Monthly Archives: October 2010

Free GigaTribe – Go Private With Your File Sharing

imageThe Recording Industry Association of America which represents the recording industry distributors in the United States, has managed to have LimeWire banished from the playing field – Boo, Hiss!!

I must confess though, I’ve never been a fan of public, peer to peer file sharing. Unfortunately, with public peer to peer file sharing, the risk factor that the user will not get what he thinks he will, is extremely high.

For example – the last time I tested public peer to peer file sharing, of the five game files that I downloaded, every one came packed with a Trojan downloader, which, had I installed any of these applications on my test machine., would have wrecked havoc.

The two main issues with peer to peer file sharing (but not the only issues) are:

Privacy: When you are connected to file-sharing programs, you may unintentionally allow others to copy confidential files you did not intend to share.

Spyware: There’s a good chance that the file-sharing program you’re using has installed other software known as spyware to your computer’s operating system. I can assure you that spyware can be difficult to detect and remove.

So what’s a user to do who enjoys file sharing, and who doesn’t want to be burned by the cybercriminals who skulk on public file sharing networks searching for victims?

A terrific solution to this dilemma is provided by a free application from GigaTribe (last updated April 23th, 2010). An application which is designed to create a private network between you, and your friends, relatives, co-workers, or, whomever you choose.

If you have every used peer to peer software, then you’ll find no learning curve involved in using GigaTribe – it’s functional, efficient, attractive, and “follow the bouncing ball” intuitive.

How much more simply can it be than this:

GigaTribe

The following graphic is from the publisher’s site.

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Fast facts:

GigaTribe has more than 1.5 Million users.
Its unique technology has been developed by talented programmers with a strong history in the software industry.

There are no limitations on quantity or file size.
All your files are kept on your hard drive, eliminating the need to transfer them to an external server.

Files are available in their original format.
In just a few clicks, you can share and also find files as if you were in a virtual library. You will see files as they were organized on the hard drive, and you can download them in their original format.

You don’t waste time uploading files.
Once you select which folders you want to share, the contents of those folders are instantly accessible to your friends.

Your files remain yours!
Files you have decided to share are not saved on another company’s equipment. You keep your data under your control.

It´s a two-way sharing service.
Each contact can both share and download. You decide which content is worth downloading among the files available to you.

You may invite up to 500 friends.

Transfer automatically resumes.
If a download is interrupted (for example, if a contact goes offline), the transfer automatically resumes with no loss of data when your contact comes back online.

Security is, of course, GigaTribe´s major concern.

Only the people you have invited can see your files. Only the folders you have selected are visible to your contacts. Every exchange is strongly encrypted – No one can see what is being shared.

As an added bonus, users’ can create profiles, and have access to personal chat and a private blog, all from within the program. Now that’s cool!

Here’s a great example of GigaTribe in action (testimonial from the publisher’s site).

GigaTribe allows us to exchange our course materials or photos and videos of our evenings. We do not need any more to transport our external disks for sharing the big files.

GigaTribe allowed to create a network of exchange exclusively intended for the students of the school. It facilitates sharing and the mutual help between students.

It’s not often that I can rate an application 100%, but GigaTribe comes very close. A superb application! If you’re into private file sharing, or it’s something that you’ve considered, then give GigaTribe a whirl – I think you’ll be glad you did.

Checkout GigaTribe’s one minute Guide.

System requirements: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7.

Languages: English, Español, Français, Deutsch, Italiano, Português

Download at: Gigatribe

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Filed under downloads, File Sharing, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Peer to Peer, social networking, Software, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 31, 2010

CNET: Windows Starter Kit – The Windows Starter Kit is a collection of some of the best and most essential freeware to get your new PC going. From browsers to productivity to utilities, we cover all the bases.

5 Apps That Eliminate Common Computer Annoyances – You want a system that works perfectly and you want it yesterday. Well, to that, I offer five meager freeware apps (or free Web apps) that should help trim some of the annoying processes out of your normal system use.

Five Ways to Shear Firesheep – Firesheep has made it possible for any moron to raid your Web use, but there are ways you can stop it. Here are a few of them.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal – Unity replaces Gnome as default shell – Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth has announced that the Unity shell currently used in Ubuntu’s netbook edition will become the default user interface for Ubuntu’s main desktop edition as well, starting with the next version of the operating system. Unity became Ubuntu’s netbook UI with the release of the current version of the OS, 10.10 Maverick Meerkat.

10 Ways to Get More From Google Voice – In the following series of pages, we’re dishing out 10 different ways that you can use Google Voice to make your mobile life even more awesome than it currently is. And just to make sure we’ve covered all the bases, we’re splitting the tips into, “Beginner,” “Intermediate,” and, “Advanced” sections—let no stone, or cellular-related feature, go unturned!

10 popular Windows applications that should be ported to Linux – The ranks of Linux users would certainly grow if a few go-to Windows apps could run natively on the OS. Jack Wallen lists the ones he thinks would turn the tide.

McAfee: The Most Dangerous Top-Level Internet Domains – The Web can be a precarious place. There are millions of sites, some benign, some compromised and some downright malicious. It is into this sea of murky waters that we dive every time we surf the Web.

Demystifying KB976902, a.k.a. Microsoft’s “Blackhole” Update – I’ve received several e-mails from readers concerned about a mysterious, undocumented software patch that Microsoft began offering to Windows 7 users through Windows Update this week. Readers were nervous about this patch because it lacks any real description of its function, and what little documentation there is about it says that it cannot be removed once installed, and that it may be required as a prerequisite for installing future updates…(submitted by Dar)

The 13 Scariest Computer Viruses -We count down the 13 scariest computer viruses.

Company News:

Microsoft releases another new test build of IE 9 – The IE 9 Platform Preview 6 build is available for download from Microsoft’s IETestDrive site. The latest build “reflects developer feedback and delivers better performance as well as more standards support, like CSS3’s 2D transforms,” according to the company. Microsoft also has added some new demos and test cases to its Test Drive site.

Will Google’s Street View nonsense ever end? UK blasts them again – Street View is just too great a liability for the company as currently conceived. They’re already seen as Big Brother and any more scandals will be too damaging to the brand.

LaCie achieves record speeds with d2 USB 3.0, 2big USB 3.0 drives – Even though they’re not even available yet, LaCie is already boasting about the record speeds produced by two of its upcoming 3TB hard drives.

What Windows 7 Taught Microsoft – Microsoft has good reason to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Windows 7–it has sold an impressive 240 million licenses since the new OS became available. And it seems the company overcame the issues it faced with Vista. Along the way, Microsoft has learned some things about itself, the market and Windows 7.

Off Topic (Sort of):

First photograph of a human being – This is a Daguerreotype taken by the inventor of the process, Louis Daguerre, in 1838. It is a view of the Boulevard du Temple in Paris. To achieve this image (one of his earliest attempts), he exposed a chemically treated metal plate for ten minutes. Others were walking or riding in carriages down that busy street that day, but because they moved, they didn’t show up. Only this guy stood still long enough—maybe to have his boots shined—to leave an image. (submitted by Michael F.)

10 terrifying games for Halloween (photos) – Like film, the horror genre is a staple in video games. With Halloween just a few short days away, we’ve handpicked 10 just-released or soon-to-be titles that are guaranteed to make you jump out of your seat.

WHAT’S MORE IMPORTANT: LIBERTY OR THE ENTITY THAT PROTECTS IT? – Let me ask readers a question. What’s more important: freedom and its undergirding principles, or the entity meant to protect it? A word of caution: be careful how you answer that question, because the way you answer marks your understanding (or lack thereof) of both freedom and the purpose of government. (submitted by Dar)

Say What? The Week’s Top Five IT Quotes – Securing the iPhone, the future of Linux, Ray Ozzie’s “Dawn of a New Day” manifesto and more.

Today’s Quote:

“Speak when you are angry–and you will make the best speech you’ll ever regret.”

-     Laurence J. Peter

Today’s Free Downloads:

ManicTime – ManicTime is a time tracking software that automatically collects data on your computer usage. It records active and away time, as well as which applications you used and for how long you used them

NoScript – NoScript provides extra protection for your Mozilla/Firefox or Flock browser: this extension allows JavaScript and Java execution only for trusted domains of your choice. This whitelist based pre-emptive script blocking approach prevents exploitation of security vulnerabilities with no loss of functionality. You can enable JavaScript/Java execution for sites you trust with a simple left-click on the NoScript status bar icon or using the context menu in pop-up statusbar.

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

CCleaner 3.0 released – Now Native 64 Bit Compatible

imageWhat can you say about CCleaner (the granddaddy of all system cleaners – it’s been around since 2004), that hasn’t already been said of this freeware system optimization, privacy, and cleaning tool.

Even though I have tested a fairly large number of free system utilities, over the years, that offer to improve system performance and help maintain privacy, I always find myself coming back to CCleaner. It’s just hard to beat perfection, and in my view CCleaner is as close to perfect at its assigned task, as a free program can be.

CCleaner removes unused files from your system – allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. As well, it cleans up traces of your online activities such as your Internet history. Additionally, it includes a fully featured registry cleaner. But the best part is – it’s fast; normally taking just seconds to run.

Piriform, the people who bring us not only CCleaner, but Defraggler, Speccy, and Recuva, have just released (October 28, 2010),  the latest version of this venerable utility.

New in Version 3.0

A new 64-bit native EXE designed specifically for 64-bit systems.

A new Drive Wiper tool screen under the Tools section, which allows users to securely erase the contents or free space on a specified drive.

Improved support for Internet Explorer 9 and the Google Chrome browsers.

We have also added improved cleaning support for HTML5 database storage, allowing CCleaner to effectively manage the next generation of web applications.

Additional cleaning support for Microsoft Silverlight Isolated Storage.

We’ve added three new environment variables (%SystemDirectory%, %SystemDirectory32%, and %SystemDirectory64%).

New application icon.

New Intelligent cookie keeping feature.

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Running a Hard Disk cleaner such as CCleaner, will help optimize a system by emptying the Recycle Bin, Temporary Setup Files, Downloaded Program Files, Temporary Internet Files, Old Chkdsk Files, Temporary Files, Temporary Offline Files, Offline Files, and more.

System requirements: Windows 2000, XP, Vista Win 7.

Download at: Download.com

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Cleaning Your Computer, Computer Maintenance, Computer Tools, Disk Cleaners, downloads, Freeware, Hard Drive Maintenance, Privacy, Registry Cleaners, Secure File Deletion, Software, System Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 30, 2010

Scare up Some Fun: Halloween Downloads – Ghosts and goblins are everywhere–especially your PC’s screen. (Oh, and there are zombies on your lawn. You might want to take care of that.) Whether Halloween means goofy games, scary screensavers, or a creepy desktop theme to you, PCWorld has just what the mad doctor ordered. We even have the fonts he’d use to write you a prescription for witches’ brew.

PBS for iPad – A true gift from TV heaven, this awesome app lets you watch full-length episodes of prime-time PBS shows.

Best Free Photo Editing – Digital cameras have gained better lenses and increased pixel resolutions over the years, but that doesn’t mean that every photo you snap will be a gem. When a visual flub arises, or you want to simply resize or crop, you don’t have to shell out big bucks. There are plenty of photo editing applications that can get the job done–for free.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

10 Ways Not to Be a Jerk Online – Whether you’re a Web newbie or experienced surfer, it never hurts to remember your netiquette when talking to others in the online community.

New Yahoo Game Teaches Economic Theory With Zombies – Just in time for Halloween, Yahoo Labs debuts a free zombie game designed to educate players about the basics of economic theory.

Internet Security: Some Definitions – I think it’s important for all of us to be as knowledgeable as possible on Internet security and cyber crime as a base of our defense against the bad guys. However, in order to educate ourselves, we must first understand the jargon of Internet security…okay, the buzzwords.

Microsoft Office 2010 Beta Expires Oct. 31 – If you’re still using the Microsoft Office 2010 beta, you could be in for quite a shock this Halloween, as that’s when the beta turns into a pumpkin. According to Microsoft, October 31 is the day the beta will cease functioning. You’ll have to either upgrade to the full version or find some other solution for your word processing, spreadsheets, presentation, e-mail, and so on.

Cyberbullying: A Negative Result of Technology – If you are in the know, the term of the year for 2010 has to be the word “bullying”. Bullying is nothing new, and if you are from my generation (and prior), then you may have experienced it yourself at one point or another when you were an adolescent. Bullying is someone that persistently tries to dominant (and abuse) another through fear, threats and sometimes violence.

Police Blotter: Husband accused of tapping wife’s PC – A Texas court has ruled that a husband accused of monitoring his wife’s computer through a keystroke logger did not violate federal wiretapping laws.

Company News:

Mint Data Beta Hands On – Online Personal Finance darling Mint.com knows a lot about its users–and now it’s going to publish all of that data online for everyone to see on Mint Data Beta. The free service takes the anonymous data of over four million users and slices it across several categories in 300 American cities to show what the average user spent at a given business.

Kensington ClickSafe Keyed Laptop Lock – Featuring 61 inches of secure carbon fiber wire, Kensington ClickSafe Keyed Laptop Lock will certainly deter any thief looking to grab and go, but it’s not a fool-proof solution.

Apple Jumps Past RIM in Global Mobile Phone Rankings – Apple made its way into the top five global mobile phone vendors for the third quarter, jumping past Research in Motion, according to Friday data from IDC.

The Best Cameras for Shooting Video – Now digital cameras of all shapes and sizes are shooting video that’s not only good enough to share with family and friends, but of a high enough quality to put on the evening news. This collection of products from Sony, Nikon, Panasonic and others, are riding this video trend.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Lifehacker: How to Ditch Big Brother and Disappear Forever – So you’ve decided you want to drop off the map and leave Big Brother behind. It’s harder than ever in our always-connected world, but if you’re ready to plan your big vanishing act, here are a few tips to get you started.

2010 Darwin Awards – Named in honor of Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, the Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool by removing themselves from it. (submitted by Dar)

Lifehacker: Invade Your Own Privacy to Keep Your Private Information is Secure – Matt over at security blog Attack Vector takes a look at how you can easily find out too much information about virtually anyone who emails you. With both an IP and email address it’s really easy to find someone’s address, a picture of their home, their interests, and more. Note: this article is very scary.

12 bizarre examples of genetic engineering: Mad science – Glow-in-the-dark cats? It may sound like science fiction, but they’ve been around for years. Cabbages that produce scorpion poison? It’s been done. Oh, and the next time you need a vaccine, the doctor might just give you a banana. (submitted by Dar)

Today’s Quote:

“Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so.”

-    Bertrand Russell

Today’s Free Downloads:

Ghostery – Ghostery alerts you about the web bugs, ad networks and widgets on every page on the web.Web bugs are hidden scripts that track your behavior and are used by the sites you visit to understand their own audience.

VideoSlurp YouTube Downloader – VideoSlurp YouTube Video Downloader is a simple application that allows you to download your favorite YouTube videos to your desktop. Browse YouTube from your favorite browser and when you find the video (or videos) you like, simply copy each URL and press the VideoSlurp download button for your downloads to begin.

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

System Mechanic 10 – A One Click Computer Maintenance Solution

imageIt’s difficult to be in IT and avoid being asked for advice on computers – everything from operating systems – (should I be running Windows 7?); malware – (is the Internet really unsafe?); problems – (what’s wrong with my computer? It’s always…..); and my favorite question – why is my computer so slow?

Usually, the “why is my computer so slow?” question, comes up because the user is fed up with slow, and unreliable performance. Surprisingly, the answer to this common question is pretty simple, and in most cases the problems are easy to correct.

As most experienced users know, PCs don’t slow down without a reason. All computers have characteristic operating patterns that lead to predictable, but preventable issues. Simple maintenance, practiced regularly, which is easy even for a non-expert, if he’s using the right tools, will keep a PC running smoothly for years.

Regular readers here are use to reading reviews on free, quality applications, that help users identify the most common problems that have impact on a computer’s speed and behavior, and then match the problems with the appropriate free software solution.

That works very well for the kind of readers that this site attracts – generally high end power users, or users who are intend on learning. But, for an average computer user, putting together a toolbox of free system applications may not be a complete and effective solution.

And that brings me to System Mechanic – a highly effective performance-tuning application designed for the average user.  System Mechanic is the most inclusive system application I have ever tested. And, the developers have managed to do this in such a way, that an average user does not have to drill down through complex menu structures to correct performance issues that negatively impact his computing experience.

System Mechanic can uncover literally hundreds of issues that can impact a computer’s performance and reliability, and then correct identified problems – often, with just a few clicks of the mouse.

Installation is simple, following which you will have the opportunity to run System Mechanic for the first time. On launch you will be presented with the following screen. You’ll notice that you won’t be left on your own to figure things out – System Mechanic has some great tutorials, including videos, to get you started.

(All screen shots are taken from my test machine – clicking on any graphic will expand it to its original size).

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First up is a System Analysis – available in two flavors: Quick Analysis, or Deep Analysis.

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In this test,  the Quick Analysis took under a minute on my Windows 7 machine, and the Deep Analysis took less than 4 minutes on the same machine.

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The application provides a breakdown of the issues that need to be addressed, and offers an automated solution.

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Having corrected the 7 issues affecting overall performance on the test platform I then kicked in to “Active Care” mode, so that the program could automatically deal with additional issues that would, over time, negatively impact performance.

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(partial list only)

Tool, tools, and more tools; each one designed to address specific system issues, are a strong point of System Mechanic – as the following screen capture illustrates.

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For power users, each tool is broken down into sub- categories, giving the user fine control over relative issues.

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Two weeks after installing System Mechanic on a test system that gets a very heavy duty workout on a daily basis, System Status remains “Good”.  Given the grind that this machine is put through every day, this is a very impressive result.

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Fast facts:

ActiveCare – automatically and effortlessly fixes and maintains your PC during idle time, keeping your system running like new.

Optimize your PC for peak performance

Repair problems and errors, and prevent them from recurring

Clean up system clutter

Fix security vulnerabilities

Maintain reliability and speed

Cleans, defrags, & repairs registry

Accelerates PC startup 19 ways

Defrags & recovers orphaned RAM

Defrag

Complete low-level drive defrag

Turns off unused background programs

Perform dozens of performance boosting optimizations in one step

Straightforward actions to fix all problems or only those you want

PC Health Status Gadget for Windows 7 and Vista

For additional specific information please click on links to the developer’s site.

Individual Tools

Such as Startup Optimizer™ and EnergyBooster™ for users who want total control.

All-in-one Tools

Such as PC Accelerator™ that supercharges your PC up to 300% by running multiple performance-enhancing and speed boosting tools at once.


Patent-pending 

ActiveCare®

Automatically and effortlessly fix and maintain your PC during idle time, keeping your system running like new.

If you’re an average user, disappointed with your computer’s performance, or you’re just tired of having to deal with reoccurring unexplained issues, you’ll find that System Mechanic is worth every penny of its $39.95 purchase price.

BTW, a  single product license allows installation of the application on all of your personal PCs. Since many of us now have more than one computer, hopefully, more software vendors will follow Iolo’s innovative pricing structure.

System requirements: Windows 7/Vista/XP (64 or 32-bit).

Download a trial version at: The developer’s site – (Iolo).

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Computer Maintenance, Computer Tools, Computer Tune Up Utilities, downloads, Slow Computer, Software, Software Trial Versions, System Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

LimeWire Is Dead – Long Live FrostWire!

If you visit the official LimeWire website, you will, no doubt, be surprised to see the following message –  “This is an official notice that LimeWire is under a court-ordered injunction to stop distributing and supporting its file-sharing software. Downloading or sharing copyrighted content without authorization is illegal.”

The Recording Industry Association of America which represents the recording industry distributors in the United States, has struck once again in its aggressive battle to combat what it defines as copyright infringement. While I’m not a supporter of copyright infringement, I do consider RIIA’s tactics not far removed from those that were once employed by the Spanish Inquisition. Heavy handed – to say the least.

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Unfortunately, if you were a LimeWire user you’ve noticed that searching, downloading, uploading, file sharing and so on, are no longer available. But, don’t despair – there are other solutions. Maybe now is the time to take a close look at a LimeWire alternative – FrostWire.

FrostWire (newest version: 4.21), released September 29, 2010, is a free, open source Peer to Peer application which incorporates all of the now dead LimeWire’s functionality, as well as a number of the features of the old LimeWire Pro – including multi-threading downloads, and Turbo-Charged connections.

To insure broad appeal, FrostWire is a multi platform program running on Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000, NT, Mac OS X 10.4 or later, Linux, and some flavors of Unix.

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Fast facts:

Open-source

Firewall-to-firewall transfers

Built-in community chat

Connects to more sources

Creative commons license support

Broadband network connection

Junk result filters

Turbo-Charged download speeds

iTunes integration

Gnutella support

BitTorrent support

Proxy Support

If P2P file sharing is one of your interests, then you’ll find that this program, with its highly intuitive interface, should meet all of your needs. With almost 30 Million downloads on CNET alone, calling this application “very popular” is a bit of an understatement.

System requirements: Windows 7, Windows 2000, Windows Vista, Windows NT, Windows XP, Mac OS X 10.5 or later, Linux, Unix such as Solaris.

Additional requirements: Java Runtime Environment 1.6

Download at: FrostWire.com

Note: Consider the trade-offs, and the very real risks involved in Peer to Peer file sharing.

Privacy: When you are connected to file-sharing programs, you may unintentionally allow others to copy confidential files you did not intend to share. So be sure to setup the file-sharing software very carefully.

If you don’t check the proper settings when you install the software, you could allow access not just to the files you intend to share, but also to other information on your hard drive, such as your tax returns, email messages, medical records, photos, and other personal and financial documents.

It’s extremely important to be aware of the files that you place in, or download to, your shared folder. Don’t put information in your shared folder that you don’t want to share with others. Your shared folder is the folder that is shared automatically with others on peer to peer file sharing networks.

Copyright Issues: You may knowingly, or otherwise, download material that is protected by copyright laws and find yourself caught up in legal issues. Copyright infringement can result in significant monetary damages, fines, and even criminal penalties.

Some statistics suggest as many as 70% of young people between the ages of 9 – 14, regularly download copyrighted digital music. If you are a parent, you bear the ultimate responsibility for this illegal activity.

Adult Content: Again, if you are a parent you may not be aware that their children have downloaded file-sharing software on the family computer, (Susan Naulls), and that they may have exchanged games, videos, music, pornography, or other material that may be unsuitable for them. It’s not unusual for other peoples’ files to be mislabeled and you or your children can unintentionally download these files.

Spyware: There’s a good chance that the file-sharing program you’re using has installed other software known as spyware to your computer’s operating system. Spyware monitors a user’s browsing habits and then sends that data to third parties. Frequently the user gets ads based on the information that the spyware has collected and forwarded to these third parties.

I can assure you that spyware can be difficult to detect and remove. Before you use any file-sharing program, you should buy, or download free software, that can help prevent the downloading or installation of spyware, or help to detect it on your hard drive if it has been installed.

Viruses: Use and update your anti-virus software regularly. Files you download could be mislabeled, hiding a virus or other unwanted content. Use anti-virus software to protect your computer from viruses you might pick up from other users through the file-sharing program.

Generally, your virus filter should prevent your computer from receiving possibly destructive files. While downloading, you should avoid files with extensions such as .exe, .scr, .lnk, .bat, .vbs, .dll, .bin, and .cmd.

Default Closing Behavior: It is critical that you close your connection after you have finished using the software. In some instances, closing the file-sharing program window does not actually close your connection to the network. That allows file-sharing to continue and will increase your security risk. Be sure to turn off this feature in the programs “preferences” setting.

What’s more, some file-sharing programs automatically run every time you turn on your computer. As a preventive measure, you should adjust the file-sharing program’s controls to prevent the file-sharing program from automatically starting.

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Filed under downloads, Freeware, FrostWire, Interconnectivity, Open Source, Peer to Peer, Software, Ubuntu, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 29, 2010

Lifehacker: How to Break Into a Windows PC (And Prevent it from Happening to You) – Whether you’ve forgotten your password or you have a more malicious intent, it’s actually extremely easy to break into a Windows computer without knowing the password. Here’s how to do it, and how to prevent others from doing the same to you.

Five Reasons You Should Always “Stop. Think. Connect.” – It’s hard to think of a major cybercrime outbreak over the past year that hasn’t relied, to some extent, on the naivete of its targets. Security professionals call these tricks “social engineering,” but that’s just a geeky term for criminal skullduggery that’s as common offline as online. The ruse almost always tries to invoke an adrenaline-fueled need for an immediate response — usually out of fear, greed, or panic — on the part of a victim. The victim ends up in a mental state where they are likely to make rash, impulsive decisions. And they do.

The Linux Tutorial – The Linux Tutorial delivers a free, online introduction to Linux, with chapters ranging all the way from Introduction to Operating Systems to Networking to Linux and Windows, including specifics on dual-booting and virtualization.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Microsoft’s Free Windows Live Movie Maker Makes Nice–But Simple—Videos – Movie Maker 2011 is part of Microsoft’s Windows Live Essentials pack; you can choose to install all of the bundled software, or you can opt to pick and choose apps. It’s designed to help you turn photos and videos into slideshows and movies, complete with soundtracks, captions, and transitions.

Adobe under attack: New PDF, Flash zero-day – Adobe’s security response team is scrambling to respond to new zero-day attacks against a computer hijack vulnerability in two of its most widely deployed products: Flash Player and Adobe PDF Reader.

U.S. Postal Service mails fraud warning to 129 million households – It’s a sign of the times we live in when the U.S. Postal Service decides to carry out a mailing campaign that will deliver a brochure on fraud and identity theft to 129 million households throughout the country.

Windows 7 SP1 Release Candidate launches – The new Release Candidate editions for Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 will be the last public test versions before their final releases next year.

Company News:

FTC Forgives Google Street View WiFi Privacy Gaffe – The Federal Trade Commission has concluded its inquiry into Google’s Street View WiFi-sniffing incident, citing the search engine’s improved privacy practices and assurances that it has no plans to use the data it collected.

Apple’s Mac OS X Lion: An Early Peek – This Lion isn’t fully fleshed out yet, but what we’ve seen looks like a powerful combination of what’s good in the iPad with what’s good in the Mac.

Microsoft contemplating SSL for Bing – HTTP session hijacking as a possibility and tools to execute it have been around for more than half a decade, but it took an easy-to-use Firefox add-on like Firesheep to point out “the elephant in the room” – the lack of full-end encryption on popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Bing, and many others.

REVIEW: Norton Online Backup 2.0 – With this release, Norton has brought its online backup service’s features into the mainstream. Support for multiple PCs (including Macs) in one account, 25GB of storage, and a slick Web-based user interface make this a Norton Online Backup 2.0 a real contender.

Off Topic (Sort of):

How HTML5 Spells “Pleasure” – This site-in-a-single-page lets you browse through and view content collected from various design-focused feeds, organized in a chronological cascade down the screen, all at once or filtered according to type—videos, photos, or tweets.

A peek into Google’s anti-malware operation – Google goes to great lengths to secure its users from threats lurking on the Web, because a half-hearted effort would soon drive them out of business. But, during his presentation at the SecTOR security conference in Toronto, Google security researcher Fabrice Jaubert revealed that sometimes even seemingly good methods are thwarted by careless users.

GMAC Foreclosures Included Treehouses, Forts – Internal memos and other documents covertly obtained by CAP News show that mortgage company GMAC’s questionable foreclosure practices included not only the so-called “robo-signing” of tens of thousands of foreclosures on single family dwellings, but also children’s treehouses, public outhouses and in one case, an 8-year-old German Shepherd’s dog house. (submitted by Dar)

4G: Everything You Need to Know – There’s a lot of talk about 4G wireless right now. Sprint has 4G. Verizon’s getting 4G. And T-Mobile may or may not be running 4G. In this week’s Ask an Analyst, Sascha Segan tries to untangle the 4G mystery.

Today’s Quote:

“Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business.”

-   Tom Robbins

Today’s Free Downloads:

Halloween Screensaver – If you’re just not feeling the Halloween spirit, load up this creepy Halloween Screensaver to get you in the mood right quick. One caveat: The download uses InstallIQ, which makes you click through several screen of junk–but in this case I think it’s worth the hassle.

MaxMem 1.04 – MaxMem from AnalogX is a simple program that maximizes the amount of physical memory available to your system at any given moment. You configure how much memory you want available under certain circumstances, and MaxMem will passively monitor your system’s resources, freeing up memory as needed.

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Firefox Update (3.6.12) Fixes Zero Day Vulnerability

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Yesterday, we reported on a critical zero day vulnerability in both Firefox 3.5, and Firefox 3.6., which could have allowed remote code execution in the Browser.

Mozilla jumped on this issue immediately, and has provided a fix by releasing Firefox version 3.6.12. Firefox 3.5 users, can ensure protection is in place against this vulnerability by updating to version 3.5.15.

If you haven’t updated your version of Firefox yet, then go to Help – Check for updates. Not all users allow automatic updates and installation – I’m one, as the following graphic illustrates. However, I do allow the update to download.

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For an overview of Browser security add-ons you should consider installing, read – An IT Professional’s Must Have Firefox and Chrome Add-ons, here on this site.

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NEW – Panda Cloud Antivirus 1.3 Blocks Malicious And Suspicious Websites

imagePanda Cloud Antivirus 1.3, Panda Security’s newest release (October 27, 2010), of it’s popular cloud-based antimalware application, should be even more effective at keeping the bad guys at bay with it’s newest enhanced feature – blocking suspicious and malicious websites before they can exploit vulnerabilities (available in both the Free and Pro versions).

Equally as important, a drawback to using previous editions of the free version of Cloud Antivirus has been eliminated – the free edition will now automatically update to new releases as they become available.

How good is Panda Cloud Antivirus at shutting down the bad guys? How about 100% of the time. Well, not quite – but having established a detection rate of 99.87% in recent comparative tests carried out by AV-Test.org – places Panda Cloud Antivirus at the head of the class.

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Testing anti-malware applications takes considerable time in order to get to the heart of the matter – does an application work in the “real world?”

Will the application do what an average user expects – does it block malware effectively and efficiently? Particularly new, or emerging, malware threats.

Is the interface crafted in such a way that an average user doesn’t need to digest an instruction manual in order to navigate the application?

Is the application capable of providing adequate protection without stressing system resources?

I’ve been running Panda Cloud Antivirus, on a secondary system, since April 2009, and in this extensive testing, Panda Cloud Antivirus has met, or exceeded, all of these requirements.

Happily, Panda Cloud Antivirus  is not a resource hog – on my secondary system it  consumes only 15 MB of RAM, or so, when idle, and only 60MB, or so, while  scanning.

Backed by a year and a half’s experience running Panda Cloud Antivirus in various editions, I have no hesitation in recommending Panda Cloud Antivirus as a front line antivirus application.

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Panda Cloud Antivirus 1.3 Quick Highlights:

Malicious Web & URL Filtering. This feature blocks websites that push malware, exploits and drive-by downloads. It is available both in Free and in Pro Editions and is installed by the toolbar. Unlike similar solutions, this web filtering works at a low level so it works under all browsers: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc. For those of you that didn’t install the toolbar but would like to install the Web & URL Filtering, you can download it from here and install it manually.

Unified Recycle Bin and Quarantine. Previously the Recycle Bin handled suspicious detections and the Quarantine handled deleted malware detections. This has been unified into a new Recycle Bin for ease of management. This is included in both Free and Pro Editions.

Automatic and transparent upgrades to new product versions, previously only available in the Pro Edition, this is now available in the Free Edition as well. All users of Free Editions versions 1.1.0, 1.1.1 and 1.1.2 will automatically and transparently upgrade to the new 1.3. See notes below for the upgrade schedule.

No more nagging advertising. After listening to many of you we have decided to turn off the nagging advertising popups prompting to upgrade to Pro Edition. If you want to support Panda Cloud Antivirus and wish to get the Pro Edition, you can do so from here, but we won’t bug you anymore from the popups.

Hot updating of behavioural blocking rules. In order to increase protection on the fly against new vulnerabilities and attacks and to fix false positives, hot updating of behavioural blocking rules allows faster response time in both the Free and Pro Editions.

Immediate notifications of virus detections. Previously if Panda Cloud Antivirus encountered multiple viruses, it would delay its traybar notification and show them grouped. This behaviour has been changed so that the notifications are shown immediately.

Suspicious detection counter. Under the statistics window there’s some new counters for the different types of heuristics and behavioural detections.

System requirements: Windows 7 32-bit, Windows 7 64-bit, Windows Vista 32-bit, Windows Vista 64-bit, Windows XP 32-bit,  Windows XP 64-bit.

Panda Cloud Antivirus is available in 20 languages.

Download at: Cloud Antivirus

About Panda Security

Founded in 1990, Panda Security is the world’s leading provider of cloud-based security solutions with products available in more than 23 languages and millions of users located in 195 countries around the world.

Panda Security has 56 offices throughout the globe with US headquarters in Florida and European headquarters in Spain. For more information, visit the Panda site.

Update: A reader has just advised that Panda Security is giving away Pro licenses for free for 48 Hours at CNET! (See below).

CNET Exclusive Discount: FREE Panda Cloud Antivirus Pro Edition

Here’s some great news for anyone in need of antivirus software. TrialPay has teamed up with CNET and Panda Security to give away unlimited free copies of Panda Cloud Antivirus Pro Edition. That’s right, free. And unlimited. It’s complete Panda-monium!

For the next 48 hours only, Panda Cloud Antivirus Pro Edition (reg. $29.95) will be available for FREE exclusively on CNET download.com. Simply follow this link, click on the “SPECIAL OFFER: Get It Free” promotion, then enter your name and e-mail, and you’ll get a one-year license for Panda Pro absolutely free.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Anti-Malware Tools, Cloud Computing Applications, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Free Anti-malware Software, Freeware, Panda Security, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System Security, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 28, 2010

Avoid Poison Web Sites With Free Firefox Add-on Search Engine Security – Firefox add-on Search Engine Security guards against online attacks that start with poisonous results from Bing, Google or Yahoo.

Firefox Add-on Firesheep Brings Hacking to the Masses – A Firefox browser add-on called Firesheep makes hacking Facebook, Twitter, and Windows Live accounts a snap over unencrypted wireless networks. Firesheep was created by Seattle-based software developer Eric Butler who said he created the extension to highlight the security risks associated with session hijacking, also known as sidejacking.

REVIEW: Ubuntu 10.10 (“Maverick Meerkat”) Desktop Edition – If you’re looking to save some cash when the time comes to outfit your workforce with PCs, give the free Ubuntu 10.10 Desktop Edition a try as it features enhanced cloud integration, and new mobile and Window clients that allow file syncing across multiple operating systems.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Bredolab is still in the wild – As many of us already heard the great news about Bredolab Malware that been shut down by Dutch authorities. But MessageLabs Intelligence is still seeing different Bredolab runs (distributing different payloads) from yesterday morning. The first run started at 09:21AM and ended at around 11:50AM. The second run started at 10:30AM and stopped at 10:50AM. The third run started at 2:30PM and stopped at 3:30PM.

Google: Change Your Password Twice a Year to Keep Safe – Change your passwords twice a year and never reuse them. Those are a few of the tips Google lists in an online security checklist that helps people stay one step ahead of the scammers.

Boonana Trojan for Mac OS X spreads via social media – SecureMac has discovered a new Trojan horse in the wild that affects Mac OS X, including Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6). The Trojan horse, Trojan.osx.boonana.a, is spreading through social networking sites, including Facebook, disguised as a video.

BoingBoing hacked and defaced – BoingBoing.net, the popular blog and “directory of wonderful things”, has been hacked and its home page replaced with a message containing vulgar language and pictures. The site was pulled down by the administrators shortly after the attack, which is suspected to have been executed via an SQL injection,

Facebook “Check to see who has deleted you” scam – If you’re tempted to use this application that goes by the name of “Loyalfriend” – don’t! Not only you won’t be able to see who has deleted you from their list of “friends”, but you’ll also be giving the application permission to access your basic information, send you e-mails, post on your wall and change information on your page.

Company News:

Logitech Revue: Lots to Like and Dislike in This Google TV Box – We like the keyboard-equipped remote, the desktop-caliber browser, and the cool videoconferencing–but this pricey set-top box is slow, and its searches can be confusing.

LimeWire Shut Down Permanently – File-sharing program LimeWire has been permanently shut down after a federal judge found it guilty of assisting users in committing copyright infringement “on a massive scale.” The shut-down is the final chapter in a case brought against LimeWire LLC by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) over four years ago.

Hardware encrypted RAID tower – Ciphertex Data Security introduced the CX-RANGER/E, a portable encrypted RAID system with AES 256-bit hardware-based encryption and up to 5 Terabytes of storage capacity.

BitDefender Launches Beta of Facebook Privacy App – You can take proper precautions against bad links, but being too cautious cuts down on the fun of seeing what your friends want to share. And Facebook’s own internal privacy settings just keep changing. With the new SafeGo app, currently in free public beta, BitDefender aims to put the fun back in Facebook.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Don’t Want Google to Invade Your Privacy? Move to Mars – Google CEO’s Eric Schmidt’s off-the-cuff answer that people who don’t want their homes photographed for Google Street View should “just move” raises the question: Move where? Just where on this planet are you safe from Google’s prying eyes?

A new approach for malware distribution – Some malware developers sell their product, other offer its source code for free. So, what’s the catch? What’s in it for them? The analysis of a malware sample Trend Micro researchers received revealed this rare criminal modus operandi. Having discovered the malware author’s online nickname, they managed to discover the link to the website where he advertises it and offers a free download of its source code:

Concerned About Firesheep? Here are Some Secure Wi-Fi Alternatives – Firesheep highlights the danger of public Wi-Fi networks, but there are other on-the-go options to consider.

Are you “too sensitive” for your career? – In business, being regarded as “too sensitive” may not be to your benefit. However, if you are truly a highly sensitive person, knowing you’re too sensitive can help.

Today’s Quote:

“Always be a little kinder than necessary.”

-    James M. Barrie

Today’s Free Downloads:

DeskNotes - DeskNotes is the high-tech version of everyone’s favorite low-tech reminder system: yellow “sticky notes.” It lets you create notes and move them around, but it also goes beyond what you would expect, with the ability to send notes via e-mail, and synchronize with Outlook.

Simple Sticky Notes – Simple Sticky Notes lets you create sticky notes on your PC. They’re just like the Post-it notes that litter people’s offices–but more private and not so unsightly. Easy as it is to use, Simple Sticky Notes has plenty of options

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