Archive for April, 2006

Ransomware

Sunday, April 30th, 2006

Interesting post on [tag]ransomware[/tag] and how criminals are turning to this form of extortion to make cash on 2–Spyware.com.

Best protection against ransomware is to make sure that you keep your antivirus application updated.

Disabling USB drive support

Saturday, April 29th, 2006

Data theft using USB drives has been big news for a few days now.  It's so easy for someone to walk up to your PC, plug in a USB drive and copy to it important or sensitive information.  There's a lot of software apps available that will allow you to have control over USB drives but most have a high price tag (in other words, they're aimed at businesses). 

For the concerned home user I think I've found a bit of kit that might be quite useful - in called Disable USB and it's by IntelliAdmin.  It's a free download and doesn't contain any nasty spyware or adware. 

IntelliAdmin - Disable USB

Run the program, select Disable USB Drives, click Apply and reboot.  Reversing the block is just as simple.  The great thing about the way that this tool modifies the system is that is only affects USB drives, other USB devices are unaffected.

(For all you geeks, this app works on the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\UsbStor registry key, changing the Start value to either 3 to enable devices to 4 to disable them)

This isn't a perfect solution but it's better than nothing.

Download from IntelliAdmin.

Test run Internet Explorer 7 without installing it

Saturday, April 29th, 2006

Interesting post on the Google Operating System blog on running Internet Explorer 7 without installing it. 

To do this you need:

  • The IE7 download
  • Extract it using WinRar
  • Create a batch file to handle all the changes (based on work by Jon Galloway)
  • Running the batch file will carry out the changes and start IE7.  When IE7 is closed the batch file cleans up after itself

This is a great hack but there are potential issues.  I've kept these instructions vague for a reason - if you don't know what any of the above means then this hack isn't for you.  As with most hacks involving the registry things can go wrong.  I've tried this on a virtual PC installation and it works fine but that's no guarantee that it'll work right for you (for example, messing up the batch file in any way could leave you in a world of pain!).

Reviving a dying hard drive

Friday, April 28th, 2006

Dead hard drives are scary.  Really scary.

The net is loaded with tips on reviving a dying hard drive.  TechRepublic has posted a whopping 200 ways to revive a hard drive!  I'm going to come right out and say that while some of these might work, some of these are voodoo while some run the risk of destroying your PC. 

Having said that, if you have a dead drive, and you have no intention of paying for professional recovery then why not have a go.  The three that I'd try first are:

  • Tapping the drive
  • Change the orientation of the drive (hold it vertical or upside down)
  • Freeze it

Like most things in live, prevention is better than cure. 

  • Expect the unexpected.  Hard drives don't last forever.  Have a plan in place for what you are going to do when you have problems
  • Back up your data regularly!
  • If your drive starts to play up (noises, S.M.A.R.T errors, that kind of thing), replace it
  • Back up your data regularly!  This step is worth repeating!

Weekend Project – Create your very own Google logo

Friday, April 28th, 2006

I've no idea why anyone would want to create a Google logo for themselves, it must be an activity that has some hidden appeal.  I'm liking to it because I think that it's a good Photoshop tutorial.

So, whether you want to create a Google logo or want to follow a Photoshop tutorial that looks at interesting techniques using the package, here's the link - LOGOogle.com.

(via The Unofficial Google Weblog)