktop background as Start screen, an easier way to shutdown and restart PC, and hundreds of other features.

Go through the below chart to know some of the key features present in Windows 8.1 that aren’t part of Windows 8:

Difference Between Windows 8 and 8.1

Good luck!

How To Determine What Is Causing The Issue After A Clean Boot

Windows 10, Windows 8.1, and Windows 8
  1. Log on to the computer by using an account that has administrator rights.
  2. From Start, search for msconfig. (In Windows 10, use the Search box from the Start menu. In Windows 8 or 8.1, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search. Or, if you are using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, and then click Search.)
  3. Select msconfig or System Configuration from the search results.
  4. Tap or click the Services tab, and then tap or click to select the Hide all Microsoft services check box.
  5. Tap or click to select the upper half of the check boxes in the Service list.
  6. Tap or click OK, and then tap or click Restart.
  7. After the computer finishes restarting, determine whether the problem still occurs.
    • If the problem still occurs, repeat steps 1 through 6, but clear the lower half of the check boxes in the Service list that you originally selected.
    • If the problem does not occur, repeat steps 1 through 6, and select only the upper half of the remaining check boxes that are cleared in the Service list. Repeat these steps until you have selected all the check boxes.
    • If you still experience the problem when only one service is selected in the Service list, this means that the selected service causes the problem, and you should go to step 11. If no service causes the problem, go to step 8.
  8. Repeat steps 1 and 3 in this section.
  9. Tap or click the Startup tab, and then tap or click to select the upper half of the check boxes in the Startup Item list.
  10. Click OK, and then click Restart.
    • If the problem still occurs, repeat steps 8 and 9, but clear the lower half of the checked boxes in the Startup Item list that you originally selected.
    • If the problem does not occur, repeat steps 8 and 9, and select only the upper half of the remaining check boxes that are cleared in the Startup Item list. Repeat these steps until you have selected all the check boxes.
    • If you still experience the problem after only one Startup Item is selected in the Startup Item list, this means that the selected Startup Item causes the problem, and you should go to step 11. If no Startup Item causes this problem, a Microsoft service probably causes the problem. To determine which Microsoft service may be causing the problem, repeat steps 1 through 7 without selecting the Hide all Microsoft services check box in each step.
  11. After you determine the startup item or the service that causes the problem, contact the program manufacturer to determine whether the problem can be resolved. Or, run the System Configuration utility, and then tap or click to clear the check box for the problem item.
Windows 7 and Windows Vista
  1. Log on to the computer by using an account that has administrator rights.
  2. Click Start, type msconfig.exe in the Start Search box, and then press Enter to start the System Configuration utility.
    Note If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, you should type the password or provide confirmation.
    A screenshot for this step.
  3. Click the Services tab, and then click to select the Hide all Microsoft services check box.
  4. Click to select the upper half of the check boxes in the Service list.
  5. Click OK, and then click Restart.
  6. After the computer finishes restarting, determine whether the problem still occurs.
    • If the problem still occurs, repeat steps 1 through 5, but clear the lower half of the checked boxes in the Service list that you originally selected.
    • If the problem does not occur, repeat steps 1 through 5, and select only the upper half of the remaining check boxes that are cleared in the Service list. Repeat these steps until you have selected all the check boxes.
    • If you still experience the problem after only one service is selected in the Service list, this means that the selected service causes the problem. Go to step 10. If no service causes this problem, go to step 7.
  7. Perform a clean boot by repeating steps 1 and 2.
  8. Click the Startup tab, and then click to select the upper half of the check boxes in the Startup Item list. A screenshot for this step.
  9. Click OK, and then click Restart.
    • If the problem still occurs, repeat steps 7 and 8, but clear the lower half of the checked boxes in the Startup Item list that you originally selected.
    • If the problem does not occur, repeat steps 7 and 8, and select only the upper half of the remaining check boxes that are cleared in the Startup Item list. Repeat these steps until you have selected all the check boxes.
    • If you still experience the problem after only one Startup Item is selected in the Startup Item list, this means that the selected Startup Item causes the problem. Go to Step 10. If no Startup Item causes this problem, a Microsoft service probably causes the problem. To determine which Microsoft service may be causing the problem, repeat steps 1 through 6 without selecting the Hide all Microsoft services check box in either step.
  10. After you determine the startup item or the service that causes the problem, contact the program manufacturer to determine whether the problem can be resolved. Or, run the System Configuration utility, and then click to clear the check box for the problem item.

How To Restart Windows Normally After Clean Boot

After you have finished troubleshooting, follow these steps to reset the computer to start normally.

Windows 10, Windows 8.1, and Windows 8
  1. From Start, search for msconfig. (In Windows 10, use the Search box from the Start menu. In Windows 8 or 8.1, wipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search. Or, if you are using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, and then click Search.)
  2. Select msconfig or System Configuration from the search results.
  3. On the General tab, tap or click the Normal Startup option.
  4. Tap or click the Services tab, clear the check box beside Hide all Microsoft services, and then tap or click Enable all.
  5. ap or click the Startup tab, and then tap or click Open Task Manager.
  6. In task manager, enable all of your startup programs, and then tap or click OK.
  7. When you are prompted to restart the computer, tap or click Restart.
Windows 7 and Windows Vista
  1. Click Start, type msconfig.exe in the Start Search box, and then press Enter.
    Note If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, you should type the password or click Continue.
  2. On the General tab, click the Normal Startup option, and then click OK.
  3. When you are prompted to restart the computer, click Restart.

How To Perform A Clean Boot In Windows

A clean boot is performed to start Windows by using a minimal set of drivers and startup programs. This helps eliminate software conflicts that occur when you install a program or an update or when you run a program in Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, or Windows Vista. You may also troubleshoot or determine what conflict is causing the problem by performing a clean boot.
Why software conflicts occur?

When you start Windows by using a normal startup operation, several applications and services start automatically, and then run in the background. These programs include basic system processes, antivirus software, system utility applications, and other software that has been previously installed. These applications and services can cause software conflicts.
How to perform a clean boot

Notes

  • You must log on to the computer as an administrator to be able to perform a clean boot.
  • Your computer may temporarily lose some functionality when you perform a clean boot. When you start the computer normally, the functionality returns. However, you may receive the original error message, or experience the original behavior if the problem still exists.
  • If the computer is connected to a network, network policy settings may prevent you from following these steps. We strongly recommend that you do not use the System Configuration utility to change the advanced boot options on the computer unless a Microsoft support engineer directs you to do this. Doing this may make the computer unusable.

Use the following steps to perform a clean boot:

Windows 10
  1. From Start, search for msconfig.
  2. Select System Configuration from the search results.
  3. On the Services tab of the System Configuration dialog box, tap or click to select the Hide all Microsoft services check box, and then tap or click Disable all.
  4. On the Startup tab of the System Configuration dialog box, tap or click Open Task Manager.
  5. On the Startup tab in Task Manager, for each startup item, select the item and then click Disable.
  6. Close Task Manager.
  7. On the Startup tab of the System Configuration dialog box, tap or click OK, and then restart the computer.
Windows 8.1 and Windows 8
  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search. Or, if you are using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, and then click Search.
  2. Type msconfig in the search box, and then tap or click msconfig. A screenshot for this step.
  3. On the Services tab of the System Configuration dialog box, tap or click to select the Hide all Microsoft services check box, and then tap or click Disable all.
    A screenshot for this step.
  4. On the Startup tab of the System Configuration dialog box, tap or click Open Task Manager. A screenshot for this step.
  5. On the Startup tab in Task Manager, for each startup item, select the item and then click Disable. A screenshot for this step.
  6. Close Task Manager.
  7. On the Startup tab of the System Configuration dialog box, tap or click OK, and then restart the computer. A screenshot for this step.
Windows 7 and Windows Vista
  1. Log on to the computer by using an account that has administrator rights.
  2. Click Start, type msconfig.exe in the Start Search box, and then press Enter to start the System Configuration utility.
    Note If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, you should type the password or provide confirmation.
    A screenshot for this step.
  3. On the General tab, click the Selective startup option, and then click to clear the Load startup items check box. (The Use Original Boot.ini check box is unavailable.)
    A screenshot for this step.
  4. On the Services tab, click to select the Hide all Microsoft services check box, and then click Disable all.A screenshot for this step.
    Note This step lets Microsoft services continue to run. These services include Networking, Plug and Play, Event Logging, Error Reporting, and other services. If you disable these services, you may permanently delete all restore points. Do not do this if you want to use the System Restore utility together with existing restore points.
  5. Click OK, and then click Restart.
What is next when I have a clean boot environment?

After the computer is restarted, you will have a clean boot environment. Then, do one of the following, as appropriate for your situation:

  • If you could not install or uninstall a program or an update before you performed the clean boot, try to install or uninstall the program or update again.Note If you receive the “The Windows Installer service could not be accessed” error during the installation or uninstallation, follow How to start the Windows Installer service when system services are not loaded, and then install or uninstall the program or update again.
    • If the installation or uninstallation is successful, you have resolved your issue. Follow How to reset the computer to start as usual to reset your computer to the normal startup.
    • If the installation or uninstallation still fails, that means this issue is not caused by application or service interference. You may have to go to Microsoft Support for more specific support.
  • If you could not run a program before you performed the clean boot, try to run the program again.
How to reset the computer to start normally after clean boot troubleshooting

After you have finished troubleshooting, follow these steps to reset the computer to start normally.

