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WHY PDS?


The Home Page introduces cybercrime on the Internet and also provides an overview of each of the main features that PDS provides. The introductory video on the Home Page covers the current trends in cybercrime as well as how PDS can help protect you against cybercrime. This page seeks to answer the question, "Why PDS?" After all, there are already many software products that help protect you from cybercrime.

Much of the software made for Microsoft Windows seeks to block malicious software from getting onto your system. Other software provides a local or web-based password manager. Still other software allows you to create encrypted backups. Due to their nature, Mac, Linux and Unix do not suffer as much from malware as does Windows, but email attachments and phishing attacks still arrive in the Inbox. To protect against email attacks, regardless of the destination operating system, there is software that scans email for Windows and non-Windows systems alike. These tools are great to have. In fact, we highly recommend them. But these tools are not enough. For that reason, PDS was created.

PDS provides another layer of security. You might think of it as if having both a belt and suspenders to hold up your pants - especially when the two compliment each other. To understand how PDS complients other security software, please know that PDS...

• ...helps to provide you with the skills, knowledge and tools to guard against cybercrime.
• ...uses trusted, highly secure and open source encryption algorithms.
• ...creates encrypted Notes that can be re-opened read-write or read-only.
• ...Notes can provide secure access to all your credentials using a single passphrase.
• ...provides the ability to create encrypted backups of your files and directories.
• ...provides the ability to securely verify your encrypted backups.
• ...provides the ability to partially or fully extract your encrypted directories.
• ...provides the ability to securely access your credentials on a trusted, public computer.
• ...allows you to select the type of encryption Keys and Ciphers to create and use.
• ...allows you to manage (re-use, view, edit and delete) your encryption Keys.
• ...is not susceptible to brute-force hash attacks - there are no password hashes.
• ...generates highly-random encryption Keys and stores them a purpose-built KeyStore.
• ...provides a password generator supporting variable character complexity and length.
• ...helps guard your most important information against the loss or theft of your computer.
• ...helps protect you against phishing, ransomware and some spyware.
• ...uses the same high-quality executable on Linux/Unix, Mac and Windows.
• ...obtains security and performance improvements when provided by new Java updates.
• ...will run on the on the Java-enabled operating systems of the future.
• ...does not require a subscription. Purchase a license once and use it for life !!!


If you are not aware of the threats from cybercrime, you are more likely to become a victim.




GUARD AGAINST MALWARE ATTACKS

Software products that encrypt your file system are often helpful if your computer is stolen, but disk or file system encryption does not prevent malware from reading, modifying or stealing your files when the system is in use. So, if your computer were to be infected, say via an email scam, an infected email attachment, a visit to a malicious website, or even a visit to a compromised site, malware could be installed and activated on your computer, and the file system encryption would be unable to protecting your confidential information from attack by the malware. For that reason itself you use multiple layers of encryption for your most confidential information.


Disk encryption does not protect you from malware (malicious software).


So, what is your most confidential information, and where is it saved? For many it is the authentication credentials that are used with certain online accounts - like banks. Is your most confidential information protected using multiple layers of encryption?


Really smart hacker breaches Linux, Mac, and Windows file system encryption.


To provide a persistent layer of encryption that protects your most confidential information from both malware as well as the physical theft of your computer, PDS provides encrypted Notes. The contents of a Note is only visible inside PDS, thus PDS Notes provide another layer of protection your most confidential information. Yes, PDS Notes can be used to hold your credentials, but they can also hold much more. The recommended way to access PDS Notes is to use the read-only (view) mode, thus preventing accidental corruption to the contents.



PREPARE FOR RANSOMWARE WITH ENCRYPTED, ARCHIVE-READY, CLOUD BACKUPS

You may not be very familiar with ransomware, but according to recent reports from the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the National Security Agency (NSA), and also the European Police Office (EUROPOL), ransomware is fast becoming a significant problem. Ransomware is a form of malware that gets on to your system, but instead of destroying your information it makes your information inaccessible - until you pay a ransom. It does so by encrypting your files, and only after you pay the ransom do you get the key to decrypt your files.


EUROPOL - Ransomware Has Become The Most Prominent Malware Threat.


While preventing this type of malware from getting on to your system is ideal, you have to be very cautious, and lucky. For that reason, the best defenses against ransomware include creating regular backups of your files and archiving those backups where they can't be reached by the ransomware. While you may already be familiar with tools to create backups, PDS creates backups that are both encrypted and "archive ready" (time stamped). Encryption prevents anyone else from getting to your information, and time stamps tell you at a glance whether the backup was from last week or last year. Further, you can add internal time stamps, making it easier to have recover multiple versions of your files to coexist together on the same file system. To archive your backups where they will be safe, you could use a free cloud storage provider that is segmented from, not synced with, your computer. If synced, it's likely that the synced files would also be held for ransom. Of course, you could also go "old school" and burn your backups to disc. Or even use both methods.


Mitigate the risk of ransomware by having a robust and regular backup routine.


You probably have known for years about the need to make backups, confidential and otherwise. Now is your chance. Make those backups, and be prepared for ransomware, theft, and other scenarios where your files are lost. You will be glad you did, and wonder why you didn't do it earlier. :)



BE PREPARED IN CASE YOU GET HOOKED BY A PHISHING ATTACK

You receive an email indicating that there has been some sort of event and you need to use the link in the email to change your password. You follow the instructions in the email, and maybe even ask for confirmation before doing anything, but afterward you learn that you gave away your login credentials to a phishing scam. If you don't believe it's that easy, look no further than the release of thousands of emails from within the Democratic National Committee (DNC).


WikiLeaks - DNC emails stolen when phishing scam was apparantly misdiagnosed.


Maintaining your authentication credentials, to include your usernames, passwords and any other account information, can be quite a chore. For that reason, everyone has probably been guilty of reusing the same credentials among accounts at least once, and probably more. Increasingly, security conscious businesses are providing the ability to enable two-factor authentication (something beyond your username/password, like a random PIN sent to your phone). Two factor authentication should be used with your accounts that could benefit from increased security, but also remember that you could become locked out without that other factor.

It's hard to imagine a time when every business implements two-factor authentication, or some universal authentication, so for the foreseeable future we are probably stuck with at least some usernames and passwords. This means we either need to reuse credentials, save credentials insecurely, or use one of the available password managers.



MANAGE YOUR AUTHENTICATION CREDENTIALS

With PDS Notes you can maintain your authentication credentials and also ensure that each of your accounts uses unique credentials. You can also maintain the security questions (and their fictitious answers) that are associated with some accounts. You may also maintain a historical record for each of those items for each of your accounts. The historical record allows you to ensure that you never reuse any of your previous authentication credentials. Better yet, allow PDS to create secure, unique passwords for all of your accounts using its secure password generator. No, PDS does not populate login screens automatically - instead it requires a copy and paste from a PDS Note. But, just use the familiar cut and paste keystrokes to populate the login fields, and then provide a third keystroke and the last item copied to the operating systems clipboard is cleared.



PDS WAS BUILT TO LAST

PDS was developed to run as a "desktop" application using the tools within the Java Standard Edition. Because PDS is a Java application, it has these advantages:

• PDS runs on the operating system that have a suitable Java Runtime Environment (JRE).
• The current PDS should run on the Linux/Unix, Mac and windows operating systems of the future.
• Future security, performance and bug fixes to the JRE should continue to improve PDS.
• PDS is implemented as a single executable, thus bringing equal quality to all operating systems.

For more, please read this information on the PDS wiki.

* In the News...

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