Pings & Packets from eWEEK Labs - 33

Version 4.0 builds on PhpEd strengths ... NetGear boosts PC security ... CBL sanitizes spent drives.

Version 4.0 Builds on PhpEd Strengths

For a long time, one of the biggest weaknesses of the popular PHP Web scripting language was its lack of a good editing environment. However, this has changed greatly in recent years as popular authoring environments have added PHP support and as robust dedicated PHP editing tools have entered the market and matured.

Among dedicated PHP editing tools, one of the most capable is NuSpheres PhpEd, and the 4.0 release last month has boosted PhpEds already-strong integration and testing capabilities.

Users looking for a WYSIWYG-type tool will be disappointed by PhpEd and probably would be better off with tools such as Macromedias Dreamweaver. However, those preferring to work in a developer-oriented code environment will find a lot to like.

Among the welcome new features in PhpEd 4.0 are support for Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server databases, as well as the ability to access files through Secure FTP and secure terminal sessions. PhpEd 4.0 boasts improved HTML testing capabilities and includes Code Insight features to automatically complete commonly used code and access pop-up tool tips during testing.

Pricing for PhpEd 4.0 starts at $239. Version 4.0 is available only on Windows systems. (The previous version, 3.3, is available for Linux.) For more information, go to www.nusphere.com.

--Jim Rapoza

NetGear Boosts PC Security

NetGear has taken home security a step further by integrating Trend Micro software with its WGT624SC Super G Wireless Router—Security Edition.

Released in late July, the WGT624SC is a 54M-bps 802.11g device. The router can support 108M bps when using a compatible NetGear 108M-bps client adapter and can secure wireless communications with either WEP or WPA-PSK (Pre-Shared Key).

In my tests, what made the WGT624SC stand out the most were its security features. Buyers of the router get a single, one-year PC license for Trend Micros Home Network Security 2005, which includes security features such as anti-virus protection, spyware scanning, spam control and a firewall. Licenses for additional PCs are available for $20 each per year.

At $100, the WGT624SC might seem expensive, but once you consider the full-year subscription to Home Network Security, along with the reasonable $20 fee for each additional PC, its a great deal.

I was able to install a small dashboard application on each PC on my network, allowing me to check each one for security issues. To scan a particular PC, however, I had to initiate the scan directly from that PC. It would be nice if a user could initiate scans remotely and/or schedule scans without having to touch each PC on the network. NetGear officials say theyre working on it.

Check out www.netgear.com for more information.

--Anne Chen

CBL Sanitizes Spent Drives

Nowadays, its not uncommon to turn on the news and hear about some company exposing sensitive data by negligently throwing away computer drives with the data still on them. The only way to really be sure your data is gone from a drive thats destined for the recycle bin is to shred the drive—namely, by using a tool that writes multiple times over the drive to remove all traces of data.

To my mind, failure to shred is inexplicable because there are good open-source and freeware tools available to effectively sanitize a drive. CBL Data Shredder 1.0, from CBL Data Recovery Technologies, is a simple-to-use and free tool that makes it possible to shred a drive to nearly any level a user wants.

CBL Data Shredder, released last month, can run from boot time in a floppy or CD or from Windows XP, although the latter is recommended only for shredding nonboot drives. The product offers several layers of shredding, from a simple custom level that will avoid novice snoopers to the Bruce Schneier and Peter Gutmann algorithms that should stop anyone short of the NSA.

In my tests, I shredded a 40GB drive on a Pentium 4 system. Using the three-pass DOD spec, shredding the disk took well over 3 hours. Using one of the higher-level options probably means running it on Friday afternoon and hoping it finishes by Monday morning. Still, long shredding times are well worth the security of knowing that a discarded drive wont come back to bite you.

More information is available at www.cbltech.ca.

--Jim Rapoza