.. Archives for September 2013 | Ian Loe - Blog
September 2013

Securing your USB flash drives

Many of us make use of the extremely convenient USB drive to share files, but there are lots of opportunity for files to be leaked (intentionally or accidentally) - someone could copy the wrong file from your drive. Some people get around this by having multiple USB flash drives, but there is a better, more secure way to do this.

I would recommend using TrueCrypt

truecrypt

TrueCrypt is a source-available freeware application used for on-the-fly encryption (OTFE). This application offers you a way to secure part (or whole) of your USB flash drive that you can confidently share with others.

TrueCrypt is available on Windows, Linux and Mac and is pretty straightforward to use. I would suggest encrypting most of your USB flash drive and leave a smaller partition for convenient file sharing while keeping the rest of your files protected.

Here is how you would do it:

When you start up TrueCrypt, you will see this window

truecrypt-main

Click on “Create Volume”, you will then get this window”

TC-create

I recommend starting with just a encrypted file container and you can explore partitions as you get more comfortable using the technology.

You will now decide if you want the file hidden… in most cases, a standard volume is sufficient, but if you are paranoid, you could create a hidden volume, but note that this is not foolproof as there are tools that would allow people to detect hidden TrueCrypt volume (but not decrypt it).

TC-type

THe next step would be to tell it where to create the file container, at this window, click on “Select Device…” and create a file on the USB drive.

TC-location

The next screen will ask you what encryption algorithm you want to use, I recommend just staying with the default settings:

TC-encrypt

then you would select what size you would like the container to be. The size would depend on how you would use your drive, just make sure you allocate enough storage for the files you want to protect.

TC-size

Next, create a password to access your encrypted files.

TC-password

next, decided on the format, I suggest keeping it at FAT for better compatibility across operating systems

TC-format

the next step involves some user action - keep moving your mouse (or trackpad) to crete a random Pool for encryption, when you are done, hit the “Format” button:

TC-formatting

this step could take a while depending on how large is your encrypted area. when this is done, you will see a popup like this:

TC-done

You can create additional encrypted areas by repeating the steps or just click exit to finish.

TC-complete

Now you can safely share files in the non=encrypted area of your USB Drive and not worry about private files on it.

to access your encrypted area, you have to mount the file in Truecrypt by electing the file and click on “Mount


I would also recommend creating a directory on the un-encrypted area of your drive and putting the Truecrypt installer for all the platforms.




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Offline access to IBM Connections Files

Many folks have asked if it was possible to use IBM Connections files in a manner similar to Dropbox. well…it is!

IBM Connections allow files to be access using CMIS.

Cmis_logo

According to Wikipiedia, Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) is an open standard that allows different content management systems to inter-operate over the Internet.[1] Specifically, CMIS defines an abstraction layer for controlling diverse document management systems and repositories using web protocols.

You may ask, so how do I do it?


On Windows, there are a few CMIS client tools, but one that is showing a lot of promise is CMISSync (
http://cmissync.com) developed by a Japanese firm aegif. they have a free community edition with plain connectivity and an Enterprise version that has extras like Single Sing-On (SSO), encryption and other administrative functions.

cmissync

The current version of CMISSync is developed on .Net framework 4.5, so you would need to install that on you computer before installing the client. According to their website, a Linux and Mac version is in the pipeline.

to set up any CMIS client to IBM connections, the URL string is
“https://your connections sever/files/basic/cmis/my/servicedoc”

For users on Mac, there are a few ways you can do this too. The easiest way is to use Adobe Drive, an Adobe AIR application that acts as a CMIS client.

adobedrive

One of the advantages of using Adobe Drive is that it allows you to open Connections Files in Finder like a regular folder.

there are also other free client you can use such as
CMIS Spaces, which gives you a client interface like this:


cmis-spaces-20120419-3

There are many CMIS clients available on the market today, just find one that fits your needs.

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Using Activities in IBM Connections and IBM Notes

Most people spend a lot of time searching through their past emails to try to string a communication thread together, either to remember the discussion topics or to hand over a thread to someone else.

Fortunately, there is a very easy way to do this with IBM Notes and Connections!

Did you know you could drag an email to the Activities sidebar in IBM Notes to save it?


My recommended approach to saving and tracking important communication is the following steps :

1. Create an activity to track the communication:

create-activity create-activity-2

2. Next, locate the email you want to track/save, right click on it and choose to add it an activity:

add-activity add-activity-2

3. That’s it!

The next time you need to find past email you can easily locate them in the activity.
An email can also exist in multiple activities, and you can easily locate all the activities that the email is in by clicking on “Show Activities Related to this Document” in the above menu.


4. Not all communication is via email, so similarly, all Sametime chats can also be saved to an activity with the click of a button:

add-st add-st-2



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