Category Archives: Interesting Items

Things SWCP staff members found interesting, or fun.

Should You Update to Windows 10?

If you’re a typical Windows user, by now you’ve likely found a pop-up window from Microsoft on your desktop at least once inviting you to “reserve” your free copy of Windows 10 – even if your current system is pirated. It’s an unprecedented annoyance step for the software giant to take – what, are they going to run out of copies soon? Or is every previous OS so flawed that they must be replaced ASAP? Neither, apparently. Microsoft says that while Windows 7 mainstream support ended on January 13, technical support won’t end until 2020, and Windows 8 won’t end until 2023 – just 2 years before that for 10. Which means if you’re happy with the version you’re using now, you shouldn’t need to change at all for quite a while. In fact, if you have an older computer, you might not be able to upgrade – here’s how you can check. Granted, Windows 10 offers a slew of new features (though most can be added to older systems without installing a new system) and has garnered many enthusiastic reviews. It’s got the tablet-style touchscreen features from 8 and has brought back the much-missed Start Menu from 7 and before. It has a phone assistant, Cortana; Edge, a new built-in web browser to replace the constantly-targeted and patched Internet Explorer; an Apps Store; users can log in with face or iris recognition; it works with smartphones; help is more … Continue reading

Posted in How the Net Works, News | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Private Email – Part 2

In our last post we showed you how to install the Mailvelope browser extension and generate PGP public and private keys, and how to import someone’s public key. Now we’d like to actually use this structure to send encrypted email. At this point if you use Gmail or Yahoo mail you’re actually ready to encrypt. Roundcube requires some additional configuration to work with mailvelope. Go to Options in your Mailvelope page, and select list of email providers, then Add New Site. The site name can be “Roundcube SWCP” and the domain pattern should be * Now when you compose a new message you’ll see a button in the compose window that looks like a pencil and paper.   If you press this a new window will pop open like the one below. Type a message and press encrypt. You’ll get a dialog box that allows you to select the key you want to use to encrypt the message. This should be the key of the person you’re sending the message to. Add that key, then press OK. Now you’ll see the encrypted message which will look something like this: Press Transfer and that message will be copied to your compose window and you can now send the message to your friend. That’s it! Inline Encryption You may want to make the process easier to use by allowing inline encryption. This will allow you to do the encryption in the compose … Continue reading

Posted in How the Net Works, Interesting Items, Resources, Security, Tips and Tricks | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Private Email – Part 1

In that last few years we’ve come to see more and more that things we thought were private, simply aren’t. Whether it is companies that want to sell you things, the government wanting to find terrorist plots, or thieves looking for personal data to aid with  identity theft, there are many players out there looking at your data. Is there anyway to protect ourselves from prying eyes? One way is to use strong encryption. PGP, Pretty Good Privacy, has been around since 1991. It’s a public key encryption system, which means it uses a pair of encryption keys, one that is public and can be freely given out to anyone and one that is private/secret and must be protected. In addition to the keys there is a passphrase that is known to the owner of the keys and is required to decrypt a message. PGP has been a useful tool for techno-savvy folks, but has been difficult to use for the more techno-casual person. I recently attended a CryptoParty. The aim of these events is to help put privacy tools in more hands. I discovered some new (and more modern) packages for working with PGP and integrating it into tools you may be familiar with, so I thought I’d share my experience of setting up PGP for use with Roundcube. Roundcube is an open source webmail client that is available for use with your SWCP account. A little background In … Continue reading

Posted in How the Net Works, Interesting Items, Resources, Security, Tips and Tricks | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment