Weaselware –Yet another threat !

Posted: January 11, 2012 in Latest News

Analysis: Microsoft move to extend the kill-switch, vendor-meddling, customer-paternalization policies of mobile devices to desktop software is a win for weaselware.

Microsoft’s announcement last week that it would require of customers the ability to reach into their personal PCs to disable, restrict, uninstall or repair software bought from the Windows Store made me realize how pervasive this sense of entitlement is among software vendors.

Mobile app vendors and the carriers involved are greatest offenders in the invasion-of-privacy contest, but with some justification, however inadequate.

Carriers have to track the location of customers in order to keep the network connections to their handsets alive.

The requirement doesn’t go much further than that, but most carriers add monitoring software called Carrier IQ that tracks how well an app runs on their smartphone, what conflicts apps create for each other, and how well the carrier’s own services are performing for that customer.

Great idea, except the software carriers install is also capable of auditing and reporting on all the apps, data and software living on a phone, all the keys a user presses, all the locations he or she has been and every person he or she has called, texted or e-mailed.

They do that without telling customers up front either what information they are collecting, or what information the software could collect if they wanted it to, or if some malware writer decided to take advantage of the spyware to collect information even more secretly and even more maliciously.

Next: To the Desktop

Microsoft’s decision to extend the kill-switch, vendor-meddling, customer-paternalization policies to desktop software is a big step forward in the development of what I’m calling “weaselware.”

Technically, weaselware is any information technology product designed or distributed for dishonest purposes – anything that, when you found out about it, would cause you to think the people who sent it to you are weasels.

Recent examples include cell-phone carriers’ Carrier IQ, iPhones and LocationGate, anything from Facebook, flash cookies, persistent cookies, profile comparisons and other passive or active tracking mechanisms web sites plant in your browser.

More specifically, it’s technology that doesn’t quite qualify as completely evil (malware), but violates the expectation of users that software vendors aren’t trying to spy on them, manipulate their choices, or market them to third parties.

Spyware or software with spyware-ish properties is the most obvious example, but the list of examples itself has grown so long it’s developing into different categories.

Essentially, anything that installs secretly and gives the develop access to or control over software running on a machine it doesn’t own qualifies as weaselware.

(Yes, I’ve heard there’s no such thing as anonymity anymore, too; knowing anyone who can build an Android or iOS app can invade your privacy doesn’t mean you should let them do it. Have a backbone; fight back a little.)

The traditional core of weaselware is the maleware-ish co-marketing arrangement under which a user can download a piece of freeware or demo version of an application and inadvertently get toolbar software from Ask.com or other add-ons whose primary purpose is to get themselves installed for long enough to market something to unsuspecting end users.

This last category was once almost the sole source of weaselware; mobile apps and, thanks to Microsoft, mainstream desktop software have now devolved to the point that they are leading a purposeful charge down what had been considered a slippery ethical slope.

Posted by ,Pradeep

Professional and Ultimate editions of Windows come with a built in Remote Desktop (RDP) feature that allows you to access your machine remotely while away from home or the office. Unfortunately, it is limited by default to one concurrent user per session, meaning that if someone remotely connects to the computer, whoever was logged in at the moment will be automatically logged off, even if the user is physically at the computer.

This is not a technical limitation but rather a licensing one. Case in point, Remote Desktop in server editions of Windows by default supports two concurrent connections to remotely troubleshoot or administer a computer. More users can connect simultaneously, too, as long as the machine can handle it with the resources it has available and you have the required client access licenses for that particular server.

However, there are a few reasons why concurrent sessions would come in handy for power users not necessarily running a server. For example, if you have a dedicated Media Center PC running in the living room, you’ll be able to remotely access all files on the machine without interrupting the person watching TV.
Or if you are sharing a computer with other users, concurrent Remote Desktop sessions will allow more than one person use that system under a different or even the same user account, without kicking each other off. By patching a file called termsrv.dll, located in %SystemRoot%\System32\, this is possible in all editions of Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP.
Download Link: http://soft3.wmzhe.com/download/deepxw/UniversalTermsrvPatch_20090425.zip
Fortunately for us, Internet user DeepXW already did all the dirty work a while ago and posted his Universal Termsrv.dll Patch for anyone to get their hands on. Simply download and unzip the file, then run the corresponding file as administrator (right-click the exe file and select Run as Administrator). For 32-bit systems use UniversalTermsrvPatch-x86.exe and for 64-bit versions of Windows use UniversalTermsrvPatch-x64.exe.

You should see a window like the one above where you can patch termsrv.dll to remove the Concurrent Remote Desktop sessions limit and restore the original file at any time (a backup file is located at ‘\windows\system32\termsrv.dll.backup’). After applying the patch, restart your system and you are ready to go.

The First Next-Gen Wi-Fi Chips

Posted: January 6, 2012 in Latest News

Wi-Fi is getting faster–again. Today Wi-Fi chipmaker Broadcom announced its first chips based on the coming 802.11ac standard, the successor to today’s 802.11n Wi-Fi. Products based on 802.11ac are expected to begin appearing late this year, delivering improved coverage and theoretical speeds up to twice those offered by the fastest 802.11n gear.

Broadcom is calling its 802.11ac products 5G Wi-Fi because 802.11ac will be the fifth-generation IEEE standard for the popular wireless networking technology. The previous four were 802.11, 802.11b, 802.11a/g, and 802.11n.

The 802.11 standard was introduced in 1997, but never gained much traction. It had a theoretical top speed of 2-megabits-per-second. Two years later, 802.11b delivered a theoretical 11mbps, and it became the first widely used Wi-Fi technology. In 2002, the 802.11a and 802.11g standards raised the bar with top theoretical speeds of 54mbps. The two standards used different areas of the wireless spectrum and hence were incompatible, with 802.11a operating exclusively on the 5ghz band and 802.11g (like 802.11b before it) using the 2.4ghz band.

By the mid 2000s, Wi-Fi had become so popular that many more stakeholders had an interest in the next-generation version. Consequently, it took seven years for the IEEE to develop and ratify the 802.11n standard, which encompassed a range of options designed to accommodate the many different types of devices that incorporate Wi-Fi today, from PCs and consumer electronics to cell phones and tablets.

For example, 802.11n devices can operate on either the 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz bands or both, and speeds vary widely based on the number of transmitting and receiving antennas (802.11n on a cell phone usually isn’t as fast as 802.11n on a notebook). But the fastest 802.11n devices use technologies such as multiple spatial streams, channel bonding and packet aggregation to offer improved coverage and theoretical top speeds of 600mbps.

Similarly, 802.11ac also offers a number of options, which are reflected in Broadcom’s first chip offerings. But all 802.11ac chips will all use the 5Ghz band, which is much wider than the crowded 2.4thz band and can therefore more easily support the 80mhz channels that contribute to 802.11ac’s speed boosts (802.11n channels max out at 40Mhz). 802.11ac also uses beamforming technology to achieve its faster rates and improved coverage. And because it is more efficient, 802.11ac takes less of a toll on battery life, a key attribute for mobile device use.

Broadcom chips are also backwards compatible with all 802.11n gear (both 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz), although not at 802.11ac speeds.

Broadcom’s fastest 5G Wi-Fi chip, the BCM4360, implements 3 spatial streams on a PCI interface to achieve maximum speeds of 1.3GHz. The midrange BCM4352 and BCM43526 chips support a two-stream implementation of 802.11ac for theoretical maximum speeds of 867mbps for use with, respectively, PCI and USB interfaces. The single-stream BCM43516 supports up to 433 mbps with a USB interface. The PCI chips are primarily for routers, access points and computers, while the USB chips are meant for consumer electronics such as TVs, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes.

Broadcom sees 802.11ac gaining traction for a wide range of high bandwidth applications for both businesses and consumers, ranging from streaming media to data sync and backups. On mobile devices, 802.11ac supported is expected to help offload traffic from already choked carrier networks.

The name of the standard, 802.11ac, derives from the IEEE’s convention of naming related standards as their working groups are established. With Wi-Fi, the IEEE had already exhausted single-letter suffixes (a through z) to 802.11 and had started all over again with two-letter suffixes–e.g. 802.11aa 802.11ab and now 802.11ac.

Broadcom expects to see its 5G chips in network gear starting in the third quarter, with other end-user products following by the end of the year.

You’ve got to respect Microsoft for making a big deal out of Windows 8’s reset and refresh features. Useful as they are, the main reason these features exist is because sometimes, PCs can go haywire.

A new blog post by Microsoft’s Desmond Lee explains Windows 8 refresh and reset in detail. Although Microsoft already revealed these Windows 8 features at its BUILD conference last September, the new post help clear up exactly how they work.

Reset, or Really Reset?

 

In Windows 7, the best way to restore to factory settings is to make a backup right after starting up the computer for the first time, then use that backup when you want to restore. Of course, if you forget to create a backup, you’re out of luck. With the reset feature in Windows 8, users can wipe out all their data and start from scratch without creating a backup beforehand.

Starting with the Windows 8 beta, the reset feature will also include a “Thorough” option, which makes personal data harder to recover by writing random patterns to every sector of the drive. This takes longer–about 24 minutes without BitLocker encryption, compared to 6 minutes for a quick reset–but it makes data difficult to recover without expensive special equipment. The Thorough option is ideal if you’re giving a used PC away.

Just a Little Refreshment

Because sometimes things can go wrong, Microsoft has also created a way for users to install a clean copy of Windows 8 while preserving apps, personal data and settings. This entire process takes about eight minutes.

 

As Lee explains, bad apps or incorrect settings are often the cause of PC misbehavior. To deal with this, Windows 8’s refresh feature only hangs onto a few key settings, including network connections, BitLocker encryption settings, drive letter assignments and personalization (such as wallpapers and backgrounds). File type associations, display settings and firewall settings are restored to factory defaults.

Also, the refresh feature only re-installs Metro-style apps, which have been approved for the Windows 8 app store. Microsoft argues that it’d be nearly impossible to figure out which non-Metro apps are causing problems, and that some desktop apps use third-party installers that Microsoft doesn’t have much knowledge about. Users who want to reinstall their apps will find a list of deleted software in HTML format on the desktop. Or, they can use a command line tool to create a refresh state of their choosing.

Windows 8 reset and refresh will be accessible through the “PC Settings” Metro-style app. But in case the computer can’t boot properly, they’ll also be part of Windows 8’s redesigned boot menu.

I’m introduced here !

Posted: November 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

Hello,

This is Pradeep Parameshwaran from India.I am currently doing my Masters in University of Stuttgart, Germany.This blog is mainly focussed on latest tech issues and their solutions from my perspective.

” The only time you must not fail is the last time you try ”

I follow this quote.I can try all the possible things.If its success I will be satisfied ,If its not a success I wont bother it because I’m losing nothing else other than time. Stay tuned !