Monthly Archives: April 2011

Emsisoft Mamutu – Free (Save $30) Until Sunday, May 1, 11:59 PM PDT

Regular reader, and my good Aussie friend, John W., has just given me a heads up on a pretty cool offering from Emsisoft. Emsisoft is noted for developing some of the better antimalware applications, so you might want to consider giving  Mamutu a try.

This application appears, in many respects, to run along the same lines of ThreatFire – an antimalware application I recommend as a formative part of a layered security approach. See – ThreatFire Version 4.7.0 – Free Protection Against Zero Day Malware, on this site.

From the developer:

Today, we bring you this special offer on Emsisoft Mamutu. From now until Sunday, we are giving away a free copy of Mamutu. Not only does it monitor all active programs for dangerous behavior, but it also blocks malicious activities in real time.

Its Behavior Blocking and Zero-Day-Attacks technology recognizes new and unknown Trojans, backdoors, keyloggers, worms, viruses, spyware, adware, and rootkits without the need of daily signature updates, protecting you long before the signature databases have been updated.

So, where does this funny-sounding name come from? The word Mamutu is composed of two words: “Malware” and “Mutu,” which comes from the Maori language. It means “stop,” so we were told that the developers of Mamutu wanted to describe exactly what the program does: terminate all types of Malware.

In summary, here is a quick rundown of Emsisoft Mamutu’s features:

  • It monitors all active programs for dangerous behavior real-time
  • Recognizes new and unknown Trojans, worms, and viruses
  • Protects your PC without weighing down its resources, so it does not slow you down

This free offer is good until Sunday, May 1, 11:59 p.m. PDT, so grab your free copy while you can and give it a try.

Note: registration required.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

2 Comments

Filed under Anti-Keyloggers, Anti-Malware Tools, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Giveaways, Malware Protection, rootkits, System Security, Windows Tips and Tools

xplorer2 lite Freeware – A Better Windows Explorer

imageYou might think that your stuck with the Windows Explorer version that your particular version of Windows supports – but, your not. While the Windows 7 version of Explorer is an improvement over previous versions, it still falls short in several areas for those of us who manage files on a daily basis.

A freeware Windows Explorer replacement* xplorer2 lite, offers a number of additional functions including dual panes, and folder tabs, which should make your file management tasks more efficient.

* during installation you may choose to replace Windows Explorer, or you may (as I have done), install xplorer2 lite side-by-side with Windows Explorer.

Typical Windows Explorer display – in this case Windows 7. (Click on graphic to expand).

image

xplorer2 lite display in dual pane mode – showing local disk C: and data partition D: (Click on graphic to expand).

image

xplorer2 lite display in thumbnail mode.

image

A considerable list of additional display options are available through column optimization.

image

A very cool tip of the day function helps users learn to take advantage of the great features in xplorer2 lite. Examples are shown below.

image

image

image

Fast facts:

Dual panes and folder tabs

Browse everywhere (all shell namespace)

Preview documents, pictures, music, video

Side by side views for easy file management

Filter and select with wildcards

Synchronize folders

System requirements: Windows All (32 & 64 bit) 9x/NT/2000/XP/Vista/7

Languages supported: English, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, and more.

Download at: Developer’s site

xplorer2 lite edition portable version available at: SmithTechSoftware

A caveat – during installation you will be offered a Toolbar. As always, you should reject the offer.

My thanks to Michael F. for reacquainting me with this neat freeware application. I actually run xplorer2 on a Win XP Pro system, but since I don’t do much file management on that system, it had slipped to the back of the pack, so to speak, until Michael’s timely reminder.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

2 Comments

Filed under 64 Bit Software, Computer Tools, downloads, flash drive, Freeware, Portable Applications, Software, System Utilities, USB, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 30, 2011

PSN hackers claim to have 2+ million credit card numbers – The PlayStation Network hack is now considered to be one among the biggest data thefts of all time, and according to the claims made by the alleged hackers on underground Internet forums, it seems that some 2.2 million credit card numbers were, indeed, stolen.

13 Awesome Ways to Use the Windows Key - That little key with the Microsoft Windows logo on it is not just–ahem–Window-dressing. Here are 13 tips for making the most of it.

Adobe and Skype top my Foistware Hall of Shame – I am sick and tired of software companies that try to make a quick buck by tricking their customers into installing programs they don’t need. It’s time to name and shame the worst purveyors of foistware out there.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Using Protection on Facebook - This free browser add-on disables scam and virus links on any Facebook page you view. Other than the warnings it inserts when a threat is found, it’s almost totally invisible. It doesn’t seem to catch the newest threats, but as more users install this free product it should become more effective.

Four Stars for Ubuntu 11.04, aka, Natty Narwhal – With its astounding array of distributions, considerable complexity, and traditional user-unfriendliness compared to what you often see with Mac- or PC-based operating systems, Linux has always been controversial. But Ubuntu 11.04 (“Natty Narwhal”), the latest version of one of the most popular free mainstream distros (available through a 700MB download at Ubuntu.com), is likely to be one of the most polarizing releases yet.

Report: U.S. Is Hyping Threat Of Cyber War – A new report suggests that lawmakers, policy wonks and corporations are sensationalizing the risk of cyber attacks far beyond the actual threat. The inflation of cyber security threat, like the inflation of the threat of Communism during the Cold War, or terrorist acts in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, could lead to laws that curtail individual freedoms and regulate the Internet in unnecessary ways, the report concludes.

Pop Quiz: Windows chkdsk command – Do you know which chkdsk stage verifies indexes or which switch fixes errors? Test your knowledge of the Windows chkdsk command.

Company News:

First Look: Apple’s White iPhone Hits the Street – Following months of delays–and rampant speculation as to the causes of those delays–Apple officially released the white iPhone 4 April 28. Available on both Verizon and AT&T in the United States, the smartphone boasts the same specs as the black iPhone 4 that made its initial debut in 2010. The iPhone 4’s body incorporates two panes of chemically strengthened alumino-silicate glass, bound by a stainless-steel antenna rim. We bring you a first look.

Amazon: Faulty Upgrade Caused EC2 Outtage - Amazon’s multi day outtage on its Elastic Computer Cloud (EC2) started with a faulty upgrade to one of its East Coast facility just after midnight on April 21, the company admitted in a blog post on Thursday.

Motorola Atrix photos: The docking smartphone – The Motorola Atrix is one of the most innovative smartphones of 2011. It broke new ground with a dual core processor and 1.0GB of RAM, but it’s best known feature is its ability to dock and turn into a desktop or laptop PC. Here is the unboxing of the Atrix as well as full photos of its docking accessories.

Is AMD about to take up ARM? – Several recent stories have jump-started rumors that AMD may adopt ARM. This might be the fastest and least-costly way to develop a chip for tablets.

Off Topic (Sort of):

South Park Pillories Apple In Typically Raunchy Style – Steve Jobs turns up as a monstrous tyrant as Trey Parker and Matt Stone take Apple’s recent privacy woes to a grotesque conclusion.

Boost Your Brain’s Power With a 9-Volt Battery and Some Wet Sponges – It seems, with the help of a 9-volt battery, wire, crocodile clips, and wet sponges, you can increase your brain’s performance and, more importantly, return your brain to its younger, more malleable and learning-receptive state.

WISE peers deep into space (photos) – The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer mission, which kicked off in 2009, has sent back some impressive photos of faraway places.

Reactors, residents and risk - A world population analysis reveals the locations that could put the most people in danger should a nuclear accident occur. (submitted by Dar)

Today’s Quote:

There is a strange kind of tragic enigma associated with the problem of racism. No one, or almost no one, wishes to see themselves as racist; still racism persists, real and tenacious.”

-    Albert Memmi

Today’s Free Downloads:

Dropbox 1.2.0 – Dropbox is a useful tool that will enable you to instantly store your files online and share them. It can also synchronize the files from your offline directories and online storage.

RoboForm2Go – RoboForm2Go is a portable version of RoboForm – a secure password manager and form filler. Plug your USB key with RoboForm2Go on it into any computer, anywhere in the world.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

6 Comments

Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Kate Middleton Nude – As If!

imageI’m an easy mark when it comes to pomp and circumstance, so like millions worldwide, I just finished watching the Royal Wedding. An impressive occasion, to say the least. Now, I need to relax and get over my Royal Wedding media hangover.

The media frenzy surrounding the wedding is likely to remain at a fever pitch far into the future however, as will the level of cyber criminal activity hooked on to Prince William and Kate Middleton. Hardly surprising, when one considers the size of the “market”. Scoping out  “the royal wedding” on Google returns an amazing 53 Million search results – and cyber crooks love a big market.

Cyber crooks don’t miss a trick when it comes to leveraging events surrounding popular personalities, and along with the usual schemes – inbox spam, phony search results, Twitter and Facebook misdirection …….., – Kate Middleton comment spam, as illustrated by the following examples posted here in the last few days, has not been neglected by these parasites.

The first:

kate middleton naked
easy-share.com/1914927081/Kate_Middleton_-_Nude_P…
Givliani@gmail.com
184.82.196.132 – Submitted on 2011/04/27 at 12:19 am

Clicking on the link leads to a 90 MB compressed download hosted at Easy Share. I have no doubt that downloading this file would lead to a very painful experience.

image

The second:

This is actually my personal complete nude and semi-nude picture collection of Kate Middleton I collected over the last 10 weeks. http://www.megaupload.com/?d=8KKIJIWT Caution: Don’t leak this pack outside of this website or I will eliminate this comment and also chase you down to hell!

Clicking on this link leads to a similar 90 MB compressed download.

The third:

image

prince william wedding
netload.in/dateimQ5jcAXATn/Kate_Middleton_-_Nude_…
Kingwood@yahoo.com
69.162.162.130 – Submitted on 2011/04/27 at 12:19 am

Download and view this entire pic series of Kate Middleton along with pretty much all the unclothed as well as naughty images one can locate on the world wide web. http://www.fileserve.com/file/xnj2k2Q Caution: Don’t leak this pack outside of this site or I will delete this post and hunt you down to hell!

A similar set up – clicking on the link leads to a 90 MB compressed download.

image

If you’ve ever wondered why comments on this site, and many other sites for that matter, are held for moderation by a site administrator, the simple answer is – comment spam, as illustrated, can be extremely dangerous.

The amount of time required to effectively control comment spam is not insignificant. For example, since I first setup this site, I’ve dealt with over 55,000 spam comments.

image

Conservatively, it takes 10 seconds to check each spam comment (spam filters are not perfect) – that amounts to 152 hours, or 4 plus weeks, of wasted time. Needless to say – I consider comment spammers to be far down on the human evolutionary scale.

Same old – same old:

Be cautious when following links contained in comments on any web site.

Be particularly cautious of comments, on any web site, where the writer is describing a problem with recommended software and offers a link to alternative software.  This is a favorite technique employed by cyber-criminals.

Be cautious when following any link contained in any web site, since the latest reports indicate there are 5.8 million individual web pages infected across 640,000 compromised websites. Cyber-criminals are finding it easier than ever to inject malicious content into legitimate sites.

Be cautious following links on web forums. Forums can often be a source of dangerous links.

Since the majority of infected sites are infected with Java based scripts, consider using Firefox with the NoScript add-on active. NoScript offers superior protection.

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.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

6 Comments

Filed under Cyber Criminals, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Freeware, internet scams, Internet Security Alerts, Malware Alert, Online Safety, Software, spam, Windows Tips and Tools

Fix Up To 50 Windows 7, And Vista Problems, With Free FixWin

image You just have to love Windows as an operating system – it makes it so easy to DO so many things. Often however, Windows does not make it easy to UNDO, or “fix” things. It’s not uncommon that attempting to undo things, does nothing more than create additional problems.

If you are familiar with working with Registry entries, you can fix virtually anything, but…..

So, if you’ve been looking for an easy way to fix issues such as, Win Explorer not starting at boot up, CD drive or DVD drive is missing or not being recognized by Windows, or other programs, or the Device Manager is not functioning correctly (not as uncommon as you might think), then the recently released FixWin freeware application, could be the perfect solution.

It’s important to note however, FixWin does NOT scan for problems. YOU, have to recognize that you have the problem – the application will then correct the problem, provided of course it is one of the 50 very common problems the application is designed to deal with.

The FixWin interface consists of 5 easy to work with tabs:

Windows Explorer

clip_image001

Internet & Connectivity

clip_image002

Windows Media

clip_image003

System Tools

clip_image004

Misc. Additional Fixes

clip_image005

How to use this application (from the developers):

We first suggest that you run the System File Checker Utility. The button provided on the Welcome page, will ‘run sfc /scannow‘ and will check for and replace any corrupted Windows system files. It is expected to take anywhere from 5-10 minutes. If asked to, do reboot.

Next we insist that you create a System Restore Point. The provided button will create one, called Safe Point. We always recommend that you create one before making any changes to your system. Should you wish or need too, you can always go back to this Safe Point.

Having done that, apply at most one fix at a time and restart your computer. Please check if things are to your satisfaction; and if not, you have the option of restoring back immediately.

Since this application does not require installation, it’s a perfect portable application to carry on your “tech tools” flash drive, for the times you get those inevitable calls from family, or friends – “Uh, I don’t know what I did, but….”

System requirements: Windows 7, Vista, (32-bit and 64-bit)

Download at: The Windows Club

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

1 Comment

Filed under 64 Bit Software, Computer Maintenance, Computer Tools, downloads, Freeware, Portable Applications, Software, USB, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Vista

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 29, 2011

PCMag.com’s Guide to Security Software – These days a Web-connected computer simply can’t be without security software. Many different types of security protection are available. Here are the best of each.

Why You Should Quit Caring About Browser Benchmarks - Choosing a Web browser in 2011 should be all about the experience. While performance differences are fairly minima, certain browsers still do certain things better than others. Die-hard Windows 7 fans, for example, may want to take a close look at Internet Explorer 9 and its slick taskbar integration features. If you frequently jump between desktop and mobile browsers, Firefox and Opera (and their mobile companions) are worth trying out.

Ubuntu 11.04 Linux Debuts – Ubuntu 11.04, codenamed the Natty Narwhal was officially released today. The new Linux release includes the Unity desktop which delivers a different way for users to access their applications and content. The shift to Unity is a big one and it’s one of the key attributes of the release that Canonical, the lead sponsor behind Ubuntu, is hoping to leverage in their battle for mind and market share with Microsoft Windows.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

50 iPad Apps deliver Your Free News Fix – Stay informed with all the news that fit to print, um, post. And since you work hard and deserve a little fun, our list of includes a few iPad apps that will entertain you, too.

Alternative Antivirus Vendors Worth a Look – Sure, big security vendors like Symantec and McAfee may have name recognition and huge channel programs to back their product. But as with any large vendor those benefits come with baggage–bureaucracy, a lack of differentiation from hundreds of other channel partners and sometimes lower margins. If you’re looking for alternatives to the big guys, here are some places to start.

DSL Reports intrusion compromises over 9000 accounts – DSL Reports – the information and review site on high speed Internet services which operates over 200 forums – has been hit with a blind SQL injection attack, which resulted in the compromise of at least 9000 accounts.

Zombies are Up 70%, says Commtouch – In the last month, email-borne malware attachments have grown significantly, with a corresponding increase of 70% in the number of zombies. Initially the attachments were “UPS package notifications.” Then the subjects changed focus to “DHL package notifications.” The zip attachment however, remained “UPS.exe,” leading us to conclude that DHL was transporting UPS malware.

SYMANTEC: Targeted Attacks Rise as Financial Year Closes - According to the April 2011 MessageLabs Intelligence Report which was released today, targeted attacks rose to 85 per day in March 2011 – the highest figure since March 2009, when targeted attacks were 107 per day leading up to the 2009 G20 Summit in London. Also known as Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs), targeted attacks are frequently delivered by email and designed to breach a specific target for the purpose of industrial espionage. In addition, the number of phishing attacks that were tax-related increased to 48 percent as cybercriminals exploit tax season with scams purporting to be from the US and UK tax offices.

Securing the cloud and securing data in the cloud are not the same – This article will take a look at five of the most impactful vulnerabilities of storing data in the cloud, and offer details on why the most important thing for CSOs and security decision makers to consider is how they will effectively secure the data itself.

Company News:

Check Point Takes Aim at Facebook Security – New ZoneAlarm SocialGuard application debuts in an effort to help protect against social networking threats.

Apple Denies Tracking Users – Plans ‘Bug Fix’ – After a week of brouhaha regarding mobile devices — particularly those running Apple iOS — collecting massive amounts of data about users’ locations from their phones, Apple announced it is working on a fix that will greatly shrink the information it collects and stores.

RIM cuts outlook as BlackBerry shipments light; PlayBook in line – Research in Motion cut its outlook for its fiscal first quarter because its BlackBerry shipments are looking light.

Sony Sued Over PlayStation Network Breach – The Sony PlayStation Network outage has prompted questions about data security and a congressional inquiry, and now you can add class-action lawsuit to the list.

Off Topic (Sort of):

How the PlayStation Network was Hacked – After 7 days of speculation-ridden downtime, Sony has finally announced that the PlayStation Network (PSN) outage was due to a massive hack that exposed the names, birthdays, email addresses, passwords, security questions, and maybe credit card details, of all PSN users.

NASA’s wondrous views of Earth – In celebration of Earth Day, NASA released dozens of its best images of the planet. This gallery features some of the most beautiful.

The Science Punk Blog – City of glass houses: how a lack of online privacy shapes “acceptable behaviour”. (submitted by Michael F.)

Neowin’s Facebook Page Downed by Bogus Complaints – Again – Tech news site Neowin.net is the target of a bogus complaint resulting in Facebook fanpage removal for the second time without warning or recourse.

Today’s Quote:

Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule – and both commonly succeed, and are right.”

-   H. L. Mencken

Today’s Free Downloads:

360Amigo System Speedup Free – Think your PC is slow? 360Amigo System Speedup can quickly identify and fix a wide range of errors and speeds up your slow PC. Both beginners and experienced users will enjoy the available features and options.

Ditto 3.17 - Ditto is an extension to the standard windows clipboard. It saves each item placed on the clipboard allowing you access to any of those items at a later time.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

Comments Off

Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

The Importance of Real-Time Server Monitoring

There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to access information online and being met with that annoying little Error 404 page. Think back to the times you’ve experienced this frustration, and now imagine your customers or consumers having to experience it because of your website. This, in itself, is reason enough to invest in real time server monitoring, something any good IT support company should offer.

What Is It?

Real time server monitoring is software that allows you or your IT department to monitor in real time any glitches or problems that may arise with your server. As soon as something goes wrong or a site begins experiencing problems, you can address the problem then and there.

Benefits:

Feedback

Especially if your site is in its infancy or beta testing stage, feedback on the way your site runs is crucial to making those tweaks and changes that turn a good website into a great website. Real time server monitoring is a means by which you can receive and analyze this feedback before it has a chance to harm your business.

Sales

If you are operating an e-commerce website, where you offer people the option of buying your products online, it is of the utmost important that your server is running and healthy at all times, and that any downtime it may experience is rectified immediately as it happens. Imagine your store is not online, but is in a shopping mall, and you left it unattended and shut up for half a day. Do you think customers would hang around until you finally returned to open the store, or do you think they’d go and find their products elsewhere? I know which one I’d choose!

Mail

Another reason that real time monitoring is so important is that you need immediate and full access to any correspondence you may receive or need to send. In a professional environment, emails are the number one form of communication, and what’s more, with the advent of Smartphones and wireless technology, we expect our emails to be answered in as short a time as possible. If your server has problems that prevent emails from being properly delivered, you are virtually missing out on business meetings and opportunities, which in this fast paced world, will not wait around for you.

What To Look For

If you’re choosing a real time monitoring service or software you should look for a program that is able to check your site using HTTP, HTTPS, FSTP, FTP and FTPS protocols. It’s also highly advisable to go for a program that offers data recording and statistics, so that you can analyze the efficiency of the server and how often it is down—this can be helpful in deciding whether or not you’re with the right hosting service. Your IT support service will be able to advise you as to which programs are better suited to your needs, and in consultation with them you can find a solution that protects your business and website.

Guest article from Sachin.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

4 Comments

Filed under Cloud Computing, Integrated Solutions, Network Tools, Networking