Magic Cipher Video: Additional Features

http://www.magiccipher.com

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Magic Cipher Video: Steganography (Hiding Data in Images)

http://www.magiccipher.com

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Magic Cipher Video: File and Folder Encryption

http://www.magiccipher.com

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Magic Cipher: Usage Scenarios and Examples

Example 1: One to One Private Communications

Bill and Ted are ready to start making plans for their next Excellent Adventure. Knowing that their email discussions could be intercepted and easily read, they use the Magic Cipher Shared Secret Generator with it’s Strength Meter to create a Shared Secret they can use together.

They type their discussions into Magic Cipher and email the contents as encrypted text directly from within Magic Cipher. They are now secure in the knowledge that no­-one can obtain access to their plans and attempt to put a spanner in the works!

Example 2: One to Many Private Communications

Bill and Ted decide they want to involve the Historical Babes in some of their plans, but not all. The four of them agree a Shared Secret and now Bill and Ted can communicate between themselves using their own Shared Secret and if they wish to include the Historical Babes they use the second Shared Secret previously agreed between the four of them.

Example 3: One to Many Private Communications over a Public Medium

Frodo is setting off on his next adventure and as is the fashion nowadays he wants to update the world with his travels via an online blog. With his new Macbook Pro this will be easy enough, however there is certain information he wishes only to be read and understood by Merry and Pippin who are holding the fort for him back in Hobbiton.

Before he sets off the three of them agree on a Shared Secret and as Frodo updates the world via his blog he uses Magic Cipher to append an encrypted entry on the end of his posts, in a separate paragraph, knowing that the world can see but not read or understand his instructions, which are only for the eyes of Merry and Pippin. Frodo uses the built in Virtual Keyboard to add a little bit of extra security to his posts.

Example 4: The Benefits of Cross Platform

Unfortunately, small, slim and gorgeous though it is, the Macbook Pro is just a little bit too big ­ and let’s face it, expensive ­ to take across Middle Earth, what with the danger from the Orcs and other dark forces.

At the last minute Frodo decides to switch to a small Linux notebook which he obtained free of charge with his mobile broadband card. Luckily Magic Cipher works as well on Linux as it does on macOS or Windows, so Frodo has no need to change his plans, or his choice of encryption software.

Example 5: Magic Cipher, Not Just for Men

While Frodo is off on his travels his wife, feeling lonely, takes a lover. Knowing that the local Hobbiton ISP takes quite an interest in emails to and from the villagers, they both use Magic Cipher to arrange their rendezvous. Even hobbits need loving.

Besides it was rather selfish of Frodo to disappear like that for months at a time ­ and who knows what he got up to with Sam on that epic journey?

Example 6: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words …

Sat on his sofa safe back at home several months after his epic journey to Mordor, Frodo dreams of his next challenge. With Sam on board, who now lives several miles away in Bree, Frodo and Sam use the Steganography features of Magic Cipher to enable them to swap ideas and plans which they have hidden in pictures which they upload to their Facebook pages.

With no evidence that their pictures are anything more than rather boring pictures of Sams garden or Frodos wine collection, nobody has any clue that there is another adventure being planned. In fact nobody has any reason to suspect Sam and Frodo are even in communication regularly. Problem Solved!

Magic Cipher Video: Text / Email Encryption

http://www.magiccipher.com

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Magic Cipher: The Story [1/2]

In 2007 I’d just launched my first application for the Mac, macVCR and I was looking for inspiration for my next project. I had long recognised the need for a simple and easy to use encryption program and hadn’t been able to find one. I decided my goal should be to create one.  Not only would this ‘scratch an itch’ it would hopefully go on to become a successful product in its own right.  If I needed this then so did others.

The problem was that I used, and still do, macOS, Windows and Linux on a regular basis, and so would some of my customers. If they, for example, use Windows now – they may use macOS in the future.  For this to be a worthwhile endeavour my product would have to run on those three major operating system platforms and provide transparency and compatibility between them. This was no longer a small project.

R10Cipher: Supported Operating Systems

To make this product a reality I chose Xojo as a development platform, or REALStudio as it was then known, and set to work creating R10Cipher.

