PGP Desktop disks not mounting after OS X 10.7.4 update

Some users of Symantec's PGP Desktop encryption software are finding that after installing OS X 10.7.4, the program does not appear to respond properly and encrypted disks can no longer be accessed. When attempting to mount the drives, nothing happens, and the program states in its logs that the disks are already mounted.

If you experience this problem, then you may find an entry similar to the following in the PGP Desktop log files:

... 2012-05-12 9:52:38: Setting up PGP Virtual Disks 2012-05-12 9:52:38: Setting up PGP Whole Disks 2012-05-12 9:52:39: Setting … Read more

How to manage the FileVault password hole in OS X 10.7.3

A security hole has recently been found in the latest version of OS X 10.7.3, through which a user's password may be written to a log file in plain text if that person is using the older legacy FileVault data encryption technology from past versions of OS X.

While the hole may be a problem for a certain group of people who still use the legacy encryption scheme, there are several things that can be done about it.

The hole happened when an Apple software engineer apparently left a debugging flag enabled in the production release of … Read more

Q&A: MacFixIt Answers

MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which we answer questions e-mailed in by our readers.

This week people wrote in with questions managing a persistent warning in Web browsers about local storage when browsing YouTube, what to do about an encrypted hard drive for which you do not have the recovery key or password, managing a bluetooth mouse that keeps losing its connection, and a reader suggestion for a file quarantining bug in OS X Lion. We welcome alternative approaches and views from readers, so if you have any suggestions or alternative approaches to these problems, then post them in … Read more

Create PDFs with Doro PDF Writer

Adobe isn't for every situation, whether it's hardware (bricks) or software (PDFs). If you need to create PDFs that you can view and use inside of the many free standalone PDF viewers, there's a versatile, compact alternative in the form of printer-based PDF tools such as Doro PDF Writer. Doro adds an additional printer to your system, but instead of connecting to an external device, it formats your documents and saves them as PDFs. You create PDFs simply by selecting Print and choosing Doro from your print menu. Doro PDF Writer is freeware.

Doro PDF Writer installs … Read more

Privacy-protective ISP raises over $43,000 in donations in one day

An ambitious effort to launch an Internet service provider designed from its inception to be privacy-protective and surveillance-resistant has raised more than $43,000 in only one day.

A CNET article published yesterday morning profiled Nicholas Merrill, who's raising funds to launch what he calls a national "nonprofit telecommunications provider dedicated to privacy, using ubiquitous encryption" that will sell mobile phone service and, for as little as $20 a month, Internet connectivity.

Merrill, 39, set up a donation page on the Indiegogo crowd funding site a few hours after the article appeared. With the help of an … Read more

Backing up is a snap with Snap Backup

Programs don't have to be fancy to be useful, and Snap Backup is proof of that. Its interface is plain and its features are basic, but we like it because it's an incredibly easy way to back up your files. And when you have a task that's so important -- yet so easy to forget about -- anything that helps you do it on a more regular basis is worth checking out.

Snap Backup has a simple interface that's easy to figure out. First, select the directories you want to back up. Next, select a destination … Read more

This Internet provider pledges to put your privacy first. Always.

Nicholas Merrill is planning to revolutionize online privacy with a concept as simple as it is ingenious: a telecommunications provider designed from its inception to shield its customers from surveillance.

Merrill, 39, who previously ran a New York-based Internet provider, told CNET that he's raising funds to launch a national "non-profit telecommunications provider dedicated to privacy, using ubiquitous encryption" that will sell mobile phone service and, for as little as $20 a month, Internet connectivity.

The ISP would not merely employ every technological means at its disposal, including encryption and limited logging, to protect its customers. It … Read more

OS X FileVault questions answered

Apple's FileVault technology is a method of automatically encrypting your files so you do not have to worry about data theft should your system be stolen. In its first iteration FileVault was just used to encrypt the user's home directory, but in OS X Lion Apple introduced a second-generation full-disk encryption scheme that has been dubbed FileVault 2.

Many people who are considering using FileVault 2 have been asking about questions such as whether or not the encryption is needed, and expressing concerns about its security.

Is FileVault needed? This is perhaps one of the most common questions … Read more

Secusmart offers encrypted calls for Android, BlackBerry

HANOVER, Germany--Wish you had one of those spy-movie scramblers the president uses to to keep snoopers from tapping into his calls?

At the CeBIT show here, Secusmart debuted a microSD card with a built-in processor that lets people do just that with ordinary smartphones. It plugs into phones with a microSD slot--yes, that means no iPhones--then encrypts voice and SMS communications.

The technology uses VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) to actually place the calls, which means it needs 3G or Wi-Fi connections, said Hans-Christoph Quelle, a managing director at the German company. With that connection, it provides real-time, full-duplex communications--in … Read more

Space station control codes on stolen NASA laptop

A laptop stolen from NASA last year contained command codes used to control the International Space Station, an internal investigation has found.

The laptop, which was not encrypted, was among dozens of mobile devices lost or stolen in recent years that contained sensitive information, the space agency's inspector general told Congress today in testimony highlighting NASA's security challenges.

"The March 2011 theft of an unencrypted NASA notebook computer resulted in the loss of the algorithms used to command and control the International Space Station," NASA Inspector General Paul K. Martin said in written testimony (PDF). Another … Read more