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Chapter 10. Understanding Your PC Operat... > User Accounts and File Security

User Accounts and File Security

As mentioned earlier, when you “log on” to your Windows 95/98 computer, you might be asked for a username and password. This username and password is only used to identify you to other Windows 95/98 machines. It does not in any way protect files on your local computer. Among other things, the identification is made so that you can retrieve personalized settings made by the user, such as restoring the desktop with the right color scheme. This means that other users who access your computer, including people who might be accessing it from the Internet, can do everything you can do, including reading, deleting files, and so on.

If file security is important to you, an alternative is to change to an operating system that supports the concept of user passwords and user-level security. Many such operating systems are available, and quite often they can be implemented with no loss of functionality. Another alternative is to make use of encryption software such as PGP or Jetico BestCrypt (see Chapter 12). If you use encryption, even if the attacker has access to your physical machine, the data still remains unreadable.


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