The first thing I needed was a Vision Statement, something to guide me during development and help focus my thoughts. I settled on the following:

A Simple and Easy Method to Safely Encrypt your Email Correspondence and Document Files.  It’s like your emails and documents are carried by a SWAT team rather than being written on a Postcard !  R10Cipher is for Individuals. For Businesses. For You. For Me. For Mum and Dad. For Teachers. For Professionals. For Journalists. For Executives. For Everybody.  Because our Privacy and Security have never been more important.

The next thing I needed to do was decide on what encryption technology to use. AES was relatively new at the time and was still looked at suspiciously by many Americans following the whole ‘Clipper Chip‘ incident.  In the end I settled on a UK invented encryption technology called Blowfish.  Blowfish is a keyed symmetric block cipher which was invented by ‘Security Guru’ and renowned author Bruce Schneier in 1993. It provides excellent encryption and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Blowfish is free of patents and back doors, and Bruce has placed Blowfish in the public domain.

Version 1 of R10Cipher was released in 2008 and sold only a few dozen copies.  Using the feedback from these early customers Version 2 was released with some significant enhancements including drag and drop batch encryption of files and documents.

When Version 2 was released, Version 1 was featured as a free edition on the DVD Cover Disks for the glossy UK editions of MacFormat and MacWorld magazines, on consecutive months.  Since then I have agreed for it to be distributed on several foreign editions of the magazines.  Hundreds of new users were gained through the distribution of the free edition, and many of those went on to pay for an upgrade to Version 2.

Macworld and MacFormat Magazines featuring R10Cipher 1 on the Cover DVD

Direct Sales of Version 2 were excellent, with good feedback and testimonials. New customers means new ideas and feature requests and so Version 3 was scheduled.

Version 3 released 2nd August 2009 was a major new version that addressed all user requests from Versions 1 and 2. The main advantages of Version 3 were an increase in encryption strength to 384 Bit, an encryption strength indicator and a full Key Management capability which creates an encrypted local database which contains the ‘Shared Secrets’ that you use to communicate with your different contacts.

Interest in Version 3 was phenomenal, it far exceeded my expectations. I had many upgrades from Version 2 to Version 3 and as I offered an upgrade policy even from the free edition, I have had a few upgrade from Version 1 to Version 3 also.

2009 also saw R10Cipher become a Finalist in the UK IT Industry Awards, Technology Excellence / Information Security Product category.  The UK IT Industry Awards are held annually by Computing Magazine and the British Computer Society.

R10Cipher: Finalist UK IT Industry Awards

In April 2010 in conjunction with MacFormat Magazine I offered a free Version 2.5 SE on the DVD Cover Disk with a discounted upgrade to Version 3. This promotion was not as successful as earlier promotions, possibly because 2.5 SE was a ‘designed to be free’ product, rather than an actual previously sold version. In addition Version 3 had at this stage been out for a while.

Version 4 of R10Cipher was released in June 2010, with Version 5 being released in July 2012.

Commercially R10Cipher has been a great success for me with several thousand users and it is a product I am very proud of. Just as importantly, my customers have had immediate and measurable benefits through the use of R10Cipher. Previously they knew they needed something to protect their communication and documents, but they could not find a product that seemed easy and simple enough for them to use.  R10Cipher filled that requirement.

IT Security and Data Protection were and are high on many peoples agendas at the moment, or at least they should be, and yet the majority of people are left exposed because until R10Cipher came along there was not a product simple and easy and complete enough for them to consider using it.

Here are some paragraphs about R10Cipher, back in the day:

R10Cipher is unique in that this is the first cross platform end to end encryption product that real people can and will use for day to day encryption purposes. R10Cipher does not attempt to encrypt a complete volume, R10Cipher does not try and involve the user with complex Public Key encryption, R10Cipher does not need a complicated install, in fact R10Cipher does not need installing at all. R10Cipher concentrates on being the easiest to use and most reliable End to End, Text and File Encryption software.

The lack of an installation makes R10Cipher unique in that you can copy the Windows (XP, Vista and 7), Mac OSX and Linux versions of R10Cipher to a USB drive or external device, along with your documents and carry your data about with you knowing that a) You can access that data on any computer and b) It is secure, so if you lose it or leave it in a taxi then the information is unreadable and no harm is done.

Because of it’s simplicity and ease of use R10Cipher pioneers new ways of working. Backup your important data to the web, iCloud, Dropbox or similar – encrypted by R10Cipher, and retrieve the information later, wherever you happen to be. Your data is secure – secured by you not by your web hosting company. If your hosting company is enforced by law to hand over your information, that information is useless to the recipient unless *you* agree to provide access.

The main innovation of R10Cipher therefore is not in the technology but the way in which the product is designed to be easy and simple to use for everybody – not just IT Professionals.

This brings us nearly up to date.  I should perhaps mention that R10Cipher took a back seat for me, as did my other commercial products, between 2012 and 2016.  This was due to personal and health problems involving, amongst other things, Motorcycles and Air Ambulance Helicopters.

R10Cipher was never forgotten and when the chance came to resurrect it through an acquisition by Area51 Limited I was extremely pleased.  Not only could the product be re-written, updated and enhanced and once again made available, but I would be backed up by others who could step into my shoes and continue development, should the worse ever happen.

2016: Magic Cipher was born.  Press Release

Magic Cipher

Part 2 of this post will detail how Magic Cipher was built, its initial goals as well as the way it will change over time and the additional functionality we will be adding in the near future.  For now, you can obtain a copy of Magic Cipher with a 20% discount using the coupon code: MCBL20 which can be entered at checkout: http://www.magiccipher.com

Contact us for further information:

Looking for an App creating for your Windows or Mac Computer? What about an App for your iOS or Android Tablet or Phone, or A Web App? Bespoke, Custom, High Quality Applications. Contact Us

A Couple of Free Books :-)

I have the following eBooks that I have written which are available for Free download.

  • Securing the Network: An eBook on Corporate Security Issues for the Non Technical (40 Pages)
  • Oracle Database 10g Exam Cram (70 Pages)

Please confirm your Name and Email Address, and select the book you would like from the dropdown menu, and your book will be with you shortly.

You can also access these books from the Free eBooks Page.

freebooks

 

oneSql Database Tool 1.0: Press Release

[prMac.com] Ripley, Derbyshire. United Kingdom – chol.technology are pleased to announce Version 1 of a brand new MySQL, PostgreSQL, MariaDB and SQLite SQL Query and Data Import / Export program for Mac OSX, Windows and Linux. Three Operating Systems, Four Databases and Five Languages Supported including in addition to English; French, Spanish, Italian and German. Clear and unrestrictive Software Licensing, putting customers needs first.

oneSql is a stand alone, lightweight, no install neededSQL Database Tool for OSX, Windows and Linux.

The target audience for oneSql is initially technical people, Database Administrators, Developers, or ‘power users’ who need a simple, efficient, cross platform SQL Tool on their computer, or in the Utilities folder of their portable USB Drive. DBA’s, System Admins, Developers, Accountants – all have a need for oneSql.

These users may currently have a favourite tool for each operating system platform they use. I’d like to supplement or even replace their existing tools with oneSql. I hope to do this by focusing on the features that are most important to them and eliminating those that seek to overcomplicate competing products.

We have also introduced new functionality that will likely interest those same individuals who can now get additional benefits from using oneSql. For example the ability to put the Mac, Windows and Linux versions of oneSql onto a USB Drive and then connect the drive to virtually any computer and load and use oneSql, without installation, is fairly unique and extremely useful.

With the unique ‘User Prompt Fields’ functionality, use within an organisation can extend far beyond the Technical User and to the desktop of the End User. Scripts written by the Technical User can be run as Reports by the End User without modification as each variable, for example Data Start and Date Finish, is prompted for appropriately. The End User needs to know nothing about SQL or the script.

Benefits Include:

  • One SQL Tool for Mac, Windows and Linux
  • One SQL Tool for SQLite, PostgreSQL, MariaDB and MySQL
  • Unlimited Time Limit for the Trial Edition
  • Unrestricted Features for the Trial Edition
  • Small and Lightweight, Approx 20Mb for all Versions
  • Speed with Reliability
  • Scripts Library to Store Your Scripts for Future Use
  • Easy and Simple to Use
  • No Installation Required
  • Save Time with Data Import Templates
  • Saved Connections Stored Safely using Encryption
  • Get Started Quickly with the Examples Database
  • Productivity with User Prompt Fields
  • Increased Database Security
  • Full Manual Included as a PDF
  • Written and Supported in the United Kingdom
  • Simple, Fair and Inexpensive Licensing
  • Zero Effort Corporate Licensing
  • Corporate Licensing Available
  • 50% Discount for Education Establishments and Students
  • 50% Discount for Charities and Non Profits

Features Include:

  • SQLite, MariaDB, PostgreSQL or MySQL
  • Objects Tab – Tables, Views and Columns
  • Fully Customiseable Results Grid
  • Auto Highlighting of SQL Keywords
  • User Editable SQL Keywords List
  • Built in Script Library
  • Example Database Supplied
  • Export Data in Tab Delimited Format
  • Export Data in CSV (Comma) Format
  • Export Data in CSV (Semicolon) Format
  • Export Data in JSON Format
  • Save and Load SQL External Scripts
  • One Click for Record Count, any Table
  • Quick Query One Click to Fetch 20 Records
  • One Click to Fetch All Records
  • Insert a SQL Template
  • SQL History List – Double Click to Recall
  • Window Sizes and Positions Saved on Exit
  • List View Configurations Saved on Exit
  • Option to prefix Columns with Table Name
  • Option to append a Comma to the Columns
  • User Input Prompts
  • Enhanced Connection Encryption Options
  • Parsing of Multiple Statements
  • Sequential Statement Execution
  • Highlighted Statement Execution

Taking Security Seriously:

There are two choices for how encryption is used to secure your database connection information. The first choice encrypts the connection password in such a way that it is then specific to your computer. If you copy oneSql and the settings files onto another computer then the stored credentials will not work. This choice is ideal for use in a more secure environment, where for example access to databases is only permitted from select computers and / or locations.

The second choice encrypts the connection password in such a way that you can copy the oneSql folder from your computer, put it onto your laptop, or another computer, and your stored credentials will work fine.

This also means that you can copy oneSql onto a USB Drive, run it from that USB Drive on any Mac, Windows or Linux machine you plug it into.

Licensing:

With the development of oneSql came the development of a new Software Licensing scheme, designed to put customers first and to ensure they we never punish the genuine, fee paying customer for the actions of the software pirate. Our customer friendly, super simple software license is shown below:

‘You can copy and use oneSql on your own personal computers with one instance of oneSql allowed to be in use at any one time. You can put oneSql on a USB device and plug that into anyones computer and use oneSql from the USB device for as long as you need. All Licenses are valid for all supported Operating Systems, all supported Languages and all supported Databases.’

Half price licenses are available to Educational Establishments and Students also Charities and Non Profit Organisations.

Software Referral Scheme:

Also new with oneSql is a Software Referral Scheme. Payment will be made to an existing customer thirty days after a new customer makes a purchase based on an existing customers referral, and quoting the existing customers referral ID within forty eight hours of purchase. The payment amount is ten percent of the new customers spend (before taxes) and the payment will be made via Paypal.

Pricing:

oneSql is available from $30 for the Single User Edition

Availability:

oneSql is available now.

Testimonial:

‘I believe oneSql has found its niche; simple and powerful. Unlike many other SQL Tools oneSql is slim and easy to work with’ – Dennis, Beta Tester

Something Different:

We wanted to do something different to mark the release of oneSql, so we have decided that the first 10 people to purchase any edition of oneSql, with the exception of the Single User Standard Edition, will receive a Limited Edition oneSql mug (1 of only 20 in existence) as well as a goody bag of assorted promotional items and 10% cash back after 30 days. We’ll ship these bonus items anywhere in the world.

The first 100 purchasers of oneSql Single User Standard Edition receive 10% cash back after 30 days.

oneSql is dedicated to Alison Fowler RIP. See ‘ya Ali B. We miss you.

onesqlscreenshot1

chol.technology is the trading name for Steven Cholerton. Since the late 1980’s Steven have been heavily involved in Software Development and Information Technology.

He is a Chartered Information Technology Professional, awarded by the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Institution of Analysts and Programmers, a Certified Ethical Hacker, an Oracle Certified Professional, author of several eBooks and many Commercial Software Products, and a committed and passionate developer of Custom and Bespoke software for Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS and Android.

Steven personally designed and wrote the R10Cipher file encryption software used by Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine, Cancer Research UK.

###

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Software Licensing and Software Piracy: Part 3

If you’ve made it Part 3 then you either find this subject really interesting or else you have difficulty sleeping at night 🙂  This final part of my article on Software Licensing discusses some of the ‘nitty gritty’ and gets down and dirty with some real code samples. All code samples are taken from oneSql.

The value of Part 3 of this article will be mainly to developers using the Xojo Programming Language for Cross Platform Software Development, although developers in any language can benefit and in fact anybody with an interest in going ‘behind the scenes’ of software development.

One thing very noticeable when preparing this article is just how much ‘behind the scenes’ work is necessary sometimes to give the customer a simple, slick experience. Simple is hard ! The way this article is structured with a Customer Experience section followed straight after by a Behind the Scenes section, makes this very clear.

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE [1]

When the customer decides that your product is for her, as far is as she is concerned the following two events take place:

  • The customer clicks the Buy Now button and is taken to the Paypal login page.
  • The customer decides whether to pay via Card or Paypal, then fills in the form and submits the document.

BEHIND THE SCENES [1]

chol.technology receive the Order Confirmation via Paypal. The chol.technology LicenseBoss Software automates the following sequence of events:

  • Product and Edition Information fetched from the LicenseBoss Database
  • The Encryption Key for the Product Editon is retrieved. Abbreviated as Key1
  • LicenseBoss parses and Inputs: User Name, Email Address, TimeStamp and Transaction ID
  • LicenseBoss combines the input into a string with appropriate delimiters and identity markers
  • We now have a ClearTextLicenseString
  • The ClearTextLicenseString is then encrypted using Key1. We now have the EncryptedLicenseString
  • The ClearTextLicenseString and the EncryptedLicenseString are then concatenated
  • We now have the FirstPassLicenseFileString
  • FirstPassLicenseFileString is then encrypted using the License File Encryption KeyKey 2
  • We now have the EncryptedLicenseFileContentsString
  • An email is then generated from a Template and the EncryptedLicenseFileContentsString  is appended
  • The email is sent to the customer

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE [2]

The customer receives an email which looks similar to this:

licenseemail

The instructions are Clearly Documented for the customer in an email as a Four Step Process. After Step 4 the product is fully licensed, and the window below is displayed briefly before closing automatically:

onesqllicensewindow

BEHIND THE SCENES [2]

The Software License window, accepts the email pasted into it and immediately strips the unnecessary information and displays the encrypted license. The actual encrypted license is contained between the <CHOLTECH> and </CHOLTECH> tags, therefore the only part of the pasted email that is displayed and then processed is the part taken from between those two tags.

When the Save button is pressed the encrypted license is created as a text file and stored in the SupportFiles folder within the oneSql folder. The newly created license file is called oneSqlLicense.lic

At this point the License File Decode method is called with the license file contents as a string parameter. Multiple flags are altered and adjusted within the program to indicate that the product is now licensed. Further details on that wouldn’t be prudent for me to discuss publicly 🙂

The actual license file decode method is straightforward. All the Encryption and Decryption routines are pre-build, based on my R10Cipher File and Text Encryption product, (shameless plug –  developer licenses are available for the Encryption modules, contact me for details) and imported into my products as a module whenever I start to develop a new program.

Obviously the DecodeLicenseFile method basically reverses the work done by the EncodeLicenseFile method in the LicenseBoss program as described in step by step detail earlier.

I know some of you out there are Xojo Developers, so here’s a commented example of the code. You can see how straightforward it actually is:

decodelicensefile1

decodelicensefile2

decodelicensefile3

 

NOTE: Licensing in this fashion has an additional benefit. It caters for Zero Effort Configuration.

In a corporate environment if you were rolling out oneSql to dozens of computers, you could have a centrally situated Corporate or Site License which could be copied to each persons computer using a script. Very Fast, Very Simple and Damned Convenient 🙂  Essentially zero interaction required from the user. That’s got to be a good thing 🙂

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oneSql Multi Database Tool: Final Beta

The Final Beta of my Cross Platform, Multi Language, Multi Database Tool – oneSql is now available. Hopefully I’ve got everything right and it performs as expected with no (major!) bugs. Existing Beta Testers can download from the usual place, and new Beta Testers can sign up HERE.

Prior to release I have to finish the Manual, finalise Pricing, setup Paypal and also setup a Sample Database for new users to use during their Trial Mode. I also need to put the oneSql website live … mmm more than I realised … 🙂

The final artwork has arrived back for the oneSql box and the oneSql manual, you can see the images below:

onesqlcoverimages

Note that for this final Beta you should delete both your Settings and your Preferences file as there have been changes involving encryption.

For information on Software Licensing for oneSql, have a look at my recent blog posts on this subject, here and here.

I wanted to do something different to mark the release of oneSql, so I am toying with the following idea of a bonus or incentive, I’d love to know your opinions:

The first 10 people to purchase any edition of oneSql (except the Single User Standard Edition) will receive a Limited Edition oneSql mug (1 of only 20 in existence) as well as a goody bag of assorted promotional items. In addition they will receive a printed and signed edition of my computer security ebook, ‘Securing the Network’. I may even throw a T-Shirt in there as well 🙂 I will ship this bonus to anywhere in the world. 

The first 100 purchasers of oneSql Single User Standard Edition receive a voucher worth $5 off their next purchase from chol.technology.

As always – leave you comments below. If you don’t talk I can’t listen.

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Some Book Feedback

I received this feedback via email this morning, it's a great way to start a Monday morning 🙂

John had downloaded my free Computer and Network Security eBook last week. This is what he had to say:

Steve,

I wanted to let you know, really enjoyed reading Securing The Network.pdf [it] was well written and very authoritative. A great reference book, thanks again for making it available. Sincerely

John

Thanks John - glad you enjoyed it 🙂

 

Heartbleed: This Could Hurt

Heartbleed is the name given to the recently confirmed bug found in the OpenSSL Cryptographic Software Library. This vulnerability affects SSL/TLS encryption which is used to obtain a ‘Private’ connection between your computer and a server located elsewhere on the Internet.

heartbleed

This is a serious vulnerability and you are more than likely to be affected either directly or indirectly.  For further information go to this site: heartbleed.com

 

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R10Cipher: New Release and Discount

A new version of my best selling product,  R10Cipher was released earlier today.

R10cipherfooter

This is a free of charge (for Version 5 Customers) interim release of R10Cipher which fixes some issues in Version 5, prior to the commercial release of Version 6.

On the Mac this version is now fully Cocoa which makes this version the fastest and most stable yet. The Clear Text area has also been substantially worked on and no longer feels sluggish when working with larger documents. Performance has also been increased on Windows and Linux.

There is a new Support window, accessible from the Toolbar.

The three available Views; Main, Activity and Keys can once again (as per Version 4) be accessed from the Toolbar as well as the Menus. In addition they are now ‘Toggle’ buttons.

The Encryption and Decryption engine remains unchanged from previous releases.

As an incentive anyone purchasing R10Cipher in the next week can email me and ask for a 30% discount code. They will also receive the Version 6 upgrade free of charge next month.

Here are some images of the new release:

R10cipher55

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Customer Feedback

All I did was send this customer a new license for R10Cipher after he lost his license during a reformat of his hard disk.  This was his reply:

Thank you, Steven. Looking forward to your next gem. – Joe

www.r10cipher.com

It means a lot to get thanked like that. Cheers Joe.

 

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