Apple fixes a dozen holes in Mac OS X

Friday, January 29, 2010



Apple fixes a dozen vulnerabilities affecting Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.6 in its first security update for the year released on Wednesday.

The security update addresses several issues with the Flash Player plug-in, including one that could allow an attacker to take control of the computer if the user visits a malicious Web site.





Java Runtime Edition 6.0.140.8

Thursday, January 28, 2010



Java software allows you to run applications called "applets" that are written in the Java programming language. These applets allow you to have a much richer experience online than simply interacting with static HTML pages.

Java Plug-in technology, included as part of the Java 2 Runtime Environment, Standard Edition (JRE), establishes a connection between popular browsers and the Java platform. Java allows applications to be downloaded over a network and run within a guarded sandbox. Security restrictions are easily imposed on the sandbox.

Many cross platform applications also require Java to operate properly.



Download Link




Flash Player 10.0.42.34 (Non-IE)




Adobe Flash Player is the high performance, lightweight, highly expressive client runtime that delivers powerful and consistent user experiences across major operating systems, browsers, mobile phones and devices.

Installed on over 750 million Internet-connected desktops and mobile devices, Flash Player enables organizations and individuals to build and deliver great digital experiences to their end users.

* Immersive experiences with Flash video, content and applications with full-screen mode.
* Low-bandwidth, high-quality video with advanced compression technology.
* High-fidelity text using the advanced text rendering engine.
* Real-time dynamic effects with filters for Blur, DropShadow, Glow, Bevel, Gradient Glow, Gradient Bevel, Displacement Map, Convolution, and Color Matrix.
* Innovative media compositions with 8-bit video alpha channels.
* Blend modes, radial gradient, and stroke enhancements.
* Additional image formats: GIF, Progressive JPEG, and PNG.


This download is the standalone ActiveX installer for Internet Explorer.



Download Link Click Here

Google Chrome 4.0.295.0 Beta




Google Chrome is a browser that combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer, and easier.

One box for everything

Type in the address bar and get suggestions for both search and web pages.

Thumbnails of your top sites

Access your favorite pages instantly with lightning speed from any new tab.

Incognito mode

Don't want pages you visit to show up in your web history? Choose incognito mode for private browsing.

Safe browsing

Google Chrome warns you if you're about to visit a suspected phishing, malware or otherwise unsafe website.




Download Link Click Here

Firefox 3.6


The Web is all about innovation, and Firefox sets the pace with dozens of new features to deliver a faster, more secure and customizable Web browsing experience for all.

User Experience. The enhancements to Firefox provide the best possible browsing experience on the Web. The new Firefox smart location bar, affectionately known as the "Awesome Bar," learns as people use it, adapting to user preferences and offering better fitting matches over time.

Performance. Firefox is built on top of the powerful new Gecko platform, resulting in a safer, easier to use and more personal product.

Security. Firefox raises the bar for security. The new malware and phishing protection helps protect from viruses, worms, trojans and spyware to keep people safe on the Web.

Customization. Everyone uses the Web differently, and Firefox lets users customize their browser with more than 5,000 add-ons.



Download Link

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 1.44

Wednesday, January 27, 2010



Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware can detect and remove malware that even the most well known anti-virus and anti-malware applications fail to detect. Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware monitors every process and stops malicious processes before they even start.

Key Features:

* Support for Windows 2000, XP, and Vista (32-bit only).
* Light speed quick scanning.
* Ability to perform full scans for all drives.
* Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware Protection Module. (requires registration)
* Database updates released daily.
* Quarantine to hold threats and restore them at your convenience.
* Ignore list for both the scanner and Protection Module.
* Settings to enhance your Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware performance.
* A small list of extra utilities to help remove malware manually.
* Multi-lingual support.
* Works together with other anti-malware utilities.
* Command line support for quick scanning.
* Context menu integration to scan files on demand.


Download Link



CCleaner 2.27.1070


CCleaner is a freeware system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. It removes unused files from your system - allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. It also cleans traces of your online activities such as your Internet history. Additionally it contains a fully featured registry cleaner. But the best part is that it's fast (normally taking less than a second to run) and contains NO Spyware or Adware! :)

Cleans the following:

* Internet Explorer
* Firefox
* Google Chrome
* Opera
* Safari
* Windows - Recycle Bin, Recent Documents, Temporary files and Log files.
* Registry cleaner
* Third-party applications
* 100% Spyware FREE



Download Link



'Aurora' code circulated for years on English sites

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


An error-checking algorithm found in software used to attack Google and other large companies circulated for years on English-speaking websites, casting doubt on claims it provided strong evidence that the malware was written by someone inside the People's Republic of China.

The smoking gun said to tie Chinese-speaking programmers to the Hydraq trojan that penetrated Google's defenses was a cyclic redundancy check routine that used a table of only 16 constants. Security researcher Joe Stewart said the algorithm "seems to be virtually unknown outside of China," a finding he used to conclude that the code behind the attacks dubbed Aurora "originated with someone who is comfortable reading simplified Chinese."

"In my opinion, the use of this unique CRC implementation in Hydraq is evidence that someone from within the PRC authored the Aurora codebase," Stewart wrote here.

In fact, the implementation is common among English-speaking programmers of microcontrollers and other devices where memory is limited. In 2007, hardware designer Michael Karas discussed an almost identical algorithm here. Undated source code published here also bears more than a striking resemblance.

