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Our weekly audio security column
& podcast by Steve Gibson and Leo Laporte
TechTV's Leo Laporte and I take 30 to 90 minutes near the end of each week to discuss important issues of personal computer security. Sometimes we'll discuss something that just happened. Sometimes we'll talk about long-standing problems, concerns, or solutions. Either way, every week we endeavor to produce something interesting and important for every personal computer user.

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 Leo also produces "This Week in Tech" (TWiT) and a number of other very popular podcasts (TWiT is America's most listened to podcast!) So if you are looking for more informed technology talk, be sure to check out Leo's other podcasts and mp3 files.

 And a huge thanks to AOL Radio for hosting the high-quality MP3 files and providing the bandwidth to make this series possible. We use "local links" to count downloads, but all of the high-quality full-size MP3 files are being served by AOL Radio.

Episode Archive

Each episode has SIX resources:

High quality 64 kbps mp3 audio file
Quarter size, bandwidth-conserving,
16 kbps (lower quality) mp3 audio file
A web page with any supplementary notes
A web page text transcript of the episode
A simple text transcript of the episode
Ready-to-print PDF (Acrobat) transcript  

(Note that the text transcripts will appear a few hours later
than the audio files since they are created afterwards.)

For best results: RIGHT-CLICK on one of the two audio icons & below then choose "Save Target As..." to download the audio file to your computer before starting to listen. For the other resources you can either LEFT-CLICK to open in your browser or RIGHT-CLICK to save the resource to your computer.

Episode #20 | 29 Dec 2005 | 54 min.
A SERIOUS new Windows vulnerability — and Listener Q&A

On December 28th a serious new Windows vulnerability has appeared and been immediately exploited by a growing number of malicious web sites to install malware. Many worse viruses and worms are expected soon. We start off discussing this and our show notes provides a quick necesary workaround until Microsoft provides a patch. Then we spend the next 45 minutes answering and discussing interesting listener questions.
26 MB6.5 MB10 KB104 KB52 KB70 KB

Episode #19 | 22 Dec 2005 | 53 min.
VPNs Three: Hamachi, iPig, and OpenVPN

Leo and I wrap up our multi-week, in-depth coverage of PC VPN solutions by discussing some aftermath of the zero-configuration Hamachi system; introducing "iPig," a very appealing new zero-configuration VPN contender; and describing the many faces of OpenVPN, the "Swiss army knife" of VPN solutions.
25 MB6.4 MB2.4 KB96 KB50 KB68 KB

Episode #18 | 15 Dec 2005 | 33 min.
"Hamachi" Rocks!

This week Leo and I discuss and describe the brand new, ready to emerge from a its long development beta phase, ultra-secure, lightweight, high-performance, highly-polished, multi-platform, peer-to-peer and FREE! personal virtual private networking system known as "Hamachi". After two solid weeks of testing and intense dialog with Hamachi's lead developer and designer, I have fully vetted the system's security architecture and have it running on many of my systems. While I am travelling to Toronto this week, Hamachi is keeping my roaming laptop securely and directly connected to all of my machines back home. Don't miss this one!
16 MB4.1 MB2.4 KB81 KB36 KB58 KB

Episode #17 | 08 Dec 2005 | 33 min.
PPTP and IPSec VPN Technology

In our continuing exploration of VPN technology for protecting network users on networks they don't control, Leo and I discuss the oldest "original" VPN protocols: Industry standard IPSec, and Microsoft's own PPTP and L2TP/IPSec. We examine and explain the trouble with interconnecting Windows machines to third-party VPN routers and examine the many reasons these older technologies are probably not optimal for on-the-go road warriors.
16 MB4.0 MB7.7 KB61 KB31 KB51 KB

Episode #16 | 01 Dec 2005 | 42 min.
Listener feedback Q&A #1

Leo and I discuss questions asked by listeners of our previous episodes. We tie up loose ends, explore a wide range of topics that are too small to fill their own episode, clarify any confusion from previous installments, and present real world 'application notes' for any of the security technologies we have previously discussed.
20 MB5.1 MB2.3 KB100 KB43 KB65 KB

Episode #15 | 24 Nov 2005 | 43 min.
VPN Secure Tunneling Solutions

Leo and I discuss the use of SSL and SSH encrypted tunneling for providing privacy and security whenever an insecure local network is being used — such as at an open WiFi hotspot or when using a hotel's network. These solutions are not transparent and tend to be configuration intensive. They also require the use of a "server" of some sort at the user's home or office. This makes these approaches less suitable for casual users, but offers a solution for the more technically inclined road warriors.
21 MB5 MB5.6 KB85 KB40 KB60 KB

Episode #14 | 17 Nov 2005 | 27 min.
Virtual Private Networks (VPN): Theory

Leo and I first follow-up on the past two episodes, discussing new developments in the continuing Sony Rootkit DRM drama, and clearing up some confusion over the crackability of WPA passphrases. Then, in this first of our two-part series on VPNs, we discuss the theory of VPN connections and tunnels, explaining how they work and why they represent such a terrific solution for anyone who needs security while they're away from home.
13 MB3.2 MB2.3 KB74 KB29 KB52 KB

Episode #13 | 10 Nov 2005 | 35 min.
Unbreakable WiFi Security

Leo and I follow-up on last week's discussion of the Sony Rootkit debacle with the distressing news of "phoning home" (spyware) behavior from the Sony DRM software, and the rootkit's exploitation by a new malicious backdoor Trojan. We then return to complete our discussion of WiFi security, demystifying the many confusing flavors of WPA encryption and presenting several critical MUST DO tips for WPA users.
17 MB4.2 MB3.2 KB 70 KB32 KB54 KB

Episode #12 | 03 Nov 2005 | 24 min.
Sony's "Rootkit Technology" DRM (copy protection gone bad)

Leo and I discuss details and consequences of Sony Corporation's alarming "Rootkit" DRM (digital rights management) copy protection scheme. This poorly written software unnecessarily employs classic rootkit technology (see episode #9) to hide from its users after installation. It can not be uninstalled easily, it can be easily misused for malicious purposes, and it has been implicated in many repeated BSOD "blue screen of death" PC crashes.
12 MB2.9 MB8.2 KB46 KB23 KB45 KB

Episode #11 | 27 Oct 2005 | 38 min.
Bad WiFi Security (WEP and MAC address filtering)

Leo and I answer some questions arising from last week's episode, then plow into a detailed discussion of the lack of security value of MAC address filtering, the futility of disabling SSID's for security, and the extremely poor security offered by the first-generation WEP encryption system.
18 MB4.6 MB2.3 KB70 KB34 KB54 KB

Episode #10 | 20 Oct 2005 | 28 min.
Open Wireless Access Points

Leo and I examine the security and privacy considerations of using non-encrypted (i.e. 'Open') wireless access points at home and in public locations. We discuss the various ways of protecting privacy when untrusted strangers can 'sniff' the data traffic flowing to and from your online PC.
14 MB3.4 MB3.2 KB51 KB28 KB47 KB

Episode #9 | 13 Oct 2005 | 32 min.

This week we discuss "rootkit technology". We examine what rootkits are, why they have suddenly become a problem, and how that problem is rapidly growing in severity. We also discuss their detection and removal and point listeners to some very effective free rootkit detection solutions.
16 MB3.9 MB5.2 KB70 KB33 KB53 KB

Episode #8 | 06 Oct 2005 | 24 min.
Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are occurring with ever-greater frequency every day. Although these damaging attacks are often used to extort high-profile gaming and gambling sites before major gambling events, attacks are also launched against individual users who do something to annoy "zombie fleet masters" while they are online. Some router and firewall vendors claim that their devices prevent DDoS attacks. Is that possible? What can be done to dodge the bullet of a DDoS attack launched against you while you're online?
12 MB2.8 MB2.6 KB46 KB23 KB44 KB

Episode #7 | 29 Sep 2005 | 36 min.

Any contemporary discussion of threats to Internet security must discuss the history, current situation, and future of spyware. Leo and I spend a little more time than usual covering many aspects of this important topic. DON'T MISS the Episode Notes Page for this episode!
17 MB4.4 MB17 KB61 KB34 KB52 KB

Episode #6 | 22 Sep 2005 | 18 min.
Mechanical & Electromagnetic Information Leakage

Triggered by a recent report of three UC Berkeley researchers recovering text typed at a keyboard (any keyboard) after simply listening to ten minutes of typing, Leo and I discuss the weird realm of "alternative information leakage" — from CRT glowing, to radio emissions, to LEDs lamps on the front of network equipment . . . to a microphone listening to anyone typing.
8.7 MB2.2 MB8.0 KB36 KB18 KB40 KB

Episode #5 | 15 Sep 2005 | 20 min.
Personal Password Policy — Part 2

Our previous episode (#4), which discussed personal password policies, generated so much great listener feedback, thoughts, ideas, and reminders about things we didn't mention, that we decided to wrap up this important topic with a final episode to share listeners' ideas and to clarify some things we left unsaid.
9.5 MB  2.4 MB  7.9 KB34 KB21 KB  41 KB

Episode #4 | 08 Sep 2005 | 24 min.
Personal Password Policy

Everyone who uses web-based services such as eBay, Amazon, and Yahoo, needs to authenticate their identity with passwords. Password quality is important since easily guessable passwords can be easily defeated. Leo and I recap a bit from last week's program, then discuss passwords. We suggest an approach that anyone can use to easily create unbreakable passwords.
12 MB  2.9 MB  7.4 KB52 KB25 KB  46 KB

Episode #3 | 01 Sep 2005 | 25 min.
NAT Routers as Firewalls

Most people don't think of common NAT routers as hardware firewalls, but ANY NAT router inherently provides terrific security and protection against incoming malicious traffic. Learn how and why this is, and which default settings MUST be changed to lock down the security of your NAT router.
12 MB  3.1 MB  7.4 KB51 KB26 KB  47 KB

Episode #2 | 25 Aug 2005 | 25 min.
" HoneyMonkeys "

How Microsoft's "HoneyMonkey" system works, how it finds malicious web sites before they find you, and what Microsoft is doing (and NOT doing) with this valuable security information it is now collecting.
12 MB  3.0 MB  2.4 KB69 KB26 KB  49 KB

Episode #1 | 19 Aug 2005 | 18 min.
As the Worm Turns — the first Internet worms of 2005

How a never-disclosed Windows vulnerability was quickly reverse-engineered from the patches to fix it and turned into more than 12 potent and damaging Internet worms in three days. What does this mean for the future of Internet security?
8.7 MB  2.2 MB  7.4 KB40 KB18 KB  41 KB

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