2 Replies Latest reply on May 10, 2009 10:26 AM by Peter M

    Security Questions

      When I installed Anti-Theft, I answered the easiest security questions. Then it occurred to me that the security questions themselves present a security issue should a persistent hacker do some serious research and recover the answers. What kind of security is that? So I changed my mind and decided that I needed to change the security questions to junk answers and rely on myself to remember the password(s). As far as I could tell there was no utility that would allow me to accomplish that task. I chatted with tech support and got a confirmation of that conclusion.

      It was suggested by Tech Support, however, that I uninstall and reinstall the product and I proceeded to do so. When reinstalling, the security questions were not asked. Hmmm ... That's not good. Somehow the old security questions were not deleted when the software was uninstalled. Perhaps that was figured in should Anti-Theft installation go south. It appears that the security questions are permanently tucked away in a file somewhere, otherwise the security questions would be discharged when the software is uninstalled.

      Tech Support sent me an email with the following information:

      Can I change the security questions for my Personal Vault?

      No. The three security questions are set when you first install McAfee Personal Vault, and they remain the same for all Personal Vaults that you create.
      Note: Vaults can only be recovered by answering the Security Questions that were known when the Personal Vault was created.

      Can I set different security questions for each Personal Vault?

      No. You cannot have different security questions for each Personal Vault.
      The security questions are set by you when McAfee Personal Vault is installed, and these security questions are automatically stored with each Personal Vault that you create.

      [Comment: The latter statement is not necessarily true because when the software is reinstalled, new security questions are not asked.]

      Can McAfee Anti-Theft be integrated into my other McAfee products?

      No. McAfee Anti-Theft is a separate product and has no integration with other McAfee products. Any changes that you make to other McAfee products (uninstall, install, reconfigure, etc.) will not affect McAfee Anti-Theft.

      So it looks as though the "MCAfee Personal Vault" is not uninstalled with the software product. When the software is installed the Vault appears as a drive in the computer but goes away when the product is uninstalled. Again, somewhere out there is a folder containing the security questions and their respective answers.

      Is there anyone out there that has any idea on how to remove the security questions associated with the "MCAfee Personal Vault"?
        • 1. Problem Resolved
          I am a retired computer programmer/analyst and wrote statistical and business applications for 25 years (an am now a technological dinosaur). When I got a problem of this magnitude, I found the best thing to do was to take a time out and come back to it later. So this morning I notice in the Anti-Theft Program folder in the Startup menu was a users' manual in .pdf format. I printed it out and discovered a clue: the vault remains (in Vista) at C:\users\<user name>\AppData\local\McAfee Anti Theft after the software is uninstalled. Since each user has his/her own vault, and thus multiple vaults may exist, deleting vaults would not and did now remove traces of the security question.

          So where else could the security question be located? The problem was that I assumed that when I uninstalled the software not only was the software was removed, but the associated data were removed as well. WRONG! If the vaults are left behind, is it possible for other data was as well? There were no traces of the application in C:\Program Files. Wait a minute. What is this C:\Program Data? Sure enough, after the software was unistalled, in C:\Program Data\McAfee Anti-Thief were three files. I was not sure exactly which one, but I suspected that one contained the Security Question data. Anyway, I renamed C:\Program Data\McAfee Anti-Thief to C:\Program Data\McAfee Anti-Thief Old.

          After installing McAfee Anti-Theft and a forced restart of the computer, BOOM!, the application came right up showing the Security Question panel. I filled the answers with junk. A new C:\Program Data\McAfee Anti-Thief was created.

          I suspect that there is a bug in the uninstall program in that the creators forgot to include the folder C:\Program Data\McAfee Anti-Thief or it was left behind so that the vaults could be accessed should the program be reinstalled at a later time and the user forgot his/her password(s) and needed the security questions to access his/her secured files. Whatever. The main thing is that this information should have been documented in the User' Manual. Either way, it was a critical error on McAfee's part!

          Sorry for any grammatical errors but I am in a hurry.
          • 2. RE: Problem Resolved
            Peter M
            Glad it's sorted out and as you posted here and elsewhere, solved.