MadMod Computing The MadMod Computing Newsletter

Vol. 2007a

Welcome to this edition of The MadMod Computing Newsletter.   We hope that you enjoy the features of each issue and learn some computing skills along the way.

First, a reminder to make backups of your important files, and to keep your anti-virus software up-to-date.   Second use a software firewall and/or a router if using broadband.   Last, obtain all the critical Windows updates.

Featured in This Issue
1.     Using Ubuntu 6.10 (Linux)
2.     Two-Factor Authentication
3. (website)

1.    Using Ubuntu 6.10 (Linux)
I loaded my free, open-source Ubuntu 6.10 version of Linux from a DVD-ROM that was included in a Linux magazine I'd purchased at Barnes and Noble Bookstore.  It took awhile to install but it was running properly from the outset.  I soon found it recognized my 17" video screen, my external disk drive, my iPod Shuffle and other hardware.  Installing my HP Deskjet 5550 printer took all of about 2 minutes.

For the web, Firefox is installed and there is an e-mail program, Evolution Mail, which has much of the "feel" of Microsoft Outlook.  So far I'm very impressed with OpenOffice 2.0 which has a word processor, a spreadsheet a presentation program--all of these compatible with the file formats of Microsoft Office.  Consider Ubuntu 6.10 a stable, easy-to-use replacement for your aging Windows computer.  Check out Ubuntu for a complete write-up about Ubuntu for the desktop or server.

2.    Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication is an attempt to create safer logins to financial sites.  The usual method consists of a single-factor authentication consisting of a screen name and a password.  This authentication type is What You Know.

A second authentication type may use an RSA token which has a changing number display that must also be entered at login.  The token and the login server use the same number for 1 minute, then they both change to another number with the server checking against the entered value of the token holder at that moment.  This type of authentication is of the type What You Have.  RSA tokens cost about $5. each for the user.

A third authentication type uses a finger-print, hand or eye scan.  This type of authentication is of the type Who You Are though it usually requires an expensive device attached to a computer.

So then a two-factor authentication uses two types at once such as a login using What You Know and either What You Have or Who You Are as a secondary check.

Websites that have a screen name, password, and security question are not truly two-factor authentication methods because they're both in the category of What You Know, although they do ramp up login security a bit.

Always use a bookmark (favorite) or type the institution's URL when visiting financial sites--never clicking on a bank link inside an e-mail or instant message.

3. (website) claims to have the best videos on the net.  Judging from the creativity in the videos that I've seen, I'm impressed.  The humor expressed in many of them shows a playfulness of the creators of the website.  For a nice diversion from "ordinary" browsing, check the videos out.

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E-mail to the editor: David Mawdsley

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