False sense of security

Photo by public15

 

http://www.e-signature.com/ provides logo and signature embedded fonts. Per se, there is nothing wrong with the service, and is useful for people who need it.

However, a look at the website throws up the claims below. Each one has a quote from me below it on the truth behind the statement.

Imagine being able to distribute a signed word processing document to your staff or clients without fear of the logo or signature being copied…

DW: Even if the font is embedded, the logo/signature can still be copied and used on other documents. While this is not possible as a font letter, it can be done as a bitmap.

No embedding is the option most often selected for signatures as it ensures the highest security – the signature will only appear on computers that have the font installed. If you use signature fonts for signing checks, no embedding is also recommended.

DW: Please don’t use this for cheques. Its easier for someone to access your computer and steal the font than you think. The font will be installed on your PC and will remain there, its not something that you can carry on a pen drive and keep in lock and key.

The recipient does not have access to the font to reproduce it in another document nor can they cut-and-paste the on-screen signature or logo.

DW: Again wrong. It cannot be cut-and-pasted as a font letter, but can be done as a bitmap.

Keep your font proprietary. No one can copy your font because it will reside in an inaccessible cache on the browser. You can display your text the way you want without fear of anyone copying it.

DW: What’s an inaccessible cache? No cache is inaccessible – a smart user can always take your font away. Remember: if the browser can download it (and use it to show your content), a user can download it too.

It appears to me that these folks are very much aware that they are making statements that are not 100% truth. A false sense of security is worse than no security.

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Restoring your system after a crash

Ok, so your computer crashed. You know one way out: reformatting the hard disk – but you don’t like it. So what can be done? If your data is really important, and you are prepared to pay some hard bucks getting it back, talk to a professional. Period.

Still here, ok – so your data is important, but you want to do what you can, yourself. I will discuss in the blogpost some tools that can help.

One of the best recovery tools, that has helped me as well, is: Emergency Boot CD (EBCD). The original site seems to be no longer active, and it hasn’t been updated since 2004, but its still a great tool. Look for it here, or here, or Google search for it.
With this, you can recover deleted files, or those lost by formatting. You can fix master boot record. It will allow you to boot from a specific partition, even if its being shown ‘non-system’ otherwise. Once you have the system up through EBCD, on XP you can run the ‘bootok.exe’ command, or ‘fixmbr.exe’ to fix any issues, its available in /windows/system32.
EBCD includes Windows Password Wizard, which can be used to restore access to your PC when you forgot the password for Windows user account.

The next option I am going to talk about is “Bart’s Preinstalled environment bootable live CD” (BartPE). However, using this is not just a matter of downloading an ISO and burning a CD, as it was for the EBCD. You will need to create the CD from your Windows XP CD. The instructions are on the BartPE website. One you have the CD ready, you can boot off the CD into a live Windows XP environment with a lot of tools available. You can even access NTFS drives. See where you can get with this. Again, once you have the system booted, try running bootok.exe as I suggested above.

Another option, if you cannot/do-not-want-to get the BartPE built, is a Knoppix Live CD. This will boot your computer with Linux OS, which is not very difficult to use given Windows knowledge. However, other than getting your computer running, this will not do much more to fix your problem.

The last recovery tool I am going to talk about is System rescue disk. This one offers the GParted tool, which is a disk partition management tool (similar to FDISK) but can resize partitions without loosing data.

If you are unable to download/lay your hands on one of these CDs, I can have them shipped out to you for a fee (except, of course the BartPE).

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