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Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Thursday, June 29, 2006

WinPatrol 10

I'm pleased today to release the newest, and most exciting, WinPatrol version 10!

 Hidden Icon   Hidden Files
Scotty can now be set to monitor Hidden files in critical system areas. A new list of Hidden Files is available to help you clean up your machine. Almost all new infiltration and/or root kits will attempt hiding their files but Scotty can detect them in real-time before any serious danger can be done. While many hidden files are normal system files, the introduction of new hidden files should be questioned. Now it can be.  The ability to delete hidden files will allow proper system cleanup. Right-click on the hidden file to view or delete.

Task Icon   Date & Time Program First Detected
Ever wonder when a new file was first introduced to your system?
WinPatrol 10 detects and records the introduction of new program files and malware infiltrations. This new feature will allow you to detect files which have all infiltrated your system at the same time. Even if they have random file names or file names matching legitimate files you can sort files by Date Detected and Kill them all at once.

File Type Icon   Lock File Type Associations
This checkbox on the Options tab will allow you to keep your desired File Type associations settings without being annoyed by persistent programs.  Scotty will automatically restore your original settings.

PLUS Icon   More Secret Startup Locations including WinLogon/Notify
WinPatrol PLUS now monitors even more non-tradition Startup locations found in the registry. Disable unwanted programs including the Windows Genuine Advantage.  HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Notify
Examples:WGALogon(Windows Genuine Advantage), GoToMyPC,Adware.Look2Me (O20)

Even more information available at http://www.winpatrol.com/upgrade.html

To download the newest WinPatrol, go to http://www.winpatrol.com/download.html

 

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Being a tourist in DC

I’ve been busy traveling and preparing for the launch of WinPatrol 10 so I’ve let my Blog go many more days then I’ve planned.  If you click on the Blogs I read below you’ll see the bad guys have been busy.

Our friends at CastleCops have been threatened by a unscrupulous “patent troll” named Leo Stoller. ( More Info )

Suzi Turner reports on a new Bogus Adware Removal program called Adware Finder ( More Info )

Alex at Sunbelt has the scoop on an ultra-stealth rootkit already for Windows Vista 64 ( More Info )

And while Microsoft has updated some of the rude features of WGA( Windows Genuine Advantage) they encourage users to get the most recent updates.  Unfortunately, there are plenty of code samples available on how to take advantage of the latest Windows and Office vulnerabilities. ( More Info )

Meanwhile, traveling in our nations capital I found technology at its finest.  If you can pass security and  know the right place to go you can get your photo taken with our current President.

Chris and George


The photos below are of  Erica, Chris and my grand daughter Marisa.

Waiting to go into the White House                Big Red One   
Erica, Chris and Marisa                Marisa and the Reflecting Pool

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Photoshop and Couterfeit Twenties

A few months ago I wrote how companies making printers and copies adhere to government requests by embedding serial numbers and dates in anything printed. (More Info)  Today, I learned that software companies also cooperate in the prevention of counterfeiting.

While scanning a twenty today I was surprised to see the following message.

No counterfeiting allowed

Of course, my purpose for scanning wasn’t counterfeiting.  I planned on creating a single sided bill with someone’s face photoshoped in as a party favor.  I did find a way around it and was able to paste the image into Photoshop. I won’t post the results here since it’s still probably illegal.  Clicking the Information button will take you to a web site for Central Bank Counterfeit Deterrence Group at http://www.rulesforuse.org/

The CDS(Counterfeit Deterrence System) has been voluntarily adopted by hardware and software manufacturers, and prevents personal computers and digital imaging tools from capturing or reproducing the image of a protected banknote. The technology does not have the capacity to track the use of a personal computer or digital imaging tools.”

Side Note: Adobe must be proud that “photoshoped” has become a common verb.  Happy Face

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Wireless Hacking

It used to be the only way for your computer to be infiltrated was to download a bogus program or to slip a virus laden floppy disk in your machine.  New advances in networking has made computers as safe as leaving all your doors open and letting your newspapers collect on your front porch.

I was proud to be one of the first to have a cable modem in my town but shocked at how little concern the Road Runner folks had towards security.  For a long time, you could click on Network Neighborhood and access the hard drive of other cable modem users in area.  Even now, most folks don’t realize how much of their data goes zipping through other routers on it’s way to the internet.  Still, I love my cable modem and you’d have to rip it from my cold dead hands before I’d give it up.
Linksys Wireless Router    The addition of a 802.11 wireless router (WiFi) was the next step in making my home computing a joy. It was also the next step in having zero security protection for my data.   A research engineer and student have found a way to hack into systems by sending a barrage of wireless packets that cause an overflow in wireless cards device driver.  ( More Info )  The two will be demonstrating their technique at the upcoming Black Hat USA 2006 conference.

I continue to recommend anyone with a computer keep the following in mind at all times:  Backup and Security. These should never be after thoughts or things you’ll get around to.  Take the time now!   Our friends over at Sunbelt Software recently posted a great set of tips for anyone with a wireless network at home.  You’ll want to check out this weeks Tech Tip from Deb Shinder.  ( More Info )

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

SiteAdvisor Approved

I’ve been a promoter of the IE Add-On called SiteAdvisor since before it was purchased by McAfee. I was please today to find out McAfee is continuing to keep SiteAdvisor up-to-date.  If you have SiteAdvisor installed you’ll now see a green icon in the corner when you visit this site.

SiteAdvisor approves BillP Studios

“Bits from Bill” was only recently tested and verified.  Many Blog sites haven’t automatically been verified by SiteAdvisor because they typically only test the main domain. Many sub-sites share the attributes of the main domain.  While all my other websites like WinPatrol.com or VisitScotia.com,  have their own domain, this Blog is hosted by Googles Blogger.com.  Thanks to McAfee for checking me out.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Popular Computer Problems

Most people don’t realize what kind of information is available automatically to all websites they visit, including Blogs like this one. No personal information is provided but your IP address, browser and a bunch of other technical data is automatically provided to web servers.  My favorite is called the Referrer or the web page you clicked on to get here.

So if you’ve arrived here by searching Google or MSN I don’t know who you are, but I can tell what search words you typed to get here. People who find Bits from Bill using search engines are typically looking for help and/or answers to computer problems.  Some topics remain popular.

  • How do I remove Moviemaker”

  • I wrote about this topic April 3rd and there appears to be plenty of people wanting to remove this program included free with Windows XP.  In my own, case I’d like to reinstall it so it works correctly but Microsoft treats this program special and won’t let this happen.

  • What is WarnHP.html

  • April 22nd I wrote about how malware was breaking  the display properties by setting systems to web based desktops and replacing the desktop with a page called warnhp.html. Judging by the visitors we get this is still a big problem.  The newest version of WinPatrol now monitors this location in the registry.

  • Dell Digital Content Portal

  • Way back in December I wrote about all the crap Dell was installing on their systems.  The post I called “Christmas Computers” remains a popular one.  The programs installed  has changed but Dell continues to give users a good reason to download WinPatrol and/or programs like the Dell De-crapifier I heard about from our friend Donna.

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    Sunday, June 11, 2006

    Ads in AOL Email

    Last week I wrote how AOL will never get credit for its contribution to internet world. While I spent over 5 years putting in my blood and sweat, and my family still have a financial interest in the company, I’m not shy to point out when AOL is just plain stupid.

    When I first heard reports about AOL including ads in their Email I panicked thinking that AOL might be including ads in the Emails I send to others. Thankfully, that isn’t the scenario. If they do that it will be the time I give up my BillP screen name that I’ve had for 20 years. Instead, they include a large add on the bottom of the Email form used when AOL members read their mail.


    AOL Email form with advertising

    I’m embarrassed to say, I never even noticed the ads when they first started to appear. I was so use to advertising taking up part of the screen.

    You’d think I really wouldn’t care, but I do. The Email screen has been a sacred and a source of conflict between developers at AOL and the marketing department. At one time, a large part of the development team threatened to quit if advertisements were included on the screen used to read Emails. The suits have finally won and I don’t like what it means.

    There’s yet another reason I hate to see advertising in Email. The ads are flash based and not always prepared correctly. At least three times a day I get security alerts like the one below.

    Macromedia Security Alert on AOL

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    Tuesday, June 06, 2006

    Laptops and Handcuffs

    Remember the old spy movies when anything of value was kept in a briefcase and the agent had the case handcuffed to his wrist? Well apparently, they need to start making handcuffs for laptops used by private auditors.  Just last week I wrote about how personal data for veterans was compromised by the theft of a laptop in Maryland.

    This time an employee of Ernst & Young doing work for Hotels.com lost information from 243,000 customer who used Hotels.com during 2002 and 2004.(More Info)  What's really insulting is the time it took for this personal exposure to be made public. Hotels.com was notified on May 3rd, while the laptop was stolen in February.  Do these people not realize how valuable the data is on these laptops?  Sure, you can replace the laptop for $1000 but the data is priceless!  It's time for auditors to stay at the office to work or handcuff the machines to their wrist if they want to work at home.

    This also demonstrates that your personal information is just as safe transmitted online as any personal or credit card information is.  It doesn't matter if it’s online, nothing is safe.  If you didn't see my previous privacy recommendation, (Click here).

     In researching this story, I discovered that this type of incident happens far too often.  It’s time for laptops to come with handcuffs or self destruct if they fall into the wrong hands. Andrew Brandt just reported on self-destructing laptops in the June issue of PC World.  
    (More Info)

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    Monday, June 05, 2006

    WinPatrol Albanian

    Albanian Flag for WinPatrol I’ve been honored by the hard work of folks who have taken their own time and effort to support additional languages for our WinPatrol program.  Just this week, thanks to the volunteer efforts of Besmir Godole, we now have a localization file for Scotty’s friends in Albania.

    Not only do we have a version of WinPatrol 10, ready for Albanians but Scotty’s art teacher, Maria at Iconica quickly provided our download page with a new flag to celebrate the occasion. I’ve had positive comments about the new graphics in WinPatrol 10 and you can find the person responsible by going to the Iconica Custom Icons website. If you’re a company looking to create a great new design I highly recommend Iconica.

     

     

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    Sunday, June 04, 2006

    WinPatrol + 10 Sneak Peek

    For a limited time, the newest version of WinPatrol will be available to PLUS members.  Click (More Info) to learn more about WinPatrol 10 and our newest features.

    Hidden Files
     Monitor or/and Access Hidden Files

    The final release of WinPatrol 10 will soon be available for all users but this version is an exclusive for PLUS members only. If it wasn’t for all our PLUS members, WinPatrol wouldn’t be available and our free version wouldn’t be possible.

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    CTXE Stock Spam

    Some spam seems to come in spurts.  Like everyone I get the plenty of offers for Hoodia along with the normal amount of misspelled variations of Valium,Viagra and Cialas .  Last week, it seems the number of stock offers has been 50% of my spam.
     
    A typical example looks like…
    Successful sstock recommendation for winning players
    Lasst sseveral daays this stock was faalling down  and it is time to bbuy now, because it is ggoing to exploode on Friday. It is uunderestimated greatly. You see the Volumee is increasiing,, that means investors bbuy cheeap stockk.
    C T X E - CANTEXX _ENERGY_COORP.
     
    Some folks still think spammers are just stupid and can't spell. The sloppy spelling is a attempt to get past your spam filters
     
    I often wondered if it was possible to take advantage of the spammer and do a quick buy and sell. That way if I was quick enough I could ride the quick peak in this obvious stock manipulation scheme. My gut feeling is "don't be a fool” so I never bothered to try it. Sunbelt's Alex Eckelberry is a smart guy and has posted a good collection of analysis which had already been done.
     
    So, if you've ever had a similar thought go with your gut too. Spam is spam is spam. It’s meant to be ignored and deleted.
     
     
     

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