Solutions Through IT

December 16, 2014

Dell Fingerprint Security Part two (Windows 8.1)

Filed under: Biometrics, Dell, Security, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 — solutionsthroughit @ 11:41

Last year I wrote a typically cynical post about how to get the fingerprint security working with Windows 8.  I upgraded to windows 8.1 in place, so didn’t have to worry about re-installing the software.  However after a slow SSD crash (that corrupted system files significantly enough to have very ‘wonky’ data) I chose to re-install rather than attempt to recover the backups (yes, the one backup set that I didn’t test was for my own laptop!).  Here’s a very quick rundown on how to get things rolling again.

For non-domain computers, you can simply install the software as per normal.  Download the 32 or 64 bit installers, drivers and firmware.

Upgrade your firmware first.  Do not re-install the firmware if the versions match.

I installed the ControlVault driver next, despite my previous post specifying that the driver should be installed last.

Finally, I installed the Data Protection Access and rebooted.

For Domain connected computers you either have to add a domain group policy or set a local group policy. 




May 27, 2013

Dell Fingerprint Security!?!

Filed under: Dell, Hardware, Rants, Security — solutionsthroughit @ 15:45

Holy Freaking Security Debarkle, Batman.  Just experienced one of THE MOST FRUSTRATING experiences with hardware that I’ve had for a long time.

First up: Finding the files to install.  Despite issuing the website with my service tag and OS, the support site didn’t want to give me the fingerprint software / firmware.  After trying to build a DOS based USB boot disk, to attempt to boot the DOS based (yes, it’s 2013, and you apparently can’t run a GUI installer to update the firmware for the BIOS), we actually find the GUI application that updates the BIOS.  After installing the Dell ControlVault Firmware, then we have to re-install the Dell Data Protection Access.  After this, we can finally install the Dell ControlVault Driver. 

After we’d sorted out the issues, configuring the Dell FIPS software for this notebook (mine no less!) took two IT guys well over two hours to fuddle their way into getting this working.  Dell, I shouldn’t be wasting MY time to fix YOUR lack of documentation. 

Some of the “fun” errors we had were “The original 6503 could not be located in the dynamic link library.” 


We couldn’t enable the fingerprint reader when there was a Microsoft Live account present.


We also couldn’t setup the biometric – because the system administrator had set policies that disallow biometrics.



Open control panel, and search for biometric.  Click on Change Biometric Settings.


Tick “Allow users to log on to a domain using their fingerprints”, and then Save Changes.


January 10, 2013

Roboform–Password Manager Review

Filed under: Ramblings, Review, Security — solutionsthroughit @ 23:15

Checking out Roboform as a password management tool.  I’m willing to admit, that up until now, I’ve been pretty blaze about my passwords, but it’s getting to a stage where you just can’t ignore the fact.  Sites are getting hacked on a regular basis, and if you don’t follow good password policies, it’s likely a question of time before you’re affected by this.  These are my initial findings, for a few hours of use with the application.  I’ll be linking it to multiple computers, using the Skydrive service.

Why do I want a password manager?

If you use the internet (if you’re reading this, you do) then you’ll need passwords.  Most people don’t manage passwords properly, and are at risk of having all their passwords (normally the same password for all sites) being stolen at the same time.  Imagine if your facebook password got stolen.  Is your banking / email / twitter / etc. accounts safe, or did they just figure out your password for all of them?  Having a password manager lets you use a strong random password that you can put into RoboForm and not need to remember it again!


Straight up, it’s a nice, polished product.  It will launch & populate passwords and usernames, and so far, it looks good.  It synchronises well across SkyDrive, so I’m happy with this.  My password files are located on MY computer (technically, Microsoft’s SkyDrive service) and I control access.


No inbuilt password generator.  When you’re setting up new passwords, so that you can stick them into Roboform, I’d like a button to generate a password at my preferred security combinations, and maybe even stuff the clipboard with it (push the button, right click & paste to the password form).  Can’t customise the application you launch the shortcut with (i.e. I’d want to launch banking in an IE window, but everything else in Chrome or Firefox), but you can use the toolbar for the specific application.

