Tag Archives: analyzing

EULAlyzer – A Free Tool To Help “Uncomplicate” End User License Agreements

imageI’ve always considered that reading a EULA (End User License Agreement), is sort of like reading the phone book; and who reads a phone book?

I must admit that I get bored and distracted when reading EULA text; especially since I’m forced to read reams of small text, in a small window, which requires me to scroll continuously. I suspect, I’m not alone in this, and that most people just skim over the text; or more to the point – don’t bother reading the EULA at all.

However, there’s a downside risk in not reading the EULA carefully. By not reading the EULA carefully, we may let ourselves in for some unwelcome, annoying, and potentially dangerous surprises.

One of the most important aspects of any software license agreement is, the information it provides concerning the intentions of the software, and whether there are additional components bundled with the main application.

Additional components that could potentially display pop-up ads, transmit personal identifiable information back to the developer, or use unique tracking identifiers.

Not all software applications contain these additional components of course, but you need to be aware of those that do when you are considering installing an application.

Software developers who choose to employ these tools (to gather information for example), are generally not underhanded, and in most cases there is full disclosure of their intent contained in the EULA. But here’s the rub – virtually no one reads EULAs.

EULAlyzer, a free application from BrightFort (formerly: Javacool Software), the SpywareBlaster developer, can make reading and analyzing license agreements, while not a pleasure, at least not as painful.

This free application quickly scans a EULA, and points out words, statements, and phrases, that you need to consider carefully. Results are rated by “Interest Level” and organized by category, so it’s easy to zero-in on the issue that concern you the most.

image

Working similar to an anti-spyware program, EULAlyzer flags suspicious wording on a scale of 1 to 10 – based on how critical the disclosed information can be to your security, or privacy.

Let’s take a look at the license agreement for Piriform’s CCleaner.

You’ll note that there three areas of limited concern that have been flagged – as shown in the screen shot, below. Clicking on “Goto” icon will expand the related wording.

I’m very familiar with Piriform’s freeware applications – nevertheless, as is my habit, I read the EULA carefully.

image

Let’s take a look at the license agreement for GOM Audio Player.

Again, EULAlyzer has flagged a number of issues – but, in this case, these are issues that I considered very carefully before installation this application.

image

If you, like me, download freeware frequently, then you need to read the software license agreement carefully. EULAlyzer will make it easier for you to focus on the important aspects of the agreement.

There is no doubt that we could all use a little help in working our way through these wordy, but necessary agreements. The reality is, all software EULAs should be read carefully.

Fast facts:

Discover potentially hidden behavior about the software you’re going to install.

Pick up on things you missed when reading license agreements.

Keep a saved database of the license agreements you view.

Instant results – super-fast analysis in just a second.

EULAlyzer makes it simple to instantly identify highly interesting and important parts of license agreements, privacy policies, and other similar documents, including language that deals with:

Advertising

Tracking

Data Collection

Privacy-Related Concerns

Installation of Third-Party or Additional Software

Inclusion of External Agreements By Reference

Potentially Suspicious Clauses

and, much more…

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8.

Download at: Major Geeks

12 Comments

Filed under Don't Get Scammed, downloads, Freeware, Software, Utilities

Digital Sheep – Grazing on the Internet

imageWith the Internet and social media providing instant satisfaction and entertainment, it’s very easy to get caught up in consuming an absurd amount of information. Instead of being spoon fed commercials and media from a handful of television channels, now it is coming from everywhere and directly to your person at all times. Though people still have the freedom to comment and believe what they will, the vast majority of internet users have simply evolved into digital sheep devouring content constantly.

In the modern age, digital sheep are information technology users (more specifically, Internet users) who are happy and satisfied to “graze” off the vast information fields available on the web. In other words, they’re just consumers, not bothering to produce anything—but more importantly, are unaware of the potential consequences of their attitude and behavior.

“But, wait, now,” you might say, “haven’t most people always preferred to be consumers rather than creators? Isn’t it true only a handful of people have written books, magazines and newspapers for the general population?”

For sure, media from the beginning has been lopsided—i.e., the many have always consumed what the few have created. The Internet, however, has greatly changed the playing field, and not just in terms of aesthetics or of professional responsibilities.

The Internet is a place where people come to not only be entertained, to socialize and to be educated, it’s also a place where they come to work, to share information and to connect with other people in ways that go beyond “socializing.” In other words, people now have an opportunity to participate more meaningfully in the process called “media” than ever before.

Beyond that, being just a consumer carries with it a few negative connotations and dangerous burdens. For one thing, it means that people are accepting what they read, often without analyzing it for accuracy and acceptability; it also means that they are following rather than making any attempt to lead or to at least participate meaningfully in the process.

The question everyone has to ask is, “Do I want to be ‘digital sheep,’ or do I want to actually participate in the information creation and evaluation diaspora?”

The fact is that few people, given the chance, would formally elect to be “digital sheep.” In fact, one might say that this is one of the mishaps of the information age—i.e., having people who have fallen into the role, without having been given much of a choice. On the other hand, everyone has a choice. The problem is that some people aren’t exercising it.

If you wish to avoid becoming (or presently being, as the case may be), digital sheep, these suggestions may be of use:

1. Become aware of the burdens and responsibilities inherent in Digital Asset Management (DAM) marketplace. By becoming better aware of the technology, you might better avoid becoming a victim of its intricacies and demands.

2. Don’t fall into the “follow the information Pied Piper” syndrome. Always look at what you read closely, deciding if you really want to follow, challenge what you read, or build on what is offered.

3. Listen to peers on your own level or beneath you (in position or training), not just so called “A-list” experts and pundits.

4. Don’t just attend networking events attended only by big shots—you can get important information from other venues as well.

5. Expand the quality and versatility of your reading material. Sticking, for example, to technical blogs or certain news sources may hamper your intellectual growth.

6. Read material beyond what you catch on the Internet. And don’t just focus on the material on the first few pages put there by search engines. Search engines have their agenda—it shouldn’t necessarily coincide with your yours.

7. Strive to write blogs, articles or even responses to materials you read. By doing so, you’re engaging with, not just consuming, material on the Internet.

8. Strive to become more technologically savvy. Find out, for example, what’s going on within the phone app developing industry. This will help to keep you educated within one of the fastest growing industries: the mobile device industry.

9. Become more of a risk taker. Digital sheep are content to just exist and don’t want to take any unnecessary risks. Well, risk is usually involved in any great achievement opportunity.

10. Meaningfully connect with people, establishing relationships that will mutually enhance lives. When you connect with people, you’re less likely to treat them like sheep; by the same token, people are less likely to treat you as sheep if they look up to you and respect you.

This guest post is contributed by Grady Winston. Grady is an avid writer and Internet entrepreneur from Indianapolis. He has worked in the fields of technology, business, marketing, and advertising – implementing multiple creative projects and solutions for a range of clients.

4 Comments

Filed under Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, Point of View, social networking

Who’s Using Your Ports? Find Out With These Free Port Analyzers

botnet computers

As a savvy Internet user you are well armed when it comes to ensuring your system is not open to compromise, or exploitation, by malware.

You have protected your machine with an appropriate defense system including a Firewall (either software or hardware), sound and effective antimalware applications (including anti-virus and antispyware), anti-keylogger, and an additional protection layer against zero-day threats with the installation of an application such as ThreatFire.

But, you can take your existing defense system to another level by installing a small application which will provide you with the tools you need to analyze the activity on your ports.

There are a number of free real-time port analyzers available for download, and the following is a brief description of two such applications.

If you are familiar and comfortable with using the Windows command structure, then you may want to try the command line utility Netstat, which displays protocol statistics and current TCP/IP connections. This utility and the process are covered later in this article.

But first:

Process and Port Analyzer 2

Process and Port Analyzer 2 is a real time process, port, and network connections analyzer, which will allow you to find which processes are using which ports. A good little utility that does what it says it will do.

image

Quick Facts:

View currently running processes along with the full path and file which started it.

View the active TCP Listeners and the processes using them.

View the active TCP and UDP connections along with Process ID.

Double click on a process to view the list of DLL’s.

Download at: Download.com

CurrPorts

CurrPorts allows you to view a list of ports that are currently in use, and the application that is using it. You can close a selected connection and also terminate the process using it.

As well, you can export all, or selected items to an HTML or text report. Additional information includes the local port name, local/remote IP address, highlighted status changes and more.

image

Quick Facts:

View current active ports and there starting applications

Close selected connections and processes

Save a text/ HTML report

Info on local port name, local/remote IP address, highlighted status changes

Download at: Download.com

Netstat:

Windows includes a command line utility which can help you determine if you have Spyware/Botware running on your system. Netstat displays protocol statistics and current TCP/IP connections.

I use this utility as a test, to ensure that the anti-malware tools and Firewall running on my systems are functioning correctly, and that there are no open outgoing connections to the Internet that I am not aware of.

image

How to use Netstat:

You should close all open programs before you begin the following process, if you are unsure which ports/connections are normally open while you are connected to the Internet. On the other hand, if you are familiar with the ports/connections that are normally open, there is no need to close programs.

There are a number of methods that will take you to a command prompt, but the following works well.

Click Start>Run>type “cmd” – without the quotes>click OK> this will open a command box.

From the command prompt, type Netstat –a (be sure to leave a space), to display all connections and listening ports.

You can obtain additional information by using the following switches.

Type netstat -r to display the contents of the IP routing table, and any persistent routes.

The -n switch tells Netstat not to convert addresses and port numbers to names, which speeds up execution.

The netstat -s option shows all protocol statistics.

The netstat-p option can be used to show statistics for a specific protocol or together with the -s option to show connections only for the protocol specified.

The -e switch displays interface statistics.

Running Netstat occasionally is a prudent move, since it allows you to double check which applications are connecting to the Internet.

If you find there are application connections to the Internet, or open ports, that you are unfamiliar with, a Google search should provide answers. A very good source of information is Steve Gibson’s website, Shields Up, where you can test all the ports on your machine, as well as testing the efficiency of your Firewall. Take the Firewall test; you may be surprised at the results!

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.

4 Comments

Filed under Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Network Tools, Software, System Security, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

2 Free Port Checkers – CurrPorts and Process and Port Analyzer

image If I was a malware writer, and some days I wonder why I’m not since it’s so easy, the most important function of the malware would be to “phone home”, with the information I had targeted to steal. There’s nothing unusual about this, since much of the malware currently infecting the Internet does just that.

So, keeping that in mind, when I have an issue on one of my home machines, and occasionally I do, the very first thing I check is the state of the ports on that machine. Actually, since I’m involved in Internet security, I monitor my open ports and Internet connections frequently throughout a browsing session.

At first glance you might think port checking is time consuming and not worth the effort. But it is worth the effort, and it’s not time consuming. More to the point, in my view, it is a critical component of the layered defense approach to Internet security that regular readers of this site are familiar with.

I don’t want to shatter any illusions  for those of you who believe that the Internet is “free” but, when running a port checker, you might be unpleasantly surprised at the number of ad servers that hold open ports on your machine.

There are a number of free real-time port analyzers available for download and the following is a brief description of each. If you are familiar and comfortable with using the Windows command structure, then you may want to try the command line utility Netstat, which displays protocol statistics and current TCP/IP connections. This utility and the process, are covered later in this article.

But first:

Process and Port Analyzer is a real time process, port and network connections analyzer which will allow you to find which processes are using which ports. A good little utility that does what it says it will do.

image

Quick Facts:

View currently running processes along with the full path and file which started it

View the active TCP Listeners and the processes using them

View the active TCP and UDP connections along with Process ID

Double click on a process to view the list of DLL’s

Download at: Download.com

CurrPorts (this is the port tool I use daily), allows you to view a list of ports that are currently in use, and the application that is using it. You can close a selected connection and also terminate the process using it. As well, you can export all, or selected items to an HTML or text report. Additional information includes the local port name, local/remote IP address, highlighted status changes and more.

image

Quick Facts:

View current active ports and there starting applications

Close selected connections and processes

Save a text/ HTML report

Info on local port name, local/remote IP address, highlighted status changes

Download at: Download.com

Netstat:

Windows XP includes a command line utility which will help you determine if you have Spyware/Botware running on your system. Netstat displays protocol statistics and current TCP/IP connections.

I use this utility as a test, to ensure that the anti-malware tools and Firewall running on my systems are functioning correctly, and that there are no open outgoing connections to the Internet that I am not aware of.

image

How to use Netstat:

You should close all open programs before you begin the following process, if you are unsure which ports/connections are normally open while you are connected to the Internet. On the other hand, if you are familiar with the ports/connections that are normally open, there is no need to close programs.

There are a number of methods that will take you to a command prompt, but the following works well.

Click Start>Run>type “cmd” – without the quotes>click OK> this will open a command box.

From the command prompt, type Netstat –a (be sure to leave a space), to display all connections and listening ports.

You can obtain additional information by using the following switches.

Type netstat -r to display the contents of the IP routing table, and any persistent routes.

The -n switch tells Netstat not to convert addresses and port numbers to names, which speeds up execution.

The netstat -s option shows all protocol statistics.

The netstat-p option can be used to show statistics for a specific protocol or together with the -s option to show connections only for the protocol specified.

The -e switch displays interface statistics.

Running Netstat occasionally is a prudent move, since it allows you to double check which applications are connecting to the Internet.

If you find there are application connections to the Internet, or open ports, that you are unfamiliar with, a Google search should provide answers.

Steve Gibson’s website, Shields Up, is a terrific source of information where you can test all the ports on your machine as well as testing the efficiency of your Firewall. I recommend that you take the Firewall test; you may be surprised at the results!

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.

1 Comment

Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety Tools, Software, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools

Port Testing With Process And Port Analyzer, CurrPorts and Netstat

botnet computers Each time that you connect to the Internet you are wandering through a raucous neighborhood which has a reputation for being jam-packed with predators.

These predators are intent on stealing your money and personal information, installing damaging programs on your computer, or misleading you with an online scam.

As a savvy Internet user you are, most likely, generally well armed when it comes to ensuring your system is not open to compromise, or exploitation, by malware in the wild.

It is probable you have protected your machine with an appropriate defense system including a firewall (either software or hardware), a sound and effective malware suite (including anti-virus and spyware), and an additional protection layer against zero-day threats with the installation of an application such as ThreatFire, a free application developed by PC Tools.

But you can take your existing defense system to another level by installing a small application which will provide you with the tools you need to analyze the activity on your ports.

There are a number of free real-time port analyzers available for download and the following is a brief description of each. If you are familiar and comfortable with using the Windows command structure, then you may want to try the command line utility Netstat, which displays protocol statistics and current TCP/IP connections. This utility and the process are covered later in this article.

But first:

Process and Port Analyzer is a real time process, port and network connections analyzer which will allow you to find which processes are using which ports. A good little utility that does what it says it will do.

Process-And-Port-Analyzer 1

Quick Facts:

View currently running processes along with the full path and file which started it

View the active TCP Listeners and the processes using them

View the active TCP and UDP connections along with Process ID

Double click on a process to view the list of DLL’s

Download at: Download.com

CurrPorts allows you to view a list of ports that are currently in use, and the application that is using it. You can close a selected connection and also terminate the process using it. As well, you can export all, or selected items to an HTML or text report. Additional information includes the local port name, local/remote IP address, highlighted status changes and more.

currports 1

Quick Facts:

View current active ports and there starting applications

Close selected connections and processes

Save a text/ HTML report

Info on local port name, local/remote IP address, highlighted status changes

Download at: Download.com

Netstat:

Windows XP includes a command line utility which will help you determine if you have Spyware/Botware running on your system. Netstat displays protocol statistics and current TCP/IP connections.

I use this utility as a test, to ensure that the anti-malware tools and Firewall running on my systems are functioning correctly, and that there are no open outgoing connections to the Internet that I am not aware of.

Netstat

How to use Netstat:

You should close all open programs before you begin the following process, if you are unsure which ports/connections are normally open while you are connected to the Internet. On the other hand, if you are familiar with the ports/connections that are normally open, there is no need to close programs.

There are a number of methods that will take you to a command prompt, but the following works well.

Click Start>Run>type “cmd” – without the quotes>click OK> this will open a command box.

From the command prompt, type Netstat –a (be sure to leave a space), to display all connections and listening ports.

You can obtain additional information by using the following switches.

Type netstat -r to display the contents of the IP routing table, and any persistent routes.

The -n switch tells Netstat not to convert addresses and port numbers to names, which speeds up execution.

The netstat -s option shows all protocol statistics.

The netstat-p option can be used to show statistics for a specific protocol or together with the -s option to show connections only for the protocol specified.

The -e switch displays interface statistics.

Running Netstat occasionally is a prudent move, since it allows you to double check which applications are connecting to the Internet.

If you find there are application connections to the Internet, or open ports, that you are unfamiliar with, a Google search should provide answers. A very good source of information is Steve Gibson’s website, Shields Up, where you can test all the ports on your machine as well as testing the efficiency of your Firewall. Take the Firewall test; you may be surprised at the results!

2 Comments

Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Don't Get Hacked, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Interconnectivity, Networking, Safe Surfing, Software, System Security, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Another Layer of Internet Safety – Probe Your Ports

Each time that you connect to the Internet you are wandering through a raucous neighborhood which has a reputation for being jam-packed with predators. These predators are intent on stealing your money and personal information, installing damaging programs on your computer, or misleading you with an online scam.

As a savvy Internet user you are, most likely, generally well armed when it comes to ensuring your system is not open to compromise, or exploitation, by malware in the wild.

It is probable you have protected your machine with an appropriate defense system including a firewall (either software or hardware), a sound and effective malware suite (including anti-virus and spyware), and an additional protection layer against zero-day threats with the installation of an application such as ThreatFire 3, a free application developed by PC Tools.

But you can take your existing defense system to another level by installing a small application which will provide you with the tools you need to analyze the activity on your ports.

There are a number of free real-time port analyzers available for download and the following is a brief description of each. If you are familiar and comfortable with using the Windows command structure, then you may want to try the command line utility Netstat, which displays protocol statistics and current TCP/IP connections. This utility and the process are covered later in this article.

But first:

Process and Port Analyzer is a real time process, port and network connections analyzer which will allow you to find which processes are using which ports. A good little utility that does what it says it will do.

Quick Facts:

View currently running processes along with the full path and file which started it

View the active TCP Listeners and the processes using them

View the active TCP and UDP connections along with Process ID

Double click on a process to view the list of DLL’s

Download at: Download.com

CurrPorts allows you to view a list of ports that are currently in use, and the application that is using it. You can close a selected connection and also terminate the process using it. As well, you can export all, or selected items to an HTML or text report. Additional information includes the local port name, local/remote IP address, highlighted status changes and more.

Quick Facts:

View current active ports and there starting applications

Close selected connections and processes

Save a text/ HTML report

Info on local port name, local/remote IP address, highlighted status changes

Download at: Download.com

Netstat:

Windows XP includes a command line utility which will help you determine if you have Spyware/Botware running on your system. Netstat displays protocol statistics and current TCP/IP connections.

I use this utility as a test, to ensure that the anti-malware tools and Firewall running on my systems are functioning correctly, and that there are no open outgoing connections to the Internet that I am not aware of.

How to use Netstat:

You should close all open programs before you begin the following process, if you are unsure which ports/connections are normally open while you are connected to the Internet. On the other hand, if you are familiar with the ports/connections that are normally open, there is no need to close programs.

There are a number of methods that will take you to a command prompt, but the following works well.

Click Start>Run>type “cmd” – without the quotes>click OK> this will open a command box.

From the command prompt, type Netstat –a (be sure to leave a space), to display all connections and listening ports.

You can obtain additional information by using the following switches.

Type netstat -r to display the contents of the IP routing table, and any persistent routes.

The -n switch tells Netstat not to convert addresses and port numbers to names, which speeds up execution.

The netstat -s option shows all protocol statistics.

The netstat-p option can be used to show statistics for a specific protocol or together with the -s option to show connections only for the protocol specified.

The -e switch displays interface statistics.

Running Netstat occasionally is a prudent move, since it allows you to double check which applications are connecting to the Internet.

If you find there are application connections to the Internet, or open ports, that you are unfamiliar with, a Google search should provide answers. A very good source of information is Steve Gibson’s website, Shields Up, where you can test all the ports on your machine as well as testing the efficiency of your Firewall. Take the Firewall test; you may be surprised at the results!

2 Comments

Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety, Internet Safety Tools, Online Safety, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System Security, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Free Port Analyzers – Defeat Spyware/Botware


Windows XP has a command line utility which will help you determine if you have Spyware/Botware running on your system. Netstat displays protocol statistics and current TCP/IP connections.

I use this utility as a test, to ensure that the anti-malware tools and Firewall running on my systems are functioning correctly, and that there are no open outgoing connections to the Internet that I am not aware of.

How to use Netstat:

You should close all open programs before you begin the following process, if you are unsure which ports/connections are normally open while you are connected to the Internet. On the other hand, if you are familiar with the ports/connections that are normally open, there is no need to close programs.

There are a number of methods that will take you to a command prompt, but the following works well.

Click Start>Run>type “cmd” – without the quotes>click OK> this will open a command box.

From the command prompt, type Netstat –a (be sure to leave a space), to display all connections and listening ports.

You can obtain additional information by using the following switches.

Type netstat -r to display the contents of the IP routing table and any persistent routes.

The -n switch tells Netstat not to convert addresses and port numbers to names, which speeds up execution.

The netstat -s option shows all protocol statistics.

The netstat-p option can be used to show statistics for a specific protocol or together with the -s option to show connections only for the protocol specified.

The -e switch displays interface statistics.

Running Netstat occasionally is a prudent move, since it allows you to double check which applications are connecting to the Internet.

If you find there are application connections to the Internet, or open ports, that you are unfamiliar with, a Google search should provide answers. A very good source of information is Steve Gibson’s website, Shields Up, where you can test all the ports on your machine, as well as testing the efficiency of your Firewall. Take the Firewall test; you may be surprised at the results!

If you are unfamiliar with, or uncomfortable with using the command structure, there are a number of free real-time port analyzers available for download.

Process and Port Analyzer is a real time process, port and network connections analyzer which will allow you to find which processes are using which ports. A good little utility that does what it says it will do.

Quick Facts:

· View currently running processes along with the full path and file which started it

· View the active TCP Listeners and the processes using them

· View the active TCP and UDP connections along with Process ID

· Double click on a process to view the list of DLL’s

Download at: Download.com

CurrPorts allows you to view a list of ports that are currently in use, and the application that is using it. You can close a selected connection and also terminate the process using it. As well, you can export all, or selected items to an HTML or text report. Additional information includes the local port name, local/remote IP address, highlighted status changes and more.

Quick Facts:

· View current active ports and there starting applications

· Close selected connections and processes

· Save a text/ HTML report

· Info on local port name, local/remote IP address, highlighted status changes

Download at: Download.com

1 Comment

Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Diagnostic Software, Free Security Programs, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety, Internet Safety Tools, Online Safety, Safe Surfing, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System Security, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools