Monthly Archives: October 2009

TuneUp Utilities 2010 – Is It Worth The Money?

Tuneup 3 Generally you can tweak the blazes out of your operating system; you just need to know where to go within the system to do so.

Maintaining an operating system to get that last ounce of performance is reasonably easy, but again – you need to know where to go within the system to do so.

But that’s the rub – you need to know where to go. This may be easy for a competent techie; but definitely not easy for a typical user.

In most cases, an average user does not have the skill set required to drill down through complex structures to get that “just so” look, feel, and performance from an operating system.

Not surprisingly, most typical users that I meet, run computers that under perform in virtually all areas. They could get so much more out of their system, if they only knew how.

Tweaking utility developers, along with system tool developers have long recognized that typical users need help in tweaking and maintaining their computers. As a consequence, the Internet is awash in both commercial and “free” applications that help users meet these challenges.

Regular readers here, are accustomed to reading software reviews that are based primarily on free, or open source applications, and occasionally a commercial application which may not have a competitor in the freeware marketplace. And that brings me to TuneUp Utilities 2010.

Tuneup 1

TuneUp Utilities 2010 is one of the very few commercial applications that I have, or would recommend. Despite the fact that I’m a huge fan of free software, there are times when only a commercial application will meet all of my needs in one interface.

Tuneup 2

System maintenance for maximum performance is a critical issue for me, (and it should be for you), and I simply don’t have the time to launch 6/7 freeware applications to do so. Don’t get me wrong, free applications are terrific, but every one I’ve ever tested has limitations of one type or another.

Here’s an example where a freeware application, of this type, would have fallen short – on my Win 7 machine, TuneUp Utilities pointed out 5 critical security issues I had overlooked. It embarrasses me to disclose that, but I’m still in the process of tuning my Win 7 machine. No excuse really, not when it comes to security, but…..

I’ve been using TuneUp Utilities since 2003, and I’ve come to rely on it to help me get the very best out of all my machines. Take a free test run on TuneUp Utilities 2010 for 30 days, and see if you don’t agree that this is one commercial application that offers excellent value.

Fast facts:

Start Center

* Maintain system

* Increase performance

* Fix problems

* Customize Windows

* Launch Turbo Mode

* Configure Live Optimization

TuneUp Gadget

* Displays your PC’s health directly on the Desktop

* Gives you direct access to key functions

* Runs under Windows Vista and Windows

1-Click Maintenance and Automatic Maintenance

* Fixes PC problems automatically with one click

* Improves the performance of programs and games

* Turns off unnecessary programs

* Reduces the time you spend maintaining your computer

* Cleans up your PC automatically in the background

Optimize system startup and shutdown

* Allows for a quicker startup and shut down of Windows

* Disable Windows services that make your computer slow

* Optimizes system and program settings

* Reduces the number of autostart programs that drain resources

Defragment hard disks

* Reduces program loading time

* Accelerates file opening and copying

* Lets programs and games run more smoothly

Defragment registry

* Repairs structural defects

* Reduces the size of the registry

* Improves overall system performance

Clean registry

* Reduces errors in Windows and programs

* Lists existing problems in detail

* Cleans the registry with only a few clicks

Turbo Mode

* Concentrates the entire performance of the PC on active programs

* Turns off unnecessary or processes specified by the user

* Provides a smoother working or gaming experience

Configure Live Optimization

* Manages resources efficiently

* Improves program response speed

* Accelerates program startup times

Configure system startup

* Shortens system startup

* Turns off startup programs

* Provides easy and clear explanations and recommendations

Display and uninstall programs

* Displays a list containing all installed programs

* Helps to search for programs no longer used

* Performs easy and clean uninstalls

Fix typical problems

* Recognizes and fixes the most frequent Windows problems

* Restores Desktop icons

* Fixes display errors

Restore deleted data

* Restores deleted files

* Finds deleted data with just a few clicks

* Also works with USB sticks and memory cards

Check hard drive for errors

* Finds errors on your hard disk

* Proposes actions to fix the errors

* Provides more security for your data

Manage running programs

* Precisely shows the processor capacity and memory utilization

* Provides complete control of the active programs

* Improves program management

Personalize Windows appearance

* Offers more design possibilities for windows and buttons

* Customizes the startup and log-on screens (XP™ and Vista™)

* Provides free download material for styles

Change Windows settings

* Neatly displays 400 different Windows settings

* Explains each setting clearly and understandably

* Reliably performs complicated optimization steps

I could go on here since there are additional important features that are included in this application but, I think you get the point. This program is overwhelmingly inclusive, and provides virtually every tool and applet, that a computer user is ever likely to need.

Is it worth $49.95 US for a 3 machine (many of us have more than one computer), license? In my view the answer is a definite – yes. TuneUp Utilities 2010 is simply the best application of its type that I have ever used.

System requirements: Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Download a fully functional 30 day trial version at: TuneUp Utilities

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Filed under Computer Maintenance, Defraggers, Diagnostic Software, downloads, Geek Software and Tools, Hard Drive Maintenance, Registry Cleaners, Slow Computer, Software, Software Trial Versions, System Memory Management, System Tweaks, System Utilities, TuneUp Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 31, 2009

Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu 9.10 – Strengths and weaknesses – I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the differences between Microsoft’s latest Windows 7 and Canonical’s Ubuntu 9.10. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about the strengths and weaknesses of each of the operating systems.

Firefox 3.6 Beta 1 Officially Available for Download – Mozilla just released the first official beta of Firefox 3.6, featuring built-in support for themes (Personas), improved performance, and more. Early adopters, your download is ready.

5 free tools to bypass Internet region restrictions - If you find yourself outside of the USA and wanting to watch Hulu, outside of the UK and wanting to checkout the BBC, or wanting to rig a web poll, here are some tips.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Multiple-language domain names pose security risk – Experts warn that ICANN’s plans to use non-western domain names could increase phishing. The introduction of non-Latin based characters into web addresses could attract phishing scams, according to domain-name marketplace Sedo.

Kill a Zombie Day promotes PC security – Celebrate Halloween 2009 by joining the fight against spam and malware. Rather than dressing up as a zombie for Halloween on 31 October, why not destroy one instead?

ColorJive Helps Visualize Room Colors Before Painting – You want to re-paint a room, but you’re not sure if the color will look right—holding up a little color swatch only goes so far. ColorJive helps you paint the entire room in virtual space.

Phishing experiment sneaks through all anti-spam filters – A recently conducted ethical phishing New study details the dynamics of successful phishing experiment impersonating LinkedIn by mailing invitations coming from Bill Gates has achieved a 100% success rate.

How to set up an Apple iPod Nano – The Apple iPod Nano can be used to rent movies, play games, track your fitness, and even record video. It’s impressive, but for first time users, it can also be intimidating. So for the thousands of you out there who’ve purchased or received their first iPod Nano, I’m going to help you though the process of setting it up and syncing it with media from your computer.

The Virtues of Virtualization – Virtualization lets you create virtual systems within one PC. It’s extremely useful for testing applications and operating systems. Ask Neil Rubenking, who often uses this platform to test security suites. Or, better yet, ask Jim Lynch who seems particularly passionate about the practice as it applies to Linux distro testing.

Facebook Wins $711 Million in Spam Case – Social networking website Facebook was awarded $711.2 million in damages relating to an anti-spam case against Internet marketer Sanford Wallace, court documents show.

Off Topic:

YouTube Camcorders Go HD - These inexpensive, easy-to-use pocket video cameras aren’t brimming with features, but they let you record high-def video and upload it to sharing sites in a snap.

Need Your Lawn Trimmed? In Seattle, You Can Now Rent a Goat – Rent-a-Goat program allows you to clear away brush and unwanted foliage the way nature intended.

The Future of Video Game Input: Muscle Sensors – Motion control and multi-touch have become common in devices ranging from Nintendo’s Wii to Apple’s iPhone. But a muscle-sensing system could someday allow gamers to play air “Guitar Hero” without a controller, or help harried parents with full hands open car doors.

You Are What You Eat: Inside America’s Refrigerators (Pics) – From Photographer Mark Menjivar’s latest series: You Are What You Eat.

Today’s Quote:

“If you don’t like how things are, change it! You’re not a tree”.

-    Jim Rohn

Today’s Free Downloads:

IObit Security 360 – IObit Security 360 is a free malware and spyware removal utility that detects, removes the deepest infections, and protects your PC from various of potential spyware, adware, trojans, keyloggers, bots, worms, and hijackers.

Opera 10.01 – Welcome to Opera’s newest Web browser: Opera 10. Opera is a free and innovative Web browser which allows you to experience the web on your terms.

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Upgrading to Windows 7? – Make Sure You Have the Horsepower!

image I have to admit I love Windows 7, and I’m not going to complain about this, or that, perceived shortcoming. What’s not to like?

I can’t believe some of the nonsense complaints I’ve read in the last few months, written, I’m convinced, by writers who get paid by the word! Actually, I find the “glass half empty” approach of this type of tech writer, more amusing, than frustrating.

After reading one of these “tech ex-spurts” I generally console myself with the thought – “man, I’m so glad you’re not my neighbor”, since negativity, just like the swine flu, is contagious.

Frankly, I have not tested an operating system in the years that I have been computing, which incidentally goes all the way back to DOS 1, where the advantages of the system were so readily apparent.

If, or when, you consider making the move to Windows 7, it’s important that you ensure your current system meets the hardware requirements imposed by Win 7. If you are currently running on Windows Vista, it’s almost a given that you can run on Windows 7, but ……

To help you determine your system compatibility, Microsoft has released a Beta version of a neat little tool to help you establish if your computer can handle the requirements of Windows 7.

According to Microsoft, “Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor scans your PC’s system, programs and devices to check if it’s able to run Windows 7. After a few minutes, the report will let you know if your PC meets the system requirements, if there are any known compatibility issues with your programs and devices, and will also provide guidance on your upgrade options to Windows 7”.

The following graphics illustrate just how easy this compatibility test is.

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Note: The advisor recommends that you connect ALL your devices before running the test.

System Requirements: Windows Vista; Windows XP Service Pack 2, NET 2.0 Framework or higher, if running on Windows XP

Download at: Microsoft

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Filed under Diagnostic Software, downloads, Freeware, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools

General Antivirus and Win Enterprise Defender – Panda Security Takes a Look

Courtesy of Panda Security – This week’s PandaLabs report looks at a worm, a Trojan and two new fake antiviruses.

The two fake antiviruses are General Antivirus:

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and Win Enterprise Defender:

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Both are rogueware programs that scan the hard disk and mark normal non-infected files in different folders as malware. They ask the user to purchase a license (of a fake antivirus), at a very attractive price to resolve this issue.

Unaware users (even those who have an antivirus), on seeing that these rogueware programs detect more alleged malware, could be tempted into purchasing.

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Users can purchase the fake antivirus’ with Visa or MasterCard. Additionally, they are asked for their credit card details which may then be used fraudulently.

Removal help for these nasties is further on in this article.

SpyAutorun.A is a worm with keylogger features which is able to steal users’ confidential data. All the information is collected in a text file which is sent to hackers’ email addresses.

Being a worm, it spreads through the network via previously infected removable drives, hard disks, memory cards, portable hard disks, etc.

Gymizi.A is a Trojan that displays annoying messages and restarts the infected computer. As soon as it infects a user and on opening the browser, it displays a small animation of a progress bar and inserts a message in the browser’s title bar.

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Every so often it displays an error pop-up with the message “fuck musang berapi!!!” and restarts the computer. Once the system is restarted, it displays a screen with offensive texts. It also alters the registry to ensure it is run on every system startup.

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More information about these and other malicious codes is available in the Panda Security Encyclopedia. You can also follow Panda Security’s online activity on its Twitter and PandaLabs blog.

General Antivirus and WinEnterpriseDefender Removal:

If you have become infected by General Antivirus, WinEnterpriseDefender, or other scareware (rogue software), have your PC worked on by a certified computer technician, who will have the tools, and the competency, to determine if the infection can be removed without causing system damage. Computer technicians do not provide services at no cost, so be prepared for the costs involved.

If you feel you have the necessary skills, and you want to try your hand at removal, then by all means do so.

The following free resources can provide tools and the advice you will need to attempt removal.

Malwarebytes, a very reliable anti-malware company, offers a free version of Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware, a highly rated anti-malware application which is capable of removing many newer rogue applications.

411 Spyware – a site that specializes in malware removal. I highly recommend this site.

Bleeping Computer – a web site where help is available for many computer related problems, including the removal of rogue software. This is another site I highly recommend.

SmitFraudFix, available for download at Geekstogo is a free tool that is continuously updated to assist victims of rogue security applications.

What you can do to reduce the chances of infecting your system with rogue software.

Be careful in downloading freeware or shareware programs. Spyware is occasionally concealed in these programs. Download this type of program only through reputable web sites such as Download.com, or sites that you know to be safe.

Consider carefully the inherent risks attached to peer-to-peer (P2P), or file sharing applications.

Install an Internet Browser add-on that provides protection against questionable or unsafe websites. My personal favorite is Web of Trust, an Internet Explorer/FireFox add-on, that offers substantial protection against questionable or unsafe websites.

Do not click on unsolicited invitations to download software of any kind.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Free Anti-malware Software, Freeware, internet scams, Malware Advisories, Malware Reports, Manual Malware Removal, Online Safety, Panda Security, PandaLabs, Rogue Software, Rogue Software Removal Tips, Software, System Security, trojans, Viruses, Windows Tips and Tools

Handy Backup Professional – Free License Giveaway!

image As part of our recent “backup your data, crusade”, we have arranged with Novosoft, the developers of  the award-winning backup application Handy Backup, to give away  2 licenses (retail value $99), for the Professional home version of their award-winning backup software.

To enter the contest, simply add a comment at the end of this article. On November 16, 2009, all comments will be added to the online List Randomizer, and the first 2 names that come up, will win a free license for this terrific backup application.

After reading the following review of Handy Backup, which has been referred to as the “Swiss Army Knife of backups”, I’m sure you’ll agree, this is a contest worth entering.

You don’t need to write a paragraph – “enter me in the contest”, or similar, is enough. Good luck!

Handy Backup Review.

image Your computer setup is a reflection of you. Sure, everyone has their documents folder, their pictures folder, their office applications – but that’s where most similarities end. Think about it, your Photoshop settings, IM tweaks, browser preferences… everything is set up just the way you like it.

Most backup software treats your data like big, faceless chunks of memory. They perform brute backups of your hard drive without regard to the fact that you did, really, truly, have things just the way you liked them!

Handy Backup includes plug-ins for all of the popular programs (such as Outlook and Windows Mail), and if you don’t see what you need, you can actually create your own plug-in (as an XML specification) for that special app.

Out of the box, Handy Backup is ready to go to work safeguarding your data, documents, photos, browser bookmarks, and email messages – either in a run-once situation, or as scheduled event. Your options include the ability to backup to local media, such as a CD, or to offsite storage on a secure FTP site.

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As if backing up to local media, local servers, and offsite locations weren’t enough, all users of Handy Backup can also take advantage of the Novosoft Remote Backup Service. Think of it as super-duper-remote-always-on backup, with unlimited storage in a highly secure web server that’s fortified against technological and natural disasters, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Handy Backup lets you:

Perform run-once and scheduled backups of your entire hard drive or selected directories.

Use free plug-ins that backup and restore the unique profile settings of the most popular applications.

Backup to local media, local servers, offsite servers, or the Novosoft Remote Backup Service.

Who Needs Handy Backup? You do if you’ve ever:

Had to recover data from backup, but then had to manually reset all of the settings for your applications.

Wanted to take advantage of the larger storage capabilities of DVD, Blu-Ray, and HD-DVD media.

System requirements: Windows 2003, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, Windows 2000, Windows XP

You can download a full-featured 30-days trial by clicking the following link:

Download Handy Backup

Stay tuned – in the next few weeks we will be reviewing the enterprise version of this application – Handy Backup Server. At that time, a free license (retail value $599), will be offered in a similar contest give away.

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Filed under Backup Applications, Backup Tools, downloads, Free Full Versions, Hard Drive Cloning, Hard Drive Imaging, Software, Software Trial Versions, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 30, 2009

Internet TV goes live on Windows 7 Media Center – Microsoft has flipped the switch on some partner deals that turned its ho-hum Internet TV feature into something worth watching.

12 Must-Know Windows 7 Shortcuts – Supercharge your use of Microsoft’s latest OS with these handy mouse and keyboard shortcuts.

Lifehacker: Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala Out Now – The final version of Ubuntu 9.10 has hit Ubuntu’s servers a little bit ahead of its front page. Grab a torrent or ISO of the free Linux operating system while the servers aren’t slammed.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Nearly 6 Million Infected Web Pages Across 640K Compromised Sites – Startup founded by ex-Google engineers tallies major jump in Website compromises and breadth of the infections.

The Dirty Dozen Spam Relaying Countries and How Zombie Armies Help Them – Is that computer sitting on your desk secretly a zombie? If so, it could be contributing to the millions of spam messages being pumped out of your country every day.

Internet Phone Systems Become The Fraudster’s Tool – Cybercriminals have hacked into dozens of business telephone systems across the U.S., using them to trick customers into divulging their bank account numbers and passwords.

Free Web Resources for Small BusinessService Magic, Ask500 Independent People, PDFtoWord, and TheFreeLibrary: free Web sites that can make your life a whole lot easier.

Facebook users targeted by Zeus banking Trojan – Users of the popular social network are being tricked into revealing their passwords and downloading a Trojan that steals financial data.

Off Topic:

101 FREE Tools to Design Your Own Degree – These open courses are free for everyone, and while they might not replace the courses you have to take, they might get you one step closer to your final diploma. We’ve also included free networking sites and financial aid resources that can help you make the connections and the financial decisions you need to reach your academic goals.

U.S. Air Force using airborne lasers as wireless data linksAir Force jets and drones could soon send high-quality video and audio of the battlefield wirelessly using high-bandwidth lasers.

Are powerful psychoactive drugs worth the side effects?Troubled teens on powerful drugs. Has your teen’s best friend just transformed from Taylor Swift to Rosie O’Donnell overnight?

Alien apocalypse vs. zombie apocalypse: Which could you survive? – Geekend contributor Nicole Bremer Nash ponders whether an alien apocalypse or a zombie apocalypse is more likely and whether humans are prepared for either.

The Alpha Course, a Christian Website, has created an instant Internet poll asking if God exists – So far, 96 percent of respondents clicked on “NO.”

Today’s Quote:

“An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought.”

-     Simon Cameron

Today’s Free Downloads:

OpenOffice – OpenOffice is the best, cheapest alternative to Microsoft Office for PC users.

Halloween Adventure Screensaver – This freebie presents five beautifully animated scenes–a haunted castle, a spooky forest, a moody Halloween sky, a giant spiderweb, and more–all carefully rendered. The colors are rich and the animations are smooth. In the background, witches cackle, chains rattle, owls hoot, wolves howl, and ghosts moan. The sound effects are subtle and well-placed, not overdone.