Windows 10, Windows 8.1, and Windows 8
  1. From Start, search for msconfig. (In Windows 10, use the Search box from the Start menu. In Windows 8 or 8.1, wipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search. Or, if you are using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, and then click Search.)
  2. Select msconfig or System Configuration from the search results.
  3. On the General tab, tap or click the Normal Startup option.
  4. Tap or click the Services tab, clear the check box beside Hide all Microsoft services, and then tap or click Enable all.
  5. ap or click the Startup tab, and then tap or click Open Task Manager.
  6. In task manager, enable all of your startup programs, and then tap or click OK.
  7. When you are prompted to restart the computer, tap or click Restart.
Windows 7 and Windows Vista
  1. Click Start, type msconfig.exe in the Start Search box, and then press Enter.
    Note If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, you should type the password or click Continue.
  2. On the General tab, click the Normal Startup option, and then click OK.
  3. When you are prompted to restart the computer, click Restart.

Why Your Home Wi-Fi Is Lousy

If you think your home Wi-Fi is annoying now—flaky, slow, riddled with dead zones—just wait until your streaming 4K TVs are battling phones, laptops, game systems and connected gadgets for the available bandwidth. The future depends on your home network, but even today’s best home networks aren’t ready.

I call this problem the home-spectrum crunch, and it’s a relatively new phenomenon. It’s a product of a 100-fold increase in demand for wireless bandwidth on home Wi-Fi networks in just the past five or so years.

In place of Web browsing on one or two devices—requiring less than 5 megabits per second—we now have streaming video and multiple Internet-connected devices consuming more than 100 megabits per second. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in 2013 estimated that the average household with two teenagers had 10 Internet-connected devices. By 2017, the OECD projected the number would be 17; by 2022, it would climb to 50.

To grasp the problem, think of each Wi-Fi router as a stereo system. When there were fewer Wi-Fi hot spots and fewer gadgets connecting to them, the ambient noise was bearable. But if you’ve opened your laptop and lately seen dozens of Wi-Fi networks, you understand our modern conundrum: All those networks are essentially trying to shout over one another to be “heard” by connected devices.

Trond Wuellner, product manager for Google’s OnHub Wi-Fi router, says the average OnHub router can “hear” 16 other hot spots; one of every 20 OnHubs can hear 50 other hot spots.

The upshot: the more Wi-Fi hot spots, the worse the overall Wi-Fi experience for everyone. This is the reverse of what should be and the opposite of what happens in an office, where all the Wi-Fi hot spots are made to play nice with each other by expensive equipment from the likes of Cisco Systems.

Having a good home Wi-Fi network has become something of an arms race: Buy a newer, more powerful router and your service could improve, but at the expense of your neighbors.

The fact that nearly everyone who makes Wi-Fi routers is trying to tackle this problem, along with Google, your cable company and a raft of startups, demonstrates how in-home Wi-Fi connections have become a serious bottleneck.

One such player is Eero. Wall Street Journal personal-tech columnist Geoff Fowler found that Eero’s multi-node “mesh networking” solution works well even in challenging environments.

But a stock Eero setup might not be adequate in a future when homes routinely have gigabit connections, a 10-fold increase over what’s widely available today. That’s because, as Eero CEO Nick Weaver explains, when you’re at the edge of a mesh network, your connection is only as fast as the slowest link back to the base station.

One solution would be to add more antennas, or nodes, throughout your home. Unfortunately, Eero’s units currently cost $200 a pop.

A new competitor announcing itself on Monday, called Plume, has gathered wireless-industry veterans to create what it claims is a new kind of Wi-Fi, protected by 14 patents. The company calls it “adaptive Wi-Fi.”

Fahri Diner, CEO of Plume and a veteran executive of Siemens and Qtera, says Plume’s system will consist of many cheap, “dumb” antennas, enough for every room of a house, for a total cost of about $100.

If Plume can do that, it would be enough to make a wireless-networking geek swoon. But we won’t know for a while, because the company doesn’t plan to unveil its product or partners until the third quarter of this year.

Essentially, Plume and most of its rivals aim to take the technology behind expensive, enterprise-grade Wi-Fi systems for offices and make it cheap enough to use in your home.

Others are tackling the problem with wires, paradoxically. Comcast, the nation’s largest cable-TV provider, has quietly been testing systems that rely on the networks of coaxial cables spread across newer U.S. homes. The systems put multiple routers in different parts of a home to create a single seamless wireless network, says a company spokesman.

The biggest competitor of all in this space could soon be Alphabet’s Google. Mr. Diner said he believes Google is working on a mesh solution similar to Plume’s. Mr. Wuellner declined to comment on Google’s plans for future iterations of OnHub. But he said most industry players are moving from a single hub, like Google’s current offering, toward systems with multiple nodes.

Taken together, this means that the future of Wi-Fi in your home looks a lot like the present of Wi-Fi in your office. There will be antennas everywhere, possibly in every room. It will be insanely fast. It will be cheap, though you might have a new monthly bill, to pay Plume, Google, your cable provider or some other company for the cloud services required to manage your home network.

© Emily Prapuolenis/The Wall Street Journal

Given our increasing dependence on ever more wireless bandwidth, these companies are betting we’ll be happy to pay for the privilege.

Write to Christopher Mims at christopher.mims@wsj.com

Article by: The Wall Street Journal