Monthly Archives: September 2011

Ninite – A Jaw Dropping One Shot Multiple Application Installer

imageI’ve used, reviewed, and discarded, a mix of free “One Shot” installer applications – applications which download and install multiple user selected applications, in one pass. The only keeper from the 5 or 6 I’ve looked at is, Ninite .

Since I dedicated a machine to run with Windows 8, a few weeks ago (which has run flawlessly, BTW), I finally got to the point where it was time to install a few of my favorite applications and, of course, I turned to Ninite to get the job done.

I choose to download, and install, the following applications – Chrome, ThunderBird, Google Talk, Glary Utilities, Revo Uninstaller, Songbird and TrueCrypt.

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A small downloader (248 KB) – launched from my download folder, started the download and install process – as shown in the following screen capture.

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Within a very few minutes (less than 4 minutes), the applications were installed (as shown in Windows 8 Metro UI), and ready to run. And, that’s the “jaw dropping” part – 4 minutes to download and install 7!!!, applications. Wicked!

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Windows – Just a small sampling of what’s available.

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If you’re a Linux user (and, I’m a dual booter), you haven’t been  forgotten.

Linux – What’s available.

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Fast facts:

No Clicking Next – Ninite fully automates installers off-screen.

No Toolbars – Ninite automatically says “No” to toolbars and other junk.

Always Up-to-date – A Ninite installer always gets an app’s latest version no matter when you made it.

It Updates Too – Just run your Ninite installer again and it will update the apps to their latest versions.

No Signup – Ninite just works. No account, signup, or client needed.

32 and 64-bit – Ninite installs the best version of an app for your PC.

International – Ninite installs apps in your PC’s language.

If you’re the kind of geek who’s into helping less experienced users – this is a terrific way to help them install the freeware applications that you know, through experience, are a “must have”. Best of all, once the installer is activated Ninite does the rest – automatically and in the background.

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Win 7 (x64 support).

Go to: Ninite site

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Integrated Solutions, Recommended Web Sites, Software, Timesaving Tips, Utilities, Windows 8, Windows Tips and Tools

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – September 26, 2011

Turn a PC Off or Leave It On? – Atrrocket asked if it’s best to shut off a PC every night or leave it on.

A Concise Guide to Android Rooting – Time was only the hard core rooted their phones, but the more and more average consumers are looking into the practice. Rooting is just the generic name given to stripping the factory-installed software from your phone and loading your own. It can give you a lot more control over how your phone works, but it will also void your warranty and potentially cause you a lot of headaches. Check out this guide before you make the leap.

Five friendly apps for backup-shy users – The complexity of many backup tools scares off a lot of users. These less intimidating choices are effective and easy to use.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Android Users: Here’s Some Advice to Protect Your Phones – A gray hat app developer has released five tools purportedly for “study purposes” that can clean out all the data on an Android smartphone in less than a minute.

Are the Feds Collecting Your Data? Apple, Dropbox Back Privacy Bill – Apple and cloud storage service Dropbox are the latest companies to join an effort that calls on the government to obtain warrants before accessing email and other cloud-based data.

Email and Chat for Kids – With ZillaMail you can give even the youngest kids access to email and instant messaging, secure in the knowledge that they can’t communicate with anybody you haven’t approved. Parents can view all messages and chat sessions. Kids can personalize the site and play a handful of games when not checking email.

10 ways Microsoft can make Windows 8 a game changer – Now that we’ve had a chance to see some of the things Windows 8 can do, let’s talk about a few of the things it SHOULD do.

Cyber-Espionage Campaign Hits Government Sites in Asia, Eastern Europe – More than 1,400 computers were compromised in Asia and Eastern Europe in a massive e-mail cyber-attack that hit space agencies and research institutions. But this time China was not implicated.

Why Does My PC Suddenly Shut Itself Off? – If Windows inexplicably closes and your PC shuts down, it’s almost certainly overheated. The PC, which monitors the temperature of the CPU, is protecting it’s delicate circuits from the ravages of heat. (On the other hand, if you PC frequently shuts off without closing Windows first, causing an error message when you next boot, it’s likely time to replace the power supply.)

Company News:

Meg Whitman Won’t Save the HP TouchPad – When the news broke that HP was replacing CEO Leo Apotheker with Meg Whitman, HP TouchPad fans felt like their tablet was getting a second chance: it isn’t. New blood is great, but remember Meg Whitman was already on the board of HP. She has watched as Apotheker let the Web OS waste into irrelevance. She may be able to help HP, but it is too late for the TouchPad.

Mozilla Extends Firefox Enterpise Support to 42 Weeks – In a nod to enterprise users, Mozilla touts a new plan to provide longer support cycles for the rapidly evolving Firefox browser.

Microsoft to stop Linux, older Windows, from running on Windows 8 PCs – It doesn’t take much reading between the lines to see that Microsoft is going to try to keep Linux, older versions of Windows, and other operating systems off Windows 8 PCs.

Short Story of the Week:

Paul Andrew Russell’s – Lizzie

They saw each other at the exact same moment. Their eyes locked for a few seconds, then Lizzie felt the warm glow of her cheeks reddening as she blushed. He averted his gaze, giving her time to compose herself. When she looked again he’d gone. She turned away, hoping he’d magically reappear when her eyes went back to the chair he’d been sitting in, but he wasn’t there.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The Skin Gun – A simple idea backed by stem cell research allows victims of severe burns to heal in merely days. (National Geographic Video)

Hands On With YouTube 2D-to-3D Conversion – Just as the excitement around the latest crop of 3D movies in theaters has started to wane, YouTube has come out with new tools that convert your video from boring old 2D to exciting new 3D.

More Than A Flash Of Fiction – After much hair pulling (metaphorically, as I don’t have any) I have finally managed to get my new flash fiction eBook published on both Amazon and Smashwords. If you feel like helping a struggling writer, (Paul Andrew Russell), you can download the Kindle version on Amazon and all formats on Smashwords. All for just $1.99!

How the refrigerator got its hum – This story is a classic in the social history of technology. If you have any familiarity with this field you’ll know it. If not, let me introduce you to it because it’s a good story, and one with a neat moral. Because there could have been other fridges, other – quieter – fridges. (submitted by Michael F.)

What Is Fire? – Fire explained in another wonderful one minute physics animation.

Today’s Quote:

Lori Fena, on privacy: “Internet: Nobody knows you’re a dog. Facebook: Everyone knows you’re a dog”.

Today’s Free Downloads:

HelpNDoc – HelpNDoc provides a clear and efficient interface to build the most amazing CHM help files, WEB based documentation, PDF and Word documents from a single source without worrying about the inner working of help file generation.

Connection Keeper 11.2 – Connection Keeper is an invaluable time-saving tool for dial-up users. This free program simulates Internet browsing (at a random interval) to prevent your connection from appearing idle, thus preventing your ISP from dropping the connection due to inactivity.

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Pin Files, Folders and Web Sites, To Windows 7 Taskbar – Free Windows 7 Taskbar Items Pinner

imagePinning applications to the Windows 7 Taskbar is generally very easy. Unfortunately, Windows 7 Taskbar was not designed with the ability to pin files,  folders, or web pages – but, a small freeware tool, Windows 7 Taskbar Items Pinner, enables you to overcome this limitation.

Download the executable file from the developer’s site (Kishan Bagaria – a 13 year old from India), then be sure to run the executable as “administrator” or, you’ll get the following –

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Currently, I’m testing Windows 8, so in some respects, I’m working with a user interface which has been turned upside down. One casualty of Microsoft’s thinking is – a reversal on a quick and easy way to reach all installed programs.

Using Windows 7 Taskbar Items Pinner, I’ve partially overcome this limitation by choosing to add two new links to the Taskbar – “Computer” and “Program Files”.

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A partial screen shot showing “Program Files” on the Taskbar.

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Activating the Program Files icon, launches the new Windows Explorer (notice the “Ribbon”) at C: Program Files. Since I work primarily in the “Desktop” –  as opposed to Windows 8 Metro interface, I now have quick access to a listing of installed applications.

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Custom items, including files and folders, or even a website can easily be added to the Taskbar – as the following series of screen shots (in which I have created a link to this website), indicate.

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The new Taskbar shortcut to Tech Thoughts, is shown in the following screen capture.

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If adding files, folders and web links to the Taskbar in Windows 7 is an option you’d like to exercise, then checkout the developers page for additional information on how to use this freebie effectively.

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Filed under Application Launchers, downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Software, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – September 25, 2011

53 Crazy Useful Services & Apps You Can Get for Free Online – There’s an untold bounty of awesome available on the Internet, and it’s all free, free, FREE! From applications and games to movie tickets and mattresses, we’ll show you what’s safe and steer you away from the unsavory

Best Free Connectivity and Productivity Apps – These free software gems are perfect if you’re looking to push the limits of what you can fit into your day. Connectivity downloads will help you streamline your Internet connection and set up remote-control access to a second computer so you can be at work without being at work–or simply help someone from a distance fix a browser problem. Our free productivity software selections will help you get organized and move away from the infuriatingly complex and bulky Microsoft Office suite to lighter and more intuitive office programs.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

How to use Chrome’s latest ‘new tab’ page – The blank Web site that stares back at you when you open a new browser tab is no longer a vast field of dead white space. Google is making Chrome’s ‘new tab’ page a robust launch pad from which you can interact with your recently visited sites, Web apps, and bookmarks. It’s currently only available in Chrome 15 beta, but it’ll be handed over to the majority of people in the stable version of Chrome soon enough. Here’s how you can use it, and thankfully it’s intuitive.

Facebook changes creeping out some customers – Across the Web, folks have been chiming in on how they feel about Facebook’s major changes to the user profiles. And they’re not all happy about it.

Can You Use Windows 8 as Your Primary OS? – We spend some quality (assurance) time with the Windows 8 Developer Preview Build.

How to find out who’s unfriended you on Facebook – Like most of its users, Facebook keeps some information private and unavailable to the rest of us. For instance, do you want to find out who has dropped you from their Friends list? Until recently, you had to ask directly, but now there’s a sneaky way find out.

Michael Dell: The End of the PC Era Is ‘Complete Nonsense’ – In an interview with the Financial Times, Dell CEO Michael Dell said that PCs were still a key part of his company s overall business, despite PC sales slowing industry-wide.

Company News:

Avast enters Android – Following in the footsteps of competitor AVG, Avast makes its first public move toward Android and purchases mobile security firm ITAgents.

DISH, Blockbuster Announce $10/Month Alternative to Netflix – DISH Networks and Blockbuster announced a Blockbuster Movie Pass service for movies, TV shows, and game rentals that starts at $10-a-month for existing customers. Both Dish and Blockbuster hope the service, that combines streaming movies and TV shows as well a DVD and game delivery, will give disgruntled Netflix customers a clear alternative. Blockbuster was purchased by DISH earlier this year.

Mozilla proposes not-so-rapid-release Firefox – The “Extended Support Release” version of Firefox would change every 30 weeks to accommodate slow-moving customers. Also: Firefox silent updates are coming.

Adobe fights back with Flash 11 – Long gone are the days when Adobe Systems could take its Flash Player’s position on the Web for granted. But Adobe, to counter a strong combination of opposition and alternatives to the browser plug-in, plans to ship Flash Player 11 in two weeks. The debut at its Max developer conference early next month is geared to send a message to programmers: Flash is still relevant, and Adobe is still investing in it.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Man spontaneously combusted, coroner says – A coroner in Ireland records that a 76-year-old man died of spontaneous combustion. The coroner further explains that there is no adequate explanation for this phenomenon.

Internet Domain Seizure Program Rankles Free Speech Advocates – Civil liberties groups have criticized the program because, they say, it is being undertaken without meaningful court oversight, with no chance for the targets to defend themselves before their websites are taken down and a highly cumbersome process for challenge afterward.

Internet as Vital as Food, Water, Air, Shelter to Some – A third of people with Internet access declared their online resources as important as their physical ones, according to an international poll by Cisco. Roughly another half say they don’t consider it that important, but it’s close.

A smart green home takes root in inner city – A Boston couple turns a tech-friendly green-home building project into an educational undertaking for themselves, neighbors, and contractors.

Today’s Quote:

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.”

–     Herm Albright

Today’s Free Downloads:

CloneSpy 2.62 – CloneSpy can help you free up hard drive space by detecting and removing duplicate files. Duplicate files have exactly the same contents regardless of their name, date, time and location. Also, CloneSpy is able to find files that are not exactly identical, but have the same file name.

LogMeIn Free – In a matter of minutes you can get fast, easy and secure access to remote computers (PCs and Macs) with LogMeIn. Simply install LogMeIn on the computer you want to access to gain remote control of its desktop, files, applications and network resources over the web.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – September 24, 2011

Spotify Is Now Open to Everyone, Gives You 6 Months of Unlimited Listening for Free – Happy day! Music-streaming service Spotify no longer requires an invitation for everyone in the US. Also, for the first six months when sign up—whether you live in the US or elsewhere—you can use the service unpaid without any limits.

Protect your systems from the dangers of web browsing – Mark Twain once quipped, “It’s not what you don’t know that gets you into trouble, it’s what you know for sure that just isn’t so.” So too, in the world of web browsing, misconceptions abound. My objective in this article is to expose the common myths of safe web browsing.

DIY: Free tools for removing malicious software – Fighting the malware battle really hurts when you’re spending a good deal of your IT budget (if you even have an IT budget) on software to protect machines from attacks. Here’s how to do it for free.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Microsoft Defends Secure Boot in Windows 8 – Microsoft officials are seeking to assuage concerns that its implementation of UEFI in Windows 8 will prevent users from loading non-Microsoft operating systems or applications on their machines. Despite concerns raised by security researchers and open-source advocates about vendor lock-in and other issues arising from the use of a secure boot sequence in the upcoming OS, Microsoft says “the customer is in control of their PC.”

Five free, dead-easy IP traffic monitoring tools – When you really need to know what’s going on with your network, give one of these free monitors a try.

New Mac OS X Trojan Imuler Hides Inside Malicious PDF – Malware that targets Mac OS X isn’t anywhere near catching up to Windows-based malware in terms of volume and variety, but it seems that OS X malware may be adopting some of the more successful tactics that Windows viruses have been using to trick users. Researchers have come across a sample of an OS X-based Trojan that disguises itself as a PDF file, a technique that’s been in favor among Windows malware authors for several years now.

Five Windows Phone 7 apps for travel – Smartphones and travelers are a match made in heaven. These free Windows Phone 7 apps can make your journey easier, safer, and more fun.

Company News:

HTC teams up with Dropbox to give its Android phone owners 5GB of free storage – If you needed further reason to plunk down cash on phones like HTC’s recently-announced Rhyme, HTC and Dropbox want to give it to you. The two companies are teaming up to give owners of HTC’s Android phones a free 3GB of storage. Coupled with the 2GB that Dropbox already gifts its new users, and you have a solid 5GB to play with.

Facebook Driving Small-Business Growth – The survey found adoption of the popular social networking site as a business tool, despite challenges, is on the rise.

Dell’s Brave New World of Software, Services and Clouds – For a long time, Dell was seen as a hugely successful seller of boxes, in the form of PCs, server and other hardware. Now the company wants to become more of a solutions provider, offering software and services and expanding into the cloud. But hardware still has a role, and Dell may have HP to thank for boosting its PC business.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Facebook aiming to take over our lives with media app integration – If you thought Facebook was everywhere before, brace yourself. We’re just scratching the surface of where the social networking is going: world domination.

‘Stingray’ Phone Tracker Fuels Constitutional Clash – For more than a year, federal authorities pursued a man they called simply “the Hacker.” Only after using a little known cellphone-tracking device—a stingray—were they able to zero in on a California home and make the arrest. Stingrays are designed to locate a mobile phone even when it’s not being used to make a call. (submitted by Michael F.)

Windows 8 design flaws Microsoft MUST address – I’ve been using the Windows 8 developer preview now for long enough to come across a number of design flaws that MUST be addressed for the OS to be usable on desktops, notebooks and tablets.

What’s with all the Cloud paranoia? – The Cloud conjures more paranoia than the federal government. The Cloud is computers. Computers are fallible. The Cloud is fallible.

Today’s Quote:

In reality, serendipity accounts for one percent of the blessings we receive in life, work and love. The other 99 percent is due to our efforts.”

–     Peter McWilliams

Today’s Free Downloads:

PicPick 3.0.8 – PicPick is an all-in-one graphic program that provides full-featured screen capture tool, intuitive image editor, color picker, color palette, pixel ruler, protractor, crosshair and even whiteboard.

ProcessKO 1.62 – ProcessKO is a small useful tool to quickly kill a running or hanging process / program. It is not uncommon among developers or program-testers that the programs do not function properly or that you can not even close the programs (using the Task Manager) usually its always the same candidates.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – September 23, 2011

5 Alternative Browsers Built With Chrome – The open-sourced code for Chrome, known as Chromium, is freely available so anyone can create their own spin on Google’s browser.

4 Free Spreadsheet Alternatives to Microsoft Excel – Microsoft Excel is the world’s leading spreadsheet application, and it’s the one by which all others are measured. However, having the Microsoft brand on your small business software can be costly. If you’re looking for a no-cost Excel alternative, you have plenty of free applications to choose from including small business apps that operate in the cloud.

Out with BIOS, In With UEFI – The computer business is slowly moving away from the complicated workings BIOS (Basic Input Output System) that has governed boot sequences since the original IBM PC in favor of the slick new UEFI, or Unified Extensible Firmware Interface. It doesn’t SOUND simpler, but it will forever change the way you boot your PC. ExtremeTech’s Sebastian Anthony has all the details.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Google busts itself for distributing malware – Who says Google favors its own properties? When the company’s Safe Browsing service checked Google.com, it found that 50 pages resulted in malicious software being downloaded and installed without user consent.

Adobe Issues Emergency Flash Patch – Last week, Adobe issued its regular patch Tuesday update as part of the a regular release cycle. As it turns out, they may have missed at least one flaw. Adobe is set to release an emergency out-of-cycle patch today, fixing zero day vulnerabilities that affects Flash Player. The new zero day update comes on the same day that Adobe is updating Flash to version 11 providing new 3D graphics capabilities.

Fake Diablo beta invites hitting inboxes – The cyber crooks are after Battle.net credentials, and these emails usually contain a direct link to the phishing site that looks very much like the legitimate login page.

Fake stores dominant threat due to blackhat SEO – “Searches for buying software online remains 90 percent malicious, redirecting users to fake stores,” concluded Julian Sobrier recently, after having analyzed the first ten pages of Google search results for popular terms. “There has been no significant improvement on that front, with 60 different fake store domains observed in July 2011,” he said and pointed out this is a problem shared by all search engines.

Company News:

Google’s Schmidt bends the truth on Android’s openness to Senators – Google’s Eric Schmidt’s testimony in front of the US Senate Judiciary Subcommittee suggests that Android is open for all. But that may be bending the facts.

Microsoft hands Rustock botnet case over to FBI – After winning a summary judgment against the perpetrators of the massive spamming network, the software giant hands evidence to federal law enforcement, including clues about the alleged ringleader.

Veracode enhances its application risk management platform – Veracode, announced enhancements to its cloud-based application risk management platform that make it even easier to embed security verification processes into the software product development lifecycle.

DigiNotar files for bankruptcy – Stung by a cyberattack that caused it to issue fake online security certificates for hundreds of companies, the Dutch certificate authority is closing for business.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Privacy at risk: Who’s watching you? (roundup) – Technology is fast catching up to notion of Big Brother. As the surveillance-obsessed drama “Person of Interest” debuts on CBS this week, CNET takes a deeper look at the technical realities of privacy and security.

So How Much Should a Company Pay You for a Facebook “Like”? – The price of a Facebook “Like” is getting higher, as a recent study shows that consumers are increasingly expecting more in return for allowing their endorsement to be shared online.

10 obsolete technologies that are still useful – Before you retire that camcorder and cancel your landline service, see why Brien Posey thinks some vintage tech is worth hanging onto.

Antitrust Suits: Government v. Tech, Google v. U.S. – Google Chairman Eric Schmidt is appearing today before a Senate antitrust committee as part of a Federal Trade Commission investigation into the company. The hearings might turn out to be of a magnitude of 10 to the 100th power, given the government’s history of pursuing behemoth tech companies.

Today’s Quote:

I am a Conservative to preserve all that is good in our constitution, a Radical to remove all that is bad. I seek to preserve property and to respect order, and I equally decry the appeal to the passions of the many or the prejudices of the few.”

–     Benjamin Disraeli

Today’s Free Downloads:

Google Earth 6.1.0.4738 – 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.

System Explorer – System Explorer is free, awards winning software for exploration and management of System Internals. This small software includes many useful tools which help you Keep Your System Under Control. With System Explorer You get also fast access to File Database which help you to determine unwanted processes or threats. System Explorer is translated into 21 languages and is available for download in installer and portable version.

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Aldi Bot – Build A Botnet For $15!

imagePsst – wanna build a Botnet – one that can launch a DDoS attack, steal passwords saved in Firefox, steal passwords for Pidgin, remotely execute any file, or use a victim’s computer as a proxy?

No big deal if you haven’t a clue when it comes to the intricacies of coding, or programming – doesn’t matter if you don’t have any hacking skills – if you’ve got just €10 (about $15) to spare, you can buy Aldi Bot …..

Screen shot published by the malware creator.

…. and, create your very own Botnet. Of course, you’ll need the underground forum addresses where this sly tool is available (no, you won’t get those here).

In an over the edge example of “let’s see how far I can push the envelope” – the kiddie script creator will provide hands on installation instruction for those who need it. According to researchers at GData, who discovered Aldi Bot –

“Chat logs, posted by the malware author, reveal that he actually provides personal assistance for the installation and implementation of the bots, even to malware rookies, so-called noobs, who do not have the slightest idea of how to work with the malicious tools. He even uses TeamViewer to make his customers happy and ready to attack.”

Aldi Bot in action.

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In case you might think that this type of do-it-yourself malware creation kit is a new or an unusual phenomenon; it isn’t. Downloadable malicious programs, like this, have been available for some time. Examples of DIY malware kits we’ve covered here in the past, include –

Facebook Hacker

T2W – Trojan 2 Worm (Constructor/Wormer)

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Constructor/YTFakeCreator

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BitTera.C

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I find it discouraging that wannabe cyber crooks, whose technical skills never got past the thumb-texting stage, have such ready access to such powerful malware creation tools. A rather sad reflection on the lack of resources available to the law enforcement community.

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Filed under Cyber Crime, Cyber Criminals, Hackers, Kiddie Script, Malware Alert, Windows Tips and Tools