Monthly Archives: February 2010

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 25, 2010

How Can I Ditch Cable and Watch TV and Movies Online? – There are so many great options for catching a show here or there, but can you rely on them to replicate the cable TV experience? Well, yes and no

Virtualized USB Key: The Future of Online Banking? – Is this the future of online banking? US company IronKey has come up with a USB drive that can be used to access accounts virtually without involving the operating system or applications that cause so many of today’s security problems.

The Best Security Suites for 2010 – The 2010 “model year” for security suites got an early start, with a couple of products already out in June of 2009. The February 2010 releases of McAfee Total Protection 2010 and Norton 360 Version 4.0 complete the collection, at least as far as major security vendors are concerned. We’ve reviewed sixteen security suites.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

The world is hacked, and it’s the users’ fault – My (virtual) hat is off to the hackers. They’ve managed to infect and exploit the world, and it doesn’t appear that people care. It’s so bad that this passes for life as usual. It’s like learning to accept Mother Nature’s natural disasters as inevitable — though hackers can be stopped.

Top 5 Cloud Applications for 2010 – Security and availability still may be a concern, but certain applications are meant for the cloud, says analyst firm IDC, with benefits outweighing any risks. Here’s a look at the top 5 applications that will make the most dramatic moves to the cloud this year.

10 things you didn’t know about the Koobface gang – The intensive multitasking on behalf of the Koobface gang, next to the fact that the Koobface botnet is the tip of the iceberg for their malicious operations, prompts the publishing of this top 10 things you didn’t know about the Koobface gang list.

Enterprise Security Tips on a Small-Business Budget – Big or small, you can’t be too careful with your business’s network security. Here are some industrial-strength security tips you can implement on a shoestring budget.

Off Topic:

GlaxoSmithKline deliberately hid evidence of Avandia harm, says Senate report – GlaxoSmithKline, maker of the diabetes drug Avandia, knew the drug was linked to tens of thousands of heart attacks but went out of its way to hide this information from the public, says a 334-page report just released by the Senate Finance Committee. (submitted by Dar).

Mass online hypnotism to contact dead Pope – A Polish hypnotherapist will make a record-breaking attempt to put thousands of people around the world in a trance and let them talk to Pope John Paul II. The online event is scheduled to take place on 2 April, which is the anniversary of John Paul II’s death.

Homopolar motor demonstration – A homopolar motor has a magnetic field along the axis of rotation and an electric current that at some point is not parallel to the magnetic field. Demonstration using one drywall screw, one 1.5 V alkaline cell, six inches of plain copper wire, one small neodymium disk magnet. (submitted by Dar).

Italy’s Google Convictions Set a Dangerous Precedent – An Italian court’s ruling against three Google employees raises important questions about user-generated content and who’s responsible for policing what people submit.

Today’s Quote:

“Dopeler Effect – the tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly”.

–     Greg Oetjen

Today’s Free Downloads:

Portable Ubuntu Remix – If you ever feel the urge to experiment with Linux, you don’t have to install an entirely new OS. Just install Portable Ubuntu Remix, and you can run Linux apps on your Windows machine.

Krento – Krento creates a slick, rotating 3D circle of up to 12 of your favorite apps. You can also skin Krento and add favorites by dragging and dropping. (The program comes in 32- and 62-bit versions)

T3Desk – T3Desk minimizes programs to the desktop, shrinking each one to the size, transparency, and 3D viewing angle of your choice. Just click a window to bring it back to the foreground.

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Slow Computer Start Up? Fix it with Free StartUp Tuner 2

image Is Windows boot time starting to get you down? Do you sometimes feel as if you could go and make a coffee while waiting for Windows to start? Let me tell you, if you feel that way, you’re not alone – it can happen to all of us.

You’ll often find, after installing a new application, that it automatically triggers an auto-start command on system start up.

That means, each time your computer is booted, this type of presumptive program is started with Windows, which is unlikely to be your intent, and in many cases is not needed. For example, iTunes is one of those programs that has this nasty habit.

