Archive for January, 2009

Security threat: Malware on latest BarackObama.com Campaign

January 29, 2009 | By | Reply More

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

Websense has detected several malicious hackers registered under multiple bogus user accounts on My.BarackObama.com. (an online community for citizens supporting President Obama).
The website with its social-networking capability makes it possible for users to create accounts, join in groups, raise funds and create a blog.

In the Obama campaign, these malicious hackers created blogs on My.BarackObama.com with a fake YouTube image, enticing visitors to “Click here to see movie”, once the video is clicked, a porn video is uploaded and playing the video will result into a .exe file download which instructs a user to download the file in order to view the video.

Campaign perpetrators are boosting their visibility by injecting blog links into other blog comments especially on high profile sites like My.BarackObama.com.

So, don’t get caught into this trap. Be vigilant in clicking links as always and as it usually is, you can’t trust all you see on the internet.

Warning: Skype Username is Unchangeable!

January 18, 2009 | By | 1 Reply More

Reading time: 5 – 8 minutes

Using instant messenger or IM to communicate is definitely the most dynamic way of engaging into conversations with people. The immediate response coming from the parties involved makes it faster and much easier to send and convey information. What if this dynamism is put into question with vague security policy and poor customer support? Will you still be using it?

If you are familiar with VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) or if not that much because of the term, you probably must have heard about Skype.

Making telephone calls over the internetthrough Skype is possible. Many people utilize Skype for business and personal reasons.

Installation of this software is easy and the user-interface is just friendly. However, if you might assume that this would be perfect in all terms better think again.

Software developers normally have a help or support center that cater to user’s different needs and queries. What if this help center cannot help you?

Now let me share to you how Skype support center responded in my query to change my username and here’s what they said:

“Unfortunately, it is not possible to change a username and due security reasons we cannot make an exception.”

This statement was copied “as is” from the email they sent me. Looks canned isn’t it?

Have a look at the email below:

How helpful do you think is this response? They even mentioned security reasons?

The Skype security they are talking about does makes sense but why can’t they not change my username when in fact I am the legitimate account holder. I can have my user details, email and even password to provide them if they want.

For the few emails I’ve sent them, it always bears the same opening paragraph. Most customer service people use canned documents. They just cut-and-paste them to make it easier to respond to an email however, even if they do such system, their focus should still be in resolving their customers concern.

They kept on implying security reasons as another alibi to cover up their mistakes. Why can’t they just change it if I cannot do it on the application itself as it runs?
Here’s an excerpt from a forum thread about how Skype handle usernames in their database:

“So this is total bullsh….Even if you don’t allow me to delete physically my old unwanted name, one should allow to remove it at least from all directories!!! If not, there are lots of wrong addresses in Skype. Therefore after some time nobody trusts the directory anymore. If I was Skype I would change that as quickly as possible…”

Having read it, Skype can’t even delete your username which true.

From the letter below reads

and I quote,

“After approximately 10 – 21 days, your user profile will no longer appear in the Skype user directory. Please be aware that if you try to log into your account after the 21 day period, your user profile may re-appear. Please also be aware that your username will not be deleted and the same username cannot be used to open another Skype account.”

Why did they say that the user profile will no longer appear in Skype directory after you stopped using their service for several days but when you log back into your unwanted account, it’s replenished?

What in the world are they trying to say? Confusing isn’t it?

After exerting efforts trying to get resolution, I finally got a voice so I can get heard.
I’ve got email survey form that allows me to share my experience with Skype. I don’t really know if they take their surveys seriously but I answered it anyway.

Here’s how it looked like,

Dealing with my Skype username change request is really a pain. In fact, it was not resolved. I have also stopped using my Skype because of it. I certainly value my security as much as they do (Skype) but it just doesn’t make sense to me why they cannot change my username nor delete it? Why do they have to keep unwanted usernames?

It’s not just me who has rants about this issue. I’ve found some Skype username issues over the internet to help strengthen my case and I have also read from Yahoo!Answers UK telling Skype to stop remembering Skype name by a nameless fellow.

If Skype cannot do anything about it, they should have stated in their sign-up form that a Skype username is unchangeable once it is registered.

Having said that, we cannot discount the fact that people makes changes to their preferences most of the time (in so many ways including basic necessities). Customers have many reasons why they make changes to their preferences and if they feel that they are deprived of this option, they go somewhere else and this is something that Skype has to think about.

The ease of implementing our decisions and choices that we make in a timely fashion makes the consumer powerful enough to make or break any form of business. Where will we go if this freedom is denied from us?

Using a VoIP service is advantageous. However, the personal security of a user must be of primary importance while also taking into consideration their preferences, options and the help that they can get out of using the products and services these VoIP companies provide.

Israel-Hamas Malware is in your spam!

January 14, 2009 | By | 6 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

I came across a rather new and interesting news as I was trying to search for relevant information to post on this blog. Just as relevant as the war in Israel, a malware attack is in rampage and is circulating through unsolicited emails which claims to be from CNN news.