Biggest issue with RoboForm (at least the Free/PC only version) is that it is ONLY available on your computer.  If you’re out and need a password for a site, you’re going to have to remember it (hah!) or reset it.  Alternatively, I could log onto my skydrive, and get the database, but will need to have RoboForm and a PC with me.

April 5, 2012

It’s been a long time coming … but here it is–Apple users beware.

Filed under: Antivirus, Apple, Security — solutionsthroughit @ 13:11

Long and short of it, the apple-maintained version of Java has typically been patched a LONG time after the Oracle maintained version of Java.  Coupled with the fact that viruses have been largely unknown on the Apple platform, security hasn’t been a concern for Apple users.  That time, appears to be now over.

From this link or this one it outlines some details.

Apple have released this support article that probably won’t make ANY sense to an end user. 

You can check for update by going to the Apple menu, and selecting Software Update … Apple menu





Or you can directly download the OSX 10.6 Update 7 or the OSX Lion 2012.001 Update.  See the Apple Downloads site for more information.

February 16, 2012

Old News, but I’m still waiting if there are consequences …

Filed under: Antivirus, Conspiracy, Security, Symantec — solutionsthroughit @ 00:52

Been keeping these tabs open in Chrome for a while, and I’m a little bored with them now :)  I’ve been expecting to be able to use them as a “Friends don’t let Friends use Symantec” or worse, “See – the hackers DID find more holes”. 

I want my tab real estate back, so here they go, to be archived off.

September 21, 2011

Patching an out of the box SBS 2003 R2 Server

Filed under: SBS 2003, Security — solutionsthroughit @ 07:30

Exceptions: No ISA firewall installed, otherwise everything was pretty much the defaults.  Not doing this for any other reason other than there isn’t much else to do whilst patching 🙂

  • 1st patch batch, single – Reboot required
  • 2nd patch batch, 16 patches, Reboot required
  • 3rd patch batch, 1 patch (so that big patches can be applied!), Reboot required.
  • 4th patch batch, 41 patches, Reboot required
  • 5th patch batch, 2 patches, No Reboot required
  • 6th patch batch, 21 patches, Reboot required.
  • Got stuck, no more patches coming down with the WSUS server.  Had to go to Microsoft Update website to pull down SP2.  Reboot required.
  • Install HyperV Integration services, Reboot required.
  • Office SP3, no reboot required.
  • Sharepoint 2.0 SP3, (declined IE8 update whilst this was installing), no reboot required.
  • .Net Framework 3.5 SP1, reboot required.
  • DLL vulnerability patch, reboot required
  • 54 more patches, reboot required.
  • 62 updates to apply, reboot required
  • 1 lonely patch, no reboot required
  • 1 patch (.NET 4 framework), no reboot required, rebooted to ensure it was the last patch.

Yup, that’s 225 patches/updates/etc that have been applied to SBS 2003 according to my rough calculations.  Not surprising, considering its age, and Windows XP SP3 + Office has well over 130 patches & updates that have to be applied!  And for anyone who lets me know that there are faster ways of doing it – this was done using using an out of the box configuration, without requiring intimate patching knowledge.  SBS is supposed to be ALMOST easy enough for end users to setup :).

June 15, 2011

Keep your anti-virus current. Stop spyware, virii and more from infecting your computer!

Filed under: Antivirus, Malware, Security — solutionsthroughit @ 12:38

A while ago I was recommending that people install antivirus – even if it was a free product.  From the number of machines that I’ve seen, this isn’t good enough any more.  You need to have a decent product, and more importantly, 3rd party applications such as Adobe Reader, Flash and JavaScript UP TO DATE.  You also need to ensure that you run Microsoft Updates regularly.

This reduces the common flaws in software that allow ‘the bad guys’ to install malicious software on your computer that can monitor your passwords, bank accounts (taking your money) and sending out spam and generally messing your computer up, causing costly repairs and downtime.

Stay safe!

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