As a result of this program behavior, your start sequence can become considerably longer, system resources can be ravaged, and manually shutting down these unnecessary startups can be frustrating, and time consuming.

The following is a perfect example of how out of control these presumptive  auto-start applications can become.

Recently, a friend asked me for advice on his sister’s computer that was slow at startup, and even worse, was slow in normal operation. It was easy to see why. The computer was loading 26 applications on startup, which then continued to run in the background, eating up system resources.

There are a number of manual methods available to deactivate these very irritating applications from auto starting, but a great free application from Ashampoo does the job quickly, cleanly, and with no fuss.

StartUp Tuner 2 lists all auto-start entries and allows you to individually delete or deactivate those entries. If you turn off all of the unnecessary entries (be sure they are not necessary), Windows will boot faster; in many cases considerably faster.

Ashampoo Startup mgr

Bonus features:

StartUp Tuner 2 can do more than just this though. The tool can list all Windows services by name and it allows you to activate, or deactivate them, with the click of the mouse.

The application shows all installed Windows programs, but it builds its lists more quickly than the control panel software module. You can then uninstall programs that are no longer required, including program entries that the native Windows uninstaller generally leaves untouched.

Many Browser Helper Objects (BHOs) are useful, but others simply take up space on the Hard Drive and serve no useful purpose. StartUp Tuner 2 lists all of them, and allows you to delete, or deactivate them, if you determine you longer need them.

The application automatically generates a backup of the changes that you have made, giving you the opportunity to reverse any changes.

StartUp Tuner 2 can be used free for 10 days. After that time, free online registration is required. You will receive an activation code which will convert the test version of the program into the full version.

Ashampoo loves to remind you of the value of their full software lineup, so if you find it bothersome to receive this type of email, you’d be better off passing on StartUp Tuner 2.

Personally, I like to stay in the loop on new software developments, so I don’t object to receiving emails soliciting my business for new applications.

System requirements: Windows 2000, XP, Vista. Win 7 (no x64 support)

Download at: Download.com

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Filed under Computer Maintenance, Freeware, Software, System Tweaks, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

MessageLabs Intelligence – The Rise of Denial-of-Service Attacks

image Most regular readers are aware, that Zemana recently gave way free licenses for their award winning security application, Zemana AntiLogger, through this site.

In the four days the offer was available, 2,000 + readers were able to take advantage of Zemana’s generosity. But it could have been more.

Unfortunately, cybercriminals obviously saw in this free license giveaway, an opportunity to be disruptive by launching a distributed denial-of-service attack, driven by a bot network, against the Zemana license server.

While this attack was extremely disruptive, and very inconvenient for those readers who choose to take advantage of Zemana’s generous offer, (not to mention the additional workload it imposed on me), in a real sense, the attack emphasized the level of cybercriminal activity on the Internet, and the lengths to which these Neolithic idiots will go to threaten our enjoyment of the Net.

image

Ironically, those responsible for the attack showed by their actions, how important it is, that we as Internet user make sure we are adequately protected against cybercriminal activity.

Distributed denial-of-service (DDos) are once again on the rise, and this does not bode well for any of us. At first glance you might think “I don’t see how this could affect me”; but like all cybercriminal activity, it does.

Here’s what Symantec Hosted Services, and MessageLabs Intelligence, has to say on this issue.

Courtesy of Symantec Hosted Services and MessageLabs Intelligence.

Ten years ago, distributed denial-of-service (DDos) attacks shut-down a number of high profile websites, including major retailers and news sites, leaving them offline for several hours.

Fast forward a decade and DDoS attacks – which attempt to cause disruption to an online service or application – have evolved to be more sophisticated, more prevalent and more dangerous than ever.

Who’s behind this dangerous type of attack? Botnets are a key player – with over five million active PCs around the world, the most prominent spam-sending botnets provide the massive power these attacks.

DDoS attackers don’t care how they are able to hit mail servers, they will use a number of tactics – such as dictionary attacks – to reach as many businesses as they can. For a small company, this can become a silent killer for their email system.

