Nine easy security tools

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Everyone knows strong passwords are a basic security feature. Yet many users avoid them because they are difficult to apply – or, worse still, keep them on a Post-it note taped beneath their keyboards.

Password banks like KeePassX [13] are a reasonable solution, storing passwords in a secure environment and helping you generate strong passwords and avoid the temptation of easy-to-remember weak ones (Figure 6). KeePass, a command-line version, is also available.

Figure 6: KeePassX not only makes strong passwords practical, but helps you to generate them as well.


Most modern email readers support encryption. However, too many give no indication of how to encrypt. Fortunately, the Free Software Foundation has released a page called "Email Self-Defense" [14] that explains how to encrypt in Thunderbird with Engimail [15] using PGP (Pretty Good Privacy).

Besides explaining where to find and install Thunderbird and Engimail, "Email Self-Defense" explains how encryption keys work, how to generate them, and how to test the result. Each section contains a link for troubleshooting, and the last lines give general tips, such as the fact that the subject line is not encrypted and should therefore not contain any sensitive information. Provided you have the patience to follow instructions, you should have the ability to encrypt email within half an hour.

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