Yubico YubiKey 4 appears to be an excellent device for a two-factor authentication solution. Two factor authentication means you need two things before gaining access. In this case, one piece of information is your password and the other piece is your finger print.
If you are using a password manager right now, (ie. Last Pass, Dashlane, etc) I would recommend getting this. The benefit of this device with a password manager is you can enable two factor authentication to add a new device capable of signing into your account.
This means if someone knows your password, it doesn’t really matter because they would also need your finger print. Understand that nearly all password managers conform to some sort of security protocol like FIDO U2F, smart card (PIV), OpenPGP, etc which in turn works with Yubikey.
Using Windows 10, you can partition a USB flash drive into multiple partitions. The process is not difficult, you simply follow some easy steps. This tutorial will partition the drive so that your device is assigned multiple drive letters when connected to the computer.
This partition process is not done at the USB controller level; or said another way, done at the hardware level. This USB partition process, for a lack of better terms, is done at the software level. What does this mean for you? It means the partitions can be wiped off the drive and full capacity of the USB flash drive can be restored.
When a USB stick is partitioned at the controller level, or at the hardware level, there is no way to reverse the partition. The multi-partition drive is permanent. At the end of this tutorial is the solution for a hardware based partition solution.
So letâ€™s get started.
How to partition a USB flash drive in Windows 10:
Connect the USB flash drive to your Windows 10 machine. Be sure there is nothing valuable on the USB as this process will remove all content from the drive.
Right Click the Windows icon and select Disk Management.
The Disk Management window will appear with all the connected devices. Select your USB flash drive by clicking one time. By selecting your flash drive, it will allow Windows to apply the partition to that device.
With all the gadgets and devices we post about, there’s plenty of merit in veering a little closer to some USB hardware fundamentals and how it communicates with your computer. To highlight this importance, a UDISK Drive and its internal functionality will serve as a comparison.
Simply put, a UDISK is a hard drive in USB form. With magnetic hard drive platters spinning inside an enclosure, UDISKs have a bridge chip regulating the way the drive mounts to an operating system. This chip changes the hard from from IDE protocols, to USB. Standard USB drives don’t use rotating disks to store data, but use flash memory instead, which enjoys faster speeds as well as increased reliability against shock, pressure, and temperature. Why then do these UDISK drives exist? Because those spinning disks are cheaper to manufacture but they can be sold at the same price as standard flash memory USB drives and the difference may not be clear to users.
Account security is one of the most vital pieces of the busy and interconnected world right now and nobody wants strangers accessing their personal information online. You might use a password manager as well as two-factor authentication like we mentioned in a previous post, but now there’s another way to stay protected.
In response to similar approaches from Google and Dropbox, Facebook has added support for safe login security keys. When you log into your account, this device will prove your identity rather than a code which sends to your phone. In addition to the superior security, they’re also potentially faster. With just a tap on the device you can have access to your Facebook account and feel safer in knowing only you can unlock it. It’s a welcome move from the company in an age where cyberattacks and identity theft are on the rise and as a universal rule on the internet, it’s never a bad time to strengthen your defences.
Police dogs have yet another smell they must detect. Tactical Detection K9 company now trains dogs to sniff out SD cards and USB sticks. The training is in response to better assisting law enforcement in child pornography investigations.
The percentage of a dog’s brain which is devoted to analyzing smells is 40 times greater than humans. For example, humans can detect about 5 million scents and a German Shepherd can detect around 225 million smells.
In a recent investigation a dog was used in the FBI raid of the home of the former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle in Hancock County, Indiana.
What could take investigators hours to find an SD card or USB stick in a house would take a trained dog considerably less time, probably no more than 30 minutes.
According to Tactical Detection K9 it took scientists over four years to isolate the odor associated with memory devices. Now that a specific odor has been identified it takes 8-9 months for a dog to be trained in picking up that scent.
A dog which can sniff out SD and USB sticks can cost upwards of $9,000.
Sometimes you will connect a USB to the PC and get an error message saying the drive has a GPT Protective Partition and you cannot format the drive. Here is the fix to resolve the issue:
First, what is a GPT USB stick? The GUID Partition Table (GPT) is the successor to the Master Boot Record. The MBR was created by IBM back in the early 90s. The problem with MBR is the limitation to partition table sizes which is 2 Terabytes.
Since there are no 2T USB flash drives (at the time of this post), there is no need to use GPT as your partition table.
Removing the GPT Protected Partition can be accomplished through the Windows Diskpart program.
Determine the Disk Number for the USB GPT-protected drive. To do this, perform the following:
Right-click on (My) Computer.
Select Disk Management (listed under Storage).
Look for the drive that is identified as GPT and note the Disk number (such as Disk 1).
Now, open a Command Window. From the command prompt, type diskpart and press Enter.
The diskpart prompt will open.
From the diskpart prompt, type list disk and press Enter. A list of disks will appear in a text format. You will return to the diskpart prompt.
From the diskpart prompt, type select disk disknumber (in this example from the screen shot above, you would type select disk 1)and press Enter. A message appears saying that the disk is selected. You will return to the diskpart prompt.
From the diskpart prompt, type clean and press Enter. At this point the drive’s partition and signature a removed. You will return to the diskpart prompt.
From the diskpart prompt, type exit and press Enter. Type exit once more to close the Command Window.
There are two ways to make a USB stick read only. One way is a universal solution and is 100% permanent, the other way is PC specific and a good deterrent. When we say 100% permanent, this means the USB stick is read only (write protected) on all computers, whether it be a Mac, PC, Linux, etc type computer, the USB is read only and the status cannot be changed. The other method flags a USB device to be read only in relationship to the PC it is connected to so that whenever that USB stick is connected to that computer, it makes the USB read only and blocks all write commands to the device.
Most times an IT manager or content owner wants the USB stick to be read only so the files cannot be deleted or formatted off the drive. Another reason for making a USB read only is for the original files to remain the same and blocks the ability for files to be changed or manipulated. Finally, it’s smart to have USBs read only so that virus’ don’t jump onto the drive and possibly spread to other computers.
Let us start with the less permanent way because it’s easier to do and doesn’t require any specific hardware. You will need a Windows7 machine or higher. The Windows7 machine will have DiskPart utility which allows us to perform all sorts of cool things to flash drives, like setting write protection.
Connect the USB to your Windows computer.
To begin, go to your Windows Start and in the Search Field type â€œcmdâ€
This will run your Command prompt.
Next, you will want to get to the C root of the Command prompt and if you are signed in as a user you can simply type cd\ this will get you back to the root of the C drive.
Type LIST DISK
Now you will need to find the USB stick connected to your PC. Most likely it’s DISK 1
One of the most classic and – yet still perversely prevalent – issues IT staff face is resetting Windows passwords for users who have forgotten them (again). While remote administration has reduced the need to physically reactivate and reset passwords in most scenarios, a copy of L0phtcrack still remains in every experienced admins ‘toolbox’. Of course, having to reboot the system and use a copy of Bart PE or other portable OS’ to run L0phtcrack has a PITA factor all its own.
Well, it seems that entrepreneur Jonty Lovell has done something about it as the all new – and fully funded – Password Reset Key has been designed to take the hassle out of this common issue. In fact, as long as you have physical access to the system even home owners can now reset their forgotten password within mere moments.
The secret to the Password Reset Key is the fact that it combines a key shaped 1GB flash drive – available in black, stainless steel, or ‘gold’ – with a simple OS that auto-loads his custom software upon startup. Just as with L0phtcrack, with a simple click or three, you can scan, reset and even test how secure a given systems login passwords are. Because of its ‘key’ form factor, it will be hard to lose as you can simply stick on your keychain and always have it close at hand. However, be warned that this $15 – $50 device (depending on which option to choose) may get you in trouble with your IT staff as resetting the ‘administrator’ password will greatly â€˜annoy’ them if they find out.
The above InfoGraph was provided by Nexcopy Company and highlights the current and services available for protecting intellectual property on USB flash media, or USB Copy Protection.Â The concept behind this USB copy protection solution is the ability to share digital files on a flash drive with others, but restrict their ability to pass along that information.
With the above solution a user can protect different file types which are the most popular multimedia files such as PDF, MP3, QuickTime, MP4, M4V, html, flash and some other listed.Â This post is not intended as advertising, but a share of products and services about USB copy protection available on the market today.
BlurPort is putting a cool twist to securing your USB devices.Â From flash drives to hard drives BlurPort has you covered.
The product can be found (and funded) on Kickstarter right now.Â The concept is the BlurPort device is an 8GB stick…but it’s more.Â The BlurPort uses a multi-factor authentication method to unlock your digital content.Â Meaning you need the knowledge of the password and you need a physical device to act as the token.Â What is the physical device you ask?Â Simple:Â your smartphone.
The BlurPort app on your phone will offer many different ways to authenticate yourself, from facial recognition and eye scanning to NFC tokens, even pattern trace passwords.
So who wants another 8GB flash drive…well the BlurPort can also grant access to your USB hard drive and other storage devices.Â By removing the tail end of the BlurPort you now have a female USB socket for connecting another USB peripheral.Â This is where we believe the product is very unique.Â The BlurPort (now you can understand the name) is the gate-keeper for all your USB devices.Â It’s the digital road block to access and only your dual authentication will grant access.
Work flow after the jump:
Here is a great tool for cleaning Windows Registry of USB drive entries. The program runs in the Windows console and removes all devices that are not currently connected.
To clean up the Windows registry of a USB flash drive, or other USB devices can make your system boot faster and run faster.
For example, each time you connect a USB printer to a different USB port on your PC there are registry entries made which associate the device with the drivers. Windows is trying to be smart and log this information so the next time you connect the device, Windows will know exactly what to do. Meaning when you connect the printer a second time, you don’t see the balloon from Windows saying “Installing Brother driver” or something, it’s just connected and ready to go.
But, for example, lets say you connect your Nikon camera to your PC and you use a different USB port each time, now you have a bunch of registry entries that can make your PC boot slower, run slower or possible give you trouble with that external device.
With all this said, if you are having trouble with a USB drive, or a USB camera, printer or scanner, the first thing you’ll probably want to do is run this Windows registry cleaner utility. Good chance it will solve your problems.
WinXP / Vista / Win7 Writes settings to:
Does not write files to host computer Dependencies:
Administrator rights License:
Freeware How to extract:
Download the ZIP package and extract to a folder of your choice. Launch drivecleanup.exe either in the ‘Win32’ folder or ‘x64’ folder.
ComputerWorld did a nice write up about the IronKey Workspace product for Windows 8 operating system.
Read the full article here.
“IronKey storage devices have also been validated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to meet the stringent Level 3 criteria of FIPS 140-2. Combined with the cloud -based IronKey Enterprise Management Service, data security can be managed and audited from anywhere in the world. The IronKey Workspace flash drive, however, is not FIPS-certified.”
The IronKey will boot from any PC or Mac computer.Â Boots in about 35 seconds but has an initial configuration time of about 4 minutes.