There are concerns that, in the future, botnets will become increasingly self-sufficient which could make them even more efficient at propagating DDoS attacks.

Savvy botnet owners are now building in business continuity plans to ensure their networks are self sufficient, robust and less prone to disruption. Semi-automated networks mean that cybercriminals are now free to pursue new business opportunities while targeted DDoS attacks take down critical online applications and services on their own.

How have DDoS attacks evolved over the last ten years? What can we expect to see in the near future?  Read more on the MessageLabs Intelligence blog.

About Symantec: Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organizations secure and manage their information-driven world. More information is available here.

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Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Internet Security Alerts, Malware Advisories, MessageLabs, Symantec, Windows Tips and Tools

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 24, 2010

The TaskList Gadget makes it easier to troubleshoot running processes – The TaskList utility provides details on the services and DLL modules related to running processes. This free Vista/Windows 7 gadget does the same job — but without the command-line headaches.

New ‘Chuck Norris’ Botnet Hides in Your Router – Czech researchers have uncovered a botnet running on broadband routers and DSL adapters, and not in your PC.

Windows Phone Series 7: What Microsoft Learned from Apple – Microsoft has taken a page out of the Apple playbook for its new mobile OS. It may be the key to the company’s success in the space.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

U.S. Broadband Plan Now Due on March 17 – U.S. communications regulators will unveil on March 17 a blueprint aimed at bringing fast affordable Internet access to more than 90 million Americans being held back by fees and technology.

Apple Pulls More than 5,000 “Sex” Apps – According to new numbers from ChilliFresh, the developer of an offending iPhone app, Apple has pulled more than 5,000 apps for “overtly sexual content.”

Intelligence Slideshow: 40 Fast Facts on Linux – The open source software turned 18 last year, and its maturity is evident to hackers and corporate types alike.

Criminals Hide Payment-Card Skimmers Inside Gas Station Pumps – Wave of recent bank-card skimming incidents demonstrate how sophisticated the scam has become

Phishers Target Blogger.Com Accounts – A new phishing campaign is targeting bloggers on Google’s blogger.com and blogspot services — driving victims to sites favored by the Avalanche/Zeus group.

Security Slideshow: Identity Fraud on the Rise – 2009 saw yet another record increase in ID fraud among American adults, according to Javelin Research. Small business owners and Millennials seem to have been hit hardest among all demographics.

Off Topic:

Timing of the games: then and now – CNET’s Ina Fried has a look at the technology used to time and score the Winter Games, from analog stopwatches to the latest in high-tech sensors.

More unemployed testing the waters of entrepreneurship – Where are many of these unemployed people going with this unwanted change in their careers? For a growing number, it’s an opportunity to strike out on their own and hopefully, get off the wage-slave treadmill.

We spend more on ‘free’ information than we spend on food – Nick Carr, author of the perception-changing books Does IT Matter? and The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google, always has fun shattering conventional wisdom. And in a new post, he takes on one of the most conventional pieces of wisdom around today: that we are awash in “free” information.

Superman debut comic sells for a record-breaking $1M – On Monday, a 1938 debut edition of Action Comics No. 1, which was the first comic book to feature Superman, sold for $1 million.

Today’s Quote:

“Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things they make it easier to do don’t need to be done”.

–    Andy Rooney

Today’s Free Downloads:

Auslogics Disk Defrag utility – Auslogics Disk Defrag combines useful features, scheduling, automatic defragmentation, and ease of use in a lightweight package.

Two free programs enhance Windows clipboard – You would think a 20-year-old operating system would let you copy and paste more than one item at a time. While the clipboards in Office 2003 and 2007 can store up to 24 text snippets and graphics for later reuse, no such multisave option is built into Windows itself.

Thank goodness software developers have stepped into the breach by providing free programs that extend the Windows clipboard, allowing you to copy dozens of items and paste any of them with a single click or keyboard shortcut.

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GigaTribe – Free and Private, Peer to Peer File Sharing

Share your hard drive with friends,  family and co-workers – videos, pictures, documents…

image A few days ago, during one of my infrequent periods of boredom, I ran a few tests on peer to peer downloads, on the off chance that things had improved in this malware infested playground. No such luck, of course.

Of the five game files that I downloaded, every one came packed with a Trojan downloader, which, had I installed any of these applications, would have wrecked havoc on my test machine.

In a nutshell, that’s the main problem with public peer to peer file sharing. As Forest Gump said about his famous box of chocolates “You never know what you’re gonna get”. The chances are high, that you will not get what you think you will, and you will get what you don’t think you will.

The two main issues (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 fellow 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 quandary is a free application from GigaTribe. 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.

image

Fast facts:

GigaTribe has more than 1 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!

According to the developers, GigaTribe (although I haven’t tested this), can also be used to access your PC from a remote location.

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.

System requirements: Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, Server 2008, Windows 7. (no indication on the publisher’s site of x64 compatibility).

Download at: Gigatribe

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Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Interconnectivity, Networking, Peer to Peer, Privacy, Software, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Comodo Dragon – A More Secure Internet Browser?

image Comodo, the developer of a number of very well known free applications including, Comodo Antivirus, Comodo Firewall, Comodo Time Machine, System Cleaner, and Comodo BackUp, has modified Google Chrome’s source code, and stripped out Google IDs and Identifiers – which increases both the user’s privacy, and security. As a result, we now have a new Internet Browser on the block – Comodo Dragon.

At the same time, Comodo has managed to retain all of the best features of Chrome; functionality, speed, stability, and convenience. Currently, there is no support for Chrome extensions, but I’ve heard on the grapevine that this may be coming as early as next month.

In an age when Internet threats present an ever-evolving, and increasingly sophisticated danger, to users’ privacy, specialty Internet Browsers like Comodo Dragon, are becoming much more popular.

A particular area of concern at the moment, is the huge increase in the number of  compromised Web sites, and Comodo Dragon may have a solution, according to Comodo’s site.

Comodo Dragon offers a new feature for Internet users. Websites all have digital certificates attesting to their identities, but some certificates offer more security than others. If it encounters a Domain-only certificate, it warns the user that the website may not be reliable. Domain-only certificates are available to any webmaster at low cost and with no verification, providing no guarantee of authentication.

Installation is a breeze, and the opportunity to import selected items from the default Browser, can be handled from the application’s installer.

Comodo Dragon 1

The following graphic illustrates a successful importation of my Firefox bookmarks.

Comodo Dragon 2

The following graphic illustrates Comodo Dragon’s minimalist UI.

Comodo Dragon 3

Fast facts:

Improved Privacy over Chromium

Easy SSL Certificate Identification

Fast Website Access

Greater Stability and Less Memory Bloat

Incognito Mode Stops Cookies, Improves Privacy

Very easy to switch from your Browser to the Dragon

Pros: Very fast.

Cons: Lack of Chrome extension support.

If Browser speed is your thing (a very subjective measurement, in my view), or you have limited faith in your Browser’s security functionality, then take Comodo Dragon for a spin and see what you think.

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista and 7 (x64 not supported).

Download at: Comodo Dragon

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Filed under Browsers, Comodo, cybercrime, downloads, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 23, 2010

10 open source Windows apps worth a look – How many applications are out there in the wild that you’ve never heard of or tried? Even as a consultant, I come across them on a daily basis. With all those applications, it’s easy for some real gems get overlooked — including a lot of excellent open source tools.

Comodo Rolls Out Dragon Browser Based On Chromium Project – Comodo, a leader in cybersecurity, announces its new Internet browser, Comodo Dragon. Like Google Chrome, Comodo Dragon is constructed on the open-source Chromium Project browser. Dragon’s enhancements increase security and protect user privacy.