"Digging this a little deeper though, the algorithm is a variation of calculating CRC using a nibble (4 bits) instead of a byte," programmer and Reg reader Steve L. wrote in an email. "This is widely used in single-chip computers in the embedded world, as it seems. I'd hardly call this a new algorithm, or [an] obscure one, either."

Two weeks ago, Google said it was the victim of highly sophisticated attacks originating from China that targeted intellectual property and the Gmail accounts of human rights advocates. The company said similar attacks hit 20 other companies in the internet, finance, technology, media and chemical industries. Independent security researchers quickly raised the number of compromised companies to 34.

But Google provided no evidence that China was even indirectly involved in the attacks targeting its source code. During a conference call last week with Wall Street analysts, CEO Eric Schmidt said only that that world's most populous nation was "probably" behind the attacks.

One of the only other reported links between China and the attacks is that they were launched from at least six internet addresses located in Taiwan, which James Mulvenenon, the director of the Center for Intelligence Research and Analysis at Defense Group, told The Wall Street Journal is a common strategy used by Chinese hackers to mask their origin. But it just as easily could be the strategy of those trying to make the attacks appear to have originated in China.

The claim that the CRC was lifted from a paper published exclusively in simplified Chinese seemed like the hard evidence that was missing from the open-and-shut case. In an email to The Register, Stewart acknowledged the CRC algorithm on 8052.com was the same one he found in Hydraq, but downplayed the significance.

"The guy on that site says he has used the algorithm, didn't say he wrote it," Stewart explained. "I've seen dates on some of the Chinese postings of the code dating back to 2002."

Maybe. But if the 16-constant CRC routine is this widely known, it seems plausible that attackers from any number of countries could have appropriated it. And that means Google and others claiming a China connection have yet to make their case.

The lack of evidence is important. Google's accusations have already had a dramatic effect on US-China relations. If proof beyond a reasonable doubt is good enough in courts of law, shouldn't it be good enough for relations between two of the world's most powerful countries?







Windows computer boots up slow

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Answer:

A slow Microsoft Windows boot up can be caused by a wide variety of issues. Below are various suggestions and tips that can help improve the overall speed of your computers startup.

Disable startup programs

Programs that are loading up as the computer starts up to remain active in memory, are often one of the main causes of a slow boot in Windows. Disabling programs you don't often use from automatically starting up each time the computer boots can increase the boot time.

A program that makes managing your Windows startup programs easily you can disable any program in any of the locations programs use to start themselves automatically..

Scandisk / Defrag

Running Microsoft ScanDisk and Defrag or similar disk utilities on the computer can help verify the hard disk drive has no errors, as well as make sure the data on the hard disk drive is organized in the most efficient method. We suggest running both of these utilities at least once every few months.

Hard disk drive space

If your computer does not have at least 250MB of free available hard disk drive space this can cause an overall slowdown with your computer as well as decrease the boot time. Make sure your computer hard disk drive has 250MB or more of available disk space.

Add memory

Adding additional memory (RAM) to the computer will help increase the overall speed of the computer and in some cases can also increase the load times of your computer. Today, we suggest all computers be running a minimum of 1GB of memory in their computer. If your computer is running less than this it may be time to upgrade.

Update drivers and Windows

Corrupt, incorrect, and/or out-of-date drivers can cause a number of different issues. Make sure your computer has the latest drivers as well as any available Microsoft Windows updates.

Registry cleaner

Although we don't often recommend registry cleaners in some rare situations running cleaners can help improve the overall performance of Windows including the Windows startup. If you've run through all of the above recommendations you may want to clean your system registry.

Format and reinstall

If after following all the above steps your computer still seems to be slow you may want to erase everything from the computer and re-install Windows. This will clean your computer and make it like new.



Windows plagued by 17-year-old privilege escalation bug

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


A security researcher at Google is recommending computer users make several configuration changes to protect themselves against a previously unknown vulnerability that allows untrusted users to take complete control of systems running most versions of Microsoft Windows.

The vulnerability resides in a feature known as the Virtual DOS Machine, which Microsoft introduced in 1993 with Windows NT, according to this writeup penned by Tavis Ormandy of Google. Using code written for the VDM, an unprivileged user can inject code of his choosing directly into the system's kernel, making it possible to make changes to highly sensitive parts of the operating system.

"You can in theory write to memory segments that are otherwise considered highly trusted and sensitive," said Tom Parker, a director in the security consulting services group at Securicon, a Washington, DC-based security practice. "So for example, malware could possibly use it to install a key logger."

The vulnerability exists in all 32-bit versions of Microsoft OSes released since 1993, and proof-of-concept code works on the XP, Server 2003, Vista, Server 2008, and 7 versions of Windows, Ormandy reported. Presumably, Windows 2000 is also susceptible. Immunity, a Miami-based company that makes auditing software for security professionals, has already added a module exploiting the vulnerability to its product called Canvas. The exploit has been tested on all versions of Windows except for 3.1.

Ormandy said the security hole can easily be closed by turning off the MSDOS and WOWEXEC subsystems. The changes generally don't interfere with most tasks since they disable rarely-used 16-bit applications. He said he informed Microsoft security employees of the vulnerability in June.

"Regrettably, no official patch is currently available," he wrote. "As an effective and easy to deploy workaround is available, I have concluded that it is in the best interest of users to go ahead with the publication of this document without an official patch."

Microsoft security officials - who are already working double-duty responding to a potent Internet Explorer bug used to attack Google - said they are looking in to Ormandy's advisory and are not aware of attacks that target the reported vulnerability.







Runtime errors


Cause:

The runtime or run-time error message can be caused by:

1. Confliction with TSR or other running program
2. Software issue
3. Computer Virus
4. Memory issue

Solution:

Before following the below recommendations for troubleshooting your runtime error if you're getting a runtime error with a runtime error code and error message such as "Runtime error 75 path/file access error", skip to the below runtime error listing for a listing of runtime error codes and additional information and causes for these errors.

Confliction with TSR or other running program

If you are encountering a runtime error message while in Windows or above ensure that the issue is not being caused by a third-party program or TSR by end tasking all open programs. Additional information about TSRs and how to end task a TSR can be found on document CHTSR.

If, after end tasking all TSRs, you continue to experience the same issue and are running Windows 95 or Windows 98, verify that no utility or program is being loaded in the autoexec.bat / config.sys that is causing your issue by temporally renaming the files. To do this, follow the below instructions.

1. Boot to a MS-DOS prompt. Information on how to do this can be found on document CHDOS.
2. Once at the MS-DOS prompt, type:

cd\
ren autoexec.bat autoexec.ch
ren config.sys config.ch

Once completed, reboot the computer.

Software issue

If your issue persists it is possible that the program, utility or game causing the runtime error may have issues. Verify through the developer's web site that all updates or patches that may be available have been downloaded and applied.

If no patches or updates are available, attempt to uninstall and/or reinstall the program that is causing the issue. If you are having a runtime error in your operating system, reinstall the operating system.

Add-on, plug-in, or other extra software

Many runtime errors are also caused by other add-ons, plug-ins, or other extra software that has been installed onto the computer and is associated with the program generating the error. If you have any extra software installed that is associated with the program generating the error make sure there are no available updates for the programs and/or try uninstalling each of them to verify they're not the cause of your issue.

Computer virus

Because computer viruses are capable of tampering with the system settings / memory it is possible for a computer virus to generate a runtime error. If you are currently running a virus protection program on your computer ensure it has the latest updated patch or .dat file.

If you do not have a computer virus protection program it is recommended one be purchased or that a demo be temporarily downloaded to scan your computer hard disk drive for viruses.

* Additional information about computer viruses can be found on our virus information page.

Memory issue

Finally, if you have followed all of the above recommendations, it is possible that you may be encountering a hardware / memory related issue. We recommend that you first contact the developer of the program causing the issue for any possible solutions. If no solutions are found, we recommend you contact the computer or motherboard manufacturer for additional recommendations and/or service.

* Additional information about troubleshooting memory related issues can be found on document CH000375.

A complete listing of computer-related companies can be found here.

Runtime error listings

Below is a listing of Microsoft Windows and Windows software runtime error codes and related Runtime error messages. If you're encountering one of the below runtime error codes and have a matching runtime error message see the associated additional information column for causes and information about that runtime. If the additional information does not help resolve your issue try the recommendations under the above solution section.

Runtime error codeRuntime error messageAdditional information
5Illegal function callProgram error, verify the program has all the latest updates. If updated try reinstalling the program. If you continue to have the same errors contact the software developer.
6OverflowProgram error, verify the program has all the latest updates. If updated try reinstalling the program. If you continue to have the same errors contact the software developer.
7Out of memoryThis issue can be caused when the computer does not meet the programs system requirements or to much memory is already being used for the program to run.

If your computer meets the requirements try first reinstalling the program to make sure it's not an issues with the program installation. I

9Subscript out of rangeProgram error, verify the program has all the latest updates. If updated try reinstalling the program. If you continue to have the same errors contact the software developer.
10Duplicate definitionProgram error, verify the program has all the latest updates. If updated try reinstalling the program. If you continue to have the same errors contact the software developer.
11Division by zeroProblem with a math formula in the program or the programs code. Verify no software updates are available for the program causing this error.
13Type MismatchMake sure your system regional settings are setup correctly and that the program you're running is made for your version of Windows.
14Out of string spaceProgram error, verify the program has all the latest updates. If updated try reinstalling the program. If you continue to have the same errors contact the software developer.
19No ResumeProgram error, verify the program has all the latest updates. If updated try reinstalling the program. If you continue to have the same errors contact the software developer.
20Resume without errorProgram error, verify the program has all the latest updates. If updated try reinstalling the program. If you continue to have the same errors contact the software developer.
28Out of stack spaceThis issue can be caused by a program or memory error.
35Sub or Function not definedProgram error, verify the program has all the latest updates. If updated try reinstalling the program. If you continue to have the same errors contact the software developer.
48Error in loading DLLThis issue is often caused with a bad installation or an issue caused after another program has been installed that replaced the programs DLL. Close all programs and TSRs and try installing the program again.
52Bad file name or numberProgram error, verify the program has all the latest updates. If updated try reinstalling the program. If you continue to have the same errors contact the software developer.
53File not foundFile required by the program to run is not found. Program needs to be reinstalled or missing file(s) need to be copied back to the computer.
54Bad file modeProgram error, verify the program has all the latest updates. If updated try reinstalling the program. If you continue to have the same errors contact the software developer.
55File already openProgram or file associated with program is being used and program does not have access to use it. Try closing all open programs and run program again.
58File already existsProgram error, verify the program has all the latest updates. If updated try reinstalling the program. If you continue to have the same errors contact the software developer.
61Disk fullThe disk, for example, the hard disk drive does not have enough space for the program to run or for associated files to be copied to. Free up disk space on the computer hard drive.
62Input past end of fileProgram error, verify the program has all the latest updates. If updated try reinstalling the program. If you continue to have the same errors contact the software developer.
63Bad record numberProgram error, verify the program has all the latest updates. If updated try reinstalling the program. If you continue to have the same errors contact the software developer.
64Bad file nameProgram error, verify the program has all the latest updates. If updated try reinstalling the program. If you continue to have the same errors contact the software developer.
68Device unavailableA hardware device or necessary requirement for the program is not being found. Verify all hardware and software required by the program is installed. If you continue to have the same issues verify the latest updates are installed for the program as well as any hardware device the program needs.
70Permission deniedThe location of where the program is being copied to does not have proper rights. Or a file that is trying to be copied over because it's currently being used. Try closing all programs and TSRs and running/installing the program again.
71Disk not readyVerify you have proper rights to the location you are attempting to install the program to.
74Can't rename with different driveProgram error, verify the program has all the latest updates. If updated try reinstalling the program. If you continue to have the same errors contact the software developer.
75Path/File access errorProgram does not have rights or access to a file. Often this is caused when a program is trying to access a network file it doesn't have proper access to either because of network privileges or something is blocking the program. This issue can also be caused when the file is being used by another program or is read-only.
76Path not foundDirectory of where the program needs to be copied to or files associated with the program need to be copied to is missing. Try reinstalling the program.
91Object variable set to NothingProgram error, verify the program has all the latest updates. If updated try reinstalling the program. If you continue to have the same errors contact the software developer.
93Invalid patternProgram error, verify the program has all the latest updates. If updated try reinstalling the program. If you continue to have the same errors contact the software developer.
94Illegal use of NULLProgram error, verify the program has all the latest updates. If updated try reinstalling the program. If you continue to have the same errors contact the software developer.
102Command failedProgram error, verify the program has all the latest updates. If updated try reinstalling the program. If you continue to have the same errors contact the software developer.
339A file is missing or invalidAn associated program file is missing or corrupt. Try reinstalling the program.
429Object creation failedProgram is corrupted, try reinstalling the program generating the runtime error.
438No such property or methodProgram error, verify the program has all the latest updates. If updated try reinstalling the program. If you continue to have the same errors contact the software developer.
439Argument type mismatchProgram error, verify the program has all the latest updates. If updated try reinstalling the program. If you continue to have the same errors contact the software developer.
440Object errorProgram error, verify the program has all the latest updates. If updated try reinstalling the program. If you continue to have the same errors contact the software developer.
901Input buffer would be larger than 64KProgram error, verify the program has all the latest updates. If updated try reinstalling the program. If you continue to have the same errors contact the software developer.
902 Operating system errorVerify the program is compatible with your version of Windows and/or has any software updates.
903External procedure not foundProgram error, verify the program has all the latest updates. If updated try reinstalling the program. If you continue to have the same errors contact the software developer.
904Global variable type mismatchProgram error, verify the program has all the latest updates. If updated try reinstalling the program. If you continue to have the same errors contact the software developer.
905User-defined type mismatchA setting either in the program shortcut or being defined by the user is correct. Try running just the program without any additional settings or variables.
906External procedure interface mismatchProgram error, verify the program has all the latest updates. If updated try reinstalling the program. If you continue to have the same errors contact the software developer.
1001Out of memoryThis issue can be caused when the computer does not meet the programs system requirements or to much memory is already being used for the program to run.

If your computer meets the requirements try first reinstalling the program to make sure it's not an issue with the program installation.

1025DLL is not supportedThis issue is often caused with a bad installation or an issue caused after another program has been installed that replaced the programs DLL. Close all programs and TSRs and try installing the program again.




How do I fix illegal operations?

Monday, January 18, 2010


Cause:

Illegal Operations can be caused by several different factors. Below is a listing of the more commonly known reasons for getting an Illegal Operations.

1. TSR's or Third-party programs causing memory conflicts or other types of conflicts with the program or programs attempting to be run.
2. Data not being read properly from source. Running a program or game with a dirty CD can cause the CD to be read improperly causing Illegal Operations. Floppy diskettes, which may contain errors can cause illegal operations.
3. Installing a program or game on a hard disk drive that has errors or is highly fragmented.
4. Corrupt files.
5. Memory managers.
6. Bad, incorrect or not the latest video drivers.
7. Computer Virus.
8. Added hardware
9. Error in program coding
10. Corruption or problem within Windows.
11. Bad Memory, invalid bits or physically bad memory.

Solution:

TSR's or Third-party programs

TSR's or Third-party programs running in the background are one of the more commonly found reasons for Illegal Operations. If you are receiving an Illegal Operation when attempting to run a game or program it is recommend that you temporarily remove or disable programs running and TSR's running in the background, ensuring that these programs are not causing your issues.

If, after removing these programs, you run the program or game and no longer receive the Illegal Operations, it is recommend that you reboot the computer and disable or End Task each program or TSR one at a time to attempt to determine which program is causing the Illegal Operation.

Data not being read properly from source

When running a program or game from a CD you receive an Illegal Operation, verify that the CD is clean.

Installing a program or game on a hard disk drive that has errors or is highly fragmented

When installing a program or game onto a hard disk drive it is recommended if you receive errors after installing that program or game that you attempt to uninstall that program or game, run a scandisk, then a defrag, and finally attempt to install the program or game again.

If errors exist on the hard disk drive, they will cause the program or game to run improperly and can cause Illegal Operations.

Corrupt files

Corrupt, bad or missing files can cause Illegal Operations. It is recommended that you attempt to uninstall and or reinstall the program causing the Illegal Operation to verify that any corrupt, bad or missing files are replaced or repaired during the reinstallation.

Memory managers

If you are running a memory manager that is used to obtain more memory or handle the computer memory in replace of Windows, it is recommended you temporarily disable or uninstall this program to verify it is not the memory manager causing the Illegal Operations.

Bad, incorrect or not the latest video drivers

Bad, incorrect or not the latest video drivers may cause Illegal Operations when performing such tasks as moving the mouse or dragging data from one source to another as high demands are placed onto the video card. Attempt to decrease the video settings to 640 x 480, 256 colors to verify if the program or game being run is having errors because of the current video settings.

If, after attempting to adjust the video settings, you still encounter the same issue, verify the computer is utilizing the latest video card drivers by visiting our Video drivers section.

Computer Virus

Because computer viruses are loaded into memory and can change the data of program files when infecting a computer, ensure that a virus protection utility is installed on the computer and that you have the latest Virus Definition.

Added hardware

If added hardware has been recently installed onto the computer it is likely that either the hardware is conflicting with other hardware devices on the computer or that the drivers used to install that hardware is causing issues with other hardware or software installed on the computer.

If added hardware has recently been added to the computer, it is recommended that you temporarily remove that added hardware and the software associated with it to ensure it is not causing your issues.

Error in program coding

If you are receiving Illegal Operations only when running a particular program, verify that the program is compatible with the Version of Windows you are running and ensure no available patches or software are available that may fix errors made during the development stages.

Corruption or problem within Windows

Because Windows controls the memory operations as well as the file structure and association, it is possible for Windows or files associated with Windows to become corrupted, causing Illegal Operations or other errors. It is recommended you reinstall Windows if you are experiencing Illegal Operations in Windows or more than one program trying to be run on the computer.

Bad Memory, invalid bits or physically bad memory

It is possible that bad memory can cause Illegal Operations. If you have recently added memory to the computer, it is recommended that it first be removed to verify that you are not experiencing conflicts with the recently installed memory.



Computer is running slow what steps can I do to fix it?

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Cause:

This issue can be caused by any of the below possibilities.

1. Hard disk drive is short on available disk space.
2. Several software programs have been installed/uninstalled leaving behind bad files and/or confusing the software.
3. Data Corruption.
4. Missing Windows updates / Outdated drivers.
5. Computer is overheating.
6. Corrupt OS.
7. Bad Hardware.

Solution:

Below are steps for Microsoft Windows users that should help speed up the computer or determine why the computer is running slow.

Not enough hard disk drive space

Verify that there is at least 200-500MB of free hard disk drive space. This available space allows the computer to have room for the swap file to increase in size as well as room for temporary files.

Hard drive corrupted or fragmented

Run Scandisk or something equivalent to help ensure that there is nothing physically wrong with the computer hard disk drive.

Run Defrag to help ensure that data is arranged in the best possible order.

Background programs

Remove or disable any TSRs or programs that automatically start each time the computer boots. See document CHTSR for additional information. If you're wanting to see what programs are running in the background, how much memory they're using, and their CPU usage open Task Manager. Also, if you are running Windows 7, you can run Resmon to find out which programs are taking up a lot of space.

If you've got an anti-virus scanner on the computer, spyware protection program, or other security utility make sure it's not running in the background as you're trying to work. Often when these programs begin to scan the computer it can decrease the overall performance of your computer.

Hardware conflicts

Verify that the Device Manager has no conflicts. If any exist resolve these issues as they could be the cause of your problem.

Update Windows

Make sure you have all the latest Windows updates installed in the computer. A

Update your drivers

Make sure you've got the latest drivers for your computer. Especially the latest video drivers. Having out-of-date drivers can cause an assortment of issues.

Computer or processor is overheating

Make sure your computer and processor is not overheating, excessive heat can cause a significant decrease in computer performance some processors will even lower the speed of the processor automatically to help compensate for the heat related issues.

Memory upgrade

If you've had your computer for more than one year it's likely you're computer is not meeting the memory requirements for today. We suggest at a minimum the computer have 1GB of memory.

Erase computer and start over

Finally, if none of the above solutions resolve your issues, it is recommended that you either reinstall Windows and/or erase everything and then start over.

Hardware issues

If your computer continues to be slow after going over each of the above recommendations it's possible that your computer is experiencing a more serious hardware related issue such as a failing component in the computer. This could be a failing or bad CPU, RAM, Motherboard, or other component.



Top 10 technologies for tyranny

Saturday, January 16, 2010


In light of Google's spat with China and the ire it aroused we wanted to do something about tyranny and technology this week, but I'm afraid to say we fell prey to the dark side.

The original plan was to write a Top 10 about how to defeat repressive regimes using technology. You'll be getting that next week; it's going to take some interviews and research to do a proper job for the people that actually need it. Besides, as a wise woman pointed out, it's better to go from darkness into the light.

Instead we decided to do a review of the Top 10 technologies for dictators. While I suspect no readers have ambitions to take over the world nevertheless for those that do here's a list of technologies that could see you stroking a Persian cat and telling James Bond your operation.

Honourable mention: Civilization building games

Shaun Nichols: Okay, so they can't help you overthrow your local government and declare yourself king for life, but games certainly let you live out that fantasy.

For pretty much all of us, a copy of Civilization or Sim City is about as close as we will ever get to running a society. And for those that do harbour ambitions of a presidential coup, it's a fine way to hone your skills.

I know that Iain is a huge Civilization fan, but my personal favourite in the genera was Populous, a game in which players took on the role of ancient Greek and Roman gods and attempted to wipe out the opponent's followers with various acts of wrath from the heavens. Say what you will about Grand Theft Auto, but I don't recall CJ or Niko ever wiping out entire cities with tornadoes and plagues.

Iain Thomson: Shaun has it right; I've lost weekends to Civ 2, although the later versions lack the visceral power contained in the original games.

In one of Iain Banks' best works, 'Complicity', the lead character is addicted to the kind of game Civ fans dream of, where the level of control is so refined that it makes the Sims look like a wendy house. While I'm not saying that everyone who plays these kind of games is a megalomaniac they certainly touch a core need in many people.

Mankind is by its very nature a species that seeks to dominate and change its environment. Some of the greatest civilisations in history have come about because of this and also some of our worst disasters. Human beings are not software and I hope that future dictators don't learn this so they will fail to manage the complexities of human civilisation.

Honourable Mention: TV

Iain Thomson: With every revolution the means for communicating with the populace are key to success. Right after the government headquarters the television stations are key to a successful coup.

In days of yore this meant the radio stations but increasingly a top target for revolutionaries is the television system. Much of the world's population gets its information from the TV, the 'glass nipple' as Harlan Ellison famously described it.

The reasons are fairly simple. Since TV is where people get their information a populace that sees a familiar face urging them to remain calm is a very powerful force indeed. If a squad of soldiers starts telling you what to do it's a lot easier to accept if the well-known presenter on the TV tells you it's OK.

TV doesn't just work for revolutions however. In the Cold War BBC continuity announcers were drafted to record messages to be played in the event of a nuclear attack, something one of them described as 'utterly chilling.' Given the effects of EMP it would probably be the last public appearances they ever made.

Shaun Nichols: Even as popular as the internet is, people still have a great amount of trust in what is broadcast on TV.

A silly rumour may elicit little more than a sarcastic chuckle and an eye roll when viewed on a blog or message board, but that same premise gains much more credence when presented by a television personality.

Don't believe me? How about the idea that a nation would be subject to a catastrophic national disaster because of a myth that their forefathers made a deal with the devil to escape the bonds of slavery hundreds of years ago? Pretty silly when read online, yet a fair amount of people lent it legitimacy when the appropriate TV talking head floated the idea.







Google hack attack code hits the web


The code used in the recent Google hack to exploit a vulnerability in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser has been published on the internet, raising the possibility of more attacks.

In a blog posting, McAfee chief technology officer George Kurtz explained that researchers for the firm have seen references to the code on mailing lists and that it has been published on at least one web site.

An attacker could use the flaw to gain control over a user’s system by tricking them into visiting a rigged web page, he said.

“The public release of the exploit code increases the possibility of widespread attacks using the Internet Explorer vulnerability,” warned Kurtz.

“The now public computer code may help cybercriminals craft attacks that use the vulnerability to compromise Windows systems. Popular penetration testing tools are already being updated to include this exploit. This attack is especially deadly on older systems that are running XP and Internet Explorer 6.”

Microsoft issued a security advisory on Thursday admitting that Internet Explorer could be used to allow remote code execution, and said it may release an out-of-cycle patch for the flaw.

“At this time, we are aware of limited, targeted attacks attempting to use this vulnerability against Internet Explorer 6. We have not seen attacks against other versions of Internet Explorer. We will continue to monitor the threat environment and update this advisory if the situation changes,” noted the security update.

The flaw has been taken very seriously by organisations across the globe, with the German government recommending its citizens use an alternative browser to IE until the vulnerability is patched.







How to fix a fatal exception error.


Cause:

Fatal exception error messages are generated when one of the below situations occur.

* Access to an illegal software instruction has occurred.
* Invalid data or code has been accessed.
* The privilege level of an operation is invalid.

Any of the above issues could be caused by one or more of the below possibilities.

* Errors in programming code, either a program, operating system and/or hardware driver.
* Conflicts between two or more programs.
* Physical hardware issue.
* Computer overheating

Solution:

Microsoft Windows and software use exceptions, which allow Windows or other software to communicate in layers and communicate errors or exceptions. If a program is given an exception that is invalid or unknown you'll encounter a fatal exception. Fatal exceptions are also commonly referred to as a Fatal 0E (or improperly as Fatal OE) and is one of the most common fatal exceptions.

When a fatal exception is encountered the error will be in the below format.

A fatal exception has occurred at xxxx:xxxxxxxx

In the above example of the fatal exception the YZ represents the actual processor exception, this can range from 00 to 0F. Each of theses processor exceptions are explained under Extended information.

After the processor exception is the enhanced instruction pointer to the code segment and the 32-bit address. This is exactly where the error exception has occurred.

Search for the error

Often the easiest and fastest method to locate the cause of a fatal exception is to search for the error. However, for some users it may be difficult to know exactly what to search for because of the cryptic fatal exception messages. Below are tips on how to search for these errors.

1. As mentioned above the fatal exception will often have a two character code, for example 0E, if this code is present use this as part of your search.
2. Next, the error message will contain a pointer such as "0028:c001e36", although this can often be found by also adding this to your search query it's important to realize that this pointer can vary from computer to computer. If you're not finding results exclude this from your search.
3. Finally, many fatal exception error messages will also contain a file that generated the error, almost always this is a VXD file. If the fatal exception error contains a .VXD definitely include this as part of your search. The VXD file may also be listed as "VXD VWIN32", which is actually "vwin32.vxd".

If searching for the fatal exception error does not return results and/or help resolve your continue reading through this document for general recommendations in resolving fatal exception error messages.

Revert Windows back to an earlier copy

Update software or check for software patches

If you are experiencing invalid page faults in only one program, verify that the software program is compatible with the operating system you are running the program within. Also verify with the manufacturer or vendor of the software program that there are no available patches or updates for the program that may help or resolve your issue. It's also important that you have all the latest Windows updates.

Hardware drivers

If you're getting a fatal exception when using a hardware device, for example, when you print. It's likely that it's the drivers related to that device that are either conflicting or have errors.

Video drivers are also notorious for causing fatal exception error messages. Because your video card is being used all the time it's difficult to know for certain if it's the cause of the error. Therefore we always recommend users have the latest video drivers on their computer.

Visit the manufacturers web page and get the latest software / drivers from them. See our drivers page for a listing of hardware companies.

Recently installed software / hardware

If you have recently installed new software or hardware attempt to uninstall or reinstall that software / hardware to verify it is not causing your issue. In the case of a hardware device it's suggested instead of installing the software or drivers that came with the device that you visit the manufacturers web page and get the latest software / drivers from them.

Remove all TSRs

Disable any TSRs or programs running in the background as many times fatal exception errors can be caused by conflicts between two or more open programs.

Delete all program temporary files

Delete all temporary files that may still be residing on the hard disk drive from currently or previously running programs.

Overclocked computer

If you have overclocked any component within the computer, set the computer to its factory settings to verify that the overclocked component is not causing the issue.

Verify your computer has more than 200 MB available

If your computer is running low on hard disk space, your Windows swap file will be unable to increase in size when needed, which can cause errors.

Run scandisk / defrag

Attempt to run scandisk / defrag on the hard disk drive as it could be possible your hard disk drive may have an issue causing the swap file or data files to become corrupt or invalid

Heat related issue

Verify that all fans in and on your computer are properly working. If not all fans are working or you do not have enough fans and your computer is overheating, any number of issues including fatal exceptions can occur. I

Disable External Cache in CMOS

If the option is available, attempt to enter your computer's CMOS setup and disable the external cache. If this resolves your issue it is likely that you are encountering a heat related issue.

CPU Core Voltage

If available, verify within your CMOS or by jumper that your CPU core voltage is set to factory specification. This may require that you consult your documentation or motherboard manufacturer.

Bad Memory, invalid bits or physically bad memory

Bad computer memory is also a common cause for fatal exception errors. If you have recently added memory to the computer, it is recommended that it first be removed to verify that you are not experiencing conflicts with the recently installed memory.

Extended Information:

Below is a listing of the more commonly experienced processor exceptions ranging from 00 to 0F.

00 = Divide Fault
Occurs if division by zero is attempted or if the result of the operation does not fit in the destination operand.

02=NMI interrupt
Interrupt 2 is reserved for the hardware Non-Maskable-Interrupt condition. No exceptions trap through interrupt 2.

04=Overflow trap
Occurs after an INTRO instruction has executed and the OF bit is set to 1.

05=Bounds Check fault
The array Index is out of range

06=Invalid Opcode fault
This error can be caused by one of the below conditions.

1. Processor attempting to decode a bit pattern that does not correspond to any legal computer instruction.
2. Processor attempts to execute an instruction that contains invalid operands.
3. Processor attempts to execute a protected-mode instruction while running in virtual 8086 mode.
4. Processor attempts to execute a LOCK prefix with an instruction that cannot be locked.

07=Copressor not available fault.
This error can occur if no math coprocessor is present. This error can also occur when the math coprocessor is used and a task switch is executed.

08=Double Fault.
This error occurs when processing an exception triggers a second exception.

09(OD)=Copressor Segment Overrun.
Floating point operand is outside the segment.

10(0Ah/0A)=Invalid Task State Segment Fault
Can be caused by a number of possibilities as Task State Segment contains a number of descriptors.

11(0Bh)=Not Present Fault
The Not Present interrupt allows the operating system to implement virtual memory through the segmentation mechanism. 0B fault occurs when this segment is not available.

12(0Ch)=Stack Fault
Occurs when instruction refers to memory beyond the limit of the stack segment.

13(Odh)=General Protection Fault
Caused by any condition that is not covered by any of the other processor exceptions. The exception indicates that this program has been corrupted in memory generally resulting in the immediate termination of the program. Also see document CH000224 for additional information about GPFs.

14(Oeh)=Page Fault
Occurs when a paging protection rule is violated (when the retrieve fails, data retrieved is invalid or the code that issued the fault broke the protection rule for the processor).

16(10h)=Coprocessor error fault
Occurs when an unmasked floating-point exception has signaled a previous instruction.

17(11h)=Alignment Check Fault
Only used on 80486 computers. Caused when code executing at ring privilege 3 attempts to access a word operand that is not divisible by four, or a long real or temp real whose address is not divisible by eight.



UK BitTorrent admin acquitted on fraud charge



Updated Alan Ellis, the former admin of music BitTorrent tracker OiNK, was acquitted of conspiracy to defraud by a Middlesbrough court today.

In a landmark trial, the 26-year-old stood accused of making $300,000 in user donations from the invite-only service, which members used to share high quality and pre-release music.

Ellis' defence argued OiNK was analogous to Google, and that he was not responsible if members used it to infringe copyright.

He had been arrested in a dawn raid by Cleveland police in October 2007, acting on intelligence from the BPI. Police invited TV cameras to film the swoop, dubbed "Operation Ark Royal".

The IT worker smiled as the jury returned a not guilty verdict and made no comment as he left court, the Press Association reports.

The BPI said: "This is a hugely disappointing verdict which is out of line with decisions made in similar cases around the world, such as The Pirate Bay.

"The defendant made nearly £200,000 by exploiting other people's work without permission. The case shows that artists and music companies need better protection."






Exploit code for potent IE zero-day bug goes wild



Updated Exploit code targeting the Internet Explorer vulnerability used against Google and other companies has gone public, increasing the chances that broader attacks will soon follow.

Both the open-source Metasploit framework and the commercial Immunity Canvas software for penetration testers have working exploits that fully compromise computers running earlier versions of the browser. The attacks target a previously unknown invalid pointer reference bug in IE that attackers used to penetrate the defenses of Google and dozens of other companies.

The exploit in Canvas was "fairly reliable" at remotely executing code in tests of IE versions 6 and 7 running on Windows XP SP3, Immunity researcher Kostya Kortchinsky wrote in an email. "It crashed IE 8 and will require a bit more work to get something out of it," he added.

The exploit folded into Metasploit was tested on IE 6 running on the same Windows platform, the framework's chief maintainer, H D Moore, wrote in a blog post.

While the flaw affects all versions of IE except for 5.01 SP 4, security protections built in to more recent versions of the browser and operating system can significantly mitigate the threat. DEP, short for data execution prevention, is enabled by default in IE 8 but must be manually turned on in prior versions. Users of Vista and later versions of Windows should run IE in protected mode, an additional feature that also provides important protection.

We've said it before, and given the particulars of this vulnerability, we'll say it again: security measures like DEP and ASLR, or address space layout randomization, matter. As ugly as this vulnerability is - to say nothing of its ability to remain undetected for nine years - the fact that Windows 7 and IE 8 were able to withstand the "highly sophisticated" attacks that felled Google is testament that Microsoft is making significant progress.

Shortly after this article was first published, Microsoft issued a statement that largely repeated the same mitigation details. But it also said researchers continue to see only "limited targeted attacks affecting Internet Explorer 6." It went on to "encourage" users of IE 6 and 7 to upgrade to the latest version "to benefit from the improved security features and defense in depth protections offered such as data execution prevention and smartscreen."

The advice is sound. If it's at all possible, upgrade to IE 8 now. The computer you save may be your own.

Microsoft hasn't said when it expects to fix the bug. Its next regular update release is scheduled for February 9. Speculation is growing that the company will issue an out-of-band patch.

Moore said the Metasploit maintainers got their hands on the exploit after it was uploaded to Wepawet. Kortchinsky said Immunity researchers believe their exploit is the same one but can't be sure. Anti-virus provider McAfee, which first discovered the exploitation of the zero-day flaw, said here that the public exploits use the same code it has observed.

So far, exploitation of the IE bug has been seen only in highly targeted attacks that hit Google and at least some of the other 33 large companies that experienced similar assaults. With the public release of exploit code, the likelihood of much broader scams targeting the vulnerability are much greater.







How do I fix the Windows blue screen errors?

Friday, January 15, 2010


Before fixing a Microsoft Microsoft Windows blue screen or blue screen of death error (BSoD) you must first identify what type of error it is. Since there are different types of blue screen errors.

Note: If you're getting a blue screen and then your computer immediately reboots without being able to read the text in the blue screen, follow the steps below. If you're unable to get into Windows to perform the steps below, boot the computer into Safe Mode.

1. From the desktop right-click on My Computer.
2. Click the Properties option.
3. In the System Properties window click the Advanced tab.
4. In Advanced click the Settings button under Startup and Recovery.
5. In the Startup and Recovery window uncheck the Automatically restart check box.
6. Click Ok.

Other blue screen errors

Windows NT, 2000, XP, Vista, and later versions of Windows will have a blue screen error that's similar to the example shown below. Thankfully these error messages often contain more detailed information, and will contain information that can be more easily searched for and found. If you're not getting a blue screen error that looks like the below skip to the next Fatal exception section.

1. Identify the type of blue screen by locating a line containing all capital letters with underscores instead of spaces, such as the above example: BAD_POOL_HEADER. Write this information down.

2. Get either the STOP: error message at the top of the error, or in the "Technical Information:" portion of the error. For example, in the above error it's STOP: 0x00000019 ... write the first potion of this error message down.

3. Finally, if technical information is shown write down the file and the address.

Once you have the above information you can start troubleshooting the issue.

BAD_POOL_HEADER
DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL
DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE
INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE
IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL
KMODE_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED
NTFS_FILE_SYSTEM
PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA
STATUS_IMAGE_CHECKSUM_MISMATCH
THREAD_STUCK_IN_DEVICE_DRIVER
UNEXPECTED_KERNEL_MODE_TRAP
UNKNOWN_HARD_ERROR

Fatal exceptions

Many of the blue screen error messages you'll encounter with earlier versions of Windows will be fatal exception error messages or Fatal 0E messages. If your blue screen message starts out with A fatal exception 0E ... or An exception ... you're encountering this error.