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fredvries

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Everything posted by fredvries

  1. In its ever increasing hold on users of its new operating system, Windows 10, Microsoft has reached a new level of intrusion: their Start menu will deliver ads disguised as 'suggestions'. We all understand that ads are a way of life of most companies that try to make a living on the internet, but Microsoft isn't exactly one of those companies that are strapped for cash. While Microsoft will not be serving regular ads in the Start menu, they are in fact ads for apps (programs for those who have not migrated to this new naming). Microsoft is calling them 'suggestions', but that is simply a somewhat obscure way of saying 'advertising'. This 'feature' that's currently only being shown to Windows Insiders who have updated to build 10565 of Windows 10, but it could soon spread to everyone else. How to disable this intrusive feature? Easy. Just right click the suggestion and you can opt to hide a particular app or to turn off all future suggestions.
  2. Suppose you are being stalked by a former lover or simply get emails via Gmail that cannot be thwarted via 'Reporting Spam' (the button with the exclamation mark). The question is therefore: how do you get your peace of mind back without reporting the sender to the police. The answer is easy. If you're viewing your mail on a computer: 1. Open the email 2. At the top right of the email, click the down arrow 3. Click Block [sender] If you blocked someone by mistake, you can unblock them using the same steps. If you're viewing your mail on an Android phone or tablet go here for a solution.
  3. Microsoft Edge comes with Microsoft's own default search engine, Bing.com. That's not a problem if you like Bing but it is if you want another search engine, such as Google. The solution is a bit elaborate. - Open Microsoft Edge and goto 'Google.com' - Select the “…” more menu in the top right corner - Select Settings from the menu - Scroll down to “View advanced settings” and hit the button - Scroll down to “Search in the address bar with” and hit the button - Choose “Add new” - You'll now see a list of available search engines - Choose “Add as default”
  4. With the launch of Cortana, Microsoft’s hope is to build a digital assistant that can help manage both your personal and professional life. Cortana’s integration is based on a digital notebook that works between multiple Windows PC’s, Tablets, and Phones. This notebook can store events, show finical information like stocks, provide the weather, show recent movie trailers and even help track UPS packages. In regards to productivity, Cortana manages appointments and can provide suggested departure times for meetings based on local traffic. Recently, Microsoft has expanded Cortana’s functionality with LinkedIn. Users now have the option to add their LinkedIn profile to Cortana’s notebook. A user does this by selecting their notebook and going into “Connected Accounts”. From here, users can log in with their LinkedIn account. Doing so, now allows Cortana to aggregate information about those you will be meeting with for your next calendar appointment. No problem there, you might think, but you have to remember that Windows 10 sends quite a lot of information to its servers in order to 'simply trying to enhance the program by understanding what users do'. With the addition of your LinkedIn account to Cortana, Microsoft takes one further step in 'understanding what users do'. Stop Windows 10 from spying on you. See here for the solution.
  5. Suppose you've been caught installing malware on computers twice, I imagine you would make sure you wouldn'd be caught again. Not Chinese computer maker Lenovo. In the spring of 2015, Lenovo was caught red-handed for selling laptops pre-installed with Superfish malware that opened up doors for hackers. Then, in August, Lenovo again got caught installing unwanted and non-removable malware into part of the BIOS reserved for custom drivers. Now, Lenovo has once again been caught installing spyware on its laptops and workstations without the user's permission or knowledge. The Chinese computer manufacturer is hitting the news once again for embedding tracking software into its laptops and workstations from Lenovo ThinkPad, ThinkCentre, and ThinkStation series. Lenovo pre-installed a software program, called 'Lenovo Customer Feedback Program 64' that operates daily on these systems and can be categorized as malware. The sole purpose of this program is to send customers' feedback data back to Lenovo servers. Yes, the company has obscurely mentioned this in its EULA (which hardly anyone reads), but nobody ever asked you permission for a Customer Feedback program while setting up your Lenovo computer. More info and removal instructions here.
  6. Microsoft’s Windows 10 has met with critisism because it seems riddled with features that track and trace your every move on your computer. As I have said here, that, while the company is insisting that it was 'not spying' but simply trying to enhance the program by understanding what users do, Windows 10 is constantly collecting users’ data, sharing Wi-Fi passwords to contacts (albeit with encryption), and collects data and usage patterns exhibited by every user of Windows 10. Then we wrote here about the news that Windows 10 behaves like a true keylogger and we hoped that that would be the end of the intrusive behaviour of Windows 10. It wasn't. Accepting Microsoft’s Services Agreement, which you need to do before installing Windows 10, gives Microsoft the right automatically issue system software updates that can disable pirated software and even counterfeit hardware peripherals. Yes, you should of course steer clear of illegal stuff, but there’s something undeniably disturbing about the very idea that Windows 10 always keeps a watchful eye on the software and hardware you may or may not be using. More info here.
  7. Correct. But every antivirus company must have some sort of business model to remain in buniness. Some offer paid versions, some use adware, some sell collected non-personal data and some even try to eradicate their competitors. Kaspersky is one of the antivirus companies that tried to 'rub out' AVG. Plus, Eugene Kaspersky was once a member of the KGB. Would you trust him? More information here.
  8. To answer the original question: Oracle has now created its Java Uninstall Tool. See here. The blurb: The Java Uninstall tool helps you improve your computer security by simplifying the process of finding and uninstalling older versions of Java. The Uninstall tool shows you a list of the Java versions on your computer and then removes those that are out of date.
  9. @Tarun It was a risk I took to mention two seperate programs that addressed the same problem. I accept that it could have caused some problems and removed the one that offered OpenCandy. You were right to mention the issue.
  10. Antivirus companies are increasingly advertising the cloud-based capabilities of their products, telling us that 'the speed of cloud computing to deliver real-time protection' is the next big step in your protection. Yes, in some sense 'the cloud' improves the effectiveness of your antivirus program. A novel way of interaction is now possible between your antivirus program and the servers of the antivirus company. But this communication between your program and their servers could turn into a real problem for the privacy of the data on your computer. The question therefore is: which is more important? Do you consider a little improvement in your antivirus database more important than the potential loss of important data? Imagine Windows Defender could send some important or confidential files to their servers and then their analysts would read or even use these files. And yes, Windows Defender does have that particular feature. If the program encounters an unknown file during its regular scan, it asks the user permission to send it to the servers of Microsoft for further analysis. At first glance, this feature seems harmless enough, but 'the cloud' is not a safe place to be in. It is prone to malware itself, because if Windows Defender can access your file, any malware can use the same method. More information and a fix here.
  11. Yes, Tarun, DoNotSpy offers OpenCandy and I shall remove it from the post. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. However, Windows Privacy Tweaker is strickly ad-free.
  12. Windows Privacy Tweaker has been updated to version 1.2 Changelog: Better Microsoft Windows Smartscreen fix supportBetter 64bit systems supportAdded option for "Remote Assistance Connections to this Computer"Download here.
  13. Yes, we already knew that Microsoft's new operating system, Windows 10, is riddled with tracking and spying services, that are enabled by default. See here. But now it has been revealed that Windows 10 automatically and regularly sends parents detailed dossiers of their children's internet history and computer use. Microsoft calls it 'Monitor your child’s device use with activity reports'. Read more here.
  14. Some users of Windows 10 report an unresponsive taskbar. This problem has dogged beta-versions of Windows 10 since around February 2015 and Windows doesn't seem to be able to remedy the problem. So, your taskbar doesn't seem to react to your mouse clicks or left clicks, but it does react to right clicks. When hovering over taskbar icons, tooltips do not seem to work properly. The fix is relatively easy. [1] Right click the Start button [2] Choose Command prompt (Admin) [3] Type 'PowerShell' (without the '') in the black window (C:\WINDOWS\system32>PowerShell) and hit Enter [4] Paste the following command in the Administrator: Windows PowerShell window and hit Enter: Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"} [5] Wait for PowerShell to execute and complete the command. Ignore the few errors (in red color) that may pop up. Now your taskbar should – hopefully – be back to normal (again).
  15. @willis100: Yes, you're quite right. But only if you do not visit dodgy websites, pr0n sites and sites that offer 'free' hacks, cracks, games or whatever. And remember not to open mails from unknown senders. But the vast majority of people simply do not practice those simple rules. No wonder then that in the Middle East people have the highest rates of infection: illegal versions of Windows operating systems, no up-to-date antivirus programs and secretly downloading stuff that they shouldn't download. See here. So, yes, it works probably perfectly for you. But others need to be protected for their own sake and ours. Suppose you get infected by a botnet?
  16. @greenknight. Thank you for your kind words of welcome. Yes, it has been awhile, but I've transformed myself into a thriller writer of sorts. The first, 'Lange Schaduwen' ('Long Schadows') is, of course, written in the Dutch language. See here for the cover. Currently writing the sequel, titled 'Stille Wateren' ('Silent Waters').
  17. @Tarun: Yes, that's what I had mentioned in red in the article plus a possible 'cure' for the removal of the OpenCandy adware.
  18. So, how stupid can you get... Heads-up to anyone who is using a Samsung laptop: they’re disabling Windows Updates by default to prevent “incompatibilities.” Via The Next Web: Anyone who’s purchased a new Samsung laptop has probably run into the company’s “software updater” tool, which promises to keep apps and drivers up to date on your computer. However, that software does something sinister in the background: it disables Windows Update. Which is not a good idea. More information can be read here.
  19. You might think that a company that has been caught installing malware once, would be extremely cautious that it wouldn't happen again. Not so Lenovo. Back in February 2015, users discovered that the Chinese based Lenovo put pre-installed dangerous, HTTPS-breaking adware called Superfish in its notebooks. At first they denied that the adware posed any threat to your privacy, but they quickly changed their tune. Check if you are infected with Superfish here. Lenovo's uninstall program can be downloaded here. Fast forward to August 2015 and news appeared that Lenovo is – again – caught because they are using a rootkit to make sure their software remains installed, even on clean Windows installs. The rootkit is able to have the BIOS overwrite Windows system files on bootup. More information can be read here.
  20. Windows 10, Microsoft’s latest upgrade to its operating system comes bundled with telemetry and tracking services that are enabled by default. While the company is insisting that it was 'not spying' but simply trying to enhance the program by understanding what users do, Windows 10 is constantly collecting users’ data, sharing Wi-Fi passwords to contacts (albeit with encryption), and collects data and usage patterns exhibited by every user of Windows 10. Read more here.
  21. Mirage Anti-Bot 3.0 has been released. Changes: [x] Completely recoded from the ground up [x] Now logs blocked eevnts/sites [x] Possibility to add your own sites to block More info and download here.
  22. I my opinion spying on your kids is kind of bad parenting. As a parent myself, you should try to educate your kids on the dangers on internet and should restrict the amount of time they spoil behind their computer. Parents should learn to trust their sons and daughters a bit more.
  23. Yes, Microsoft Security Essential (MSE) or its baby brother Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool (MRT) are quite good are cleaning the worst offenders but Mirage Anti-Bot doesn't clean (yet). Mirage Anti-Bot 2.0 prevents you from getting to infected sites thus you cannot get infected in the first place. Remember that most infection with Zeus, SpyEye or Palevo occur because users click on nice attachments that are sent to them by infected 'friends'. Mirage Anti-Bot should be regarded as an extra layer of security.
  24. Mirage Anti-Bot has been updated to version 2.0 Mirage Anti-Bot is protecting users against ZeuS, SpyEye, Palevo and some related malware. Mirage Anti-Bot will be downloading and installing one or more blocklists from www.abuse.ch, a reputable Swiss-based anti-malware website. This effectively stops your computer from reaching infected sites, thus minimizing the risk to be infected with this extremely dangerous type of malware. We have listened closely to our users and as a result Mirage Anti-Bot 2.0 has several new features. Changelog [+] Installer [+] New GUI, More pro [+] Starts with Windows [+] Protects you against Palevo botnet [+] Protects you against SpyEye botnet [+] Confirm on quit [+] Limit exceed bug fixed, now it grabs data locally using SSL [+] Proxy authentification added More info here. Downloadable here.
  25. ZeuS, SpyEye and Palevo are infamous families of malware. These types of malware are spread mainly through drive-by downloads and phishing schemes. They are so-called Trojan horses which are designed to steal credentials from various online services like social networks (such as Facebook, Hi5, Yahoo, Netlog), online banking accounts (phising), ftp-accounts, email-accounts and other. They are part of botnets that are estimated to include millions of compromized computers. These types of malware are notoriously difficult to detect or to remove from any computer. Even if a user has an up-to-date antivirus program installed, computers still can become infected. Because your antivirus program is not always giving you enough protection against these types of malware, we have decided to create a program that can be used as an extra layer of security. Mirage Anti-Bot will at first only protect against ZeuS. Blocking of other malware (SpyEye and Palevo) will be added soon. Mirage Anti-Bot will be downloading and installing one or more blocklists from www.abuse.ch, a Swiss-based anti-malware website. This effectively stops your computer from reaching infected sites, thus minimizing the risk to be infected with this extremely dangerous type of malware. Download via here. Mail me here for bugs, problems, questions or suggestions.
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