Video: Is a sexy Twitter spammer stalking you? – Watch our video to discover how spammers are creating fake accounts on social networks like Twitter to advertise their adult websites. Don’t make the mistake of befriending spammers just because they have a sexy profile picture.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Mozilla patches critical flaws – Mozilla issued patches Wednesday for versions 3.5.8 and 3.0.18 of the browser, sending out fixes for the latter even though it had said it would stop supporting Firefox 3.0 in January. In its security bulletin, the company said the vulnerabilities had previously been resolved in Firefox 3.6, which was launched on January 21.

User Reviews: How to Use Them, and How Not To – Consumer reviews can offer insight into a product’s real value. But many sites contain write-ups by rabid fans and PR flacks. Though there’s a lot of noise out there, you can also find good advice. This week I give you three strategies to filter out the static and find what you need to know.

Apple bans boobs, babes and bikinis from App Store – Its far from official but a slightly more clear picture is starting to emerge of Apple’s new morality rules at the App Store. After dropping the hammer on apps with “overtly sexual content” on Friday, Apple has tightened the noose even tighter on purveyors of iPorn.

Widespread malware attack poses as email settings file – Sophos has been intercepting malicious spam around the world, posing as a file containing new settings for email users. Discover more about the threat, and ensure that your computers are protected from the Trojan horse attack.

Off Topic:

Cognitus Interruptus: Urban Word of the Day – A disruption of the normal thought process, normally by an external distraction. (submitted by Dar).

AMD 12-core chip for sale on eBay – My favorite new TV show is History’s “Pawn Stars,” set in a Las Vegas pawn shop. Its owner Rick Harrison says in the show’s opening “One thing I’ve learned, you never know what is going to come through that door.” The same can and has been said (sort of) about eBay.

Why Google Buzz confirmed our two worst fears about Google – Google Buzz has evoked a major backlash against the company from thought leaders in the technology world. Here are the two reasons why.

Guns, Germs and Steel: A short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years – Life isn’t fair–here’s why. Since 1500, Europeans have, for better and worse, called the tune that the world has danced to. (submitted by Dar).

People Believe The Internet Makes Them Smarter – Three out of four people surveyed think the Internet is making us smarter, not more stupid, according to a study done by the Pew Internet & American Life Project and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center.

Drunk Canadian Fights Woman, Begs for Taser On Video – A Canadian man was arrested at Sky Harbor International Airport after going into what seemed to be a drunken rage that left a Phoenix police officer with a broken ankle and Youtube viewers howling as the man — while wearing a Castrol motor oil T-shirt (classy) — tried to fight a woman.

Today’s Quote:

“An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory”.

–    Friedrich Engels

Today’s Free Downloads:

Adblock for Chrome – Oh, sweet, sweet Adblock. We loved you in Firefox, and Adblock for Chrome is just as wonderful. Who knew that one little browser add-on could make surfing the Internet so much more enjoyable?

PhotoGrabber – PhotoGrabber downloads Facebook photos tagged with your or your friends’ names. It’s great for rounding up snapshots in other people’s albums. The app runs independently, so there’s no concern about browser compatibility.

FastPictureViewer WIC RAW Codec Pack – If you’ve got a relatively high-end digital camera, you’re probably familiar with the RAW image format. Windows isn’t great at handling RAW, but you can install the FastPictureViewer Codec Pack to rectify that.

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USBThief – Making it Easy for Cyber Criminal Wannabes

image With access to your passwords, cyber-criminals (they come in all shapes, sizes and flavors – so don’t be fooled), can and will, steal your identity and without a doubt severely compromise your financial security. Stolen passwords have the potential to cause serious havoc in your life.

There are numerous ways of course that a password can be stolen. Popular methods employed by cyber criminals include, but are not limited to:

Email scams: Email scams work because the Cyber-crooks responsible use social engineering as the hook; in other words they exploit our curiosity to start the process of infecting unaware computer users’ machines

Search engine redirection: Cyber-crooks continue to be unrelenting in their chase to infect web search results, seeding malicious websites among the top results returned by these engines. Malware, including password stealers can be installed on a computer simply by visiting a site.

Drive-by downloads: Drive-by downloads are not new; they’ve been lurking around for years it seems, but they’ve become much more common recently. They are crafted to automatically download and install malware including password stealers on your computer without your knowledge.

Added to the burden we already carry in protecting our computers, our private personal information, and our confidential financial information, we now have to be careful, and perhaps even suspicious of our friends, or for that matter anyone, who inserts a USB drive including MP3 players, such as a iPod, into a USB port on our computer.

image

USBThief is a free hacking application – available for download on virtually every torrent download site that I investigated – which can be installed on a USB flash drive, or even an iPod, or other MP3 player.

I haven’t tried (yet), to install this on a Digital Camera, but I suspect (with some modification), that it can be done. Consider how often a friend, or family member, has connected any one of these peripherals to your machine.

image USBThief has been designed and crafted with only one purpose in mind, and that is to steal both the passwords, and software keys, on the duped party’s computer.

There is no requirement that the culprit is a seasoned hacker – all that’s needed is that an ethically challenged individual download the program; decompress the archive and put all the files located in the folder “USBThief” onto a USB drive.

After connecting and removing the tweaked USB drive from the victim’s computer, the cyber-criminal simply views the dump folder to view the captured information.

Learning to use this application is an absolute “no brainer” – there are multiple sites on the Internet offering tutorials (including video tutorials), in the use of  USBThief.

Here’s a little blurb from a hacking site:

1.Insert the USB in your victim’s computer.

2.View folder “dump” to see the passwords. It also makes a second dump folder in the batexe folder. Tested and Working perfectly!

I have not written this article to produce paranoia, or to make you suspicious of either your family, or your friends, but so that you are aware of the ever increasing challenges we all face in protecting valuable information in a world that threatens us, at every turn it seems.

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Filed under Bill's Rants, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, flash drive, Geek Software and Tools, Malware Advisories, Privacy, Spyware - Adware Protection, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 22, 2010

Twitter Phishing Attack Spreading via Direct Message – A Twitter phishing attack is spreading rapidly today, attempting to obtain Twitter logins via Direct Messages. If you receive a message reading “lol, is this you”, and linking to a site called “bzpharma”, do not click the link.

Using Facebook or Twitter could raise your insurance premiums by 10 % – People who use social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook have been warned that they could eventually face rises in their home insurance premiums of as much as 10 %.

Standardize This! 10 Technology Messes That Need Fixing – Why should every mobile device in your house have a different charger? Why can’t a cell phone from one network work on every other system? These ten solutions would stop the madness.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Five Best Start Pages – Your start page is the first thing you see when you open your browser or load a new tab—your gateway to the rest of the web. Get the most from your start page with one of these five favorites.

Goodbye, Google Buzz – Not thrilled with Google Buzz? You aren’t alone. Here’s how you can get it out of your life for good.

Frequently Asked Photo Questions for February – Dave answers reader questions about removing photo backgrounds, tagging photos, mysterious orbs, and more.

How to Win Prizes on Twitter – Companies are giving away new computers and thousands of dollars in return for a little free marketing. Follow our five steps, and you could be a winner.

Why the U.S. Is an Easy Mark for Hackers – In the wake of the attacks against Google, Adobe and other major high-tech companies, there was a lot of public shock and outrage that this kind of attack happened. But it was really just a small part of what’s been going on for years.

Man in the Browser: Inside the Zeus Trojan – Man in the Browser a.k.a MITB is a new breed of attacks whose primary objective is to spy on browser sessions (mostly banking) and in that process intercept and modify the web page contents transparently in the background.

Off Topic:

This has to be the best camera tip of all time – If you want to improve the quality of your video’s …this is a must see. You will be amazed at the quality you can add from this most simple idea. (submitted by Dar).

Best Tech Guy caller EVER with Leo Laporte – A caller to Leo Laporte’s radio show wonders why her wi-fi connection — which she’s never paid for — has suddenly vanished.

