Monthly Archives: March 2009

Tech Thoughts Daily Security Alerts – March 28, 2009

Danger worm

Don’t get taken in by the Conficker panic – Lately it seems everybody is talking about Conficker and its variants. And much more so if we have to take into account the build up fear around April 1st.

The Nabload.DLU Trojan hides behind a funny video to steal bank details – PandaLabs, Panda Security’s malware detection and analysis laboratory, has reported the appearance of Nabload.DLU, a Trojan that passes itself off as a funny video to trick users while it downloads another malicious code to steal passwords of online banking services.

Hackers have already attacked the electric grid – The CIA claims that a year ago hackers invaded the networks of power utilities outside the U.S., causing power outages in several cities, and issuing extortion demands.

10 Best FireFox Addons for Security and Privacy – Security and privacy are some of the major concerns these days while choosing a web browser to use. So much so that all the major players in the “browser wars” are providing or developing a private browsing mode.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Security Alerts – March 27, 2009

Danger worm

Beware Conficker worm come April 1 – In an event that hits the computer world only once every few years, security experts are racing against time to mitigate the impact of a bit of malware which is set to wreak havoc on a hard-coded date. As is often the case, that date is April 1. Not sure if this is real or a scam but………

Hackers exploit Conficker interest – Cybercriminals eager to exploit interest in the Conficker worm are employing search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques.

Melissa’s 10th birthday marked – It’s 10 years since the Melissa virus made its first appearance on the web.

FaceBook retools password resets – FaceBook has changed the way its password reset tool works so that it does not easily verify e-mail addresses to potential spammers.

Privacy group targets Google Street View U.K. – Watchdog group Privacy International has filed a formal complaint with the U.K. government over the recent introduction of Google’s Street View in Britain.

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Tweak Windows to the Max with Fresh UI Free!

Fresh UI 1 Has Fresh UI (User Interface), been around forever, or does it just seem that way? One of the oldest and most well established free Windows tweaking applications, Freshdevices’ Fresh UI is a powerful tool that allows you to configure and optimize your version of Windows.

This small (1.48 MB) program has a clean, easy to understand interface that gives you access to hundreds of system settings, some of which are hidden, and others that are just hard to find. The interface is organized by section for easy navigation, and it is complete with detailed descriptions for easy reference.

I have heard from some users that in their view, it was not always clear what outcome they could expect with some of the selections. On the other hand, most users seem to agree that the help file is fairly extensive, and easy to understand for those who have a reasonable knowledge of their operating system.

The major benefit in using this type of tweaking application is the ease with which you can make changes to your system, without the drudgery of having to go through menu after menu, or manually editing the Registry to get the results you want.

However, as with any application that makes changes to your system, use caution and be sure to have a verified backup.

FreshUI 2

Quick facts:

Customizing Windows User Interface (UI)

Optimizing system settings

Optimizing hardware settings

Customizing Windows application settings

Control user environment

System requirements: Windows Vista/XP/2000/NT/ 98/95/ – runs great on Windows 7!

Note: Free registration required, which will lead to one or two emails monthly.

Download at: Download.com

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Filed under Computer Maintenance, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Slow Computer, Software, System Tweaks, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools

Tech Thoughts Daily Security Alerts – March 26, 2009

Researchers demo BIOS attack that survives hard-disk wipe – A pair of Argentinean researchers have found a way to perform a BIOS level malware attack capable of surviving even a hard-disk wipe.

Stealthy router-based botnet worm squirming – Researchers at DroneBL have spotted signs of a stealthy router-based botnet worm targeting routers and DSL modems.

Is the geek love affair with Firefox waning? – I remember a time not that long ago when most geeks agreed that Firefox was the best browser.

Mac malware warning: new threat – Mac owners have been urged to be wary of a new threat that targets the Apple computer as well as Windows-based PCs.

Scareware Morphs Into Ransomware – Vundo malware now encrypts users’ files and then charges a fee to decrypt them.

Exploit code sends Mozilla scrambling to fix FireFox – Mozilla’s security response team is scrambling to ready a patch for what appears to be a serious security flaw affecting its flagship FireFox browser.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Security Alerts – March 25, 2009

Conficker to activate on 1 April – The Conficker worm is planning to play its own April Fool’s joke on 1 April, though millions of surfers are unlikely to find it very funny.

Foxit Reader security warning – Anyone using the Foxit Reader to open PDF files has been urged to make sure they have the latest version of the software.

Small Business: The New Black In Cybercrime Targets – Enticed by poor defenses of mom-and-pop shops, hackers turn away from hardened defenses of banks and large enterprises.

Router-Based Botnet On The Loose – Researchers discover spreading of new botnet malware that targets DSL home routers and modems.

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Quake 4 – Game Review

Quake 4 is the next game in the long series of Quake games dating back about 10 years. Quake 4, developed by Activision, is a fast paced, FPS (First Person Shooter) game.

Quake 4 Game Play

The game play is very similar to Quake 2. This is good – Quake 2 was a great game; a lot of fun and exciting. However, it is so similar that it takes away some of the excitement of playing a new game.

The game play is comparable to Quake 2, and the weapons and enemies are very like those in the older Quake games as well. The story line picks up right were Quake 2 left off, and is good enough to keep you interested.

The missions are varied and keep the game exciting. The pace of this game is very fast, which is what the Quake series is known for. There is a lot of action, and the enemies come at you fast. You have to be very quick to get past certain parts of this game!

Even though the action of this game is a lot of fun, Quake 4 doesn’t leave much room for level exploration, or problem solving. It pretty much seems that if you can kill the enemies, you can get past the levels.

Quake 4 Graphics

The graphics and effects of Quake 4 are good, but nothing that is really impressive. Quake 4 uses the Doom 3 engine to run its graphics. There are some minor improvements which were made when Activision applied this engine to Quake 4.

Quake 4 definitely shows improvement over past games when it comes to graphics, however, it cannot match some of the games that came out at the same time like Half-Life 2.

quake4

Activision did nothing innovative with this game. It seems as if they made quite a few minor, to medium improvements, but nothing that makes you say – Wow!! Overall, I give this game a 7/10. This is a good and fun game, but it is definitely not the top game in its genre.

Download the demo at GameDaily.com.

Guest Writer: This is a guest post by Dominic Acito, who brings a background as a high level super user and gamer, to the Blogging world.

Why not pay a visit to Dominic’s site at Computer Too Slow.

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Filed under Games, Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, Living Life, Personal Perspective, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

Thanks a Million – Tech Thoughts Hits One Million Page Views

One Million People In the last few days, Tech Thoughts reached its 1 Millionth hit, in just 15 months.

Thanks, to all of you, who have helped make this site the success it has become. If you’re a regular reader of this Blog, a BIG thank you.

If you’re not, and you’re just passing by, a “thank you” to you as well; please consider Book Marking this site, since in the coming months, some exciting changes will be occurring.

In the last few months, a new feature has been added to the site – Guest Writers (The Reading Room), which has proven to be very popular. Thank you, to all the writers who have contributed to this popular feature.

Blogging is tough – to consistently write useful content is one of the most difficult jobs I have every taken on, and there are now more than 500 technical articles on this site. The great thing is, you do read and use the information I generate; the comments tell me that – keep them coming.

An important aspect of Blogging, for me, one I hadn’t considered at the start, is the friendships I have made through Tech Thoughts. This has been the ultimate reward; meeting and corresponding with people who are knowledgeable, savvy and concerned with the “greater good”. This has been an eye opening experience.

A special “thank you” to TechPaul, who has been my sounding board and a great coach and a friend, who knows how to motivate me when the terrible “writer’s block” creeps in.

For those of you who think you knew me in Utah, Cincinnati, Las Vegas, London, England; Dublin, Ireland; or 100 other places, thanks for inquiring – but I’m a Canadian through and through.

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