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Re: Fedora 4 on Dell XPS M140

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  • parenthetically_yours
    Herman I hope we re on the same side here - pro linux on Dell laptops. To be honest I have nothing against Mandriva, but I find your anti Fedora comments
    Message 1 of 12 , Jan 2, 2006
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      Herman

      I hope we're on the same side here - pro linux on Dell laptops. To be
      honest I have nothing against Mandriva, but I find your anti Fedora
      comments unhelpful.

      > Oh good grief - consider that I have 10 Mandriva, 7 Fedora and one
      > Ubuntu machine at last count (and countless Windoze machines).

      Fine - I would have thought that gave you a more balanced viewpoint.

      You suggest disk encryption, which will cost a 2% performance hit
      (according to the link you gave). It will also make it harder to reuse
      the home partition with other installations of linux.

      You recommend using i586 optimised binaries on an i686 which will give
      you what performance improvement over typical i386 code? I'm guessing
      you'd struggle to get 2% without fiddling the benchmarks. Try harder,
      read the kernel docs and go pester your distro for i686 binaries :)

      Now bear in mind that most processes are IO-bound (rather than CPU
      bound). I'll take my 2% performance boost by having unencrypted disk
      access, thanks.

      Finally, you say the Dell HDD password is useless, I disagree, you'll
      find that it's cheaper to replace the HDD in a stolen notebook than
      send it off to get the HDD password reset. Yes it's possible to
      circumvent but the disk won't just work in another machine, and the
      average 10yo won't be much help. It also protects the whole disk,
      including the windows partitions, with no overheads (unlike software
      encryption of specific partitions).

      (ref: http://www.pwcrack.com/harddisk.shtml,
      http://www.vogon-forensic-hardware.co.uk/forensic-hardware/data-capture/password-cracker-pod.htm)

      /PY
    • Herman
      ... You can t replace the HDD in a stolen notebook - the machine is gone - you don t have it anymore. Unless you are the asshat whole stole the notebook...
      Message 2 of 12 , Jan 2, 2006
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        >Finally, you say the Dell HDD password is useless, I disagree, you'll
        >find that it's cheaper to replace the HDD in a stolen notebook than
        >send it off to get the HDD password reset. Yes it's possible to
        >circumvent but the disk won't just work in another machine, and the
        >average 10yo won't be much help. It also protects the whole disk,
        >including the windows partitions, with no overheads (unlike software
        >encryption of specific partitions).
        >
        >
        You can't replace the HDD in a stolen notebook - the machine is gone -
        you don't have it anymore. Unless you are the asshat whole stole the
        notebook... ;-)

        The purpose of encryption is to prevent the person who stole the
        machine, from reading your accounting and other sensitive data.
        Mandriva uses AES encryption. Without the passphrase, a thief cannot
        access your data. The only thing the thief can do, is format and
        re-install. (I had an IBM Stinkpad stolen and got an $8000 credit card
        bill a couple of months later - since then, I'm using encryption
        religiously!).

        The Dell BIOS password doesn't help in this regard, since it is trivial
        to circumvent. As I mentioned, simply insert the disk drive in a
        desktop machine and read it. The password may be good protection
        against your little kid sister who doesn't know how to use a screw
        driver, but it sure won't help against my teenage son... :)

        Cheers,

        H.
      • parenthetically_yours
        Herman Not sure if you re aware of the Dell passwords. There are three, user, admin and a separate HDD password. The HDD password does pretty much what you
        Message 3 of 12 , Jan 2, 2006
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          Herman

          Not sure if you're aware of the Dell passwords. There are three, user,
          admin and a separate HDD password.

          The HDD password does pretty much what you describe, and more. It
          prevents the disk from being used outside the machine. IT WON'T WORK
          IN A DESKTOP WITHOUT THE PASSWORD. A thief can't even reformat and
          reinstall which is why I say it's cheaper to replace the locked disk
          than read it. The links I posted give more details.

          You mention being defrauded after losing a thinkpad - out of interest,
          why did you feel the need to store information that could let you be
          defrauded in the first place? If you knew you had lost such
          information surely you'd have to do the same things you'd do for a
          lost wallet (cancel cards etc.)?

          /PY
        • herman@aeronetworks.ca
          parenthetically_yours wrote .. ... OK, wasn t aware that Dell now use those kind of disks. However, all you need to do to recover the data, is replace the
          Message 4 of 12 , Jan 2, 2006
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            parenthetically_yours wrote ..
            > prevents the disk from being used outside the machine. IT WON'T WORK
            > IN A DESKTOP WITHOUT THE PASSWORD.
            OK, wasn't aware that Dell now use those kind of disks. However, all you need to do to recover the data, is replace the controller card. If a perp has hardware access to the disk drive, then only encryption can keep the data safe.

            Only the paranoid will survive... :-)

            > why did you feel the need to store information that could let you be
            > defrauded in the first place?
            I run Quickbooks on my notebook, since I work all over the place, this is handy. Older versions of Quickbooks work on CxOffice.

            However, I think what the perp accessed was a scan of a credit card statement, which was still on the desktop. Fortunately, the damage to me was only $50, thanks to state law.
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