The web browser is probably the most essential application on your PC; there is no better practical way of staying connected to news, your friends, and most importantly, the lulz. But whether you’re using Internet Explorer or newly minted Chrome, each of today's popular web browsers has different strengths and weaknesses. Mozilla Firefox is feature-heavy and relatively fast, but can get terribly unwieldy when crammed with juicy add-ons. The newest version of the once dominant Internet Explorer is a quantum leap above previous buggy versions, but remains slow. And while both Opera and Google Chrome are blazingly fast, they currently lack customization.
No matter which browser you use, you want it to fit your personal needs and tastes. With this guide, we will show you the essential initial tweaks everyone should make to “awesomize” their browser. Whether it’s accelerating browser page-load performance, boosting security, or just improving the look of the interface, we teach you the tweaks that we think should be implemented the first time you start up a browser after installation.
We cover comprehensive step-by-step instructions for Internet Explorer 8, Mozilla Firefox 3, Opera 9, and Google Chrome, starting off with general web optimization tips. So jump into the guide and start tweaking your web browser!
Windows 7 brings enterprises more security with less annoyance, says Paul Cook, director of Microsoft's Windows Client Enterprise Security, Cnet reports. Cook's remarks come as the annual RSA security conference opens.
How much less annoying? 29% fewer UAC prompts, according to Cook, and UAC can be fine-tuned to meet any Windows 7's user's requirements.
But there's more to Windows 7 security than a less nagging UAC. To learn more about how Windows 7 Enterprise and Ultimate editions and Windows Server 2008 R2 work together for more security and to discover why a new BitLocker feature enables Windows XP users to access BitLocker media, join us after the jump.
According to mobile security firm Trust Digital, you're at a real risk of falling prey to an SMS attack while you sleep. Dubbed the "Midnight Raid Attack," because it's mostly run at night, a hacker who has the right toolkits and know-how could send a malicious text message to your phone capable of firing up the web browser and navigating to a harmful website. Once there, the site downloads a dirty executable to your phone intended to steal your private data, said Trust Digital.
"This is a completely real threat," said Phillippe Winthrop, a director in the global wireless practice at Strategy Analytics. "We will see these attacks. It's a matter of time."
Another type of attack has a hacker sending a malicious SMS 'control message' over the GSM network to a victim's phone using a WiFi network, like you might be using at a coffee shop. The attack turns off SSL on the victim's phone, allowing the hacker to sniff your exposed traffic and steal your email credentials.
Trust Digital posted a pair of YouTube videos demonstrating the above attacks, which you can view here and here.
In what sounds like a simple formula for success, Dell plans to combine one good thing with another good thing for what it hopes will turn out to be a great thing. Or to be less vague, Dell, who offers both SSDs and encrypted drives, will start adding encrypted SSDs to its notebook lineup sometime this summer.
Samsung will manufacture the drives, which will come in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB capacities to start. The self-encrypting drives will automatically encrypt data as it is being saved, "an industry first" for SSDs, according to Samsung and Wave Systems.
"Benefits of hardware encryption over today's software-only encryption approaches include faster performance, better security, and an 'always on' feature," Samsung and Wave Systems said in a statement. "Because encryption keys and access credentials are generated and stored within the drive hardware, they never leave its confines and are never held in the operating system or software."
No word yet on exactly when Dell will implement the new SSDs or at what price points.
Don't worry if you weren't voted Mr. or Ms. Popular in your high school yearbook, you're making up for it now whether you realize it or not. You see, there exists a vast underground economy where several individuals are interested in learning everything there is to know about you, such as what credit cards you carry around, your full name, address, and date of birth, and any other personal information specific to you.
The problem is (well, one of many) you're not alone. According to the annual Symantec Internet Security Threat Report (PDF), the market for stolen personal information has ballooned so much in the past year that a price war has erupted. Full personal identities, the report claims, can be had for "less than a can of cola" (or a can of 'pop' if you live in the Midwest or parts of the South).
"This recession-proof underground economy is reaching such a level of growth and maturity that there are signs of a price war developing, as online criminals find it increasingly easy to steal private details, and barter to sell them for bargain prices," said Guy Bunker of Symantec.
The report found that credit card information remains the most prominent underground commodity fetching anywhere from $0.06 to $30. Bank account credentials run considerably higher, up to $1,000, and was the second most stolen data in 2008.
Over Easter weekend, many Twitter fans were getting worms instead of finding Easter Eggs, as the developer of a rival microblogging site (StalkDaily), one 17-year-old Michael "Mikeyy" Mooney, was busy drawing Twitter users to his site through infected links and Twitter profiles. According to PCWorld and the Twitter status page, the infection has now been brought under control. But inquiring minds want to know, "what happened?" and "how can we stop a future attack?"
Doing a Google search for "Mikeyy" or "TwitterWorm" isn't the best way to find out, though, as the F-Secure security blog points out that fake news sites are being used to infect curious searchers with (unrelated) malware. To get the real scoop, join us after the jump.
It's been a little over a year when we first heard about Intel's Anti-Theft Technology (ATT, of no relation to the telcom), which purports to give LoJack for Laptops a run for its money. Fast forward to today and it looks like Asus will be the first to implement the security scheme, who just announced plans to equip some of its notebooks with Intel's ATT.
"With the incorporation of Intel Anti-Theft PC Protection technology in Asus P30 and P80 notebooks, professionals can now conduct their businesses with greater assurance and without the fear of dire ramifications in the event of theft or loss," said Mr. Henry Yeh, GM of Asus Notebook Business Unit. "This added security capability in our P Series commercial notebooks makes it the definitive mobile companion for the professionals of today's fast-paced market."
According to Asus, users who have their compatible P Series notebook stolen can send a "poison pill" remotely. By doing so, the notebook is rendered inoperable and shuts down. The embedded security chip also allows for tracking the notebook, and if the stolen laptop is ever recovered, a local passphrase or recovery token brings the PC back to life.
Compatible notebooks are available now, Asus says.
The service hasn't even launched yet, but the unapologetically defiant torrent site The Pirate Bay has already received over 100,000 registrants for its new anonymity service, IPREDator. About 113,00 and counting are in queue for the IPREDator service, 80 percent of which are from Sweden, and comes as a slap in the face to Sweden's new IPRED anti-piracy law, for which the service was named after.
Expected to cost about $6 per month,the IPREDator service is a virtual private network (VPN) allowing users to connect to the internet anonymously by hiding their actual IP address and showing only a second IP addy provided by the VPN. Currently in beta stage and by invite only, The Pirate Bay says it will store no traffic data.
IP hiding sites and services have become increasingly popular in Sweden as of late, ever since country's new anti-file sharing measures went into effect.
If you've been worrying about computer security for awhile, you might remember when macro viruses in Microsoft Word and Excel files were at the top of the exploit list. These file formats, along with the omnipresent Adobe Reader PDF format, are once again among the biggest threat vectors being exploited by today's malware, according to a new report from the Microsoft Malware Protection Center. Fittingly, the full report and a condensed key findings version are available in either PDF or Microsoft's own XPS formats. These reports cover the July-December 2008 period.
Some key findings include:
Scareware (which Microsoft calls "rogue security software") is on the rise, including the latest versions of our old friend Antivirus XP.
A slight reduction in unique vulnerability disclosures from 2007, but the High (most serious) category was larger in the second half of 2008 than in the first half of the year or the second half of 2007.
Applications continue to be the biggest target (86.7%, with browsers at 8.8%, and operating systems at only 4.5%)
When the iPod first boomed in popularity there were companies lining up around the block to sell accessories designed for the digital music player, and now it’s the netbook’s turn. The first generation of netbook-oriented accessories officially launched this week, and there’s little doubt that they’ll be the last to jump aboard this gravy train.
Kensington announced five products aimed at users of the tiny portables this week, and while the tiny wired and wireless mice ($14.99 and $24.99 respectively) won’t turn any heads, other items such as the power adapter (with a built in USB port for some extra charging power) do show off some solid insight ($49.99). And, if you’re concerned about your netbook’s safety or looks, you can snag the security lock ($24.99) or the sleeve ($14.99).
You can get all of these starting today off of Kensington’s website, or you can wait around until they end up on store shelves within a couple weeks.