Friday, 30 November 2007

How to Encrypt Your Data & Files When Emailing or Sending It

Its a shame that the no-one at HMRC thought about using one of the most commonly used software programs installed when sending their data Winzip.

The latest versions of Winzip have a built in encryption function that contains up to 256bit encryption, which should shop anyone apart from possibly MI5, GCHQ or the NSA from looking into your file.

To encrypt the data, all you do is create the zip file as normal and then:

1. Press the Encrypt buttom at the top of the Winzip tool bar

2. Select the type of encryption you want - I'd recommend the AES 256 bit option, rather than the weaker Winzip password which can be broken relativly easily.

3. Enter the password - the longer the better and ideally with numbers and characters

4. PC has an excellent password generator that will create random long passwords

4. That's it - the zip file is then encrypted and secure

You can now send it to anyone, just making sure you don't send the password in the same email

They'll need at least Winzip 10 or higher to read the file. When they extract the file, they'll be asked for the password. Once that has been successfully put in, they can extract the file.

Winzip is currently around £20 per user - a lot cheaper than a £5000 fine from the Information Commissioner

Monday, 26 November 2007

Death by water

Next time you think you're having a rough time, spend a couple of seconds and consider those people that don't have access to clean water for either drinking or sanitation.

Where death by water is part of daily life, by Larry Elliott details just how bad the situation and how little the developing world is really doing to help those in places such as Bangladesh. If you don't have time to read the full article, just consider these two salient facts.

  • According to the UN 2.6 billion people live in insanitary conditions
  • 2oo children an hour die from water borne diseases
If you feel like doing something about it, the charity WaterAid is a good place to start

Untergunther - Breaking and Repairing

Unlike most people who break into a property and then either steal something or trash it, the Untergunther group in Paris has a different motive. Their aim is to restore French cultural heritage.

In September 2005, the group broke into the Panthéon in Paris and set about restoring the antique clock that had been left to rust in. Repairing

Read more at Undercover restorers fix Paris landmark's clock

At last, the Church of England finally makes a stand

Readers of this blog know that organised religion and I parted company quite some time ago. I like to think of myself as an agnostic bordering on the atheist (still not quite ready to make the final jump.

Whatever I or other agnostics / atheists think about organised religion, we do need to respect other peoples beliefs and views, even if we think they are wrong. What I often find surprising is how quiet the church can be over some of the big issues that face us such as global warming.

Therefore I was pleasantly surprised to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams making some very valid points about American foreign policy and Christain fundementalism. To quote from an interview he gave to the Muslim magazine Emel.

  • "It is one thing to take over a territory and then pour energy and resources into administering it and normalising it. Rightly or wrongly, that's what the British empire did - in India, for example. It is another thing to go in on the assumption that a quick burst of violent action will somehow clear the decks and that you can move on and other people will put things back together - Iraq, for example."
  • He had told his interviewer that he found Christian Zionism "not at all easy to accept", adding that it was connected with the "chosen national myth of America, meaning that what happens in America is very much at the heart of God's purpose for humanity".
Surely this what the church should be doing - standing up and saying what it thinks rather than worrying what people think it should say.

The Guardian has more Archbishop thrown into row over US Middle East policy