Tag Archives: website

Comodo’s Free Site Inspector –Malware and Blacklist Detection For Website Owners

imageComodo recently released SiteInspector, a free service which has been designed to automatically check owner operated websites on a daily basis to ensure the sites remains malware free and, has not been captured by a blacklist. If the worst happens – Comodo will immediately notify the website owner by email, so that corrective action can be taken.

Despite the fact that the free service is restricted to checking 3 pages on a domain, it’s a tool worth considering if you are a webmaster. Any free service that can help web site owners keep the malware hounds at bay – is worth considering.

You certainly don’t want a prospective visitor to see this!


Signing up for the service is a simple process, as the following screen captures indicate.

Following initial sign up you will receive a receipt notice.

Comodo Site Scanning

While on the SiteInspector screen, click on “Manage Subscriptions” ……..


to set up both the site you wish to cover, and the form of coverage.


Any after the fact changes, require a sign in to your account.


The first report from Comodo – click to expand.


Fast Facts:

Daily Malware Scanning – SiteInspector scans your website for potential malicious code injection on a daily basis and notifies you if any such event has occurred, so that you can take action against them in a timely fashion, before the injected code starts affecting your visitors’ computers.

Blacklist Monitoring – Comodo SiteInspector checks major blacklists such as Google Safe Browsing, PhishTank, Malwaredomainlist, Malcode, Clean MX every day to make sure your website is not listed. If it is, you will be immediately alerted so that you can take remedial action and remove your site from blacklist, minimizing the downtime.

Immediate notifications means you react faster – Immediately after a problem is discovered, we’ll dispatch an email notification alerting you. Your support technicians don’t have to wait for angry customers to complain that your site contains malicious content

Independent external testing from your customer’s perspective – SiteInspector connects to your website in the same way that a customer would. If it discovers any problems with your website, it is likely your customers will be affected too.

No software downloads. No complicated set up – SiteInspector is a website checking service that runs remotely from secure servers managed by Comodo, so the user is not required to install software on their machine or network. Account management is done via our 100% online interface. All you need to do to take advantage of this great service is sign up, configure your tests and let SiteInspector do the rest.

The Comodo sign up page is here.


Filed under Blogging Tools, Comodo, Don't Get Hacked, Freeware, Malware Advisories, Web Hosting

Tips for Making Your Website Look More Custom

imageAnyone can launch a website these days, but not everyone can successfully make their website resemble a custom-made one. This becomes a problem when you’re trying to set yourself apart from the hundreds of other stock websites that all have a similar version of the same theme as you. If you want people to take your site seriously, it’s imperative that you make your website look as professional as possible. Luckily you don’t have to be a computer genius or spend thousands of dollars to make this happen; you just need to implement a few changes.

  1. Simple, sleek logos

Far too often people get caught up trying to make their website’s logo as fancy and flashy as possible. Unfortunately these types of logos don’t do much for you because too much color and graphics are distracting. The best logos are the ones that have clean lines and a simple look. Think of all the successful companies and their logos; they almost all have one thing in common: they have one basic and unpretentious graphic and a nice, easy to read font. Retaining a minimalist look is more appealing to the majority of consumers.

  1. Avoid overusing colors

Less really is more, and is important to keep in mind when you’re designing your website. Don’t go overboard with several competing colors; instead stick to a neutral color palette with a few accent colors thrown in to give it a breath of life. Having too many colors thrown together cheapens the look of your website.

  1. Skip the website intro

Website intros have a tendency to make people click off of a website rather than be interested in learning more from it, so don’t make interested consumers sit through a Flash intro to get to the information they originally came to your site for. And if you do insist on putting one up then at least give them the option to skip it.

  1. Be smart with your text

The font on your site needs to be easy to read so it’s best to stay away from weird colors and unnecessary underlining of words. It can be frustrating and difficult to read when you’re on a website where the font or text color is inconsistent throughout the site, and it’s misleading to underline words because that usually indicates a link to somewhere else on the web.

  1. Use high quality graphics

Skip the stock images when you’re adding graphics onto your website and use high-quality, high-resolution images. These are the most visually appealing to people and make your website appear much more professional looking. They also give a nice visual complement to text, as people sometimes are turned off by text-heavy websites.

When it comes to professional looking website design the key is to keep everything as simple and sleek looking as possible, from the fonts to the pictures to the logos. When in doubt, err on the side of conservatism.

Author Bio:

This is a guest post from Laura Backes, she enjoys writing about all kinds of subjects and also topics related to internet providers in my area. You can reach her at: laurabackes8 @ gmail.com.

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Filed under Digital Media, Guest Writers

Can’t Load A Site? “Down For Everyone or Just Me?” Helps Solve The Puzzle

imageHere it is late on Thursday night, and it’s time for one last check on my email and sundry other Net tasks I need to get at – before it’s lights out time. On launching Firefox, I’ve got an immediate problem – MSN.ca (my home page), is nowhere to be seen. Instead, I get that dreaded tough luck message – can’t open the website unable to locate.

Earlier in the evening, I had performed some network maintenance – adding and removing network connections – and since I’m a “worse case scenario” thinker, my overly anxious first response was – you dummy, you screwed up your Internet connection (or, another network connection) somehow. I now had visions of having to do some heavy lifting before I pulled the blankets over my head.

It was just a fleeting thought, since there were any number of reasons (other than me screwing up), which could push out the “nowhere to be found” message. I then turned to the web site, Down for everyone or just me? – which would let me know in seconds if it was just me, or, if the site was really down.

I must admit to breathing a sigh of relief when it turned out that MSN.ca was down – first time I can remember that happening.

It’s unlikely you’ll need this tool very often, but it will definitely come in handy.  When this sort of thing happens, it’s good to know what’s really going on.

Down for everyone or just me? – couldn’t be any easier to use. Just enter the address of the website you can’t reach, click on the “just me?” button, and you’ll have the answer instantly.

The following screen shots illustrate the process.



Add Down for everyone or just me? to you Bookmarks, and you’ll be ready for the inevitable.

Additional services which you might find useful for site checking.



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Filed under Freeware, Interconnectivity, Recommended Web Sites, Technicians Advise, Windows Tips and Tools

Your Website Traffic Log – The Trap Door To Spread Viruses?

Checking your Website traffic stats is not without some risk, as guest writer Bruno Deshayes explains in this thought provoking article.

imageYou get pleasantly surprised to notice an unknown website apparently sending traffic to you. When you click on the link not only do you find that the page does not mention your site at all but at best security essentials blocks the threat or at worst your browser locks up and it is anybody’s guess what the pirate is doing under the hood.

Better close down your PC altogether and run a virus check. If you run a laptop even turning the machine off will achieve nothing – you have to physically turn the laptop over and remove the battery for a forced shutdown! How many files could get infected by the time you finally do it?

I find those fake referral urls showing up in cPanel | AWStats but also in blogspot | stats | traffic sources.

The old trick of course was to send you an email loaded with some html data rather than plain text. Viewing the thing in outlook would automatically launch the browser and – too late – the malicious website is already loaded and doing its nasty work unbeknown to you.

I used to handle that one by always checking suspicious emails this way: While having emails preview disabled: right mouse click and choose properties in the floating menu. Then choose details and message source to view the raw email text.

If they send me some base64 encoded attachment and nothing else you know it is a nasty payload. I have used Gmail for some time and still read it in outlook because I don’t like the ads or the heavy JavaScript used on the Gmail website. When I go there occasionally I am amazed at all the spam that got filtered out!

The internet in the last 10 years has become a very mature market with every man (woman?) and their dog blogging and every hacker from India, Russia and China trying to make a quid in broken English or else trying to rort the system.

The spread of botnets silently programmed to check every security loophole and delegating their activity to hundred of infected machines has come to the attention of the main stake holders. Microsoft who used to hide behind a whole industry of virus scanners is now taking the lead with effective and free maintenance tools. Well, their future depends on it. If Windows is crippled by security issues it makes Apple the alternative of choice. But behind the glitz the Steve Jobs camp is now having to face the music and made to understand that not everything can be fixed by the same marketing spin.

The worrisome factor is that in a global economy there isn’t a single entity to police the internet. If you look on the bright side the plague of email spam has been brought down to a fair extend. Interpol has nabbed pedophiles networks. The nofollow tag has tamed blog comments link spammers and even WordPress has come up with an advanced tool to keep comment interaction within its community alive and buzzing.

Bruno Deshayes is a writer, designer and developer who runs a portfolio of online services. He can be politically incorrect for the sake of stirring things up and engaging his readers.

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Filed under Blogging Tips, Cyber Crime, Don't Get Hacked, Guest Writers, Opinion, Viruses, WordPress

How Do I Select The Right Company To Host My Website If I Live In Australia?

Guest article: If you want a website online, there are a number of reasons why you want all your support in your region. This is not just because they will speak your language. You are making contractual arrangements with suppliers, and therefore, you need them to be in your region for legal issues. Here is a deeper look at this issue when setting up a website.

imageDespite it being the World Wide Web, we want to make sure we know where our website is being hosted. This will also depend on the type of website you are building. Locality is always an issue. For example, if you live in Brisbane, you want IT services Brisbane.

In this article, we look at the right type of services, and other server needs you must think about. You could have put a lot of effort into your website, and you want to make sure you have complete control. There are some very local issues to understand even though you could view your website from anywhere in the world

  • Getting Started. When we think about setting up a simple website, we think about getting online and buying a host program – the hosting program is where your site will go. On these websites, we can buy domain names and buy the space and location for our website. We build our site ourselves, or we build it online through one of these sites. When everything is running smoothly there will be no problem. What happens if that company that you bought your domain name and hosting location goes out of business? What happens if something goes wrong or there are legal problems and the hosting company you bought space from is in another country? While we will buy a simple hosting package online, we still need to make sure that company is in our locality, city, state or country. It could be very hard to deal with them if they were in some lawless country on the other side of the planet. You know you are safe when the supplier is in your country, and they have a physical location. Get your hosting program from a company in your locality.
  • Computer Support. The hosting company will give you a limited amount of IT support in relation to how their servers work. This support is normally in the form of emails and other online interaction. You still need to maintain your own computers repairs, service and security. Even simple sites can have very confidential information, and so you will need to know how to handle this. If you are in Brisbane, for example, having a local computer repairs is essential. You might need to get face-to-face support by people who understand you and speak your language. Having support locally is always essential.
  • Going a Bit More Professional. When you buy your hosting program online, you are normally buying space that is shared with other people. The hosting company has a room of servers where everyone’s website and web space is shared. If you are looking for a more secure and professional setting, you will need to look for a more professional dedicated servers provider. Dedicated servers are individual computers for each client. This will mean you will have your own computer in a secure location with your own super-high speed internet connection and support. If you are intending to earn income from your website, this will be essential. It will mean your data, and information is more secure, your website’s speed will not be influenced by anyone else’s internet use, and you will have professionals who will keep an eye on it for you. You could set up your own server in your own location if you have that knowledge. You would need to make sure you have backup power and a range of other security issues (both online and offline) solved. Dedicated servers are often in a very secure location, and you want this location to be in your locality, city, state or country. Again there are legal issues you need to think about. Just like your hosting program, domain name and IT services, you want them from someone who understands you and resides locally.

Guest article by Sachin.

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Filed under Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, Networking, Tech Net News, Web Development, Web Hosting, Web Site Design, Website Builders

The Importance of Real-Time Server Monitoring

There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to access information online and being met with that annoying little Error 404 page. Think back to the times you’ve experienced this frustration, and now imagine your customers or consumers having to experience it because of your website. This, in itself, is reason enough to invest in real time server monitoring, something any good IT support company should offer.

What Is It?

Real time server monitoring is software that allows you or your IT department to monitor in real time any glitches or problems that may arise with your server. As soon as something goes wrong or a site begins experiencing problems, you can address the problem then and there.



Especially if your site is in its infancy or beta testing stage, feedback on the way your site runs is crucial to making those tweaks and changes that turn a good website into a great website. Real time server monitoring is a means by which you can receive and analyze this feedback before it has a chance to harm your business.


If you are operating an e-commerce website, where you offer people the option of buying your products online, it is of the utmost important that your server is running and healthy at all times, and that any downtime it may experience is rectified immediately as it happens. Imagine your store is not online, but is in a shopping mall, and you left it unattended and shut up for half a day. Do you think customers would hang around until you finally returned to open the store, or do you think they’d go and find their products elsewhere? I know which one I’d choose!


Another reason that real time monitoring is so important is that you need immediate and full access to any correspondence you may receive or need to send. In a professional environment, emails are the number one form of communication, and what’s more, with the advent of Smartphones and wireless technology, we expect our emails to be answered in as short a time as possible. If your server has problems that prevent emails from being properly delivered, you are virtually missing out on business meetings and opportunities, which in this fast paced world, will not wait around for you.

What To Look For

If you’re choosing a real time monitoring service or software you should look for a program that is able to check your site using HTTP, HTTPS, FSTP, FTP and FTPS protocols. It’s also highly advisable to go for a program that offers data recording and statistics, so that you can analyze the efficiency of the server and how often it is down—this can be helpful in deciding whether or not you’re with the right hosting service. Your IT support service will be able to advise you as to which programs are better suited to your needs, and in consultation with them you can find a solution that protects your business and website.

Guest article from Sachin.

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Filed under Cloud Computing, Integrated Solutions, Network Tools, Networking

Surf Smarter – Take A Sneak Peek At Links With CoolPreviews Firefox Add-on

imageI carry a total of eighteen Firefox add-ons; some – including NoScript, Adblock Plus, WOT, and BitDefender QuickScan – beef up security. Others, such as DownloadHelper, WebMail Notifier, and Google Shortcuts, help me keep the productivity curve trending upward.

The security add-ons are an absolute necessity – interacting with the Internet without them would be akin to traipsing through a minefield – just waiting for the BOOM! The productivity add-ons are less critical – I could (if I had to), get along without them – except for one –  CoolPreviews.

I love CoolPreviews – a Picture-in-a-Picture free Browser add-on, that lets me preview links and rich media content, without clicking the link, or leaving my current page.

With CoolPreviews, I just place my mouse cursor over a link, or over the CoolPreviews icon, and a customizable preview window of the website that the link points to instantly appears with the content; page view, image view, or even video.

I can fully interact with the preview window; play the video, click on links, fill out forms, and more. In fact, I can interact with the preview just as if I had the full page open. If I need to, opening the full page is easy; a simple click on the CoolPreviews full page icon, and I’m there.

I find that by using CoolPreviews, I save time and reduce the drudgery involved in trying to determine which sites are worth investigating. CoolPreviews lets me take a quick look at each link to see if it’s worthwhile investigating further.

I use this tool every day to confirm that the links in my “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News” column, are live. The screen capture below illustrates how this works. Click on the graphic to expand to original (1157 x 490).


It takes me less than two minutes to check 20/25 links this way, as opposed to – open a link, close a link; open a link, close a link; open a link, close a link; ……. Well, you see the point.

A final example:

Every day, I visit each of the sites in my Blogroll (gotta see what my friends are up to!), and rather than click through to the site, I use CoolPreviews. If the content is a “need to read”, like my good buddy Paul Lubic’s most recent article is – clicking on the “open to Tab” button in CoolPreviews, does just that.


It’s no wonder Mozilla lists this neat little tool as a recommended Firefox add-on, and also includes it in its most popular list of browser add-ons. CoolPreviews definitely increases productivity; what a time saver!

Fast facts:

Preview links without clicking

Preview images and videos

CoolPreviews 3-D Wall or slideshow mode for Google Image Search

Works on Google, Yahoo!, MSN, YouTube, Flickr ……….

Works on just about any website, blog, forum

Stack temporarily bookmarks (this is a very cool feature)

Instantly email links

Zoom in/out functionality

Sub search any phrase by right-clicking

Customize preview activation method and themes

Enable/disable previewing on customizable choice of sites

Unfortunately, CoolPreviews is available only for Firefox. Previous support for IE, Safari, etc., has been discontinued.

Requirements: Firefox 3.6 – 4.0. Supports Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Download at: CoolPreviews or Mozilla.

Update: February 4, 2011. My good buddy Rick Robinette, whom I often refer to as the “Great Freeware Hunter”, has just posted on a similar add-on designed for Chrome. If you’re a Chrome user, then be sure sure to checkout Rick’s article over at What’s On My PC.

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Filed under Browser add-ons, downloads, Firefox, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Linux, Mac, Productivity Software, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

McDonalds “Fillet O’ Phishing” Survey Scam

image Would you fill out an email survey, sponsored by McDonalds – if they paid you 250 dollars for completing it? I’ll go out on a limb here and say – yes you would. Just like most offers that sound overly attractive though – this offer is a scam.

This scam is not only plausible, but in appearance, it could easily pass for the real thing. Jump into this one though, and you’ll stand a good chance of losing your credit card information. So, no 250 dollars; just a real messy credit cleanup to look forward to.


Filling out the survey form really isn’t the hook – that comes later.


Clicking on the “proceed” link (this is where you supposedly get the 250 bucks), opens the following screen. All you have to do is provide your credit card details and additional personal information.


If, at this point, you don’t hear a loud warning bell resonating in your head – you’re about to become a cyber crime victim.

To add credibility (and reduce suspicion), victims of this scam are automatically redirected to the official McDonalds site – once the victim’s credit card details have been scooped by the crooks.

In August of 2010, when I first reported on this scam, which was then being “test marketed” by the cyber crooks in New Zealand and Australia, I made the following point –

The rest of us (non Australian or New Zealanders), shouldn’t be complacent because, for the moment, this scam is appearing only in that part of the world. If this scam works there, and I suspect it will work very well, there’s little doubt it will soon be on it’s way to you’re inbox.

Well, here it is in North America and according to the chat on the Net, this time out, the graphics on the survey and phishing pages are loaded directly from McDonald’s own website. You can rightfully accuse cyber crooks of being the lowest form of pond scum imaginable – but you can’t accuse them of not being technically sophisticated.

It’s the same old, same old, though – the first time I came across this scam was in 2006. This type of scam is recycled repeatedly – because it works. Reasonably intelligent people do get trapped by sophisticated scams. Due, in large part, to their failure to take minimum common sense security precautions. Don’t be one of them.

Advice worth repeating:

If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of any email message, or its attachment, delete it.

Better yet, take a look at the email’s headers. Check the initial “Received from” field in the header, since this field is difficult to forge. Additionally, the mail headers indicate the mail servers involved in transmitting the email – by name and by IP address.

It may take a little practice to realize the benefits in adding this precaution to your SOP, but it’s worth the extra effort if you have any concerns.

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Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, email scams, Malware Reports, Phishing, Windows Tips and Tools

Can’t Load A Site? Maybe It’s Not Just You

It’s Sunday morning (like this morning), and you want to read your local newspaper online (as I do), but it’s a “no go”. You watch, (like I’m watching), and you wait, as the load icon spins helplessly out of control – but no joy; the site refuses to load.

Now, if you’ve just completed an OS reinstall, as I did just a few days ago, you might wonder if you’ve forgotten to reset, one or more, Internet settings, or perhaps your filters need adjusting. But, before you start to do all that heavy lifting, there’s a tool that will tell you if the site is actually unavailable, or if it’s happening to just you.

The web site, Down for everyone or just me? – will let you know in seconds if it is just you, or, if the site is really unavailable. Enter the address of the website you can’t reach, click on the “just me?” button, and you’ll have the answer instantly.

The following screen shots illustrate the process.



It’s unlikely you’ll need this tool very often, but it will definitely come in handy when the inevitable happens. For example, WordPress.com has been off the air, for an extended period of time, at least three times so far this year. When this sort of thing happens, it’s good to know what’s really going on.

Add Down for everyone or just me? to you Bookmarks, and you’ll be ready for the inevitable.

Update: October 4, 2010. Steve, from Sanesecurity, has suggested the following services which you will find useful for site checking. Thanks Steve!



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Filed under Freeware, Interconnectivity, Recommended Web Sites, Search Engines, Timesaving Tips, Windows Tips and Tools

Fresh WebSuction – Free Offline Browser

imageOffline browsers are pretty cool applications – they can give you just a little more control over the Internet.

With an offline browser you can download websites ,or parts of a website, store locally, and then view the saved site at your convenience, while offline. If you’re on a dial-up Internet connection, you can add cost saving to the convenience factor – once the site is downloaded, you can disconnect.

Fresh WebMaster, the developers of the highly recommended Fresh UI Windows tweaking application, have just released Fresh WebSuction, a free offline browser application that’s worth considering if offline browsing is your thing.

The user interface is simply, and straightforward, as the screen capture illustrates:

Create a new project by clicking the “New” button on tool bar or choose “File |New Project” from the main menu.

Enter the URL in the address field and change the Project Name and Level setting if necessary, all other Properties information will be set by default.

Click the Run Now button, to start the download.


That’s it!

image To view the downloaded files offline:

Open the application.

From the Project Content tree select the file that you want to view and double-click it, or right-click then select “Open”.

Or, from Download List tab right-click on any file then select “Open”.


The screen capture below, shows the results of opening “Test 2”, for offline viewing.


Fast facts:

Download and save an entire Website.

Download and save particular sections of a Website.

Download up to 50 files simultaneously, thus large amounts of information can be retrieved in very little time.

View saved web content offline.

File types: HTML, Images,Audio,Video,Documents,Archived,User-defined and others.

File extensions : htm, html, shtm, shtml, htms, htmlx, asp, pl, stm, stml,idc, htx, xsp, xml, cfm, cgi, htmp, php, php3, nsf, jsp, aspx.

System requirements: Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000, Me

Download at: Fresh WebMaster (registration required).

Are you into Linux? If you are, then checkout Webhttrack, a free (GPL), easy-to-use offline browser utility.

Note: You can of course, save individual web pages for offline viewing, by using the File – Save Page As function, in your Browser.

As an alternative, if you’re a Firefox user, you might consider ScrapBook, a Firefox addon which is designed to save both web pages, and sites.

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Filed under Browser add-ons, Desktop Applications, downloads, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Linux, Open Source, Software, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP