Those clever Webroot people have released a version of Window Washer (WW) for Vista. The new version, 6.5, will only cost around £30 and supports Windows 2000, XP, together with Vista.
Easy to install and run, WW can clean all traces from web browsers AOL, Firefox 184.108.40.206, IE7, Mozilla, and Netscape, as well as instant messages from AOL, ICQ, MSN and Yahoo. It can also wash the Windows start menu, system and desktop, as well as Office applications.
You can schedule a timed wash or a session wash and you can also add ‘bleach’ to your wash to overwrite everything a specified number of times. WW gives options to do a single pass, use DOD 5223-22M (3 overwrites), NSA (7 overwrites), or as many as you want with the custom option.
You can also clean unused disk space with Window Washer’s ‘Free Space Wash’ using the same overwriting options. If you are getting rid of your laptop (or donating it to ‘Chairidee’ – as FAB FM’s Smashie and Nicey would say), then Window Washer also allows you to create an Erase Boot Disk on floppy disk or CD, which allows you to erase everything on the hard disk.
There’s been all sorts of horror stories about people putting systems up for sale on eBay - with those who buy them (often for a song) delighting in digging out passwords, credit card details and all sorts of personnel information which they could easily use to create a new identity – namely yours. Having your laptop lifted by thieves is another way of getting at personnel details, with the added bonus for light-fingered types that they don’t have to shell out wonga for it.
Of course, if you leave cleartext passwords on your system then cynics would say you deserve everything you get. If you do have to put passwords on your system because you have so many of them, it’s better to remember them as a mnemonic and put that on the system. ‘Gelatinous Raccoon’ might not mean anything to thieves but it should nudge your memory into remembering whatever password such a mnemonic was designed to remind you of.
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