Monthly Archives: June 2010 – Free Portable Apps To The Max

image“Summer time, and the living is easy” – I’ve always liked the sound of that. That much deserved vacation is finally on the horizon!

But wait – today’s reality is such, that many of us (including me), can never really cut the umbilical cord that attaches us to the office. If you fall into that category, you’ll need software designed for people on the go.

With Portable Apps Suite, (free to use, free to copy, and free to share), you can carry your favorite portable computer programs with you on your USB flash drive, iPod, or portable hard drive, while you’re taking that much deserved vacation.

Portable Apps Suite allows you to play your media files, browse the net, compose documents, or check your email on the road. The applications can be used on any Windows computer, and on shut down, to insure your privacy, will  not leave any traces on the host computer.

PAS is a collection of portable applications which includes, ClamWin Portable (antivirus), Mozilla Firefox Portable Edition (web browser), Gaim Portable (instant messaging), Portable (office suite) compatible with Microsoft Word files,

Sudoku Portable (puzzle game), Mozilla Sunbird Portable Edition (calendar/task manager) and Mozilla Thunderbird Portable Edition (email client), all preconfigured to work portably.


You can install any of three variations of Portable Apps Suite based on your preferences, or your USB drive’s capacity.

Standard Suite – All applications as noted above

Lite Suite – AbiWord Portable substituted for Open Office

Base Suite – Basic Menu Program – add only the applications you choose

All versions of the Portable Apps Suite include the integrated Portable Apps Menu and the Portable Apps Backup utility, along with a set of custom icons, auto play configuration, folders, and a quick start shortcut.

System Requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, and Wine under Linux/UNIX/BSD/Mac OS X

Download at:

Additional free portable applications, at





clip_image030Graphics & Pictures


clip_image055Music & Video


clip_image075Operating Systems


If you’re a techie, then take a look at “Run 57 Free PC Repair Apps From Your Flash Drive”, on this site. You’re sure to find an application you can’t be without.

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Filed under downloads, flash drive, Freeware, Open Source, Portable Applications, Software, USB, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Your Account Information Has Changed Phishing Attack

image The spam landscape changes constantly with new tactics and new threats evolving, seemingly on a daily basis. A recent tactic which appears to have found favor with cyber criminals is, the limited scale, targeted phishing attack – attacks which are aimed at a particular organization, or a particular industry segment.

Designating specific targets has some obvious advantages for cyber crooks, not the least of which is – most of us don’t get to hear about them. Since the focus is narrow, this type of threat typically slides under the radar and tends not to be reported due to the low numbers involved. Despite the low numbers, this type of attack can be surprisingly effective.

Given that the content is specific to the targeted recipient, the engagement factor, where the potential victim actually opens the email and attachments, is much higher than with a a broad scale shotgun attack.

Here’s a real world example of a current attack:

This week, in conversation with my friend Rod, an Australian antimalware company executive, he mentioned that his group of companies, and product users, had been targeted specifically as the following email samples indicate.

Sample 1:

Subject: Your account information has changed


We received your request to reset your password. To confirm your request and reset your password, follow the instructions below. Confirming your request helps prevent unauthorized access to your account.

If you didn’t request that your password be reset, please follow the instructions below to cancel your request.

Sample 2:

Hello, xxxxx

Please reply to this email message to confirm your subscription to

Your email address has been entered for a subscription to the mailing list. However, your new subscription requires a confirmation that you received this email message and want to join this mailing list.

To confirm that you do want to join click here.

To unsubscribe immediately click here.

Thank you.

It’s obvious from the content, that the crooks involved in this attack have increased the chances of success, by providing the recipient with the opportunity to respond both positively, or negatively. If the recipient responds either way, the crooks win, and the victim loses.

Advice worth repeating:

If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of any email message, or its attachment, delete it.

Better yet, take a look at the email’s headers. Check the initial “Received from” field in the header, since this field is difficult to forge. Additionally, the mail headers indicate the mail servers involved in transmitting the email – by name and by IP address. It may take a little practice to realize the benefits in adding this precaution to your SOP.

For example, to do this is Gmail

Log in to Gmail.

Open the message you’d like to view headers for.

Click the down arrow next to Reply, at the top-right of the message pane.

Select Show original.

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Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Email, email scams, Internet Security Alerts, Online Safety, Phishing, spam

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – June 30, 2010

The Best, Cheapest Ways to Upgrade Your PC – Upgrading your PC can be a head-spinning process. Our Lab experts help you sort through the chaos with 18 products that won’t break the bank.

Lifehacker: Browser Speed Tests – Apple’s stepped up with Safari 5, Firefox has brought forth a more crash-proof 3.6, and Opera’s continuing to push forward in betas. Let’s break out the timer and testing software to see how the latest browsers run on real hardware.

Hulu Plus is Real: $10/Month for iPhone, iPad and TV Viewing – Finally! Hulu Plus has been made official, and it looks awesome.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

If the DHS Is Serving Malware, Should It Be Our Internet Cop? – If you were looking for a company to take charge of the security on your own systems, would you trust one that was serving malware from its own Web site? Me neither. But if the Department of Homeland Security is put in charge, this embarrassing scenario will come to pass.

Download YouTube Videos for Offline Viewing – Ever wish you could watch that piano-playing cat at 35,000 feet? Alas, YouTube requires a live Internet connection, and Wi-Fi is still pretty hard to find in the friendly skies. Fortunately, you can download YouTube videos to your PC for anytime, anywhere viewing, no Internet required.

CodySafe FREE:  The Ultimate Portable Apps Menu – If you are someone that carries their computer on a stick (flash drive), then you may want to take a look at CodySafe Free. I know there are many portable app menus and launchers available, but this one may be the most feature driven, nicest looking portable apps menu I have experienced thus far.

10 Things You Should Know About Google TV – Google raised more questions than it answered with its introduction of Google TV May 20. The initial demo was a more than 2-hour affair fraught with technical difficulties, mostly as a result of dodgy Internet access. Since then, much more has come to light. eWEEK highlights the important details.

Porn’s New Domain is Good News – Too bad competing interests will probably make the .XXX domain all but useless.

What you need to know to survive targeted malware attacks – Targeted attacks require a more granular approach to applying security controls. Tom Olzak looks at ways to survive when your organization becomes a cybercriminal’s next target

Off Topic (Sort of):

Exploring The Dark Side of Technology – Feelings are hurt and lives are ruined on a daily basis because criminals are taking advantage. They’re taking the very tools and technologies we have thought of as good, and using them to do great evil. Unfortunately, as the world’s reliance on technology grows, the dark side of technology grows along with it.

UK Woman Spared Jail Over Noisy Sex – Again! – A British woman who made her neighbours’ lives hell with noisy sex sessions with her husband has avoided jail again. Their love-making has been described as “murder” and “unnatural” and drowned out their neighbours’ televisions.

Microsoft’s Windows 8 game plan (images) – A slide deck, which appears to come from an April 2010 meeting with PC makers, outlines where Microsoft is headed with Windows 8.

16 iPhone Apps Your Mother Will Kill You For Using – iAugment is an app for those curious about cup-size..Cannabis app helps users (pardon the pun) locate legal medical marijuana wherever it’s offered in such an easy format that even blurry-eyed stoners can use it..Heres a list of 16 iPhone apps your mother will not approve at any cost.

Today’s Quote:

“Television is the first truly democratic culture – the first culture available to everybody and entirely governed by what the people want. The most terrifying thing is what people do want.”

–    Clive Barnes

Today’s Free Downloads:

EnhanceMySe7en Free – EnhanceMySe7en Free is a utility bundle for anyone interested in doing a little system housekeeping. It does a fine job of helping you select which programs to permit to load at startup. It also lets you monitor your hard drive’s performance, health, and temperature; and it enables you to fiddle with the Registry.

WinBubble – Want to whip Windows Vista or Windows 7 into shape and tweak your OS six ways to Sunday? Then you’ll want WinBubble, which is a tweaker’s dream. It lets you change just about every part of Windows Vista and Windows 7, and ways you never thought possible.

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Comments Off on Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – June 30, 2010

Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

17 Free Productivity Applications That Make Life Easier

The Internet is loaded with free software, but it seems to me, that most free software is either security related, or system related. There’s nothing wrong with that of course; but because freeware offerings are heavily weighted in favor of these types of applications, productivity applications tend to get lost in the fog.

As a consequence, you might think that you have to wander the aisles of your local computer store to find good quality productivity software. But, you don’t.

There’s a wealth of tried and tested free productivity software out in the wild blue of the Internet, that will meet virtually every need you’re likely to have.

Take a look at the following recommended free downloads and I think you’ll find that these applications will more than do the job.

Working with words: 3 3 is the leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It is available in many languages and works on all common computers.

It stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages.


If you want to go light on a word processor then AbiWord is for you. AbiWord, an open source application, has been designed to integrate perfectly with the operating system it runs on, and there are many, including Windows, Linux, Mac OS X (PowerPC).

There’s no need to worry about document compatibility issues with AbiWord since it can read, and write, all industry standard document types, including Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, Office Open XML (MS Word 2007), Rich Text Format (RTF), HTML web pages, and many more.


WordWeb is a handy utility that gives you the definition, synonyms, and antonyms of any given word without requiring you to go online, though it can connect to the Internet for expanded functionality should you want it.

If you’re a writer, a student, or you just want to find the right word to get the right message across, then the free WordWeb Thesaurus and Dictionary for Windows application will be invaluable.

PDF Tools:

PDFill PDF Tools

Included are Merge, Split, Reorder, Encrypt, Decrypt, Rotate, Crop, Reformat, Header, Footer, Watermark, Images to PDF, PDF to Images, Form Fields Delete/Flatten/List, PostScript to PDF, PDF Information, Scan to PDF, and Create Transparent Image options.


Create PDF files faster with the only free PDF creator to support one-click, drag-and-drop PDF creation. Convert to PDF from any file you can print, including Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint formats.

Desktop Publishing:

SerifSoft PagePlus SE

Interested in producing a family newsletter, a business newsletter, a company newsletter or an employee newsletter? Want to produce a clean, bright design that will enhance your newsletter’s message? Want to do it for FREE?

This neat little Desktop Publishing application includes a range of preset document layouts, automated templates, great color schemes and artistic effects, which will allow you to produce professional looking results.

Satisfy your creativity with drawing applications:


An Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X, using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format. Inkscape supports many advanced SVG features (markers, clones, alpha blending, etc.) and great care is taken in designing a streamlined interface.

It’s very easy to edit nodes, perform complex path operations, trace bitmaps and much more.

Blender 3D – Open Source Animation to the Max

Blender is an incredibly robust 3D software animation program. It’s been designed for modeling, UV unwrapping, texturing, rigging, skinning, animating, rendering, particle and other simulating, non-linear editing, compositing, and creating interactive 3D applications.

Google SketchUp 7

Google SketchUp is software that you can use to create 3D models of anything you like. Build models and add them to Google Earth. Most people get rolling with SketchUp in just a few minutes. Dozens of video tutorials, an extensive Help Center and a worldwide user community mean that anyone who wants to make 3D models with SketchUp, can. Redecorate your living room. Design a new piece of furniture. Model your city for Google Earth.

You can build models from scratch, or you can download what you need. People all over the world share what they’ve made on the Google 3D Warehouse. It’s a huge, searchable repository of models, and it’s free.

Working with photos:

Google Picasa

At its most basic, it’s a photo manager and viewer. Fire up Picasa, and you can browse through all of your photos, organized by folder, as well as by the year they were stored on your hard disk.

But all that is just a start. It also has a full complement of editing tools, and lets you create CDs full of photos, as well as photo collages, screensavers, and posters. It will upload your files Google’s Web albums photo site, publish your photos to your Blogger blog, and plenty more as well.


With XnView you can import more than 400 graphic file formats then convert them to other formats such as GIF, BMP, JPG, PNG, multi page TIFF. As well, you can export more than 50 graphic file formats.

XnView doesn’t stop there however; it also provides you with more advanced features such as Web page creation, contact prints, multiple conversion (format and transformation), slide shows, screen capturing and twain support for scanners and digital cameras.

Web site creation:


If you’re looking to create that first web site using a WYSIWYG visual web page creator, and you want to do it for free, including web hosting, then this free service from Weebly will fill the bill admirably. With Weebly you control virtually every essential aspect of site design – and built-in integration with Google AdSense, allows you to deliver text and image ads that are specific to your site and your site content, if you choose.

Media applications:


Audacity is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems. Definitely the best of breed.


A multimedia player that supports numerous audio and video formats. It also plays streamed video and audio content, live and recorded, authored worldwide.

Mapping Software:

Google Earth

Google Earth lets you fly anywhere on Earth to view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings, from galaxies in outer space to the canyons of the ocean. You can explore rich geographical content, save your toured places, and share with others.

Mind mapping software:


FreeMind is an open source mind mapping software that enables you to visualize ideas, projects, concepts, brainstorming, internet research or any other task that can benefit from a structured overview. You can create nodes with child and sibling nodes and add icons, clouds, notes and custom formatting for better presentation.

The nodes can be expanded or collapsed, or interactively linked to local files, other maps, online resources and more. You can also insert encrypted nodes or create encrypted maps for sensitive projects. The finished maps can be exported to HTML, clickable XHTML, Open Office document, image file and other formats.

Control your cash:

AceMoney Lite

AceMoney Lite is a freeware personal finance manager. It has all the features of its big brother except multiple accounts management. As AceMoney, AceMoney Lite helps people organize and manage their personal finances quickly and easily. It supports all the features required for home or even small-business accounting needs.

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Filed under Audio Applications, DeskTop Publishing, downloads, Drawing Software, Free Photo Applications, Free Word Processors, Freeware, Google, Image Editors, MS Word Alternatives, Photo Tools, Productivity Software, Software, Website Builders, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – June 29, 2010

Five tips for speeding up Windows XP performance – If some of your Windows XP clients run slower than others, it could be due to some of the default settings located in the Performance Options dialog box. You can change the options in this dialog box to boost the performance of a Windows XP client. Let’s examine the settings you can change to improve Windows XP’s performance.

Lost a Digital Photo? You’re Not Alone – A third of Brits have lost their digital photos forever because they didn’t back them up, says backup service Mozy. Research by the online storage firm revealed that on average Brits have 1500 digital snaps or videos stored on their PC, but one in five admit they don’t bother to back them up.

Lifehacker: Universal USB Installer Makes a Persistent Thumb Drive Version of Any Linux OS – Having a full Linux operating system on a USB thumb drive is pretty neat. Having that OS customized, with your own favorite apps and all your settings intact, is far more helpful. This Windows tool makes that possible.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

The Best Web Browser: Summer Edition 2010 – One of the most entertaining tech battles to watch is the browser war. Combatants keep upping the ante, with all of us reaping the benefits. What’s more fascinating is that no one has won. Plus, it’s looking more and more like one of the future dominants will be an upstart. Here’s a primer on all the players and which browser might be best for you today. Personally, I’m using Chrome and Internet Explorer 8.

U.S. Outlines Security Strategy for Online Identity – In a new document, the White House has outlined its plan for strengthening authentication and identity verification on the Web.

US interested in Aussie zombie code – Informally known as the “zombie” code, the IIA released its e-security code of practice to internet service providers (ISPs) earlier this month in Australia, outlining ways they could protect their subscribers and inform them about being infected with malware. A “zombie” is a malware-infected PC.

How do I add Defragment and Disk Cleanup to the right-click menu in Windows Explorer? – In this How do I blog post Jack Wallen shows you how to create right-click menu entries for both Defragmenting and Disk Cleanup.

Google’s Chrome Passes Safari in US Browser Share – Google Chrome is now the third-most-popular browser in the U.S., behind Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Mozilla’s Firefox, but ahead of Apple’s Safari.

Microsoft Shipping Windows 7 SP1 Betas – While the general availability of the beta version of the first service pack for Windows 7 won’t roll around until next month, some early adopters are already getting a pre-release.

Off Topic (Sort of):

11 Rules of Life – Having just passed the graduation “season” for many of our youth, I thought this short set of “rules” should be dusted off and presented to you. It might seem a bit too tough in places, but the purpose of the rules is to let our youth know that the working world is a tough one where one must add value, be productive, and earn their pay…or else.

WARNING: 3D Video Hazardous to Your Health – Before you bring a 3D HDTV into your house or let a child under seven play with a brand new Nintendo 3DS, you need to understand the fragile development of an aspect of human vision called stereopsis. (submitted by Dar)

The 10 Most Uncool Moments in Tech – When companies try too hard to be hip, disastrous things can occur. Herein lie 10 of tech’s most outrageously out-of-touch moments. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Keeping PCs and Macs in perspective – Sometimes (especially when attending Microsoft press conferences, in particular), it’s easy to believe that the multiplying Macs and their magical iPad cousins have taken over the portable computing world.

The top eight things the PC press hides about the iPad – I don’t think people who write headlines like iPhone 4: Perfect for everyone, except humans attack it because it advances personal computing, offers new business opportunities, or embeds new design ideas; I think these people instinctively reject Apple products simply because those products generally meet expectation -while their living depends on selling products that don’t.

Today’s Quote:

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

–    Mark Twain

Today’s Free Downloads:

AeroSnap Beta – AeroSnap brings the desirable capabilities of Windows 7’s AeroSnaps feature to both Vista and XP. When you drag a window to the left or right edge of the screen, the Windows 7 feature automatically resizes the window to fill that half of the screen.

7Stacks – Designed with Windows 7 in mind, 7stacks creates links to a folder of shortcuts or files. You select the folder when creating a new 7stack, along with how the folder’s items will look when it’s clicked. The default stacked list has each item on one line, with an icon and full name, while the grid layout is useful when a folder contains many items. The Explorer-like menu option allows for sifting through subfolders.

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – June 28, 2010

Super Software Secrets – From obscure options to esoteric shortcuts to arcane add-ons, here are 55 hidden gems that will help you master the programs you use every day.

Overclocking for Newbies – Overclocking your processor can give your PC a significant speed boost–but you have to be careful. Here’s how to overclock your system’s processor without frying it.

Google Rolling Out “Google Me,” Their Facebook Killer – Well this is kinda wacky. Citing a “very credible source,” Digg founder Kevin Rose tweeted that Google is preparing to release “Google Me,” a service intended to go toe-to-toe (face-to-face?) with Facebook. It’s like Google stalking, but official, and thus marginally less creepy!

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

HTTPS Everywhere makes SSL/TLS easier – While it does not provide encrypted connections everywhere, the HTTPS Everywhere extension for Firefox does make it easier to establish and maintain encrypted connections to major sites on the Web.

Photographing Fireworks: Tips and Tricks – Follow these tips and camera recommendations to get the best shots possible of this year’s fireworks displays.

MSpot’s streaming music service now open to all – Streaming music from the cloud to your computer or mobile device is nothing new, but doing so with your own library is something that’s on the brink of becoming an everyday occurrence with upcoming efforts by Google, HP, and possibly even Apple.

Poll: When was the last time you performed an offsite data backup? – For the record, I have been lax lately; it has been more than a year since I did an offsite backup. But the plan is to do one immediately when I get home.

Net Nanny – If you allow your children or students to use the Internet while unattended, then you probably want to consider a filtering tool like Net Nanny. This parental control service ($40/year) does an excellent job of filtering Web content, setting Internet access times, and even managing PC game use. (14 day trial)

Off Topic (Sort of):

Location-Tracking Services: Why You Should Think Twice – Apple, Google, Facebook and others all want to track your travels, but location privacy is an important consideration.

YouTube: The whale, the dynamite and stupidity – Blowing a dead whale up with dynamite expecting it to go into the ocean while an 8th grader could have told them it wouldn’t, boggles the mind. (submitted by Dar)

Digital Image Founder Smooths Out Pixels – Russell Kirsch says he’s sorry. More than 50 years ago, Kirsch took a picture of his infant son and scanned it into a computer. It was the first digital image: a grainy, black-and-white baby picture that literally changed the way we view the world. With it, the smoothness of images captured on film was shattered to bits.

The Coming Gulf Coast Firestorm: How the BP oil catastrophe could destroy a major U.S. city – It’s hurricane season in the Atlantic, and that means Mother Nature could be whipping up fierce storms and sending them charging into the Gulf Coast any day now. In a normal hurricane season, that’s bad enough all by itself… remember Katrina? But now there’s something even more worrisome in the recipe: There’s oil in the water. (submitted by Dar)

FTC Says Scammers Stole Millions, Using Virtual Companies – The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has disrupted a long-running online scam that allowed offshore fraudsters to steal millions of dollars from U.S. consumers.

Today’s Quote:

“You can go a long way with a smile. You can go a lot farther with a smile and a gun.”

–    Al Capone

Today’s Free Downloads:

UltraVNC (32-bit version) – My family has a dangerous habit of blindly clicking through software installs and downloading all kinds of junk. Luckily for them, I can repair the damage anytime from afar using the free UltraVNC remote control software.

Planet M.U.L.E. – Replay one of the classic games of the 8-bit era, and show your skill (or lack thereof) to the world.

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – June 27, 2010

24 Great Open Source Apps for Admins & Technicians – I’m always on the lookout for apps that can ease my workload or free up some room in my budget, and open source applications are an excellent way for me to accomplish both.

Google Voice Solution – Open For Business – Google Voice offers users a telephone number that will ring at three different regular telephone numbers. Calling is free in the U.S. and Canada, at discounted rates overseas.

Video: Three Windows XP Mode tips for power users – Bill Detwiler explains how to shut down and back up a Windows XP Mode virtual machine and create a shortcut to your host computer’s Documents folder.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Skype Dials Up Group Video Calling – The Skype 5.0 Beta includes free multi-party video calling, and it attracts a lot of attention from SMBs and entrepreneurs. But is it ready as a business communications tool?

Some Secure USB Flash Drives Not So Secure – Entrusting your small business’s vital data to an encrypted USB flash drive might not be such a great idea – unless you pick one like IronKey that avoids the mistakes made with hackable (and now recalled) SanDisk and Cruzer products.

Video: Uninstall applications from Windows with Revo Uninstaller – Bill Detwiler shows you how to completely uninstall all components of a Windows application using Revo Uninstaller.

How Cybercrooks Could Cash In On Your Facebook Data – You’re sharing more than you think — and you might be surprised how much your data is worth

Hands-On with YouTube Video Editing – YouTube adds a simple online video editor that lets you trim and join clips and add a soundtrack.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Hacker High: 10 Students Who Cracked the Code – Much like Lolcats, some überteens are up in the Internet, stealing your … well, whatever they want. If you envision these kids as harmless nerds who hole themselves up in their rooms clicking away their adolescence, check out this list, which details the costly and frightening toll their computer “games” have exacted throughout recent history.

Someone Finally Built a Better Mousetrap – One of the most loved design products at this year’s International Design Excellence Awards was the OneDown mousetrap, which swings upright from horizontal due to a rodent’s own weight, to clearly indicate that it has been trapped.

Police push to continue warrantless cell tracking – As Congress begins to consider adding more privacy protections to a 1986 privacy law, including regulating cell phone tracking, tech companies will have to overcome law enforcement objections.

Say What? The Week’s Top Five IT Quotes – The technology world’s most quotable quips and comments from around the Web.

Today’s Quote:

“The government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

–   Ronald Reagan

Today’s Free Downloads:

IObit Security 360 – IObit Security 360 is a free malware and spyware removal utility that detects, removes the deepest infections, and protects your PC from various of potential spyware, adware, Trojans, keyloggers, bots, worms, and hijackers.

TeamViewer – TeamViewer is an excellent screen-sharing and file-transfer app that can be used to facilitate business collaborations, remotely access a second computer, or help distraught relatives diagnose and cure computer problems.

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Comments Off on Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – June 27, 2010

Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

The Global Cyber Crime Marketplace

The buying and selling of hacking tools, e-crime kits, malware, and stolen credit card numbers, in a cyber crime flea market environment, may seem as if it stretches the bounds of reality. But, guest writer Paul E. Lubic, Jr., explains in this eye popping report, that this is in fact, a new cyber crime reality.

Here’s Paul’s report:

image The global cyber crime marketplace is alive, real, and growing. In a recent article, Global Cyber Crime…, I alluded to the existence of a market for renting botnets, purchasing malware, and obtaining stolen personal information.

At that time, this market of buyers and sellers existed on a small number of black hat-type websites. However, now these brazen thieves have come out in the public to exchange their criminal wares.

According to an article in the Register, Scotland Yard cuffs teens for role in cybercrime forum, a public forum of 8,000 attendees was held in London. The two teens who were involved in organizing the forum are not the story here. It’s the fact that there were vendors there, probably in show booths giving away trinkets for stopping by, that were selling hack-tools, e-crime kits, malware, and 65,000 credit card numbers.

I applaud Scotland Yard for arresting the teen organizers, but I don’t understand why they didn’t arrest those attendees and vendors who were trafficking in these crime-related tools and illegal credit card information. What is wrong with this picture? I don’t think it’s because of ignorance—Scotland Yard evidently knew laws were being broken or they wouldn’t have arrested the organizers.

Could it be that British computer laws don’t address the marketing of these products? Perhaps no one realized the gravity of the situation—they were selling Zeus, the malware that steals banking and credit card information and instructions on how to use it.

Maybe there were undercover agents making purchases and gathering evidence for future arrests. Or it could be all of the above; but the bottom line is that a lot of criminals and malware could have been taken off the street…but weren’t.

The message being sent to the cyber criminal community is that as long as the forum is in England, and you don’t get involved in the actual organization of the forum or conference, you’re free to ply your wares and sell or purchase tools with which to break laws and steal from the masses.

However, this forum, as disturbing as it might be, is just a harbinger of a much greater global cyber crime picture that concerns me. It should concern you too.

The messages we should be taking from this are:

  1. The criminals are becoming emboldened, almost unafraid of being arrested. This is because there is so much money in cyber theft that it’s worth the risk; coupled with the fact that this is a new industry and the early participants will become the most rich.
  2. The amount of cyber crime being committed is expanding at an alarming rate. Anyone is able to get into the cyber crime business for as little as a few hundred $US, and because of this, there is an explosion of cyber crime underway as we speak.
  3. The world’s law enforcement community is woefully undermanned and under educated in cyber crime. This area of law enforcement needs to be funded at a much greater level than the present “handful” of cyber crime officers in each organization today.
  4. We need to be afraid…very afraid of this problem. For all the reasons stated in items 1-3, we will remain the target of cyber crime for the foreseeable future.

Guest writer Paul E. Lubic, Jr. is a long time IT professional who has held the positions of programmer, IT Security Manager and Chief Information Officer.  His interests lie in the IT security area, but he writes on all categories of technology.

Paul is a mature and seasoned writer, with a rare ability to break down complex issues into an easy to understand format. Check him out at his Blog – Paul’s Home Computing.

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.


Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Guest Writers, Internet Security Alerts, Online Safety, Personal Perspective, Tech Net News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – June 26, 2010

Wi-Fi Analyzer Finds the Best Hotspots and Improves Your Home Network – Wi-Fi Analyzer can scan nearby wireless access points and show which spot has the best signal and least traffic. That’s neat on its own, but the free app can also help you boost your home wireless network.

24 Killer Portable Apps For Your USB Flash Drive – My flash drive works pretty hard, so I’ve spent a lot of time gathering a reliable, powerful set of portable tools that allow me to work hard and play hard, even if I can’t do it on my own PC. Here are two dozen apps that I always have at the ready.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Steve Jobs: iPhone 4 Antenna Problem a “Non Issue,” You’re Holding it Wrong – Having recpetion woes with your new iPhone 4? Don’t blame the device, you’re just doing it wrong, suggests Steve Jobs and the rest of the Cupertino gang, who dismissed the reception complaints as a “non-issue.”

First Look at Windows Live Essential Beta’s New Social Features – Yesterday, Microsoft dropped the new Windows Live Essentials beta, adding tons of new publishing and web service options to their suite of consumer desktop applications. Here’s a look what’s changed in the beta and how the new apps stack up.

This Week in Security: Patchapalooza, iOS 4 and the Irrelevance of Full Disclosure – This week was one of the ones that my colleague Ryan Naraine often refers to as a Patchapalooza, with each day bringing a new set of fixes for Firefox, Opera, the iPhone or some other device or application. And it didn’t even include Microsoft or Adobe. Go figure. The week also included the revelation of a major flaw in Firefox and the approval of a new cybersecurity bill in Washington. Read on for the full week in review.

Southern Cities Have High Malware Rates – An analysis of more than one million malware infections in the United States shows Atlanta, Georgia and Birmingham, Alabama have the highest malware infection rates in the United States.

Devil Is In The Details: DHS Monitoring Web & “Wrong” Words – DHS will monitor more U.S. citizens on the Internet, the feds may have the power to pull the plug on the Web, and certain words automatically incriminate you if used in emails. It’s been a busy week, eroding away at privacy. The devil in the details of censorship.

Facebook ‘likejacking’ spam scams continues – The new external “like” feature has created an entire new movement of Facebook spam scams and has put the social network right back into a spot where it’s comfortable: being reactive to security.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The 10 most annoying programs on the Internet – Let’s face it: Some software is just plain aggravating. Here’s a list of one editor’s picks.

Personal Finance: Canadian Common Sense – With the G8 and G20 summits being hosted in Canada this week, we’re taking a moment to recognize the relative economic success that Canada has enjoyed over the past five years, in stark contrast to the debt debacles that are consuming nations around the world.

Exposed: Farmers Who Get Billions Yet Never Plowed a Field – Billions in tax dollars go to frauds who have never plowed a field. How did the system get so corrupt?

10 Beers That Go Great With Breakfast – I know what some of you are thinking. Beer for breakfast, Who does that? But the true advocate of craft beer knows there is nothing quite like waking up on a Sunday morning, making scrambled eggs and bacon and cracking open 22 ounces of your favorite brew.

Today’s Quote:

“Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth.”

–   Rex Stout

Today’s Free Downloads:

Fresh Diagnose – This diagnostic tool gives you tons of information about every element of your system, such as your CPU, memory (virtual, physical, and swap-file), display drivers, virtual devices, and interrupt-request list. The system information for each category shows up quickly, and most of the benchmarks run smoothly, even when you have other applications running.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 1.46 – Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is a surprisingly effective freeware antimalware tool. It’s a relatively speedy malware remover, with the quick scan taking about 8 minutes even with other high-resource programs running. The heuristics engine proved on multiple computers during empirical testing that it was capable of determining the difference between false positives and dangerous apps.

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News