April Fools' Day might be all fun and games for some, but if you manage to fall prey to the Conficker worm, it's no laughing matter. As reported earlier this month by our very own Mark Soper, the third version of Conficker (Conficker.c) is set to wreak havoc tomorrow, April 1st. Here's what you need to know.
What is Conficker?
Conficker is one of the nastiest computer worms in recent history to go on the warpath against Windows-based PCs. First surfacing in October, 2008, Conficker targets Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Server 2003, Server 2008, Server 2008 R2 Beta, and even Windows 7. To date, Conficker has infected over 9 million PCs, shut down French and British military assests, and prompted a $250,000 reward from Microsoft for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the worm's creators.
What Does it Do?
The first two versions of Conficker -- variants A and B -- exploit a vulnerability in the Server Service on Windows-based PCs to take advantage of an already-infected source computer. Once infected, the worm goes to work exploiting the network hole, cracking administrator passwords, prevents access to security websites and services for automatic updates, disables backup services, erases recently saved documents, and among other things, also leaves you vulnerable to other infected machines.
What Happens Tomorrow?
One of the scariest things about Conficker, including Conficker.c, is that its full potential isn't known. Come tomorrow, those infected might be prompted to buy fake sofware products, or it could start monitoring your keystrokes to lift sensitive information like banking passwords. Files could end up deleted, or it might transform your computer into a zombie PC while staying under the radar. Whatever it ends up doing, it won't be good, and you need to take proper precautions right now.
Join us after the jump to find out how to avoid infection, or what you can do if it's already too late. **Now with April 1st Update!**
We wet your whistle with the wide world of audio mixing in an earlier post. But our exploits in music mash-ups (or remixes, depending on how you arrange your project) were just the tip of the audio iceberg. There's a lot more to DJing and song creation than what you'll be able to pull out of Audacity. Whether you're adept at the turntables or no better than the default iTunes DJ feature, we've tracked down a little something for everybody in this killer list of audio-related applications.
Grab some of the free or open-source software on our list and you'll be making your own musical tracks and killer live remixes faster than you can say "Lady Gaga." And yes, we know she's not a DJ. See? That's just one less hurdle to overcome in your path to complete home audio mastery. Grab some headphones--or "cans," as you might have heard them called--and let's get poppin'. Fame awaits!
Chances are you know what Gmail is and have been using it for quite some time, even if Google’s service is technically still in beta. But did you know that Gmail can be used for many other practical functions other than sending and receiving e-mail? With the appropriate extensions and setting hacks, you can make Gmail do things that other web-based e-mail services and even some desktop clients cannot. In this guide, we will show you how to implement the ten hidden features you need to know about Gmail and introduce you to five of our favorite Gmail Labs add-ons. You may already know or use some of these features, but there are sure to be a few in here that you do not.
Wolfenstein 3D—yes, that Wolfenstein 3D—has been a member of the open-source community since programmer and visionary John Carmack tossed the code out into the open in 1995.That’s not news.What is news is his successful attempt at converting the first-person-shooter, practically old enough to have run on punch cards, onto a next-generation mobile platform.The evil Nazis are now Apple-friendly, and you can get the iPhone version of Wolfenstein 3D for a mere $5 from Apple’s application store.
And how did he do it?Carmack didn’t just go back and start hacking into the Borland C and TASM code of the original title.In a sense, he branched his own game: turning to an open-source variant called Wolfenstein 3D Redux, Carmack used this Wolfenstein OpenGL retrofit as the graphical basis for his mobile release.
Click the jump to find out where you can get Wolfenstein 3D Classic… mobile... for free!
After seven years of stealth development at Rearden Labs (a startup incubator), OnLive today unveiled itself as a new game service to deliver on-demand games. Basically, instead of running your games on a PC or console at home, you connect your HDTV to a small MicroConsole which receives compressed video from a remote server that actually renders and processes your games. The immediate benefits of the service is its low entry cost, since you don't have to build a high-end gaming PC or invest $500 on a next-gen gaming console. Games purchased with OnLive are activated on remote servers and the only data that is streamed to you is gameplay video and audio. You never have to download software, patches, or handle physical media. Think of it as video-on-demand but for games.
We met with OnLive's founders at Rearden Labs last week to get a sneak preview of the service, try out some games, and grill the developers about how OnLive actually works.
Think streaming video is impractical for gaming? You might be surprised...
The Linux graphical user interface (GUI) system may be very different from what you are used to if you are coming from a Windows or Mac OS X background. The GUI of an operating system is commonly referred to as its shell. While virtually all versions of Windows since Windows 95 have used variations of the same basic shell (explorer.exe), there are numerous shells available for the Linux GUI. These Linux shells are called window managers and desktop environments. The term window manager is used to address the simple core user interface of a shell, while the term desktop environment is much more inclusive, covering the shell itself in addition to the various other programs that are integrated with it.
Due to the vast number of window managers available for Linux, many new users often feel overwhelmed at the idea of having to learn their way around them. We must emphasize that many people experiment with several window managers before settling down with one that feels right for them, and there certainly is no need to learn all of them. Due to their modular nature, it is common to have several window managers installed at once.
Much like part one of this series that dealt with choosing a distro, this guide will help you to choose a window manager/desktop environment by introducing you to several of them and addressing their strengths and weaknesses.
Time for another price and parts guide! The $1000 parts guide we posted earlier this month garnered much discussion and debate among readers, so we wanted to a better job explaining our choices in this edition. Compared to the pricey decked-out systems from OEM builders like Falcon and Digital Storm, $1500 is still technically in the "budget" range. But for many people, that's still a lot of money to spend on a PC. We catered this build for gamers, and anchored our picks on the GPU and CPU, while judiciously choosing the other parts and brands to fit into our budget limits. The results were pleasantly surprising, and recent price cuts and rebates across the board really helped. Of course, your own configuration may vary wildly from ours depending your own needs, priorities, or brand allegiances, but we think this is an awesome configuration for something building a new gaming PC.
Read on for our parts and price list, and contribute your thoughts and personal configs!
The newest version of Ubuntu (9.04, codenamed “Jaunty Jackalope”) is set to be released on April 23, 2009. While there are some noticeable differences, much of the improvement in 9.10 can be found under the hood.
Every Ubuntu release comes with new software, and Jaunty is no exception. Jaunty comes with GNOME 2.25.92 (in Alpha 5) and many other packages like OpenOffice.org 3.0, GIMP 2.6.5, and much more. Jaunty will also include X server 1.6, which includes new features like X input 1.5, predictable pointer acceleration, and RandR 1.3.
Also, Jaunty introduces the “Computer Janitor”, a new administration utility meant to help clean up orphaned packages. Although there are no orphans on the LiveCD or in a new installation, this tool will help maintain old installations that have been around for awhile and have been upgraded a few times.
Read on for the scoop on all of Jaunty Jackalope's other updates!
I just picked up a new netbook the other day. And you know what that netbook had? A lot of things, but "optical drive" wasn't on the list. So there I sat, staring at a stack of CDs all full of my most critical applications, games, and movies. Then I had a brainstorm: Rather than run down to the local electronics store to buy a lame external optical drive, I figured I would convert all of my optical media and slap it onto one of the external hard drives I have sitting around.
To do that, I turned to a suite of applications to rip, burn, encode, convert, and create all sorts of image files. It was a daunting task at first, but it sure beat shelling out for more hardware. Based on my troubles, I've come up with a list of five of the must-have applications for your CD manipulation needs. And these aren't just a list of applications for new netbook enthusiasts. These free apps have a universal appeal for anyone who's ever had to interact with their optical drive at any point. I would assume that this would make up 99% of all computer users--the one percent being anyone who just bought a new netbook without any kind of secondary system in their house. Whoops!
Click on the link and check out the five free apps for CD manipulation mayhem. Trust me, it's just that exciting.
So you've just downloaded that hip new open-source replacement for your favorite paid-for application and you're ready to crack it open and unleash all the awesome community-driven features contained inside. Well, if this application is Songbird, you might want to hold off for a moment. A recent blog post by the application's developers has revealed that the media player's iPod add-on does more than just transfer music to your device. It also has the potential to corrupt or otherwise delete music straight from your hardware device. Yikes!
Bugs are the bane of any software, but they can especially affect the open-source world in unpleasant ways. Read on to find out what we mean -- but first, unplug your iPod!