A Free Newsletter for Users of the HP95LX/100LX/200LX
In this issue:
---Globally Protect Information on the Palmtop
---Selectively Protect Individual Files
---Give a Hacker a Headache
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Globally Protect Information on the Palmtop
For many, the HP Palmtop has become the repository of all sorts of confidential and personal information. Everything from PINs to daily diaries to classified information resides in the memory of some Palmtops. So what happens if the Palmtop is lost or stolen? Can others gain access to this information? The answer is "probably" unless you've taken some security measures.
The best approach is to globally protect your Palmtop with a Password. This will work if you have an HP 95LX or HP 200LX. This feature was omitted from the HP 100LX.
See the User's Manual for how to set a global password.
A couple of warnings: make your password something that you can easily remember but that hackers would never guess.
If you forget your global password your only recourse is to call HP Tech Support (at your expense) and hope that there's someone there who can walk you through the procedure to remove the password. You'll need proof of ownership.
A second warning: before you set any password, disable all add on programs that change the keystrokes. For example, Buddy, AutoCaps, Finish might try to be helpful while you're entering your password and really mess things up.
Selectively Protect Individual Files
Beyond globally protecting all the files on your Palmtop, you can also password protect individual files.
To set or change a password on an individual data file for one of the built-in applications, including Pocket Quicken on the HP 200LX, open the file in the application, press (Menu) File Password, and follow the instructions. To delete a password, press (Menu) File Password and leave the new password blank. For more information, see passwords in the index of your HP 100/200LX Users Guide.
If you have a Lotus file that contains sensitive information, it's easy to prevent others from opening the file. When you're asked to "Enter the name of the file to save," type in the file name, then press the space bar followed by the letter P. Then press Enter. You'll be able to enter a password. You (or anyone else) won't be able to retrieve the file without entering the password.
This level of security can be broken by a knowledgable Palmtop hacker. There's a program on the S.U.P.E.R. site (www.palmtop.net/super.html) called CRACK that will reveal the password for many of the Palmtop's built-in applications.
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Give a Hacker a Headache
The following tips are not "hack-proof" however they might cause a casual hacker to give up before getting to your classified information.
--Hide a file: At the DOS prompt (use Filer, Menu, Options, Dos) type D:\DOS\ATTRIB +H filespec and press Enter. ("filespec" means the drive:\directory\filename.ext of the file you want to Hide. Type Exit and press Enter. Filer will no longer show this file in the list.
--Hide a directory: Just as you can hide a file, so too can you hide a directory. Just use the command, typed at the DOS prompt, D:\DOS\ATTRIB +H drive:\directoryname and press Enter. When you return to Filer, you may still see the name of the hidden directory. Press Escape one or more times and Filer will no longer show the directory in the list.
--Bury important information: For example, put your credit card numbers and ATM codes in your PhoneBook under a fictitious name. You could put the information in a Memo file and save the file in a directory within another directory. Alternatively you could create a database file and store the information in the third or fourth page of a record. Likewise you could bury information in a hard-to-find part of a Lotus 1-2-3 worksheet.
--Make a text file into an executable file: i.e., enter your information in a Memo file and save it with the extension .COM. If someone else tries to Run this pseudo-executable file from Filer or from the DOS prompt, they'll get an error message. (Of course, if they press the View button, F8, they'll see through this trick very quickly.)
The ultimate security is, of course, to encrypt a file with a program like PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) that is available on the World Wide Web at http://web.mit.edu/network/pgp.html, but more about that later.
Sell us 1 or 1000 palmtops even if they are broken. We can use the good parts as transplants in other Palmtops. See http://www.PalmtopPaper.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How about Windows CE? Have you made the switch? Are you glad you did? Visit http://www.hpcmag.com