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ClifNotesNewsletter041031

Clif Notes Newsletter   October 31, 2004
Reviews

 Security AntiVir Personal Edition - free home antivirus protection
I've been using AVG Free Antivirus for years now. After Dec 31, 2004 they will no longer support the free version. I'm shopping for a new free antivirus product. This week I'm trying out AntiVir. I've tested it and so far I've got no complaints. I ran a complete scan last night and I was impressed. It scans inside of cabs, zips, rars and other compressed files.
Website - Download - Quote from the website

You'll be amazed how thoroughly AntiVir protects:
 *detects and removes more than 80,000 viruses
 *always among the winners of comparison test featured in computer journals
 *the resident Virus Guard serves to monitor file movements automatically,
      e.g. downloading of data from the internet
 *scanning and repair of macro viruses
 *protection against previously unknown macro viruses
 *safeguard against cost generating dial-up program
 *protection against trojaner, worms, backdoors, jokes and other harmful programs
 *easy operation
 *Internet-Update Wizard for easy updating
 *Protection against previously unknown boot record viruses and master boot record viruses
Quality "Made in Germany"
support is free of charge via AntiVir Bulletin Board

  Disks GMail Drive - set up a free hard drive online
Review by CyberGuide
Website - Download - ScreenShot - Quote from the website
I once saw on a message board someone wondering what is the point of having an email storage of 1 Gigabyte...Well, after I found the Gmail drive, I realised that Uncle Google's email is extremely useful!
 
GMail Drive is a Shell Namespace Extension that creates a virtual filesystem around your Google GMail account, allowing you to use GMail as a storage medium.

GMail Drive creates a virtual filesystem on top of your Google GMail account and enables you to save and retrieve files stored on your GMail account directly from inside Windows Explorer. GMail Drive literally adds a new drive to your computer under the My Computer folder, where you can create new folders, copy and drag'n'drop files to.


 Security CWShredder 2.0 - the return of a vital antispyware tool
Dutch college student Merijn Bellekom was fighting a one man war against the most vicious browser hijacker on the web, CoolWebSearch. His freeware program CWShredder was able to detect and successfully remove it. Unfortunately for us, he retired from the fight in June and CWS has not been updated until now. He sold the rights of the program to Intermute, an antispyware company. They are now offering an updated version for free download. His website was under hacker attack quite often and I expect to see the same happen for InterMute. Download a copy now while you still can.
Website - Download - Quote from the website
CWShredder Version 2.0 is the latest defense against the new Cool Web Search variants ...
If you want to download the standalone version of CWShredder, you can do that ...

 Email MrPostman - download webmail from Yahoo and Hotmail into Outlook Express
Would you like to read your email offline but can't do it because you have a free Hotmail or Yahoo acount? MrPostman is a good solution. It not only handles Yahoo, it does Hotmail as well. Right now MrPostman is bringing in 3 Hotmail and 3 Yahoo accounts for me and putting them in Outlook Express. If you need any help setting it up, let me know.

Website - Download - Quote from the website

MrPostman is a java program that allows you to access Yahoo Mail, Hotmail and other webmail services directly from your favorite mail client. Currently supported webmail providers: Hotmail, mail.com, Yahoo, indiatimes.com, Gossamer mail, Outlook Web Access

Editors tinySpell - checks your spelling in any application
TinySpell is super! If you post a lot online and wish you could check your spelling on the fly ... Wish Granted!
Website - Download  - Quote from the website
Occasionally you need to check the spelling of words in an application that does not include a spelling checker and you don't want to launch your word processor just for that. This is when tinySpell becomes handy. It is a small utility that allows you to easily and quickly check the spelling of words in any Windows application. tinySpell monitors your typing on the fly and alerts you whenever it detects a misspelled word. It also checks the spelling of every word you copy to the clipboard.
tinySpell installs itself in the system tray for easy access. It comes with an American-English dictionary containing more than 110,000 words.

 Games Babble - is just like the game "Boggle"
This is a word game for all you Boggle players out there. Now you can practice against computer players so that you really kick butt when playing against your friends.

Website - Download - ScreenShot - Quote from the website

Babble is a freeware word game. Find as many words as possible within the 5min time limit. The letters used must be adjacent to each other and cannot be used more than once per word. Play alone for the highest score or play against the five computer players.
 
To install, unzip all files into one directory and double click babble.exe to start the game.

Tips

 Website thefreecountry.com - Free Programmers, Webmasters and Security Resources
This is an excellent source for all kinds of freebies for those of us with the geek streak.

Website - Quote from the website

Welcome to thefreecountry.com's collection of free programming resources, free webmasters' resources and free security resources.

 Security The EZ-Emoticons Challenge #01 - make a program run without spyware installing

A recent online aquaintence challenged me to help him use a spyware program that he likes. I would not recommend or condone the use of "hacked" software, so I'm hoping there may be an easy fix that does not involve any changes to the EZ-Emoticons code and doesn't violate the EULA. You know what this means don't you? I'm going to intentionally infect my pc with spyware (Yikes!). I've done this before, both on purpose and by accident, so I'm fairly confident I can handle it. Some of the tools I'll be using are listed here. MSN Messenger, Total Uninstall, HiJackThis, NetMon and others I'll mention as we go along.


I installed MSN Messenger and and used NetMon to find the IP addresses it uses when it connects to the internet. Next I fired up Total Uninstall (TUN) and installed EZ-Emoticon. I read the EULA for the software and it states clearly you have to install 180Search Assistant to use EZ-Emoticons, but that it can be uninstalled. So if you don't want it follow these uninstall instructions. But, that's not the only thing I found.

While it was installing I noticed it triggered StartupMonitor three times asking for executables to start in the autorun areas of my pc. I allowed them to add the startup entries because I knew I could remove everything with TUN. After the install of EZ-Emoticons, I watched the internet IP's that it was using to contact it's servers out on the web and noted the addresses. I'm guessing that if a person can block these addresses, the spyware cannot function properly if it can't download more stuff to add to your problems. To block the addresses a person should only have to add them to the Windows HOSTS file and point them at the local machine. Here are the lines that should be added to the HOSTS file.

127.0.0.1       209.164.32.205.ptr.us.xo.net
127.0.0.1       web104.discountasp.net

There's no guarantee that this will keep the spyware in check but it's worth a try.

I've got a couple more ideas to try out and I'll let you know what happens later. In the mean time if you are using EZ-Emoticons, I'd recommend you uninstall it and do the following things before reinstalling it. Update your AntiSpyware and AntiVirus programs and boot into safe mode then do complete system scans. After the scans and booting into normal mode you can add the HOST file entries above and try re-installing EZ-Emoticons. Then uninstall 180Search Assistant if you want to.

Website - Quote from eripmav

hi Clif,

actually i may have a little problem that you may like to try solving (i'm sure you thrive on challenges =) )

i have this add-on for MSN that allows you to bring up a side menu with all your emoticons for easy browsing and usage ... problem is, it comes with spyware. I used Spybot and SpySweeper to get rid of them, but the come back after a while.

the name of program is EZ-Emoticons
http://www.sherv.net/EZ-Emoticons.html

some of the spyware that gets installed include 180solutionsncasemsbb and two others that get installed in WINDOWS which are xspub.exe and bkr.exe .... i think these stem from a file called 441725257.edat that gets installed at Program Files ... deleting this causes the program not to work ..

maybe you can have a play and see if there's a way to work around this =)

thanks for your time Clif, and no hurries, i'm sure you must be a real busy person =)

have a good one!


Cool Websites

 Website Virus you'll never see on your PC - jokes from IndiaTimes.com
Here is some infectious humor from our friends in India.
(link suggested by VSubhash)

Website - Quote from the website

Is your system acting abruptly? It may be infected by one or more of these viruses...

 Website HamsterDance - little creatures dancing and singing
I just don't know what to say about this website, but everyone should visit this site at least once, especially young children. LOL
Website - Quote from the website
HamsterDance         Hamster Dance - Dancing the Night Away
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