passwords

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.

How can I bypass a hard drive lock?

Episode 1122

"Old Geek in the Bronx" from New York
Hard drive

"The Old Geek in the Bronx" has an issue with a computer repair that the Geek Squad did, where they password protected the hard drive preventing access to the system. The Geek Squad denies they did it! Leo says that searching for "cracking a locked hard drive" on Google, he can find some solutions. Dell says they can unlock a hard drive if he would ship it to them. Hard drive passwords are very secure and difficult to break. And he'll probably have to buy gold support from Dell to do it, but he can.

Why can't I link my Gmail to Windows Live Mail?

Episode 1122

Richard from Santa Monica, CA
Gmail

Richard is having trouble linking Windows Live Mail and Gmail. What gives? Leo says to make sure that IMAP is turned on. Then, if he has two factor authentication turned on, he'll have to use the app specific password for his gmail account. Also make sure SSL is checked on the incoming and outgoing servers for Google. It's likely that an app specific password is required.

How can I recover my Windows Administrator Password?

Episode 1119

Laxman from Arizona
Password

Laxman uses Windows 7 as a limited user, but he can't remember his administrator password. How can he recover it? Leo says Lophtcrack was a utility that hackers use to crack the administrator password. But Symantec bought it and killed it.

There's also a utility by PogoStick.net, where he can download a LiveCD.ISO, burn it to a CD and then boot his computer. The utilty will remove the password and let him reset it.

How can I recover my Hotmail password?

Bob from Victorville, CA

Episode 1118

Bob has lost his hotmail password and he can't get any support to help him recover it. Leo says that it may be that the password was hacked and the account taken over. There's a two factor authentication, where if the password is changed, you have to input a code sent to your cellphone in order change the password. But in this case, it's likely they guessed your secret questions with a brute force attack and hacked your account. Secret Questions are a vulnerability because people actually answer the questions. Leo advises to change the password aNd then enable 2nd factor authentication.