Welcome To Halloween Screensaver – If you’re looking for something to decorate your desktop for the kiddies this Halloween, download this free screen saver. Welcome to Halloween displays brightly colored animated cartoons depicting skeletons, wizards, silly ghosts, and various ghouls as they perform in a band, relax in the local tavern, or just stroll through town. Charming–and ever so slightly spooky–xylophone music plays in the background. Highly recommended!

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Top 12 Downloaded Free Applications on Tech Thoughts

image In the roughly 22 months I have been writing Tech Thoughts, these are the top 12 downloaded free applications on this site. Having had the opportunity to test each and every one thoroughly, I have no hesitation in recommending these top performing free applications.

Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware: (45,693 downloads) – When a free application is downloaded over 45,000 times from your site, like Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware has been at my site, you just have to know this application is a winner. The free version of this speed demon (it’s faster at scanning than any anti-malware program I’ve tested in the last 2 years), is used by millions of people worldwide to protect their computers.

Regseeker: (13,974 downloads) – The longer you use Windows, the more cluttered your registry can become, especially if you regularly install and uninstall software. Many applications, on being uninstalled, leave behind “orphan” registry entries. They don’t remove all traces of themselves; causing problems such as sluggish performance, system lockups, or a bloated registry that takes longer to load on startup. With the click of a button, Regseeker will scan your registry for these fragmented files, and safely remove them.

Ccleaner: (9,689 downloads) – Ccleaner is a freeware system optimization, privacy, and cleaning tool. It removes unused files from your system – allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. It also cleans traces of your online activities such as your Internet history. Additionally, it contains a fully featured registry cleaner. But the best part is that it’s fast; normally taking less than a second to run.

Spyware Terminator: (7,439 downloads) – Having tested virtually all of the major anti-spyware applications over the past year or more, I’ve settled, for now, on Spyware Terminator primarily due to its strong real-time protection against spyware, adware, Trojans, key-loggers, home page hijackers and other malware threats. Spyware Terminator excels in strong active protection against know and unknown threats. If anything, I find it perhaps a little overly aggressive. On the other hand, better this than the alternative.

Revo Uninstaller: (6,726 downloads) – Revo Uninstaller is a superior program designed to uninstall programs from your computer. This free program with its advanced and fast algorithm scans before, and after you uninstall an application. After the program’s regular uninstaller runs, you can remove additional unnecessary files, folders and registry keys that are usually left over on your computer.

WOT: (4,281 downloads) – Web of Trust is a browser add-on which offers Internet users active preventive protection against Web-based attacks, online scams, identify theft, and unreliable shopping sites. Personally, I won’t surf the Net without WOT being active.

ThreatFire: (3,780 downloads) – A powerful free tool, ThreatFire from PC Tools, the developers of the highly regarded Spyware Doctor, blocks malware (including zero-day threats) by analyzing program behavior (heuristics), based on the theory that if it looks like a crook and acts like a crook, then it must be a crook, instead of relying only on a signature based database. ThreatFire works together with your signature based security applications to increase the effectiveness of your total security arsenal.

A-squared-HiJackFree: (3,533 downloads) – The program operates as a detailed system analysis tool that can help you in the detection and removal of Hijackers, Spyware, Adware, Trojans, Worms, and other malware. It doesn’t offer live protection but instead, it examines your system, determines if it’s been infected, and then allows you to wipe out the malware.

CD-Recovery Toolbox: (3,486 downloads) – CD Recovery Toolbox, a free CD/DVD file recovery solution that can help you recover damaged data that you may have considered unrecoverable.

Disk Heal: (3,363 downloads) – Disk Heal is a free Windows NT, 2000, XP and Vista utility that may be able to restore the condition of your Hard Drive, or a USB Flash Drive, after it has been being infected by a virus. This application is a very useful tool that has a host of additional capabilities, including recovering hidden files and performing system tweaks; all can be accessed with just one click.

Auslogics Disk Defrag: (3,229 downloads) – I defrag with Auslogics Disk Defrag a free disk defragger from Auslogics Software regularly. The program is extremely easy to use, does not require any analysis phase and is faster than most disk defragmentation software I’ve tested in the past, and best of all, it’s free.

TrueCrypt: (2,945 downloads) – TrueCrypt is an outstanding free open source software system, (one I have using for the last several years) for establishing and maintaining an on-the-fly-encrypted volume. On-the-fly encryption simply means that data are automatically encrypted or decrypted just before they are loaded or saved, without any user intervention. No data stored on an encrypted volume can be read (decrypted) without using the correct password/correct encryption keys.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Antivirus Applications, Browser add-ons, CD/DVD Recovery Tools, Cleaning Your Computer, Defraggers, downloads, Firefox Add-ons, Free Security Programs, Freeware, Internet Explorer Add-ons, Manual Malware Removal, PC Tools, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 29, 2009

Yes, Ubuntu can absolutely be the default Windows alternative – and I don’t just mean for geeks. I mean a real, viable alternative to Windows for many users despite the apparent quality of both Windows 7 and Server 2008.

PandaLabs: Blackhat SEO Aggressively Targets Halloween Related Keywords – Cyber criminals behind the Rogueware epidemic have been hard at work in poisoning search results to increase traffic to their campaign sites.

Avira AntiVir Personal Free Antivirus Software – Avira AntiVir Personal offers great, thorough protection and top-notch scan speed, but some nontechies might find its interface frustrating.

Trust the Cloud? Americans Say No Way – Americans don’t trust cloud storage for their confidential data, with identity theft ranking as their top security concern, according to a twice-yearly survey by network security consulting firm Unisys.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Experts See Forecast Worsen for Cybercrime – Law enforcement agencies can count a few recent victories against cybercriminals, but agents say the battle against them isn’t getting any easier. Highly organized cybercriminals are using increasingly sophisticated tools and methods that make them hard to trace, said Keith Mularski, supervisory special agent with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cyber Division.

US Government may need to limit Internet use during flu pandemic, GAO says – The US GAO believes the government may need to block high-bandwidth sites to limit Internet congestion during a pandemic. Is it the right strategy?

Lifehacker: Set Up Windows Home Server to Automate Your Backups and Corral Your Media – It’s that time of year, when colder weather and dreary conditions keep us inside more often than not. That also makes it a perfect time to set up a home backup and media server to streamline your digital life.

Malware ads served from Gizmodo – Popular gadget blog Gizmodo has acknowledged falling victim to an “elaborate scam” that served malicious ads for scareware (fake anti-virus) to its readers.

Off Topic:

What Happens to Your Facebook After You Die? – Facebook is quietly offering a fix to one of the social-networking service’s most awkward loose ends — what happens to user profiles after they die.

Stressful jobs that pay badly – High stress and a meager paycheck are just another day at the office for fundraisers, therapists and probation officers. Here are 15 of the most overworked and underpaid professions out there according to those surveyed by PayScale.com.

Intel’s Next-Gen Memory Closer To Reality - Researchers are two steps closer to creating a mass-market version of technology called phase-change memory that could change how computers of the future are put together.

Today’s Quote:

“Experts agree that the best type of computer for your individual needs is one that comes on the market about two days after you actually purchase some other computer”.

- Dave Barry

Today’s Free Downloads:

Five must-have Firefox add-ons – One of the great things about Firefox are the thousands of free add-ons.

Free PDF to Word Converter – Free PDF to Word Converter is an easy to use utility that does swift conversions from PDF to Word. You just need to add the file which you intend to convert into the program and click Convert. It is that easy! This program will create an exact copy of the PDF file. It will retain all graphics, fonts and formatting.

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Avoid Drive-by Downloads – Update Firefox to Version 3.5.4 Now

firefox If you don’t have Firefox’s automatic update feature turned on, then you need to update your version immediately to Version 3.5.4.

Reports indicate that previous versions are subject to 11 critical security issues, including the risk of drive-by downloads. Drive-by downloads can include the installation of spyware, a virus, or other nasties, which can take place by simply visiting a web site, opening an e-mail, or by dealing with a popup.

According to Mozilla the following security issues have been dealt with in the release of Version 3.5.4.

MFSA 2009-64 Crashes with evidence of memory corruption (rv:1.9.1.4/ 1.9.0.15)
MFSA 2009-63 Upgrade media libraries to fix memory safety bugs
MFSA 2009-62 Download filename spoofing with RTL override
MFSA 2009-61 Cross-origin data theft through document.getSelection()
MFSA 2009-59 Heap buffer overflow in string to number conversion
MFSA 2009-57 Chrome privilege escalation in XPCVariant::VariantDataToJS()
MFSA 2009-56 Heap buffer overflow in GIF color map parser
MFSA 2009-55 Crash in proxy auto-configuration regexp parsing
MFSA 2009-54 Crash with recursive web-worker calls
MFSA 2009-53 Local downloaded file tampering
MFSA 2009-52 Form history vulnerable to stealing

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Filed under Application Vulnerabilities, Browsers, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Firefox, Freeware, Malware Advisories, Software, Tech Net News, Viruses, Windows Tips and Tools

Spammers Are Planning for the Holidays

image Symantec’s October 2009, MessageLabs Intelligence Report, shows how far ahead Spammers plan in order to entrap the unwary web surfer. Just as you are preparing for the holidays, so are the Cybercriminals. As the old saying goes “forewarned is forearmed”, so be prepared.

Courtesy of MessageLabs:

October begins the holiday season and for the next three months, online shopping and research will become a premium for consumers.  Symantec today announced its October 2009 MessageLabs Intelligence Report which reveals the that the spam gangs behind the biggest botnets – Cutwail, Rustock and Donbot – are using the same upcoming major holidays and world events as the themes for their the latest spam runs.

Highlights from the latest report.

Halloween – Trick or treat?  Only 0.5% of spam right now is tied to Halloween – however MessageLabs Intelligence expects approximately 500 MILLION Halloween themed spam emails to be in circulation worldwide, each day, as the holiday approaches this week. The majority of this type of spam links to pharmaceutical or medical spam sites and comes from the Rustock and Donbot botnets.

Thanksgiving and Christmas – Spam from the Cutwail botnet uses both Thanksgiving and Christmas as a theme to sell replica watches. To date, holiday spam accounts for approximately 2% of all spam. More than 2 BILLION Thanksgiving or Christmas-themed spam emails are projected to be in circulation globally each day.

And spammers are even preparing for some of the next big holiday and major events in 2010 already.

Valentine’s Day – MessageLabs Intelligence has already started to see the first runs of St. Valentine’s Day spam, more than 4 months before the occasion. These are being sent from the Cutwail and Rustock botnets, and relate to pharmaceutical and medical spam.

2010 World Cup – Next summer’s soccer games in South Africa have already precipitated a small number of spam messages relating to the event. These are advance-fee fraud or 419-style scams, and they include images of Nelson Mandela and the official FIFA logo.

How successful are these scams? Consumers fall victim to messages like this all the time, fueling an underground economy worth an estimated $105 billion in profit from fraudulent activities.

“As is typical with spammers this time of year, we are seeing them try to capitalize on the holiday season,” said MessageLabs Intelligence Senior Analyst, Paul Wood. “Although they may be a bit overzealous, spamming is a numbers game and the spammers have certainly succeeded with volume thus far. Perhaps their early-bird approach is an attempt to compete with the other botnets and get in early to maximize their chances of success.”

You can read a full copy of the report here.

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Filed under Don't Get Scammed, Email, email scams, internet scams, Internet Security Alerts, Malware Advisories, Malware Reports, MessageLabs, Safe Surfing, Symantec, Windows Tips and Tools