The email is said to contain news about the bombing in Gaza which contains a link of the graphic video of Al Jazeera English Report. Clicking the link brings the user to a fake CNN page with a video on it. Starting the video gives a dialog box advising to “Please Download the correct Flash Media Player!” Clicking OK starts a download of the malicious file Adobe_Player10.exe, which Trend Micro detects as TROJ_DLOADR.QK.

Trend Micro has reports on this latest malware attack found in emails.

The malware is a “downloader” which then downloads and installs other malware, TROJ_INJECT.ZZ. The latter is an info-stealer that logs keystrokes and launches a sniffer to retrieve passwords from network packets. It then uploads the gathered data to several URLs. It also drops a rootkit component detected as TROJ_ROOTKIT.FX.”

We remind everyone to beware of this malware and be vigilant in clicking links from your spam mailings.

How to improve system performance by defragmentation

January 10, 2009 | By | 2 Replies More

Reading time: 4 – 6 minutes

In computer systems administration language, defragmentation is a process that reduces the amount of fragmentation in file systems done by physically organizing the contents of the disk to store the pieces of each file close together and contiguously. It mostly attempts to create larger regions of free space to impede the return of fragmentation.

Fragmentation occurs when the operating system cannot or will not allocate enough contiguous space to store a complete file as a unit, but instead puts parts of it in gaps between other files normally gaps created by files that have been deleted or mainly just the allocated excess space. File size and the number of files contribute to fragmentation and consequent performance loss. In order to alleviate these problems, defragmentation must be undertaken.

Darling Disc DefraggedA defragmentation program moves files around within the free space available to undo fragmentation. This is a memory intensive operation and cannot be performed on a file system with no free space.

A common strategy to optimize defragmentation and to reduce the impact of fragmentation is to partition the hard disk(s) in a way that separates partitions of the file system that experience many more reads than writes from the more volatile zones where files are created and deleted frequently. For partitions with relatively little write activity, defragmentation performance greatly improves after the first defragmentation, since the defragmenter will need to defrag only a small number of new files in the future.

The presence of immovable system files, especially a swap file, can impede defragmentation. These files can be safely moved when the operating system is not in use. However, some defragmentation programs, such as Diskeeper or PerfectDisk (at boot time), are capable of defragmenting these file types.

User and performance issues

In the modern multi-user operating systems, file systems such as NTFS (and most Unix/Linux filesystems) are designed to decrease the likelihood of fragmentation. Improvements in modern hard drives such as RAM cache, faster platter rotation speed, and greater data density reduce the negative impact of fragmentation on system performance to some degree though increases in commonly used data quantities offset those benefits.

The use of disk defragmentation is not recommended on solid-state drives (SSD), as it may reduce the lifespan of the drive. Unlike mechanical hard-drives, solid-state drives do not incur a performance penalty for random file access, so the act of defragmentation generally will not improve overall drive performance.

“Defragging the Windows registry removes gaps (by reducing file sizes and making it faster to access for applications), fragments and wasted space, which can improve system performance where fragmented files are put together thus maximizes your system speed.”

The presence of defragmentation tools on the market enables a quicker and simpler defragmentation of files. Some tools allow you to choose files and folders you want, without having to process the whole drive without struggling with the Windows defragmentation tool.

One of the limitations of the Windows NT/2000 defragmentation interface is that it is not possible to defragment files that are open for exclusive access. Thus, standard defragmentation programs can neither show you how fragmented your paging files or registry hives are, nor defragment them. Paging and registry file fragmentation can be one of the leading causes of performance degradation related to file fragmentation in a system. Given these issues at hand, some defragmentation tools uses advanced techniques that provide the ability for you to see how fragmented your paging files and registry hives are, and defragment them which can also defrag event log files and Windows 2000 hibernation files (where system memory is saved when you hibernate a laptop).

Some programs can defragment drives manually, or fully automatic in the background, keeping your system at peak performance by avoiding build-up of file fragmentation. Defragmentation jobs can also be scheduled, using various criteria. Additional features include status reports, cluster inspector, command line interface, optional MMC integration, boot time defragmentation, special support for mobile systems and more.

The benefit of defragging our system is intangible. I’ve seen it myself and it worked. My PC doesn’t respond quickly to some operations and most of the time hangs-up not until I started defragging my system. I normally defrag my entire hard drive so I don’t escape some files that have big allotted space. Hard disk space is improved tremendously and programs responded so well after defragging consistently. It also helps to check your registry with some programs that correct and fix or even cleans some registry issues although most of which has to be purchased in the market for full performance. Registry cleaners help speed up the process of defragmentation since before hand it already removed the unwanted registry errors.

There are some programs out there that don’t just remove registry errors and cleans them but also permanently removes them from the hard disk (since deleted items normally stays in the hard disk even if you already deleted them from the recycle bin because they are not physically erased). When these junk files are removed, it makes it easier to defrag the system.

4 brilliant ways to know when buying a software

January 4, 2009 | By | 1 Reply More

Reading time: 4 – 6 minutes

Have you ever been caught undecided which software to buy? Do you always find yourself confused with so many software available in the market that you ended up purchasing a second class product? Or you just simply buy it because you have no choice?

Well, if you ever said yes to any of these questions then you probably need to have closer look at this guide designed to help you make the most of your resources, time and effort in making a decision to buy a software that would suit your needs.

  • Availability. It is necessary that we know where and how we can obtain a software in the market before we even buy them. Seek the information through Google, Yahoo or through other search engines or you may also try looking at it from PC magazines, or online stores. It’s also possible to check at your nearest local PC store to help you with your search. There are just so many means do it.
  • Price. Probably one of the things that cannot be ignored is the price. Software varies in prices. They may be sold online or in store but sometimes the difference in pricing makes it easier for a consumer to decide which one to pick especially if it’s exactly the same product. However, pricing should always go with quality. And why not take the more affordable one if it can do the job for you with the same or with even better results. What’s important is making the most of our resources especially during this time of crises. Spending our money on good buys is a “must have” thought.
  • Functionality. It is not to underestimate this concept because this is the primary reason why we are buying a software. Something that would suit our needs and can do what it is supposed to do. We won’t buy a registry cleaner if it can’t fix or clean the hard drive registry. Certainly, we either won’t buy an anti-virus software if it can’t protect our PC from threats of these kind. Functionality tackles the capability of a certain software to do the task it was designed for. Just a heads up, it is better to consult an expert or an end-user before even buying or installing a software in your PC. This helps because from these persons who had experience using these products would give us the hint as to whether or not to buy a certain item or software. Why not consult Freestuffz fanatico? We’re sure we can help in the best way we can.
  • User-friendly interface. Basically one of the most important part to take into consideration when buying a software is its user-friendly interface. Why user-friendly? It has to be easy to manipulate or use. We don’t need too much features that it can complicate our lives. It’s already a complicated world so let us not make it difficult for ourselves. has a lot of features (which normally adds up to the cost) but you simply couldn’t use. Agree? An easy to use software, just like a regular appliance, is more likely to be purchased than something which has a lot of features (which normally adds up to the cost) but you simply couldn’t use. Agree?

Buying a software is really tricky. Nowadays, there are various sources that we can look at. The presence of freeware, free software, and shareware in the market makes it easier for us to evaluate which one to pick. It is a must that we try these trial versions before we even decide on purchasing a certain software.

However, we must be vigilant since the presence of some marketing tactics cannot be denied. There are some trial versions that you can not even use and sometimes give you a half-baked performance because some of them does not provide full functionality of the software which eventually can caught you off guarded. If these schemes of providing limited feature on a trial version is experienced, then, think again.

Genuine companies with good intention would always allow you to use their product with full potential and is not afraid to have their integrity be put to test.

How to Setup Undisclosed Recipients in Yahoo!Mail

January 2, 2009 | By | 9 Replies More

Reading time: 4 – 6 minutes

One of the most popular free email provider we know is Yahoo!Mail. A spam is definitely the most hated email we could ever get because it is unsolicited which normally comes in bulk and since we’re also concerned of our security especially to those identity thefts.

In order for us to prevent ourselves from these unscrupulous spam bots, I have come to discover how we can get rid of spam by teaching our friends or those people we know how to undisclosed their contacts email addresses in case they’ll be sending bulk emails. This is easy to setup and can be done in just a minute, no software or program needed.

So here’s how to do it,

First, sign in to your Yahoo!Mail as you see below:

After signing in, navigate to your right status bar

then press “Add Contact”, to add a new contact.

From the Add Contact page, fill out the boxes as shown below:

Note: only the fields below should be filled out, nothing else.

After filling out the boxes shown above, hover down to the bottom right of the page then click, “Save”.

Afterwards, click “Done” to confirm the added contact.

So, we have already created a contact under the name “Undisclosed recipients”.

This is done to create an undisclosed recipient contact that would shadow the email addresses of the recipients in cases of sending an email to many recipients.

Now, how do we apply “Undisclosed recipients” for multiple messages to be sent? Click “Compose” to create an email.

From your address book, tick the box next to “Undisclosed recipients“.

then, remember to click “Show Bcc” so that the email addresses of the recipients will be blind copied. What will happen is that, each receiver will see ONLY the sender’s email address but will not know the email addresses to whom the sender also sent the same email.
That is why it’s marked “undisclosed”.

See what it would look like below:

On the “Bcc” box is where you should be typing all the recipients email addresses.

Then, click “Send”.

So, from here we’re able to know how we can get rid of spammers, spam bots or with some people we don’t know who might be the spammers within our midst.

For questions, please leave it at the comments section.

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Related Post with video tutorial, “Yahoo! Mail undisclosed recipients made easy.”