Tag Archives: advanced

Norman Malware Cleaner –Another Free Tool To Remove Tough Malware

Just like the 14 free specialty malware removal tools I wrote on earlier this year, Norman Malware Cleaner has been designed to identify tough malware infections, including specific malware, and then help you eradicate those infections.

Since this particular application is a stand alone executable, it does not require installation (perfect for a Flash Drive). Since scanning with the most recent definition database is a must, you will need to download a new version of the application on a per use basis.

On execution, you will be presented with the following end user agreement. This may be the shortest end user agreement I’ve ever seen.

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Despite the fact that this is a powerful application, setting the options is fairly straightforward.

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For the first test, I ran a simple Quick scan as illustrated in the following two screen captures.

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This scan completed in less than four minutes, and indicated that no infections were present.

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I then changed two critical group policies which duplicated common malware attacks – no access to the Task Manager, and restricted access to Windows Explorer (show hidden files).

As you can see in the following screen shot, Norman Malware Cleaner had no difficulty picking up on, and cleaning, these registry changes on a scan rerun.

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A scan results log file is saved to the desktop, as illustrated.

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Fast facts:

Detect and Remove malware (viruses, Rootkit’s, FakeAV, worms and more)

Utilize advanced Anti-Rootkit technology

Quarantine module

Scanning and cleaning including Norman patented Norman SandBox technology

Supports Quick- Normal- Full- Custom Scan mode

Command line function for better tailor scanning across several machines (businesses)

Daily signature updates available

Systems requirements: Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, 2008 and Win 7.

Download at: Norman

Registration is required.

Note: This application is for use when you are dealing with a machine you know is infected. It is not a replacement for a real-time AV.

As with most tools in this class, advanced computer knowledge is required. Unless you feel confident in your diagnostic skills, you would be better off avoiding this application.

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8 Comments

Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, downloads, flash drive, Free Anti-malware Software, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Malware Removal, Portable Applications, Rogue Software Removal Tips, rootkits, Software, USB, Windows Tips and Tools, worms

Cloud Computing: Easy Target for Cyber Criminals?

Guest writer Paul E. Lubic, Jr., has some definite ideas on the US government’s decision to employ Google’s cloud based computing model. Paul explains why, in his view, this risky venture will play into the hands of cyber criminals.

Here’s Paul’s report:

clip_image002The use of cloud computing by organizations to rent office productivity applications such as word processing, databases, spreadsheets, and presentations is less expensive than the current method of purchasing application packages/licenses.

However, any money saved by renting cloud-based applications rather than purchasing applications for use on local servers will, in my opinion, be lost and more, because of a much higher probability of having the data stored in the cloud hacked and stolen.

This opinion is based on the fact that the documents stored in the cloud are, for all intents and purposes, stored in one virtual location that is a big fat target for cyber criminals.

Consider that with the current method of using office productivity tools to create and store an organization’s documents, they’re stored on various servers owned by the organization.

Depending on the size of the organization, these documents will be spread across many different servers and storage devices, possibly on a common network. The advantage in protecting the data is that a cyber criminal will have a more difficult time gaining access to the many locations than if there were only one location to attack.

Here’s the really scary part. The US Government has recently awarded Google a security clearance for their cloud computing applications; indicating that they are clearing the way to begin using cloud computing, states a recent Los Angeles Times article: Google, Good enough for government work.

This is the same government that this past year was the victim of advanced persistent threat attacks that resulted in the loss of extremely sensitive national security-related data across numerous agencies.

Since cloud computing-based applications are also vulnerable to advanced persistent threat attacks…it seems to me we’ve just made the cyber criminals’ job a lot easier because once the crooks have gained access to one agency’s cloud-based applications, a huge advantage in itself, they’re smart enough to be able to access those of other agencies as well. Yep, one big fat target; the bad guys are salivating on their tee shirts as we speak.

Advanced Persistent Threat: Targeting an organization’s specific individuals who have elevated access in order to gain long-term, clandestine entry to applications and data.

If you’re wondering why the US Government would allow this to happen in the first place…I can hear the bureaucrats [defined: an official who works by fixed routine without exercising intelligent judgment] saying “We changed to cloud computing because it saved us lots of money. We didn’t know it was unsafe.” ‘Nuff said…they’re gonna to do it.

Let Paul know your opinion on this issue by commenting on this article; we all learn from each other when our views and opinions are shared.

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.

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Filed under Cloud Computing Applications, cybercrime, Google, Guest Writers

A Seriously Advanced Photo Tool – Free Image Analyzer 1.31

 

image In the days of film cameras, what you shot was what you got. You took your film, had it developed and that, was that. Unless of course, you were one of the few photo hobbyists who had the equipment, and the skills, to manipulate and improve captured images.

The development of the digital camera has changed all that. Today, you are not necessarily stuck with what you shot. The tech world is full, to overflowing, with photo applications; from low end programs with few capabilities to very high end commercial programs with countless editing capabilities. And from complex applications with high learning curves, to dead simple applications with a point and click interface.

Back in my High School days, I was lucky enough to be hired by a news photographer who taught me camera skills, film development and printing techniques, which have stayed with me. So much so, that even now, I use my camera virtually every day (seriously).

If you’re like me, and you consider yourself a geeky photographer, then Image Analyzer 1.31 (latest release – September 22, 2009), could be just the program you’ve been searching for. This small (1.24MB), free, advanced, feature-rich image editor, comes complete with serious enhancement and analytical tools.

While the program includes all the usual features found in most photo editing tools, such as red-eye removal, resizing, rotating, image cropping, image warping, scanner, camera and printer support, the advanced features would generally be used only by sophisticated users, or professional photographers.

For example, this program excels at a number of higher level tasks including refocusing an out of focus image. As well, using the fractal interpolation plug-in for resizing, even low resolution images can be printed at larger sizes with acceptable quality.

Fast facts:

Automatic brightness, contrast, gamma and saturation adjustment

Build-in conventional and adaptive filters for noise reduction, edge extraction etc.

Retouch tools

Retinex filter for reducing shadows and increasing local contrast

Deconvolution for out-of-focus and motion blur compensation (see below)

Easy red-eye removal

User specified filters in spatial and frequency domain

Resize, rotate, crop and warping of images

Scanner, camera and printer support

File format support:
Read/write BMP, ICO, CUR, WMF, EMF, PNG, MNG, GIF, PCX, JPEG and JPEG 2000 images
Read CR2, RAS, PNM, PGM, PPM, HIPS and Matlab files

Morphological operations

Color model conversion: RGB, CMY, HSI, Lab, YCbCr, YIQ and PCA

Distance, Fourier and discrete cosine transformation

Math expression module for creating and transforming images and advanced “pocket” calculator with equation solver

Plug-in system for adding more specialized features.

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Available Plug-ins:

Combine for High Dynamic Range (HDR)

Microscopic imaging

3D modeling

Batch processing

Fractal interpolation

Add text and vector graphics

Raster Export

JPEG 2000 file format handler

TIFF file format handler

Profile line

PCA Color Stretch

8fb Plug-in Interface

Developers’ information

Requirements: Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows Me, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows NT, Windows 98

Language pack: Danish, Dutch, French, Finnish, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian

There is no tech support for this free application but there is an active forum.

Recommendation: This is a  terrific free program for those those who are familiar with, or interested in, the more technical aspects of image analysis/processing. Considering the high end abilities of this application, it is surprising that it is freeware.

Download at: Download.com

There are additional free graphic software reviews elsewhere on this Blog, including download links. Check out the category Graphic Software on the sidebar.

 

If you enjoyed this article, 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.

2 Comments

Filed under downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Image Editors, Photo Tools, Productivity Software, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

Evonsoft Computer Repair – Free, One Click System Utility

System utilities that incorporate multiple functions such as a Registry Cleaner, Junk File Remover, Privacy Cleanup, and in some applications, even more functionality, can be intimidating to new computer users.

New users are very often unfamiliar with both the technology itself, and the technical terms involved in using this type of application.

While it’s generally true that more advanced users want/need much more control than a one click system utility provides, this type of utility can be the ideal solution for a new user.

Evonsoft Computer Repair is one such advanced system utility for Windows that allows the user to safely remove spyware, clean the registry, sweep for privacy issues, and clean junk files with a single mouse click.

According to the developers, with one click, Evonsoft Computer Repair will scan your computer and provide a list of the errors found by the application. You will then have the choice of cleaning each item individually, or allow the application to repair the errors automatically.

In my own testing, I found that the application was extremely fast and that it worked as advertised. I did find however, that the lack of a clear explanation left me feeling slightly uncomfortable. I suspect that more advanced users might also feel the same way.

On the other hand, this lack of explanation might be the very feature that the new user will find most appealing about this application. Most new computer users, in my experience, don’t want to know the details; they just want the job done.

Quick facts:

Scans and removes spyware and adware

Cleans your System and should boost performance

Repairs your PC and keeps it tuned

Very easy to use

Free – no adware, spyware, or viruses

System Requirements: 32-bit Windows Vista, XP, 2000, and 2003 Server.

Download at: Download.com

For a review, and a download link for similar free system utilities, checkout “Advanced WindowsCare Personal”, and “Glary Utilities – Perfect Collection of Free System Tools”, on this site.

2 Comments

Filed under Disk Cleaners, Freeware, Privacy, Registry Cleaners, Slow Computer, Software, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Free Image Analyzer 1.30 – Professional Photo Editor

If you’re a geeky photographer, then Image Analyzer 1.30 (latest release – August 30), could be just the program you’ve been searching for. This small (1.24MB), free, advanced, feature-rich image editor, comes complete with serious enhancement and analytical tools.

At the advanced level, this is not a program for the faint of heart, and requires a good understanding of photographic techniques.

While the program includes all the usual features found in most photo editing tools, such as red-eye removal, resizing, rotating, image cropping, image warping, scanner, camera and printer support, the advanced features would generally be used only by sophisticated users, or professional photographers.

A number of my friends, who are advanced users, tell me this program excels at a number of higher level tasks including refocusing an out of focus image. As well, using the fractal interpolation plug-in for resizing, even low resolution images can be printed at larger sizes with acceptable quality.

Since I am not a sophisticated user, in my view, this is a program best left to those who are familiar with, or interested in, the more technical aspects of image analysis/processing.

Considering the high end abilities of this application, it is surprising that it is freeware.

Quick facts:

Automatic brightness, contrast, gamma and saturation adjustment

Build-in conventional and adaptive filters for noise reduction, edge extraction etc.

Retouch tools

Retinex filter for reducing shadows and increasing local contrast

Deconvolution for out-of-focus and motion blur compensation

Easy red-eye removal

User specified filters in spatial and frequency domain

Resize, rotate, crop and warping of images

Scanner, camera and printer support

Read/write BMP, ICO, CUR, WMF, EMF, PNG, MNG, GIF, PCX, JPEG and JPEG

Read RAS, PNM, PGM, PPM, HIPS and Matlab files

Morphological operations

Color model conversion: RGB, CMY, HSI, Lab, YCbCr, YIQ and PCA

Distance, Fourier and discrete cosine transformation

Math expression module for creating and transforming images

Plug-in system for adding more specialized features

Available Plug-ins:

Microscopic imaging

3D modeling

Batch processing

Fractal interpolation

Add text and vector graphics

Raster Export

TIFF reader

Profile line

PCA Color Stretch

8fb Plug-in Interface

There are additional free graphic software reviews elsewhere on this Blog, including download links. Check out the category Graphic Software on the sidebar.

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

Download at: Download.com or at the developer’s site MeeSoft.

5 Comments

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

Evonsoft Computer Repair – Free, Simple, System Utility for Novices

System utilities that incorporate multiple functions such as a Registry Cleaner, Junk File Remover, Privacy Cleanup, and in some applications, even more functionality, can be intimidating to new computer users.

New users are very often unfamiliar with both the technology itself, and the technical terms involved in using this type of application.

While it’s true that more advanced users want/need much more control than a one click system utility provides, this type of utility can be the ideal solution for a new user.

Evonsoft Computer Repair is one such advanced system utility for Windows that allows the user to safely remove spyware, clean the registry, sweep for privacy issues, and clean junk files with a mouse click.

According to the developers, with 1 click, Evonsoft Computer Repair will scan your computer and provide a list of the errors found by the application. You will then have the choice of cleaning each item individually, or allow the application to repair the errors automatically.

In my own testing, I found that the application was extremely fast and that it worked as advertised. I did find however, that the lack of a clear explanation left me feeling slightly uncomfortable. I suspect that more advanced users might also feel the same way.

On the other hand, this lack of explanation might be the very feature that the new user will find most appealing about this application. Most new computer users, in my experience, don’t want to know the details; they just want the job done.

Quick Facts:

Scans and removes spyware and adware

Cleans your System and should boost performance

Repairs your PC and keeps it tuned

Very easy to use

Free – no adware, spyware, or viruses

System Requirements: 32-bit Windows Vista, XP, 2000, and 2003 Server.

Download at: Download.com

8 Comments

Filed under Disk Cleaners, Freeware, Privacy, Registry Cleaners, Slow Computer, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System File Protection, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Image Analyzer 1.29 – A Free, Seriously Geeky Photo Editor

Image Analyzer 1.29 is a small (1.24MB) free, advanced, feature-rich image editor with serious enhancement and analytical tools. At the advanced level, this is not a program for the faint of heart, and requires a good understanding of photographic techniques.

While the program includes all the usual features found in most photo editing tools, such as red-eye removal, resizing, rotating, image cropping, image warping, scanner, camera and printer support, the advanced features would generally be used only by sophisticated users, or professional photographers.

A number of my friends, who are advanced users, tell me this program excels at a number of higher level tasks including refocusing an out of focus image. As well, using the fractal interpolation plug-in for resizing, even low resolution images can be printed at larger sizes with acceptable quality.

Since I am not a sophisticated user, in my view this is a program best left to those who are familiar with, or interested in, the more technical aspects of image analysis/processing. Considering the high end abilities of this application, it is surprising that it is freeware.

Quick facts:

  • Automatic brightness, contrast, gamma and saturation adjustment
  • Build-in conventional and adaptive filters for noise reduction, edge extraction etc.
  • Retouch tools
  • Retinex filter for reducing shadows and increasing local contrast
  • Deconvolution for out-of-focus and motion blur compensation
  • Easy red-eye removal
  • User specified filters in spatial and frequency domain
  • Resize, rotate, crop and warping of images
  • Scanner, camera and printer support
  • Read/write BMP, ICO, CUR, WMF, EMF, PNG, MNG, GIF, PCX, JPEG and JPEG
  • Read RAS, PNM, PGM, PPM, HIPS and Matlab files
  • Morphological operations
  • Color model conversion: RGB, CMY, HSI, Lab, YCbCr, YIQ and PCA
  • Distance, Fourier and discrete cosine transformation
  • Math expression module for creating and transforming images
  • Plug-in system for adding more specialized features

Available Plug-ins:

  • Microscopic imaging
  • 3D modeling
  • Batch processing
  • Fractal interpolation
  • Add text and vector graphics
  • Raster Export
  • TIFF reader
  • Profile line
  • PCA Color Stretch
  • 8fb Plug-in Interface

There are additional free graphic software reviews elsewhere on this Blog, including download links. Check out the category Graphic Software on the sidebar

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

Download at: Download.com

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Filed under Freeware, Graphic Software, Productivity Software, Software, Windows Tips and Tools