passwords

Can you use something other than a fingerprint for Touch ID?

Episode 1178

Brad from Peoria, IL
Apple iPhone 6

Brad hears that you don't have to use your fingerprint for Apple's Touch ID -- you can actually use other body parts. Knuckles, palms, and even noses can work. Some guitar players or construction workers who have callouses on their fingers may not be able to use fingerprints. So for those people, they need to think outside the box.

Why doesn't Touch ID work on my iPhone?

Episode 1178

Patrick from Guelph, Canada
Apple iPhone 6

Patrick is frustrated because Touch ID doesn't work on his iPhone 6. He's had his phone replaced and it still doesn't work. It recognizes his fingers for a day or two and then it stops. Leo says that there was an issue with "fingerprint rot," where the reader capability degrades, but Apple fixed that in iOS 8. So it shouldn't have an issue. If Patrick's fingers are clammy or wet, it won't work. His hands need to be bone dry.

Is it possible to log into sites and programs without a username and password?

Episode 1156

George from Santa Monica, CA
Password

George wants to know of a way to use his computer without having to use a password or user name because he keeps forgetting them. Leo says that passwords don't work. We have to remember them, so we tend to make weak passwords and use them on multiple sites. Steve Gibson has an idea called SQRL (Secure, Quick, Reliable Log In). The idea being that a smartphone app will automatically authenicate using a QR code so it just lets the user right in. Great idea, but behind the scenes it's a lot more complicated than that.

How often should I change my passwords?

Episode 1154

Mike from Glendale, CA
Password

Mike wants to know about passwords and how often he should change the ones on his computer. Leo says that local passwords, like for logging into his laptop aren't that big of a deal. Someone would have to have physical access to the computer and a lot of time to crack it. So that's not really the one to worry about. It's the passwords online, and even then, those passwords are encrypted. Those who change passwords a lot are those who have passwords that are shamefully easy to guess.

How can I recover a hard drive password?

Episode 1146

Alan from Orange County, CA
Password

Alan inherited an IT job and the previous person didn't leave documentation on how to access the hard drives. He tried a password recovery tool, but it didn't help. Is there a way?

Leo says that passwords are crackable if he has physical access to the machine. LophtCrack is one such utility. PogoStick is a popular one with the chatroom. There's also KON-Boot, which is a Windows bypass tool.

Does Google backup my Wi-Fi Password?

Episode 1132

Max from Milpitas, CA
Google

Max found out that someone connected to his Wi-Fi network, which concerns him because he has a login key to prevent it. Leo says that Google backs up Wi-Fi passwords and other settings to its servers unless he disables it. It's meant for convenience, but it does mean that Google knows his Wi-Fi password. It's not likely that Google would do anything with it, though. It is important to note though that it would have to be stored unencrypted. But it's not really that much of a concern. It's more likely that someone got in with a brute force attack.

How can I recover my Windows 7 administrator password?

Episode 1128

Kal from Erie, PA
Password

Kal took Leo's advice and created a second user account for his wife, so she wouldn't be using the administrator account for day to day use. But then he lost the administrator password. Leo says there are bootable discs that he can use to reset the password. Here's a support document from Microsoft that will help him reset the password. He can use another computer to create this disc.