It’s your computer, and you want to keep your files private, so you have a master password to access your desktop. A master password keeps your computer data safe, prying eyes at bay, and your teenagers from going into a chat room (if they use the same computer, of course).
But let’s face it: passwords are becoming passé. As technology progresses, so does the ease of cracking a password; some of the best hackers in the world are teenagers, and if they want to get into your computer, they can do it.
That’s not to say you should quit using passwords; until there’s a way to replace them, you need to keep on doing it. But there’s another way to keep your computer secure. All you need is a USB flash drive and a piece of software called Predator.
Predator is an ingenious concept when it comes to personal computer security. It locks your PC when you are away and uses a regular USB flash drive as an access control device. If you’re even a little worried about your privacy, keep everybody out of your business with Predator.
Predator has both Home and Professional editions. Choose the one that’s best for you, and don’t forget to obtain the correct version for your computer, e.g. 32-bit or 64-bit.
1. Download Predator. It will download in a .zip file; save the file if you want to install it later, or open it with your favorite .zip program.
2. When you open the file, double-click on InstallPredator.exe to begin installation.
3. The installation will bring you to the Predator Setup Wizard. Click Next to continue.
4. When the installation is finished, Predator will automatically launch. If it doesn’t, launch it from your Start Menu. When it does, you will see this dialog box.
5. Insert your USB flash drive and click on OK. (Note: this will not change the files on your flash drive in any way.)
6. Now you come to the Preferences window. Create and enter a strong password (no less than six characters), and choose the drive you want the key to be on from the drop-down menu. Click on Create Key, and click on OK (top right).
7. You will then have to restart Predator, so click on Ok in the dialog box to do so.
Click on the Predator icon on your desktop or in your Start Menu to re-open it. Notice that you now have a have a blinking green ball in the system tray.
Now you should get into all the neat features by reading the User’s Guide. It will tell you what to do when you run the program for the first time and all the neat features it provides after that.
(By the way, if you don’t want to use a USB drive, you can use a Floppy drive. The User’s manual will tell you how.)
Great Security Features
Predator has a host of security features that you will love.
- If somebody enters three invalid passwords or the password dialog times out, Predator will trigger an alarm. You can configure how loud or how many beeps the alarm has.
- If you have the Access Denied box checked, then the alarm goes off.
- Predator keeps a log of everything: when it is started, when it is stopped, when alarms go off if someone is trying to get into your computer. You can use this log to monitor what’s going on with your computer while you’re away.
- Speaking of which, do you have a web cam? Predator can be configured to take a picture of every person that tries to access your computer.
And there’s more.
- Predator can send you email alerts when someone is trying to access your computer. Configure it so that it sends a picture of the person with the email as well.
- Predator will automatically change the codes on your USB flash drive. If someone copies it, then it won’t work because the codes on your flash drive will have been changed. It’s kind of like using the wrong set of keys to get into your house.
- Predator will protect more than one personal computer. If you want one for your office and your home, then you can configure each the way you want to.
Not only does Predator keep the people that want into your computer away, it will tell you in a lot of ways who it is. You’ll have actual proof, which is a lot easier than proving who cracked your password.
Keep nosy people physically away by using your USB flash drive and Predator. And have fun with it! You could blow up the picture of your son when he’s trying to get into your computer and hand it to him at dinner, saying, “Perhaps you ought to stick to your own computer because I’ll always know when you’re trying to get into mine.“