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Archive for December 27th, 2009

Browser Security 2

Posted by brainfoldb4u on December 27, 2009

In my last review i have posted some basics in choosing the right web browser for use. But web security threats are more than just choosing the right browser, so in here we will see the next step in safe browsing. Current day threats are very dangerous, simple mistakes like as one visit to malware site or clicking a loaded shareware to install can affect your computer performance and usage.  Some of the consequences are like annoying pop-up screens with advertisements, your browsers home page will be changed, default search engine will be altered. Some time the intruders who hacked your computer will blackmail you for money or personal gain  or even worse of stealing your money from bank account could happen. Having  an antivirus installed is not enough with the amount of virus and spyware it is very hard for firewall vendors to keep in time. Ofcorse, there are few free firewall vendors like PC tool, Avast, Avira, Comodo internet security, Online Armour to provide free version of their internet security tools suites,  anti-spyware tool and firewalls  to ed. But it is necessary  to learn different approach to overcome these threats.

Sanboxing:

In computer security world, sandboing is a mechanism used to separate running programs. Using it for tasks like executing untested code, running untrusted programs from unverified third parties and untrusted users. Given that open source and distributed computing getting more popular, sandbox concept will be very useful mode of protection from unwanted hacking. Sand box typically provides tight control over the untrusted program even if anything goes wrong the impact will not affecting your computer or its resources.

To get a sand boxed environment we can use a free program called Sandboxie which is available for windows OS later than Win 2000. Downloading this piece of software creates a sandbox like environment on your PC. Startup is just like normal other browser other than the inconvenient nag screen that pops until the application opens.  Browsing inside Sandboxie gives you greatest protection by isolating the browser from portions like your OS, hard drive, memory locations, altering registries, OS sessions. So what ever browsing or downloading you do will be within the box and will not affect your PC. Upon downloading and saving a file, Sandboxing comes with an option asking whether to save it permanently or not. Better option will be to add your default downloads folder to the Quick recovery settings so all files saved there will automatically saved in your hard drive which avoids you manually copying the files into real hard drive.

Say for instance if you have downloaded a virus or Trojan by mistake, you close the browser and right-click to delete all its files and processes by doing so will get your PC back to normal state as it was before starting the session. Latest version comes with advanced option like in-depth defense, blocking access to your personal files, allowing us to choose what program to run and not. Some other advanced features also helps us protecting from Key-loggers. Overall it protects us from viruses, Trojan software, ad-ware, spyware and other malware that could infect your PC from web (internet).

Online Armour:

To Make browsing more safer there is another option available from a company called Online Armor and they give us free firewall protection as well us an option called “Run Safer“.  Run Saver works with privileges. All files, process and programs running in OS will have at-least two level of permission one with read only access and second as full access ( read, write, change). Users with admin login credentials will typically bound to have full access and users with normal login credentials will  have low-level access so that they cannot make any harm. Typical home users will use his admin log on for all day-to-day tasks he do in his/her machine as it convenient. But it is not safer to do so- if a dangerous program happen to get into your computer it will be also convenient for the virus/trojan/malware to crash or take control of your computer.

Online Armor’s run safer option helps protect against this by automatically “stepping down the rights” that your web browser or any other program you run has to a limited user. You may claim any one can do this but the tool does it with transparency. This way you can make your web browsing  more safer.

PC Tool Firewall +

PC tool Firewall plus a very useful personal firewall that provides Host based intrusion Prevention system (HIPS) through enhanced security mechanism. It relies on list of programs and attempts check for valid digital signatures and alerts the users if it identifies any possible malicious behavior. It gives us protection as its commercial equivalent does in regards with performance. Simple installation and very user friendly in its default settings and produce fewer popups for common tasks. Some key highlights are

  • Hides your PC from Internet hackers.
  • Fine-grained control over inbound and outbound traffic.
  • Easy to use. Designed for both novice and expert users.
  • No interruptions when playing full-screen games.
  • Optional password protection for rules and settings.
  • Best of all it’s FREE. No catches, limitations or time-limits.

Additional features include “full screen mode, mode to suppress all alerts, password protection, automatic updates. For detailed list of its more features click here . So over all its a free good firewall option for home users. Paid version gives enhanced features for 49 dollars which is relatively cheaper than its costly counterparts.

PC Tool’s Spyware Doctor:

PC tool’s Spyware doctor with antivirus which is again an awesome tool to keep you away from infections. This is more corrective measure while earlier discussed options were more preventive methods. I own McAfee paid version installed in my computer but when my computer slows with adware and spyware infections its spyware doctor who rescued my brainfold (my PC). It’s full scan almost detects and destroys all unwanted virus, Trojans, ad-wares and spyware in its best and quick possible way.  I will strongly recommend you to try installing the spyware doctor from PC tool, compare the scan with your paid protection and find the difference yourself.

Conclusion: In this post i discussed some intermediate level techniques in keeping home computer safer from exploits (attacks). Our first option is to have a sand box software installed and if you are not sure about what you are downloading try downloading it with sand box browser. Second option is also preventive option by turning safer run option ON (Online Armour) which avoid any harm to our computer by maintaining least privilege. PC tools firewall and spyware doctor are preventive and corrective measures respectively to combat from virus, Trojans, Ad-ware and Spyware infections. I hope this post is informative for home users .  Thank you again for your time if you need any further clarification or assistance in selecting any above mentioned methods please comment i will get back to you.

Posted in Browser Security, Hacking, Information Security, Open Source, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Avatar search, beware of spam

Posted by brainfoldb4u on December 27, 2009

When  i Google to know more about avatar i came across this spam which after a single click delivered some adware and spyware into my computer. When i tried running windows defender it came up with zero infection. Thankfully i had installed free version of PC tools Spyware doctor while ran a scan it discovered 39 fixes that needed my attention just by clicking the site once. Further information about the spam is as follows
If you google with avatar review as search term you will find it in top 5 results and it comes under name Jamaica observer with 2510 related.
I am not dared to try clicking again in my primary machine, but certainly will try it with sandbox and discover further. At this stage I am not certain about typing this site as spam or not, but just a caution to make viewers aware before it causes any harm.
For general audience, in future to avoid such spams from website i would recommend trying McAfee’s free site advisor and openning any new page with their advice or try no-script if you using Firefox. Microsoft site advisors image:

Posted in Security tools, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Avatar- Movie beyond imagination

Posted by brainfoldb4u on December 27, 2009

Boxing day, to stay away from routine we decided to watch a movie. I initially thought of Robin Hood . I am highly hyped of the fact that its directed by Riley Scott and yeah the same combination that rocked box office for several months and even years (Gladiator).  Synopsis of the film is as follows

Robin Hood Synopsis

“The untitled Robin Hood adventure chronicles the life of an expert archer, previously interested only in self-preservation, from his service in King Richard’s army against the French. Upon Richard’s death, Robin travels to Nottingham, a town suffering from the corruption of a despotic sheriff and crippling taxation, where he falls for the spirited widow Lady Marian (Blanchett), a woman skeptical of the identity and motivations of this crusader from the forest. Hoping to earn the hand of Maid Marian and salvage the village, Robin assembles a gang whose lethal mercenary skills are matched only by its appetite for life. Together, they begin preying on the indulgent upper class to correct injustices under the sheriff.”

But once after looking for session timing i realized the release schedule is May 2010. Disappointing but don’t want really wanted to step away from watching a movie.  So we decided to watch Avatar 3D in Greater union.

James Cameron’s Avatar is the most entertaining movie of the year with enthralling cinematic experience. Seems he took almost a decade to  release such an incredible movie. Mr Cameron’s attention to detail and the way he presented every single characters, place, and the movie itself is mind blogging.  In my view i put this movie as “Movie beyond imagination”.

Simply put,  Avatar is the story of Jake Sully, a  marine, who replaces his brother on a secret mission to tackle the  colony of beings that sit on the planet of Pandora, Pandora has some precious ore, that sells at a ridiculous amount. When Jake learns the ways of the Na’ vi, his feelings and learnings will put him and the people he trusts in dangerous jeopardy. Avatar is not generated from any myth or novel. But i find it speaks truth about the connections that we living being have all together.

Along with the best effects minds in the business.  Joe Letteri is technical team lead for visual effects says “For the first several months, we all fell flat on our faces,” recalls Neville Page, the film’s lead creature designer. “Then one day, Jim said, ‘Alright, I’m going to draw a picture for you guys and then you can finish it,’ and that became the blueprint for (lead female alien) Neytiri and so for the rest of the Na’vi.”

The story takes place three decades after MNC’s established a mining colony on Pandora ( an environment with hostile natives also called as blue monkeys) . Multinational mining companies wanted to get rid of those native people with the help of human proxies and use the precious ore the Pandora own.  A group of biologists are working as military proxies to certain a negotiation term with Pandora.

Jake Sully is a disabled former Marine who takes his late twin brother’s place in the avatar program, a sort of bone thrown to the scientific community by the corporation in hopes that the study of Pandora and its population might create a more peaceful planet. Jake with the help of science somehow manages to get into Pandora and made them believe he is one among them.

The forest so imagined Pandora is well modeled with flying dragons, magic trees, feral dogs, rain forest with the concept of highly advanced spiritualism. After 6 months military with sully’s interpretations military were able to design Na’vi defense capabilities to attack Na’vi’s and capture the land by destroying the trees which Na’vi values as their spiritual god.

Military commanders and mining commercials came to a point realizing that sally fell in love with Neytiri and would not be significant in getting their task done in time. So military started to attack Na’vi and with the help of sully and his biologist team natives were able to fight with military and stay in their own land.

Distributors 20th Century Fox say it has earned more than $350m (£217m) in the US and more than $670m (415m) in the rest of the world in only 17 days. Ahead of it are Titanic ($1.8bn; £1.1bn), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ($1.12bn; £695m) and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest ($1.07bn; £664m)

It is a must watch life time movie and i would recommend viewers to watch it in 3D if possible to enjoy the fullest animation experience.

Lead Scriptures of this movie  are:

Director/Screen writter:  James Cameron

Producer: James Cameron, Jon Landau

Cast: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, David Moore, Laz Alonso

Production companies: 20th century Fox with Dune entertainment and ingenious film partners

Comment with your view please..

Posted in General topics, Movies | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »