Security

Five apps for your portable security kit

Portable security apps can come in quite handy in the field. Here are five lesser-known apps worth checking out.

Portable apps do one thing for the system and network administrator -- make the job easier. The better (and more diverse) your portable apps, the more jobs are made easier. Security is one area where portable apps can make a big difference. But there are so many to choose from, it's hard to piece together a collection of tools that best fit your needs. To that end, I want to introduce you to some portable security apps you might never have heard of. Even if you only take away one or two of these tools, your portable security toolkit will have improved significantly.

Note: This list is also available as a photo gallery.

1: SmartSniff

SmartSniff (Figure A) enables you to capture TCP/IP packets traveling on a network adapter and view the packets between source and destination. The TCP/IP conversations can be viewed in ASCII mode (for text-based protocols, such as HTTP, SMTP, POP3, and FTP) or as a hex dump (for non-text based protocols, such as DNS). Having SmartSniff with you allows quick troubleshooting a networking issue from any PC on your network.

Figure A

SmartSniff

2: Omziff

Omziff (Figure B) is an encryption utility that can encrypt, split, and securely delete files (according to DOD standards), create file hashes, and generate random passwords. The encryption allows you to choose from all the standard types (Blowfish, IDEA, Twofish, and more) and even includes a few utilities (random number generator, file append, and a command prompt) that can help you with other tasks.

Figure B

Omziff

3: Eraser Portable

Eraser Portable (Figure C) is a secure data removal tool that can remove data from a drive with multiple wipes, pattern writing, and more. The portable version of this tool is based on the full version of Eraser and offers the same features. This tool can erase files, folders, and even previously (insecurely) deleted files. You can also instruct Eraser Portable to automatically restart or shut down a PC.

Figure C

Eraser Portable

4: Remove Fake Antivirus

Remove Fake Antivirus (Figure D) should really have a better name. But even with the wacky name, the tool does exactly what it says it does -- checks for any fake antivirus and removes it. The tool removes nearly 50 antivirus variants. This particular tool can be run as a portable app or, with the help of some scripting, can be saved on a drive and run on schedule or at bootup.

Figure D

Remove Fake Antivirus

5: BleachBit

BleachBit (Figure E) is one of the best tools for freeing up hard disk space and guarding privacy. This tool works effortlessly to free cache, delete cookies, clear Internet history, shred temporary files, delete logs, and discard various types of junk you may not have known was on a system. BleachBit is available as a portable app as well as an installable for both Windows and Linux.

Figure E

BleachBit

Build your kit

Your portable arsenal is invaluable. Having a set of tools you can carry around with you and run from a USB drive will make you more efficient and keep your end users working without downtime. Give these tools a try and see if one or more of them doesn't wind up in your permanent portable toolkit.

Other picks?

Do you have a favorite portable security app that didn't make this list? Share your recommendations with fellow TechRepublic members.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

11 comments
HP Gaspar
HP Gaspar

I like the fact that Eraser Portable if mentioned, another nice version is the Eraser Drop Portable - allows one file at a time to be scrubbed (DOD to Grutzman standards). http://portableapps.com/apps/security/eraserdrop-portable Bleachbit is great, but personally I prefere PrivaZer, excellent cleaner and space restorer. Also allows to control what to clean, multiple options including pic thumbnails, and drive selection. http://www.privazer.com/

doveman
doveman

Surely Wireshark Portable (auto installs WinPcap when loading and uninstalls it when closed) is better than Smartsniff and CCleaner is better than Bleachbit. I already use Eraser Portable but Omziff might come in handy in theory (although I'll probably never use it).

erik
erik

For decrapping and regaining disk space I find that Temp Bomb is my favorite. Interestingly enough it will even whack some malware, as it is fairly common for it to reside in temp files in user profiles. Be aware that it will get rid of all of your persistent cookies and stored passwords - so use with care. It also whacks stored Windows updates so rolling one back after using this tool is problematic. I have once encountered a circumstance where I was unable to uninstall a program due to the fact that the author decided to put the install files in a temp location. Nonetheless, if you are a professional - and not faint of heart this program will free up more space than any other I have tried.

boucaria
boucaria

One utility I still cannot find is a decent Linux style app that will copy a disc from HARD DRIVE to a USB drive ( as in a drive of 500-750 gig); I have tried all sorts up to Robo-Copy et all, and have had no success. Any ideas ?

boucaria
boucaria

As for the Comment that 3 of the 5 drawing the attention of security dept, well more like all 5. The official versions of what we use do, in theory, the same job, but so far the Linux versions perform better, so I try and recommend the better Linux apps for techs at least when they deal with PCs in person. However, Security CDs work better in the logged environment, since it is less likely that write back will occur, and if you have a strict policy, the CD is created at Work. I have seen some wonderful CDs and USB drives with just music ( no tools) done at staff persons home, and the write back to the start up disc file, on CD and on USB, both can cause threats to write to the CD or USB.

PCcritic
PCcritic

BleachBit sounds a lot like CCLEANER which I have been using on Windows for years, although CCLEANER may not work on Linux.

areola51
areola51

I love these sorts of tools for my home machine, but you should mention that at least three of the 5 tools on your list would likely draw the attention of the security department. Check your company's policies before introducing these tools into your work system or you'll get a visit you did not epect.

mfa
mfa

I use Windows Defender Offline, which has brought a couple of systems back from the dead for me. I have a copy on a CD, but a USB works as well. Only downside is the signature files are updated daily, so to be safe you should build the bootable media immediately before using. In practice, I refresh my copies monthly or so.

Owsleyskid
Owsleyskid

I use it as a form of monthly backup when employees bring in their laptops from the field. The free version is slow, but the standard edition (around $60) will clone one entire 320gb hard drive to another in a BlackX dock over a USB 2 connection in around half an hour. They also have versions that are faster, but more expensive. You can install & run it on Windows boxes or burn it to a bootable CD. It loads a tiny version of Linux & copies to & from disks, partitions, flash drives, whatever.

sgtwojcik
sgtwojcik

@boucaria & @amabilis: I recommend 'PartedMagic'. Its a downloadable 32&64-bit .iso that has the ability to boot into RAM (will not write onto your HD) that will free up your CD and USB-drives. It contains clonezilla & the partimage utilities in a Linux GUI. As with most Linux-flavors, it automatically detects hardware and provides wired & wireless networking and has Firefox baked into the image. more info can be found @ http://partedmagic.com -Enjoy!

amabilis
amabilis

On Linux I use "Partimage" and "Clonezilla" by booting a linux environment with their prepared disk-images you can download from the corresponding homepages. From within Windows I did this kind of thing successfully with driveimage xml - but it will take some time, much more than real imagers like clonezilla. But it runs from the working Windows PC directly using "shadow copies". http://www.runtime.org/driveimage-xml.htm/index.html (it's free...)