Tag Archives: Software

Beat Obama’s Bandits With TrueCrypt Free (Open-Source) Encryption

The so called “War on Terror” has long since lost its luster and should be appropriately reclassified as The War of Terror. The U.S. has been singularly impudent in terrorizing the terrorists but instead, it has managed to terrorize the rest of the world using a system of surveillance schemes that have gone off the board. Chalk one up for Al Qaeda – the only winners in this debacle.

In the meantime, Americans continue to live in fear – trading away freedoms for security in a war that is simple unwinnable. Obama, despite his assurances that he would “fight terrorism while maintaining our civil liberties” has been a principle mover in this assault on democracy.

And, the master of the reversal has more –

Obama, in a 2008 election sound bite, drew a sharp contrast with the Bush administration which he proclaimed, offered Americans “a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand.” And for good measure – for stooping “to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime.” It’s a surreal world we live in, is it not?

But why be satisfied with my ramblings? Here’s the video.

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As America continues its slide into Fascism (eagerly joined in the venture by Canada, Australia, the U.K. and countless other self-advertised “democracies”), the justified expectation held by these governments is – you – yes, you – will take no active part in expressing your outrage at the escalating intrusions into your private life. Sadly, the undermining of democracy, or more to the point, democracy as we though we knew it, continues apace.

As a consequence (hardly the only consequence, of course), encryption technology is once again in the spotlight. And no, using encryption does not mean that one has something to hide.

Sophisticated and  aware computer users know, that financial data and other confidential information, can easily be subject to intrusive viewing by those not authorized to do so.

Putting Obama and his bad boys aside, here are some examples of how this might occur:

Internet malware attack: Increasingly, statistics reinforce the fact that financial data continues to be targeted by hackers/information thieves, for the purpose of identity theft.

Contrast that reality with these facts; there is no such thing as a totally secure Internet connected computer. All Internet connected computers are subject to attack and compromise.

Lost or stolen Laptop: How often have we read the following – 200,00 (insert your own number here), bank account numbers, Social Insurance Numbers, names, addresses and dates of birth were on a laptop stolen/lost earlier this week.

In too many of these cases, negligently, the data is unencrypted. Certainly Laptop theft or loss is not restricted to organizations; it can just as easily happen to you.

Lost or stolen USB drive: Since USB flash drives are so portable, you can take a drive virtually anywhere. Just like most items that are portable and that you carry with you, this type of drive can be lost, or stolen.

To reduce or eliminate the security threat of sensitive data exposure then, the most prudent course of action is data encryption. Essentially, data encryption is a secure process for keeping your sensitive and confidential information private. It’s a process by which bits of data are mathematically jumbled with a password-key. The Encryption process makes the data unreadable unless, or until, decrypted.

It happens to us all: Just this past week, I lost not only my house keys (first time ever) – but the USB key attached to the keychain. If you guessed that the drive was encrypted – take a bow.   Smile

TrueCrypt:

TrueCrypt is an outstanding free open source software application for establishing and maintaining an on-the-fly-encrypted volume. On-the-fly encryption simply means that data are automatically encrypted, or decrypted, just before they are loaded or saved – without any user intervention. The program automatically and transparently encrypts in real time.

No data stored on an encrypted volume can be read (decrypted) without the correct password/key file or correct encryption keys. The entire file system is encrypted (i.e., file names, folder names, contents, free space, Meta data, etc.).

Files can be copied to and from a mounted TrueCrypt volume just like they are copied to/from any normal disk (for example, by simple drag-and-drop operations). When you turn off your computer, the volume will be dismounted and files stored in the volume will be inaccessible and encrypted. You may of course, manually dismount the volume.

TrueCrypt offers a number of options – you can store your encrypted data in files, partitions, or on a portable storage device such as a USB flash drive.

Installation is simple and straightforward – no gotchas here. Lots of steps – but easy steps.

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If you choose “Keyfiles”, be sure you understand the ramifications. This is an extra security step which has limited application for a home user. You do not need to select this option.

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And – Win 8’s File Explorer reports that the volume has been setup successfully. If you expand the graphic below (click), you’ll also notice my first TrueCrypt volume on this HD from May 9, 2006.

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Indicative of this application’s popularity is the fact that it is downloaded tens of thousands of times each day, across the Internet.

Fast Facts:

Creates a virtual encrypted disk within a file and mounts it as a real disk

Encrypts an entire hard disk partition or a storage device such as USB flash drive

Encryption is automatic, real-time (on-the-fly) and transparent

Provides two levels of plausible deniability, in case an adversary forces you to reveal the password – Hidden volume – No TrueCrypt volume can be identified (volumes cannot be distinguished from random data)

Encryption algorithms: AES-256, Serpent, and Twofish. Mode of operation: XTS

Ability to encrypt a system partition/drive (i.e. a partition/drive where Windows is installed) with pre-boot authentication (anyone who wants to gain access and use the system, read and write files, etc., needs to enter the correct password each time before the system starts

Pipelined operations increasing read/write speed by up to 100% (Windows)

I’ve been using TrueCrypt for a number of years, and I have developed a lot of confidence in this outstanding application. If you determine that encryption of your sensitive data is a priority, I highly recommend that you give TrueCrypt a try.

How effective is TrueCrypt? If you have any doubts as to how effective TrueCrypt really is, then read this article. FBI hackers fail to crack TrueCrypt:

The FBI has admitted defeat in attempts to break the open source encryption used to secure hard drives seized by Brazilian police during a 2008 investigation.

System Requirements: Win 8, Win 7, Vista, XP, Mac OS X, and Linux.

Download at: TrueCrypt

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14 Comments

Filed under downloads, Encryption Software, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Open Source, Software, Utilities

The Tool Designed To Fool – We Don’t Want No Stinkin’ Toolbar! (Revisited)

In today’s Tech Thoughts Daily Net News column, you’ll find a link to Ed Bott’sHow Oracle installs deceptive software with Java updates. So, what’s new here? Not as much as you might think – unfortunately.

I first posted on the issue of unwanted Toolbars – or, PUPS (potentially unwanted programs) – in March 2010. Based on the indignation shown by the majority of commenters – it just might be worth another read.

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MEMO TO: SNEAKY FREEWARE DEVELOPERS

imageYou give me your software for free as a marketing tool, with the hope of course, that I’ll upgrade to the commercial version of your application.

That’s cool, that’s smart, (it cost you nothing by the way) – nevertheless, I’m appreciative.

But you don’t stop with just the free use of your application, you piggyback a toolbar, or some other non-essential item, as part of the install package. Listen, I understand, you want to install a toolbar because you get paid by the toolbar developer. Even that’s OK – but you do it in such a sneaky way that it really pisses me off, and that’s not OK.

Worse, if I don’t like your application and uninstall it, you open your Internet site, following the uninstall, using my Internet Browser – even if I don’t give you permission by allowing the connection. In my view, that’s a form of hacking. You need to take a refresher course in ethics.

I’ve been around the Internet for a few decades, so it’s not often I get caught in your schemes to install unwanted software on my machines, but less experienced users are often caught in your carefully laid traps.

Here’s a sample of the outrage a typical user, who got trapped by unethical behavior, feels – a comment on my site left by an outraged reader, several days ago, following her installation of Miro.

I thought I’d give this a try, since I watch Hulu quite a bit, and I’m sooo angry I did. Miro installed Bing Search toolbar, which I didn’t want or agree to install (using firefox) and it wiped out all my default search engines for Firefox.

Now I’m trying to figure out how to get Firefox back to normal. Beware!!!!!!!! I don’t trust companies that install things without your consent or knowledge.

In this particular instance it’s true that the EULA covers this situation, but here’s the question. Why does an average user need to read a Eula in order to find an alternative installation solution?

An accusation of unethical behavior doesn’t begin to cover this case – sleazy; vulgar; dishonest; sordid; are much more appropriate.

You, the unethical developer, are not alone in attempting to profit by toolbar inclusion in freeware applications. More and more, high profile developers who offer a stripped down version of their commercial applications as freeware, are involving themselves in this highly questionable practice.

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So here’s a question for the “ethical” freeware providers. How many toolbars do you think an average user needs? Ten? Twenty? Thirty………….. Just so you know, a Google search for “toolbar”, returns 167 Million results!

I can already hear your answer “ but the user can uncheck the appropriate box when installing the application”. Right! Unless you’re detached from the real world (and, you may well be), you’re more than aware that a typical user does not uncheck this box. Then, over time, the user is at a loss to explain why their machine has slowed to a crawl.

Could it be because your toolbar, along with twenty others, all installed in a furtive way, become active at startup – ya think!!

So, just stop with the crapware already. If you’re pissing me off, just consider what you’re doing to an average user.

17 Comments

Filed under Adware, Browser add-ons, Point of View

Glary Utilities 2.52 – A Free Collection of System Tools and Utilities – In 2 Flavors

imageGlary Utilities Free (last updated Jan. 9, 2013), is a reasonably complete set of system tools with which even a relative newcomer to the computing game can tweak, repair, optimize and improve system performance. Since discovering Glary Utilities years ago, it has remained my go-to application for system maintenance and cleanup.

With a graphical user interface arranged in a clean straightforward manner, you can quickly find the tool you’re looking for: disk cleaner, uninstall manager, secure file deletion, memory optimizer, registry cleaner, duplicate file finder, tracks eraser, empty folder finder; a very convenient feature for those of us who like to test drive new software.

Installation: YIKES!!!!

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You can avoid all of the above (strongly recommended), by selecting the Slim Version – no toolbar. Alternatively, choose either of the two Portable Versions as per the following screen shot – no toolbar.

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I suspect that there may be users who see the advantages of installing a Toolbar such as the one offered as part of this installation package. Quite frankly though, I’ve yet to meet one. For a taste of my views on Toolbars please see – We Don’t Want No Stinkin’ Toolbar!

For users who are comfortable with a “one click” solution – Glary Utilities covers the basics nicely.

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Results: running the Standard Version installed on an SSD HD. Scan time – 2 minutes and 8 seconds.

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Results: running the Portable Version from a Flash drive. Scan time – 2 minutes and 8 seconds.

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Dig a little deeper: The hands-on crowd can dig into the individual Modules and clean and massage their machine to their heart’s content.

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Users can even avoid the frustration of having to hunt down a number of standard Windows tools by selecting the appropriate tool from the System Tools menu.

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You can comfortably fine tune the application using the clear and precise Settings Menu. While the “Settings” menu is often the last item to be looked at following an application installation, it should be at the top of the “to do list” prior to running any new application. Unpleasant surprises can be avoided with a little prep work – first.

Of particular interest, to those of us who work with files using a “context menu”, Glary Utilities has a nice selection of new items which will be added to Windows Explorer.

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There are those who will take comfort in an included “Restore Center” but, a more prudent course to follow is – prior to completing any significant system changes – take the time to generate a manual Restore Point.

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Fast facts:

Disk Cleaner – Removes junk data from your disks and recovers disk space

Registry Cleaner – Scans and cleans up your registry to improve your system’s performance.

Shortcuts Fixer – Corrects the errors in your start menu & desktop shortcuts

Uninstall Manager – Uninstalls programs completely that you don’t need any more

Startup Manager – Manages programs which run automatically on startup

Memory Optimizer – Monitors and optimizes free memory in the background

Context Menu Manager – Manages the context-menu entries for files, folders…

Tracks Eraser – Erases all the traces,evidences,cookies,internet history and more

File Shredder – Erases files permanently so that no one can recover them

Internet Explorer Assistant – Manages Internet Explorer Add-ons and restores hijacked settings

File Encrypter and Decrypter – Protects your files from unauthorized access and use.

Disk Analysis – Shows you the disk space usage of your files and folders

Duplicate Files Finder – Searches for space-wasting and error producing duplicate files

Empty Folders Finder – Finds and removes empty folders in your windows

File Splitter and Joiner – Splits large files into smaller manageable files, and then rejoin them.

Process Manager – Monitors programs that run on your PC and stop spyware and Trojans.

Windows Standard Tools – Provides direct access to the useful windows default functions.

Current Version: 2.52.0.1698.

File Size: 8.59 MB.

Release Date: Jan. 9, 2013.

System requirements: Windows 8, 7, 2000, XP, Vista. 32/64bit versions.

Languages: 23 Languages.

Download at: Glarysoft

9 Comments

Filed under 64 Bit Software, Computer Tune Up Utilities, downloads, Freeware, Integrated Tune Up Solutions, System Utilities

New! Up And Coming Giveaways At Glarysoft

imageSoftware Giveaways! Freebies! Try before you buy! If you like it – pay whatever you want! And, I’m sure I’ve failed to list any number of similar marketing schemes. Who can keep track of them all.   Smile

Internet users would be hard-pressed indeed, to have not noticed the  proliferation of “giveaway sites” that have popped up over the last few years – some of which are simply trash – both in presentation, and selection.

Personally, I have no interest in running an obstacle course (many of these sites test a user’s patience), to obtain an application I’ll likely delete from my HD within a few days. Nor, I suspect, do most users.

Recently, I’ve noticed a type of strategic alliance between well established developers with a reputation for excellence and, lesser known (and perhaps late to the party) developers.

For example, this past week Serif Software, in one of their occasional marketing emails, wrote – We’ve got great news! As a valued Serif customer, you can snap up Zemana AntiLogger for an amazing $19.99.

Let me point out that Zemana AntiLogger is a “best in class” security application and, Zemana is not late to the party. (I’ll post a new review on this app in the next few weeks).

Ah, serendipity. As I’m writing this, as luck would have it, I just received another marketing email from Serif – Award-winning TuneUp Utilities just CA$19.95 – that’s 60% off!

Fix, speed up and maintain up to 3 PCs, all for just $19.95 when you download TuneUp Utilities 2013 today! That’s a massive 60% saving and $30 off the $49.99 list price, only with this special email offer.

TuneUp Utilities – another outstanding application – familiar to regular readers, who will remember the free license giveaways we’ve sponsored here in the last few years.

But, I digress.

Glarysoft – the developer of the highly rated Glary Utilities (well know to regular readers here), has taken a slightly different tack (a strategic alliance nevertheless) – sponsoring a 24-hour giveaway program offering the pro versions of popular applications – FREE.

From the site:

Everyday the website will provide users with a 24-hour giveaway program. All of the programs that on the giveaway list are the pro version or non-free version. Generally, users have to pay to get it. During the 24-hour giveaway period, users can download the software from the website according to their specific needs without spending one penny.

Users can see the software description, original price, time left and the Get it now button. When users want to know more details about this software, they can click on the button to the software page. There you can know the detailed info about the giveaway software and download it freely.

Take a look at what’s on offer today, and through the coming days.

Aunsoft SWF Converter on January 10, 2013 – Original $69.00. Now Free!

 

Converts SWF to almost all popular video formats
Converts SWF/FLV with Alpha to lossless raw video/RGBA32 (*.avi)
Supports Flash videos V6, V7, V8, V9, V10 format
Supports converting SWF to 1080P, 720P, 480P and other
Supports latest devices: iPad, iPod, iPhone 3GS, Android phones.

USB Stick Encryption 4.0 on January 11, 2013 – Original $39.95. Now Free!

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GiliSoft USB Stick Encryption helps you password protect USB drives, Thumb drives, Memory sticks, Pen drives, Jump drives and Flash drives.

A secure USB drive with password protection is a must these days as the data that it contains may cost you millions of dollars if stolen or lost. With GiliSoft USB Stick Encryption your USB flash drives and all other external storage devices can be very easily password protected.

Tipard MOD Converter 6.1.52 on January 12, 2013 – Original $29.00. Now Free!

Tipard MOD Converter is the best awards-winning HD video converting software for various video camera fans. It can convert MOD,TOD, MPEG, MPG, MPV, MP4, VOB, etc files to the popular video formats: MP4, MPG, MOV, VOB, AVI, 3GP, FLV, HD H.264, HD WMV, HD AVI, etc.

Besides, it can help you convert videos to various editing software, like Avid Media Composer, Sony Vegas, etc. Moreover, it supports 4 languages and the latest portable devices: like HTC, Samsung Galaxy, iPhone 5, iPad 4, etc.

iCare Data Recovery Professional 5.0 on January 13,2013 – Original $89.95. Now Free!

iCare Data Recovery Professional works perfectly with hardware RAID and hard drive, USB drive, SD card, memory card, etc. It provides the comprehensive data recovery solution for computer users.

It could recover files from formatted drive, RAW file system, drive has not formatted error, RAW drive, undelete files emptied recycle bin, recover files due to partition lost, system crash, software crash, bad boot sector, missing boot sector, bad MBR, $MFT damaged, lost partition table, lost or damaged FAT, virus infections, power failure, and other unknown data loss…

MacX DVD Ripper Pro for Windows 7.0.0 – on January 14, 2013 – Original $39.95. Now Free!

MacX DVD Ripper Pro for Windows is an ultimate DVD ripping software to rip both homemade and encrypted DVD movies to all sorts of format like MP4, MOV, AVI, H.264, FLV, MKV, etc.

It helps you to easily transfer DVD to video files playable on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Android, Microsoft, Sony devices, etc.

You can also copy DVD to multi-track MPEG2 file with all videos/audios/subtitles within several minutes. So you can keep your DVDs safe from scratched, broken, and enjoy the DVD movies on the go.

Password Organizer 6 – on January 15, 2013  – Original $19.99. Now Free!

Your passwords are protected by the famous AES encryption (Advanced Encryption Standard) so that it is impossible to read your data without knowledge of your master password. If you like to export or print out all your passwords, of course 1-abc.net Password Organizer offers you such useful features as well.

Secure and generate your password data, remember only one password and concentrate on other important things in life with 1-abc.net Password Organizer!

Bonus:

To get free notification of giveaways on your desktop – download Glarysoft Giveaway.

4 Comments

Filed under Desktop Applications, downloads, Free Full Versions, Giveaways

Lift The Hood On Your PC – Take a Peek With These 5 Free System Information Utilities

imageIf you think developing information, including diagnostics, on your computer’s operating system and hardware is a tough task, you can relax. Here are 5 small, free applications, that make it easy to probe your computer system and create a detailed profile which can include hardware, installed software – motherboard, CPU and GPU specs, remaining drive space, and your operating system security hotfixes – and a lot more.

Belarc Advisor 8.2.7.14:

Belarc Advisor is a free program that automatically generates a detailed audit report of the hardware and software on your computer. It records essential information such as, operating system and processor details, the amount of RAM installed, and drive specifications.

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The report also includes a comprehensive list of the software installed on your system, as well as software license numbers and product keys. In addition, it lists the status of the Microsoft hotfixes on your system. If any hotfixes need reinstalling, you will be advised of this.

The results are displayed in a formatted HTML report. The report is clearly formatted for ease of understanding and divided into appropriate categories. Hyperlinks within the report allow you to quickly navigate to different parts of the document, find out more about a particular hotfix entry, or see where a listed software product is installed.

All of your PC profile information is kept private on your PC and is not sent to any web server.

System Requirements: Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista, 2003, XP. Both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows support.

Download at: MajorGeeks

LookInMyPC 2.10.3.158

LookInMyPC is a free application which, like Belarc Advisor, records essential information such as, operating system and processor details, the amount of RAM installed, drive specifications and so on. But, it digs much, much, deeper.

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The following graphic shows a very small (I do mean very small) portion of a scan result, run on my test platform. The data shown here is pretty standard stuff.

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System requirements: Windows 2000, XP, 2003/8, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.

Download at: MajorGeeks

A portable version is also available.

SIW (System Info) 2011.10.29i

SIW is an advanced System Information utility that analyzes your computer and gathers detailed information about system properties and settings and displays it in a very comprehensive manner.

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The data generated is divided into major categories:

Software Information: Operating System, Software Licenses (Product Keys / Serial Numbers / CD Key), Installed Software and Hotfixes, Processes, Services, Users, Open Files, System Uptime, Installed Codecs, Passwords Recovery, Server Configuration.

Hardware Information: Motherboard, CPU, Sensors, BIOS, chipset, PCI/AGP, USB and ISA/PnP Devices, Memory, Video Card, Monitor, Disk Drives, CD/DVD Devices, SCSI Devices, S.M.A.R.T., Ports, Printers.

Network Information: Network Cards, Network Shares, currently active Network Connections, Open Ports.

Network Tools: MAC Address Changer, Neighborhood Scan, Ping, Trace, Statistics, Broadband Speed Test

Miscellaneous Tools: Eureka! (Reveal lost passwords hidden behind asterisks), Monitor Test, Shutdown / Restart.

Real-time monitors: CPU, Memory, Page File usage and Network Traffic.

System requirements: Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000

Download at: MajorGeeks

Speccy 1.17.340

Speccy (from our good friends over at Piriform – the CCleaner guys), is not quite as comprehensive as the applications described previously. Even so, you can count on this free application to provide you with detailed statistics on every piece of hardware in your computer. Including CPU, Motherboard, RAM, Graphics Cards, Hard Disks, Optical Drives, Audio support. Additionally Speccy adds the temperatures of your different components, so you can easily see if there’s a problem.

Typical info screens.

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System requirements: Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista and XP (32-bit and 64-bit)

Download at: MajorGeeks

PC Wizard 2012.2.10

PC Wizard has been designed for hardware detection but, it really shines in analysis and system benchmarking. It will analyze and benchmark CPU performance, Cache performance, RAM performance, Hard Disk performance, CD/DVD-ROM performance, Removable/FLASH Media performance, Video performance, and MP3 compression performance.

Typical info screens.

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System requirements: Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista, XP (32-bit and 64-bit)

Download at: MajorGeeks

9 Comments

Filed under 64 Bit Software, Computer Audit Applications, Diagnostic Software, downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools

Think BEFORE You Click! – How Hard Is That?

imageHARD, apparently.

I recently repeated a small experiment (for the third year in a row), with a group of “average computer user” friends, (12 this time around), and I was disappointed to see (once again), that the conditioned response issue to “just click” while surfing the web, was still there.

Still, I’m always hopeful that reinforcing the point that clicking haphazardly, without considering the consequences – the installation of malicious code that can cause identity theft and the theft of passwords, bank account numbers, and other personal information – would have had some impact. Apparently not.

But, I haven’t given up. I’m prepared to hammer them repeatedly until such time as I can make some progress. In the meantime, I expect that curiously browsing the web blissfully unaware of the considerable malware dangers, will continue to be the modus operandi for my friends.

They’re not alone in their “clicking haphazardly” bad habits. Many of us have learned to satisfy our curiosity simply by a mouse click here, and a mouse click there. Arguable, we have developed a conditioned response (without involving conscious thought), to – “just click”.

It can be argued, that our “just click” mindset poses the biggest risk to our online safety and security. In fact, security experts argue, that a significant number of malware infections could be avoided if users stopped “just clicking haphazardly”, or opening the types of files that are clearly dangerous. However, this type of dangerous behavior continues despite the warnings.

Most visitors to this site are above average users (I’m assuming that you are too), so, I have a challenge for you.

Take every appropriate opportunity to inform your friends, your relatives, and associates, that “just clicking haphazardly” without considering the consequences, can lead to the installation of malicious code that can cause identity theft and the theft of passwords, bank account numbers, and other personal information.

Help them realize that “just clicking”, can expose them to:

  • Trojan horse programs
  • Back door and remote administration programs
  • Denial of service attacks
  • Being an intermediary for another attack
  • Mobile code (Java, JavaScript, and ActiveX)
  • Cross-site scripting
  • Email spoofing
  • Email-borne viruses
  • Packet sniffing

They’ll be glad that you took an interest in their online safety. And, best of all, by doing this, you will have helped raise the level of security for all of us.

A point to ponder:

Since it’s proven to be difficult to get “buy-in” on this – “think before you click safety strategy” – I generally ask the question – do you buy lottery tickets? Not surprisingly, the answer is often – yes. The obvious next question is – why?

The answers generally run along these lines – I could win; somebody has to win;……. It doesn’t take much effort to point out that the odds of a malware infection caused by poor Internet surfing habits are ENORMOUSLY higher than winning the lottery and, that there’s a virtual certainty that poor habits will lead to a malware infection.

The last question I ask before I walk away shaking my head is – if you believe you have a chance of winning the lottery – despite the odds – why do you have a problem believing that you’re in danger on the Internet because of your behavior, despite the available stats that prove otherwise?

18 Comments

Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Online Safety, Spyware - Adware Protection

The Fundamental Principle Of Safe Surfing – Think “Common Sense”

imageSo what can you add to your computer’s Firewall, Security Applications, and Browser security add-ons to ensure you have the best protection available while you’re surfing the web? Well, how about something that’s free, and readily available? Something called “Common Sense”.

Common sense: sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts.

–   Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary

Common Sense Tip #1 – Given the virtual epidemic of malware currently circulating on the Internet, don’t run, or install programs, of unknown origin.

Internet users’ continue to be bombarded with rogue security software which has reached epidemic proportions. There seems to be no end to the release of new rogue security software threats. Rogue software will often install and use a Trojan horse to download a trial version, or it will perform other actions on a machine that are detrimental such as slowing down the computer drastically.

Download applications, particularly free programs, only from verifiably safe sites (sites that guarantee malware free downloads), such as Download.com, MajorGeeks, Softpedia, and the like.

There are many more safe download sites available, but be sure you investigate the site thoroughly before you download anything. Googling the site, while not always entirely reliable, is a good place to start. A recommendation from friends as to a site’s safety is often a more appropriate choice.

Common Sense Tip #2 – Don’t open emails that come from untrusted sources. It’s been estimated that 96% of emails are spam. While not all spam is unsafe, common sense dictates that you treat it as if it is.

Common Sense Tip #3 – Don’t run files that you receive via email without making sure of their origin. If the link has been sent to you in a forwarded email from a friend, be particularly cautious. Forwarded emails are notorious for containing dangerous elements, and links.

Common Sense Tip #4 – Don’t click links in emails. If they come from a known source, type them in the browser’s address bar. If they come from an untrusted source, simply ignore them, as they could take you to a web designed to download malware onto your computer.

Common Sense Tip #5 – If you do not use a web based email service then be sure your anti-virus software scans all incoming e-mail and attachments.

Common Sense Tip #6 – Be proactive when it comes to your computer’s security; make sure you have adequate software based protection to reduce the chances that your machine will become infected.

Be proactive when it comes to your computer’s security; make sure you have adequate software based protection to reduce the chances that your machine will become infected.

Most of all, understand that you are your own best protection.

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.

8 Comments

Filed under Cyber Criminals, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Interconnectivity, Safe Surfing, Windows Tips and Tools