Tag Archives: Mac OS X

Paragon Virtualization Manager 12 Compact for FREE! – Save $29.95 On This 3 Day Giveaway

Virtualization is all the rage. With good reason – this very cool technology, if used correctly, has the power to control malware intrusion through the use of a ‘”virtual” environment, rather than operating in a “real” environment.

But, running in a virtual environment, provides an opportunity to do so much more than simply building a buffer between you and the bad guys. Program files, data files, and application directory structures can all be stored on a Virtual Disk Drive.

So, what can you do with Virtualization Manager 12 Compact? As it turns out – quite a lot. To avoid any confusion – this application is a “Virtualization Manager”. You must have virtualization software such as, Oracle VirtualBox 4, Microsoft Virtual PC, VMware Workstation, VMware Fusion, already installed.

Usage Scenarios – From the site:

Scenario 1: Use different operating systems on one computer.

Virtualization allows parallel use of several incompatible operating systems on one computer. You can run Windows, Linux, Mac OS X inside of virtual machine on one host machine.

Scenario 2: Continue using your old PC’s applications – enjoy your favorite applications in a virtual environment on your new computer.

When it’s time to upgrade to a new PC and operating system, you may find that some of your favorite applications haven’t been updated yet to work with it. Using Virtualization Manager 12 Compact, you can make a virtual clone of your old system before migrating to a new computer. Take advantage of an up-to-date powerful computer while still having access to favorite applications from the old computer.

If your old computer is corrupted but you have a backup image of your old system made with Paragon software – you can virtualize it using Virtualization Manager installed on your new PC.

Scenario 3: Safely evaluate new software.

New software can be unintentionally harmful to your computer. You can easily avoid negative system conflicts by creating a virtual clone of your current physical system using Virtualization Manager 12 Compact.

Try new software in a safe environment and decide whether it works and is exactly what you need before making it a permanent addition to your collection.  If changes made on a virtual machine were successful you can just migrate your updated system from virtual environment to your PC.

Scenario 4: Make a system bootable on different virtual environment.

Virtualization Manager makes your system bootable when migrating to new hardware by automatically injecting the required drivers in your operating system. If you unsuccessfully virtualized your system with a 3rd party tool and it became unbootable, the problem can be resolved with Virtualization Manager.

I have not tested this application extensively (just heard about this free offer this morning) – but, I have installed it and taken it for a quick run. Based on my initial impression I’ll give it high marks for ease of setup, and ease of use. The bottom line – a reasonably solid virtualization manager.

Here’s a quick run through:

In the following example I’ve chosen to create a virtual disk.

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Clicking on this choice opens the “Create Virtual Disk Wizard” as shown below.

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I’ve set the initial size at 5 GB using Microsoft Virtual PC. You can download Microsoft Virtual PC – here.

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Done! How hard was that?

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System requirements: Windows 7 (32/64-bit), Vista (32/64-bit), XP Professional (32/64-bit), XP Home.

Supported Virtual Machines: Oracle VirtualBox 4, Microsoft Virtual PC, VMware Workstation, VMware Fusion.

This giveaway offer expires April 20th, 8 am (GMT-4).

How to get Paragon Virtualization Manager: Go to the Paragon Facebook page – click the like button – follow the instructions.

Here’s a sample of the process.

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Special thanks to regular reader Delenn13 for the heads up on this free offer.

6 Comments

Filed under Giveaways, Hard Drive Cloning, Hard Drive Imaging, Software, Virtualization

Time For Tor? – An Open Source Anonymous Surfing Application

imageOver the years, I’ve posted more than a few articles on anonymous surfing and the applications, generally free, which makes that possible.

I’ve noted, over that time, that the majority of readers of these article have a Middle East IP – particularly Iran. Little wonder, when one considers the human rights violations committed by this regime. Remaining anonymous online in Iran, could literally be the difference between life and death.

A typical email from an Iranian reader:

Dear Bill

I live in Iran – I need to know news about my hometown, but in Iran we are faced with filtering…very hard filtering. It makes me depressed, but one of my friends introduced your website to me and told me you can help me.

If you think that the crazies who rule Iran, and Syria – just 2 of these Middle East dysfunctional societies), where Internet usage is scrutinized on an individual basis – are the only unhinged and delusional nutters Internet users have to deal with – you’re wrong.

The erosion of fundamental rights and freedoms, including the right to surf the Internet without government oversight, seems to be happening at an ever increasing pace – everywhere.

In a previous article on anonymous Internet surfing tools (October, 2010), I wrote – “Thankfully, I live in a part of the world where Government censorship of my Internet activities is a non-issue; the Canadian government does not restrict my access to any part of the Internet.

I wish I could go on to say, that I live in a part of the world where the Government has NO interest in my Internet activities, But that, unfortunately, would be like wishing on a star – and, equally as effective.

While I have no faith whatsoever, that those in power will continue to use the gathered information in a restricted, and appropriate fashion – it’s not something that I dwell on. After all, there is nothing I can do about it – so, I’m forced to slot it into my comfort zone.

In the past week however, I’ve been ripped out of my comfort zone, as have most other Canadians, who have revolted against legislation proposed by the quasi-fascist Conservative Party of Canada – the current political party in power (a government elected by only 26% of eligible Canadian voters) – led by Stephen Harper, a fundamentalist Christian, and his minion Vic Toews – another fundamentalist Christian .

In 2008, Toews was divorced by his wife of 30 years, after it was discovered that he had fathered a child with a younger woman – who may have been his child’s babysitter. Just one more example of the “moral right” practicing its favorite pastime – hypocrisy.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews faced a fierce online backlash over Bill C-30, which would require internet service providers to turn over client information to law enforcement agencies without a warrant.<br />
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews faced a fierce online backlash over Bill C-30, which would require internet service providers to turn over client information to law enforcement agencies without a warrant. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

The proposed legislation would create  a mandatory surveillance regime. Simply put – unfettered government surveillance directed at Canadian Internet users.

The backlash against this perverted legislation was both immediate, and overwhelming. Canadians have made it clear – they will not allow themselves to be figuratively handcuffed. Frankly, I’ve never seen a political backlash remotely like it. The typically mild mannered and polite Canadian is angry, disgusted, and hell-bent on ensuring this abomination of a legislative bill – never sees the light of day.

Still, until Harper and his gang of throwbacks to the Cro-Magnon era, are thrown out on their asses in the next general election, you might consider adding an anonymous surfing application to your toolbox.

The use of anonymous surfing applications is not restricted to breaking through obstructive Internet barriers of course. There are more obvious reasons, you may have for anonymous surfing, including – surfing in internet cafes, public terminals in libraries, or hotel business centers.

In fact, you may want to surf anonymously on any PC where you don’t want to leave traces of your private surfing activities to ensure protection from snooping web sites, annoying advertisers, employers, rogue police services, or curious family members.

One of the most popular anonymous surfing applications  (with good reason), is TOR – a VPN (a virtual private network) that encrypts via an SSH tunnel, in order to safeguard your Internet connection and, protect your anonymity properly.

In this post I won’t review Tor, since I’ve done so a number of times previously. Instead I’ll direct you to the following.

From the site:

What is Tor?

Tor is free software and an open network that helps you defend against a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security known as traffic analysis.

Tor works with many of your existing applications, including web browsers, instant messaging clients, remote login, and other applications based on the TCP protocol.

Overview 

Tor is a network of virtual tunnels that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the Internet. It also enables software developers to create new communication tools with built-in privacy features. Tor provides the foundation for a range of applications that allow organizations and individuals to share information over public networks without compromising their privacy.

Individuals use Tor to keep websites from tracking them and their family members, or to connect to news sites, instant messaging services, or the like when these are blocked by their local Internet providers. Tor’s hidden services let users publish web sites and other services without needing to reveal the location of the site. Individuals also use Tor for socially sensitive communication: chat rooms and web forums for rape and abuse survivors, or people with illnesses.

Journalists use Tor to communicate more safely with whistleblowers and dissidents. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) use Tor to allow their workers to connect to their home website while they’re in a foreign country, without notifying everybody nearby that they’re working with that organization.

Groups such as Indymedia recommend Tor for safeguarding their members’ online privacy and security. Activist groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recommend Tor as a mechanism for maintaining civil liberties online. Corporations use Tor as a safe way to conduct competitive analysis, and to protect sensitive procurement patterns from eavesdroppers.

Tor is suitable for installation on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, BSD, Unix, and Android.

For more information and download, visit the Tor Home Page.

12 Comments

Filed under Anonymous Surfing, downloads, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Open Source, Personal Perspective, Surveillance

Be Prepared for 2010’s Malware – PC Tools Malware Trends in 2010

image All the signposts point to 2010 being a banner year for cyber-criminals. Being prepared and being aware, while not a panacea, will continue to be a key element in mitigating risk exposure.

We’ve said it many times here, but it bears repeating – “Being aware of Internet threats is critical to your security on the Internet, so that you can protect yourself and stay ahead of the curve. Knowledge is a critical ingredient in ensuring your personal safety on the Internet”.

In this article, guest writer Sergei Shevchenko, Senior Malware Analyst at PC Tools, offers a peek into the 2010 malware landscape.

Cybercriminals operate in the same way as legitimate organizations – they’re looking for the best return on their investment. It’s therefore inevitable that as we move in to 2010 there will continue to be increased interest in producing malware that brings swift and healthy dividends, with a focus on new and diversified rogue security solutions and in continuing to employ social engineering techniques.

Malware authors will continue to shift their focus towards the services, platforms and architectures that are the most popular and offer the largest market share.

We can expect to see more attacks against Windows 7 and other new operating systems as their installed-base grows, such as Apple customers running Mac OS X. Users must ensure that they have comprehensive security solutions to protect them against new and unknown threats.

Traditional techniques were aimed at causing system shutdowns and denial of service attacks. Now Cybercriminals are more focused on data loss, financial fraud and identity theft and as such threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

Old techniques are unlikely to become completely obsolete – because often the greatest threats materialize when the least expected malware techniques re-emerge.

We expect future trends to blend existing malware techniques with new inventive schemes that assume tighter social interaction with the public and look less-underground related.

When the initial “accumulation” phase of the rogue security software businesses comes to completion, we might expect cybercriminals to start using their budgets for establishing call centers, support lines, virtual offices, registering off-shore companies, and even launching advertising campaigns.

Attacks will also be designed to exploit vulnerable systems and users by evading the latest detection systems and why behavior-based software is so integral to comprehensive protection. It recognizes that a threat is present and works to neutralize it.

Methods such as virtualization, behavioral analysis, cloud-based detection and remediation will all become increasingly important in detecting, repelling and removing the latest malware.

Users who keep an eye on the range of security software solutions on the market will be aware that many vendors already provide at least one of these services. The difficulty lies with making an informed choice on which offers the best protection – and that’s where the independent anti-malware testing labs come to the fore.

Stay tuned – in the next few days we will be reviewing PC Tools Internet Security Suite 2010, and we will be offering you an opportunity to win one of ten free licenses in a contest give away.

In recent independent tests performed by AV-Test GmbH, a leading service provider for IT security testing, PC Tools Internet Security 2010, scored the highest of the 12 products tested in blocking malware, with a a success rate of 94.8 percent.

Followed by Symantec Norton Internet Security Suite 2010, with 92.8 percent; Kaspersky Internet Security 2010, 89.8 percent; Panda Internet Security 2010, 88.7 percent; Avira Premium Security Suite 9.0, 87.2 percent.

As well, we are currently running a contest give away in which you have an opportunity to win one of ten free licenses for PC Tools Spyware Doctor with Anti-Virus. Go to, Spyware Doctor with Anti-Virus 2010 – Worth the Money? on this site, and and get your entry in.

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.

4 Comments

Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Antivirus Applications, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Guest Writers, Internet Safety, Internet Security Alerts, Malware Advisories, PC Tools, Software, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools

I’m a Canadian and I Now Own a Piece of Skype!

image Like most working Canadians, I am required to contribute a percentage of my earnings to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), a government retirement plan, which will provide me with a monthly pension benefit on retirement. Well, that’s the promise.

This is a bit of a joke, since I have yet to meet a retired person who could survive on this benefit – although there may be some, somewhere.

Since most of my family are Americans, I’m reasonably familiar with that country’s Social Security program as well. So, the lack of adequate income upon retirement produced by Social Security, is also a familiar refrain.

It’s not startling news of course that government run plans such as these, are generally poorly managed; often producing a less than adequate return on investment, which naturally leads to a reduction in income stream at retirement, for those who have contributed over a working lifetime

I was surprised then (actually I was shocked), to learn this morning, that the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has taken an investment position in Skype, my favorite Internet communication application. My first thought – maybe the Canada Pension Plan has decided to reassess its antiquated investment rules, and boldly step into the twenty first century.

It has long been rumored that eBay was looking for a buyer for its Skype internet phone service and today it appears it’s a “done deal”. eBay Inc. is spinning off Skype in a deal worth more than $2 billion US, to an investor group that includes the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. eBay however, will continue to hold a 35 per cent stake in Skype.

So, faithful reader, if you want to ensure my Canada Pension contributions add up to something more than a miserly sum when I retire, consider adding Skype to your list of must have applications.

You won’t regret it, and hopefully, neither will I since I’m sure to need the money on retirement.

All kidding aside, Skype is a terrific free application; an application I would be lost without. I use it through the day, every day, to communicate by video calling worldwide for free.

Take a look at my earlier review of Skype, and you might be surprised at the impact this application can have on your communications.

Skype – Right for Your Life?

Despite the fact that I’m an early adopter of most technology, surprisingly, it took me forever to give Skype a try. For communicating, I found the old fashioned telephone worked; and it does what it’s supposed to do with a minimum of fuss and bother. Just pick it up, dial and voila – instant communication. What could be simpler and easier than that?

As I found out, after giving Skype a test drive – maybe this free communication application! In fact, it has now become my preferred method of contact. I use the Skype video calling feature dozens of times a day to speak with contacts worldwide.

Kudos to my good friend TechPaul, at Tech for Everyone, for finally convincing me to give Skype a test drive. I’m glad I did.

In its basic form, Skype is a free communication package, using proprietary code, which allows users to make free computer to computer calls, including video calls, across the globe. As well, there are a bundle of additional features, that can be purchased at a low cost, which will expand the application’s functionality.

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Fast facts:

Improved sound quality over regular telephones.

Secure end-to-end encryption.

Uses peer-to-peer technology for even more enhanced security.

Video calling – I have to admit I find this feature fascinating.

Conference calling – a very cool feature.

Online status notification – online, away, do not disturb, invisible, offline.

Contact creation, including groups, and importation from MS Outlook and Outlook Express etc.

Screen sharing – I find a lot of uses for this feature.

Chat – I find this a great help for sharing URL’s which can then be opened during a video call to facilitate the sharing of information.

Upgrade features:

Call phones and mobiles

Receive calls from phones and mobiles with an online number

Voicemail – Send and receive voicemails

Forward calls to phones

Transfer calls to phones and mobiles

System requirements: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux. Sound input and output devices – microphone and speakers, or a headset. Of course, for video calling you’ll need a webcam.

Download at: Skype

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.

3 Comments

Filed under Communication, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Peer to Peer, Productivity Software, Skype, Software, Video Calling, VOIP, Windows Tips and Tools

Skype – Right for Your Life?

Despite the fact that I’m an early adopter of most technology, surprisingly, it took me forever to give Skype a try. For communicating, I found the old fashioned telephone worked; and it does what it’s supposed to do with a minimum of fuss and bother. Just pick it up, dial and voila – instant communication. What could be simpler and easier than that?

As I found out, after giving Skype a test drive – maybe this free communication application! In fact, it has now become my preferred method of contact. I use the Skype video calling feature dozens of times a day to speak with contacts worldwide.

Kudos to my good friend TechPaul, at Tech for Everyone, for finally convincing me to give Skype a test drive. I’m glad I did.

In its basic form, Skype is a free communication package, using proprietary code, which allows users to make free computer to computer calls, including video calls, across the globe. As well, there are a bundle of additional features, that can be purchased at a low cost, which will expand the application’s functionality.

image

(Credit: CNET)

Fast facts:

Improved sound quality over regular telephones.

Secure end-to-end encryption.

Uses peer-to-peer technology for even more enhanced security.

Video calling – I have to admit I find this feature fascinating.

Conference calling – a very cool feature.

Online status notification – online, away, do not disturb, invisible, offline.

Contact creation, including groups, and importation from MS Outlook and Outlook Express etc.

Screen sharing – I find a lot of uses for this feature.

Chat – I find this a great help for sharing URL’s which can then be opened during a video call to facilitate the sharing of information.

Upgrade features:

Call phones and mobiles

Receive calls from phones and mobiles with an online number

Voicemail – Send and receive voicemails

Forward calls to phones

Transfer calls to phones and mobiles

System requirements:

Windows, Mac OS X, Linux.

Sound input and output devices – microphone and speakers, or a headset. Of course, for video calling you’ll need a webcam.

Download at: Skype

6 Comments

Filed under Audio Applications, Communication, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Living Life, Peer to Peer, Productivity Software, Skype, Software, Video Calling, VOIP, Windows Tips and Tools

Stolen or Lost Laptop Tracker Software – Adeona Free

stolen-laptopYou’ll never lose your Laptop computer, and you take particular care to ensure it won’t be stolen, right? Of course you do. But does loss, or theft, of laptops happen? You bet.

Recent survey results from the Ponemon Institute, indicates that more than 10,000 laptops are lost, or stolen, each week at U.S. airports. Are you as surprised as I am?

Not surprised? Well, how about this astonishing statistic from the same survey: 65% of those lost or stolen laptops are not reclaimed, despite the fact that half the laptops contain confidential corporate information.

One can only hope that the data on these laptops was encrypted, although it seems when we read news stories about a lost or stolen laptop, the pattern seems to be as follows; – 200,000 (insert your own number here), bank account numbers, Social Security Numbers, names, addresses and dates of birth were on an unencrypted laptop stolen/lost earlier this week.

Other available statistics indicate that a laptop is stolen, not lost but stolen, every 53 seconds and 97% of stolen laptop computers are never recovered.

So what can you do to increase the probability that should your laptop be lost or stolen, you can increase the chances that it will be returned to you, than the above statistics indicate?

adeona

Adeona (named after the Roman goddess of safe returns), is a recently released small software client for tracking the location of a lost, or stolen laptop, that does not rely on a proprietary central service, but instead, is offered free by the Open Source community.

This powerful free software has been developed through collaboration involving the University of Washington, the University of California San Diego and the University of California Davis.

The developer’s website describes the application as follows:

Adeona is designed to use the Open Source OpenDHT distributed storage service to store location updates sent by a small software client installed on an owner’s laptop.

The client continually monitors the current location of the laptop, gathering information (such as IP addresses and local network topology) that can be used to identify its current location.

The client then uses strong cryptographic mechanisms to not only encrypt the location data, but also ensure that the cipher texts stored within OpenDHT are anonymous and unlinkable. At the same time, it is easy for an owner to retrieve location information.

Quick facts:

Private: Adeona uses state-of-the-art cryptographic mechanisms to ensure that the owner is the only party that can use the system to reveal the locations visited by a device.

Reliable: Adeona uses a community-based remote storage facility, ensuring retrievability of recent location updates. (See caveat)

Open source and free: Adeona’s software is licensed under GPLv2. While your locations are secret, the tracking system’s design is not.

The Mac OS X version can capture pictures of the laptop user, or thief, using the built-in iSight camera.

System Requirements: Windows XP/Vista, Mac OS X, Linux

Download at the developer’s web site: Adeona

A caveat: According to the development team, “OpenDHT has been experiencing some problems. We are working on a new private version, that does not depend on OpenDHT”.

For a review and download links to free encryption software read “Lose Your USB Stick and You Lose it All – Encrypt Now with Free Software!” on this site.

5 Comments

Filed under Free Laptop Tracking Software, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Open Source, Software, Surveilance Tools, Windows Tips and Tools

Adeona – Free – Stolen/Lost Laptop Tracker Software

You’ll never lose your Laptop computer, and you take particular care to ensure it won’t be stolen, right? Of course you do. But does loss, or theft, of laptops happen? You bet.

Recent survey results from the Ponemon Institute, indicates that more than 10,000 laptops are lost, or stolen, each week at U.S. airports. Are you as surprised as I am?

Not surprised? Well, how about this astonishing statistic from the same survey: 65% of those lost or stolen laptops are not reclaimed, despite the fact that half the laptops contain confidential corporate information.

One can only hope that the data on these laptops was encrypted, although it seems when we read news stories about a lost or stolen laptop, the pattern seems to be as follows; – 200,000 (insert your own number here), bank account numbers, Social Security Numbers, names, addresses and dates of birth were on an unencrypted laptop stolen/lost earlier this week.

Other available statistics indicate that a laptop is stolen, not lost but stolen, every 53 seconds and 97% of stolen laptop computers are never recovered.

So what can you do to increase the probability that should your laptop be lost or stolen, you can increase the chances that it will be returned to you, than the above statistics indicate?

Adeona (named after the Roman goddess of safe returns), is a newly released small software client for tracking the location of a lost, or stolen laptop, that does not rely on a proprietary central service, but instead, is offered free by the Open Source community.

This powerful free software has been developed through collaboration involving the University of Washington, the University of California San Diego and the University of California Davis.

The developer’s website describes the application as follows:

Adeona is designed to use the Open Source OpenDHT distributed storage service to store location updates sent by a small software client installed on an owner’s laptop.

The client continually monitors the current location of the laptop, gathering information (such as IP addresses and local network topology) that can be used to identify its current location.

The client then uses strong cryptographic mechanisms to not only encrypt the location data, but also ensure that the cipher texts stored within OpenDHT are anonymous and unlinkable. At the same time, it is easy for an owner to retrieve location information.

Quick facts:

Private: Adeona uses state-of-the-art cryptographic mechanisms to ensure that the owner is the only party that can use the system to reveal the locations visited by a device.

Reliable: Adeona uses a community-based remote storage facility, ensuring retrievability of recent location updates.

Open source and free: Adeona’s software is licensed under GPLv2. While your locations are secret, the tracking system’s design is not.

The Mac OS X version can capture pictures of the laptop user, or thief, using the built-in iSight camera.

System Requirements: Windows XP/Vista, Mac OS X, Linux

Download at the developer’s web site: Adeona

For a review and download links to free encryption software read “Lose Your USB Stick and You Lose it All – Encrypt Now with Free Software!” on this Blog.

2 Comments

Filed under Free Laptop Tracking Software, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Interconnectivity, Open Source, Software, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools