Monthly Archives: April 2009

Panda Cloud Antivirus – Free Cloud Protection

As Glenn Taggart, in a guest writer article on this site, wrote recently – “Cloud computing is not a new concept. If you really want to get down to it, the internet IS the cloud”. He is right of course.

Nevertheless, the sorry state of security on the Internet with its exponentially growing threats has dissuaded me, at least to this point, from actively participating in the Cloud, in any form.

Good news for late adapters (like me), of the Cloud concept though. Overnight, Panda Security briefed me on their new free Cloud application, so I might have to overcome my reluctance to jump on board the Cloud express.


Let me just quote briefly from Panda’s email:

“With Panda Cloud Antivirus, Panda Security is introducing a new protection model that utilizes a thin-client agent and server architecture which processes and blocks malware more efficiently than locally installed signature-based products. By moving the entire malware scanning and determination process to the cloud and applying non-intrusive interception techniques on the client architecture, Panda Cloud Antivirus is able to provide advanced protection against new and unknown viruses with a lightweight thin-client agent that barely consumes any PC resources”.

As Panda Security CEO Juan Santana says “”The threat climate demands a new protection model”. I can certainly second that, and it comes not a moment too soon, in my view.


Quick highlights:

FREE, antivirus thin-client service for consumers which is able to process and block malware more efficiently than locally installed signature-based products.

The immediate benefits to users thanks to Panda’s new protection model are: 100x faster protection against new malware and 50 percent less impact on PC performance, compared to the industry average.

Utilizing its proprietary in-the-cloud scanning technology called Collective Intelligence, to automatically identify and classify new malware strains in near real-time (less than six minutes.

This same process takes up to 48 days with traditional AV products, according to a recent study from the University of Michigan.


If you download and install this product, I’d be very interested in your personal observations as to its speed, functionality and ease of use, and so on.

It’s too early yet for me to provide a personal assessment of this product; that will come later. I like to run test applications for a minimum of 30 days to properly assess an applications relative strength, and weaknesses.

One disappointment though: I run Windows 7 Beta on all my machines, including my test beds, and Panda Cloud Antivirus does not yet run on Win 7.

Download at: Cloud Antivirus

Update – May 1: Good news from Rick Robinette over at What’s On My PC. Rick has already completed a substantial test run on Cloud Antvirus, so be sure to read his report – Panda Cloud Antivirus – Is It Netbook ready?


Filed under Adaptive Technologies, Antivirus Applications, Cloud Computing Applications, Don't Get Hacked, Free Security Programs, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Safe Surfing, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System Security, Windows Tips and Tools

Tech Thoughts Daily Security Alerts – April 30, 2009

Daily alert

Twitter: 60 per cent quit after a month – Although it has been hyped by celebrity endorsements and has posted huge growth, not everyone is sticking with Twitter.

Why do people write viruses? – The writers of viruses and other mobile malicious code are many and varied, and their reasons are as wide-ranging as they are, themselves.

Phishing: Is that Web site real or not? – Phishers still use fake Web sites, but have developed a better mouse trap by altering official Web sites.

Adobe Moves to Fix Reported Vulnerabilities in Acrobat and Reader – A quick response to public posting of a vulnerability shows a better attitude at Adobe. Even so, there are two dangerous unpatched vulnerabilities to worry about.

Microsoft Changes Windows 7 Feature to Fight Malware – Microsoft announces it is altering the AutoPlay feature in Windows 7 to prevent it from enabling the AutoRun task for USB devices.

Google Joins Mozilla, Blames IE for Chrome Bug – Google has fixed a bug in its Chrome browser which could allow cross-site scripting and other dangerous policy violations under interesting circumstances.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Security Alerts – April 29, 2009

Daily alert 2

Zero-Day Flaw Hits All Versions of Adobe PDF Reader – A serious security vulnerability has been found in all versions of Adobe’s ubiquitous PDF reading software, that could allow hackers to run unauthorized code to execute on your computer.

Windows AutoRun gets a makeover to combat malware – In direct response to Conficker and an increased wave of malware attacks targeting the dangerous Windows AutoRun mechanism, Microsoft today announced significant changes to the way the operating system operates when USB drives are used.

Newest WLAN Hacks Come From Afar – Expert warns of deadly combination of long-distance remote and wireless hacking to get inside an organization.

McAfee Introduces Online Center To Assist Victims Of Cybercrime – Cybercrime Response Unit lets consumers know if they’ve been victims of cybercrime, tells them what they can do next, and helps them take the case to legal authorities.

Swine Flu Spam – The recent Swine Flu outbreaks around the world have received a large amount of media attention so it isn’t surprising that the Rustock botnet has begun sending spam with references to Swine Flu in the subject.

Internet privacy – Individual privacy is at risk from the constant creep of data collection.


Filed under Internet Security Alerts

FireFox 3.0.10 Released – Fixes Crash Issues

firefox Since updating to FireFox 3.0.9 last week, I have experienced very uneven performance while surfing the Net. I have to admit, this uneven performance drove me slightly crazy. Unexplained crashes, slow site connections, and timed out errors do that to me.

Despite hours investigating, I was unable to resolve these issues. Worse, I spend hours looking at my overall configuration including a heavy duty malware investigation of my system – all to no avail. Since I use the HTML Validator add-on, I was particularly affected.

My good buddy and fellow Blogger TechPaul keyed in on the cause of my problem by establishing that the root cause was one of my add-ons. But with 20+ add-ons, I must admit I had neither the time, nor the inclination to track it down and instead reverted back to running IE 8 –ugh!

Now comes word that Mozilla has just released FireFox 3.0.10, which addresses these very issues. Uh, a dollar short and a day late Mozilla!

This new release addresses a major stability issue and one more security fix.

Issues fixed in FireFox 3.0.10

Crash in nsTextFrame::ClearTextRun

Crashes with HTML Validator when viewing source nsTextFrame

If you are running FireFox 3.0.9 I strongly recommend that you update to release 3.0.10.

Download at: Mozilla


Filed under Browsers, Firefox, Firefox Add-ons, Internet Safety, Windows Tips and Tools

Tech Thoughts Daily Security Alerts – April 28, 2009

Daily alert

Conficker Still Kicking as a Real Threat – It’s the worm that keeps on giving – and that’s a bad thing.

Spammers jump on swine flu – Flu Trends Swine flu has been a massively popular story on the web in recent days – a fact that has not been missed by spammers.

Firefox 3.5 beta 4 launched – Firefox 3.5 beta 4 launched Mozilla has launched Firefox 3.5 beta 4, taking a further step towards releasing the full product.

U. S. Congress Comes to ‘Help’ Run the Internet – Government regulation at its best is coming to the Internet. OMG!

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Congrats to TechPaul and Tech-for Everyone

thumbs-up My good friend, and fellow technology Blogger, TechPaul who writes the popular Tech-for Everyone Blog, has just turned the clock on half a million site visits. This is an enviable achievement – one that requires consistent daily effort to accomplish.

Blogging is tough. To consistently write useful content, for the reader, is one of the most difficult jobs going, and TechPaul now has more than 500 technical articles on his site. A terrific accomplishment – must be that California air!

Not only is Paul a great writer who is knowledgeable in the whole arena of technology; for me, he has been my sounding board, a great coach, and a special friend.

Congratulations Paul, I look forward with anticipation to many more of your insightful and timely articles.

Pay a visit to Tech-for Everyone , and you are sure to become a regular visitor.


Filed under Interconnectivity, Living Life, Personal Perspective, Recommended Web Sites

Tech Thoughts Daily Security Alerts – April 27, 2009

NKill aims to catalog vulnerabilities of every computer – A security consultant is developing a search engine called NKill that aims to track the security vulnerabilities on every computer connected to the Internet. NKill, which currently covers all .com, .org and .net domain names, will be made available to the public within one month or so.

SANS: Newest WLAN Hacks Come From Afar – Expert warns of deadly combination of long-distance remote and wireless hacking to get inside an organization.

Russian Malware Blocks Windows Use, Demands SMS Ransom – Would you pay money to recover your data if a hacker stole it?

Many Users Say They’d Sell Company Data For The Right Price – In subway survey, 37 percent of workers say they could be bought.

Microsoft Details Windows 7 Security – Features in upcoming OS reflect Microsoft’s strategy of end-to-end trust.

U.S. Lawmakers Target Deep Packet Inspection In Privacy Bill – New privacy legislation in the works would limit how ISPs track users.

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PhotoWipe – Paint Out Unwanted Details From Your Pics

As an amateur photographer I know how hard it is to get that perfect picture. Countless times, over the years, I’ve ended up with the perfect shot only to have it spoiled by one small detail that if removed, would enhance the photo a great deal.

I’ve not had to remove Uncle Bob (who’s now out of favor with the family), or my ex-girlfriend from any photos, but that may well be because I’ve not had the time, the patience, or the appropriate software that made it easy to do the job.

PhotoShop of course, is a terrific software product for all sorts of photo manipulation, including removing unwanted objects from photos. The downside with PhotoShop is, the learning curve is particularly steep. As well, PhotoShop is definitely at the upper end of the price range for software, and probably out of reach of the average user.

Recently I came across a great little (1.5MB), free Windows application that may just change my mind on getting rid of Uncle Bob. PhotoWipe, developed by Hanov Solutions, is a basic photo editing tool that makes it easy to get rid of unwanted elements from photos.

photo effects editor

Using PhotoWipe doesn’t require that the user learn a complicated process.

All you need to do is:

  • Open the image to be worked on.
  • Paint over the parts to be removed black, (Uncle Bob for example), using one of the brushes which are available in a number of sizes.
  • If you make a mistake you can use the eraser tool to correct your error.
  • Use the built in preview viewer to check your work.
  • Save your new file.

Take a look at the bars in the cage before, and after, applying the removal effect.

photoshop alternative free

photo manipulation software

PhotoWipe does a good job when removing, or repairing, minor elements within a photo, but don’t expect miracles. Even so, it should be part of every amateur photographer’s image editing toolbox.

System Requirements: Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP/2003 Server/Vista

Download at: Hanov Solutions


Filed under Freeware, Graphic Software, Image Editors, Photo Tools, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

SpywareBlaster – Blast Spyware for Free

spywareblaster_large SpywareBlaster, once installed, does not run in the background and yet continues to provide protection without the need for user interaction.

SpywareBlaster prevents ActiveX-based spyware, adware, dialers, and browser hijackers from installing on your system by disabling the CLSIDs (a system used by software applications to identify a file or other item), of spyware ActiveX controls.

SpywareBlaster 1

A secondary but equally important function offered by SpywareBlaster, is its ability to block spyware/tracking cookies and restrict the actions of spyware/adware/tracking sites in Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Netscape, Seamonkey, Flock and other browsers.

Since SpywareBlaster doesn’t scan for, or clean spyware, but as stated earlier, prevents installation only, you should use it in combination with your active malware protection applications.

SpywareBlaster is definitely low maintenance and the only thing you need to remember is to update the database, which contains information on known spyware Active-X controls, regularly. Automatic update is also available for an annual fee of $9.95 USD.

SpywareBlaster also includes a System Snapshot feature with which you can take a snapshot of your computer in its clean state, and later revert to this state, undoing any changes made by spyware and browser hijackers that have infected your system despite the security in place. I recommend that you take advantage of this important feature.

This is an important security protection tool to install on your system; particularly if your browser uses Active-X.

Latest release: April 9, 2009

Download at: Javacool Software

Need answers? Visit the SpywareBlaster Forum


Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Browsers, Don't Get Hacked, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety Tools, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System Security, Windows Tips and Tools

Tech Thoughts Daily Security Alerts – April 25, 2009

Daily alert

Chrome security flaw fixed – Surfers using Google’s Chrome browser have been told to update to the latest version to fix a security flaw.

New Windows 7 hack purports to be “unfixable” – A hack that’s “unfixable” is a pretty bold claim, but that’s just what researchers Vipin Kumar and Nitin Kumar have announced.

Fake AV Now Part of Security Center – The fake antivirus has self elevated its importance and just might be able to convince consumers into spending money on its license.

New Blackhat SEO attack exploits vulnerabilities in WordPress to distribute rogue antivirus software – A new Blackhat SEO technique emerges to exploit vulnerabilities in the popular WordPress Blog software.

AVAAntiSpyware is adware aimed at selling users a fake antivirus – This adware, like all of its kind, simulates a system scan, detecting several malware variants which are really not on the computer.

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