Tag Archives: security

Delete Items in Firefox’s Form Auto-Complete History

There are many articles about completely clearing Firefox’s form auto-complete history. However, I’ve often mistyped something into a form and then either had to live with those typos always showing up or lose my complete form history by clearing it. There is a better way!

Although you can’t easily edit or modify the characters that are stored, you can remove individual items in the form history with just a few keystrokes.

  1. Go to the form that has the field with the auto-complete history entry that you want to delete
  2. Type the first few characters of the value you want to remove. You’ll see the value appear in the drop down list below the form field as usual. In this example, I want to remove the misspelled entry, “knwoledge”.
  3. Use the down-arrow key to highlight the history item to be deleted. Don’t click it with the mouse.
    Select the entry to be removed
  4. Press the Delete (Del) key, instead of Enter, and the item will be gone
    Press the Delete key to remove the item

Yea! No more garbage in your form auto-complete history.

This method is also useful for security and privacy purposes to selectively remove data, such as credit card, Social Security, bank account and other identification numbers, that you don’t want lying around in Firefox’s form history.

Update: From the comments, use Shift+Delete on Mac OS X.

TrueCrypt: Free Encryption for Windows and Linux

I was recently asked how to password protect a USB memory stick (a.k.a. thumb drive, USB key, etc.) without having to buy software. TrueCrypt is a free and open source solution for securely encrypting data on any kind of drive including USB keys. In addition, it’s available for both Windows 2000/XP/Vista and Linux so you can share the secure data between operating systems.

With TrueCrypt you can either create a file of a specific size that will appear as a separate drive on your system (virtual encrypted disk) or you can encrypt an entire partition/drive. Of course, you can’t encrypt your entire boot disk because your computer still has to be able to load the TrueCrypt software to read the boot files.

A unique feature of TrueCrypt is that you can create a hidden area inside an encrypted volume that uses a different password. This hidden partition cannot be detected even if it’s analyzed byte-by-byte because it all looks like random bits. By storing your most important data in the hidden area, no one will know it’s there even if they force you to give them the password–you give them the password to the main encrypted area, not the hidden one.

TrueCrypt supports AES, Serpent and Twofish encryption algorithms.

Encrypt Synergy Connections with SSH

If you’re using Synergy, all of your keystrokes are sent over the network as cleartext because Synergy does not provide any encryption. In other words, unless you’re using a private network to connect your computers, anyone can sniff the data to see what you’re typing to client computers including passwords, credit card numbers and other sensitive information.

The good news is that it’s not too difficult to prevent snooping by using OpenSSH. The Synergy Network Security Guide shows you how to do this on Linux/Unix-based systems (which should work similarly on Mac OS X).

The bad news is that if your Synergy server or client is on Windows, setting up OpenSSH isn’t as straightforward. I was in this situation for quite a while and, after several unsuccessful tries, I put it on the shelf for a while. Well, tonight I found a very good resource to get OpenSSH working on Windows. I successfully set up a Synergy/OpenSSH server on a Windows XP laptop and connected a Linux client to it.

Note that if you’re using QuickSynergy to set up a client on Linux or Mac OS X, you can simply enter localhost as the server name in the QuickSynergy dialog instead of running synergyc -f localhost as described in the last step of the Synergy Network Security Guide.