Know Whether Your Windows Is Legal and Genuine or Not? – It could be quite difficult for people to find out whether your windows is genuine or not, as sometimes the computer dealer may install a pirated copy of windows on your computer and you never know that you have an illegal copy of windows on your computer. (submitted by Dar).

West Brain, East Brain: What a difference culture makes – By now, it should come as no surprise when scientists discover yet another case of experience changing the brain.

Today’s Quote:

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one”.

–     Charles Mackay

Today’s Free Downloads:

Connectify – Maybe you have a broadband card in your laptop, but no way to share its wireless connection with your iPod Touch or another PC. You need Connectify, a clever utility that turns your Internet-connected PC into the equivalent of a Wi-Fi hotspot.

OpenOffice – Not happy with the idea of a Web-based office application–nor with paying gobs of money for Microsoft’s office suite? Then you want the downloadable OpenOffice.org, the free competitor to Microsoft Office. It’s a full suite, with a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation program, database, and drawing program.

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Monitor Your Computer with Free WinPatrol To Go

image We all have our list of indispensible programs that we must have on our computers, I suspect. WinPatrol, a neat system utility that monitors system areas that malicious programs must attack and use, makes my list every time – just as it has for years.

The free version of this highly regarded application doesn’t stop there though. With WinPatrol, in your system tray, you can monitor your system, startup programs, services, cookies and current tasks. If anything changes, Scotty (the system tray Icon) will alert you. Taking it one step further; WinPatrol allows you to terminate processes and enable, or disable, startup programs.

WinPatrol’s user interface couldn’t be any simpler. New users should have no difficulty following this self explanatory layout.

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Now BillP Studios (the developer), has released WinPatrolToGo; a stand-alone portable version of WinPatrol which is intended to be to run from a USB flash drive. WinPatrolToGo runs without leaving any left over files, or registry entries.

Download WinPatrolToGo directly to your USB Flash and you’re good to go! I know many of you are the “go to guy” when it comes to computer issues for family and friends, so having WinPatrolToGo in your toolbox will be a definite plus.

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Fast facts:

Remove Un-Wanted Auto Start applications.

Disable Un-Needed Automatic Windows Services

Remove Annoying Toolbars and BHO’s

Create Reports that provide a snapshot of potential problems

Disable ActiveX Controls & MORE!

Compatible with Windows 95 – Windows 7 (including x64 systems).

There are a host of additional features that make WinPatrol a very powerful addition to your security toolbox.

Take a look at the following from the developer’s site:

Enhanced Keylogger Detection

The use of keyloggers for illegal purposes has exploded. A Schenectady man was recently jailed for up to three years for felony eavesdropping after putting a keylogger on his wife’s computer. I’ve heard too many stories of abuse made possible due to keyloggers so it’s time for it to stop. While WinPatrol PLUS had always detected keyloggers we’ve enhanced this feature and it’s now available to free users so everyone is protected.

Optimized Detection of New Services

As more and more programs move to the Windows Service model it become apparent that this may be a popular avenue of attack in the future. The routine used to monitor and detect new Window Services has been optimized to make this process transparent.

Decrease CPU Usage and Conflicts

Conflicts with some other registry intense programs may have resulted in abnormally high CPU usage on past versions. WinPatrol 14 includes some intelligent routines to allow complete protection without fighting over resources with other security suites and system level programs.

Default -expressboot option

WinPatrol now includes a -expressboot option which will be used when machines boot up for the first time. This new feature optimizes boot time and allows other applications to maximize their initialization routines.

Regular Registry Cleanup

Some registry cleaners have complained that we don’t clean up some data stored in the registry quickly enough. This version will remove information that is no longer needed and “First Detected” information on a regular basic when the file no longer exists.

I have been using this free gem for years, and it just gets better with every release!

System requirements: Windows 95 through to Windows 7 (including x64 systems).

Download at: BillP Studios

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Filed under Anti-Keyloggers, Anti-Malware Tools, downloads, flash drive, Freeware, Portable Applications, Spyware - Adware Protection, System Utilities, USB, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP