Is Microsoft Finally Getting It Right with IE 8?

Two separate tests performed by NSS Labs measured protection against phishing and socially engineered malware across 5 browsers: Apple Safari 4, Google Chrome 2, Mozilla Firefox 3, Opera 10 Beta and Windows Internet Explorer 8.

One of the key things to note is that while the other browsers maintained or decreased protection between the two tests, Internet Explorer continued to improve its protection against cybercriminals.

“Socially engineered malware is the most common and impactful threat on the Internet today, with browser protection averaging between 1% and 81%. Internet Explorer 8 caught 81% of the socially engineered malware sites over time, leading other browsers by a 54% margin. Safari 4 and Firefox 3 caught 21% and 27% respectively, while Chrome 2 blocked 7% and Opera 10 Beta blocked 1%.

Phishing protection over time varied greatly between 2% and 83% among the browsers. Statistically, Internet Explorer 8 at 83% and Firefox 3 at 80% had a two-way tie for first, given the margin of error of 3.6%. Opera 10 Beta, exhibited more extreme variances during testing and averaged 54% protection. Chrome 2 consistently blocked 26% of phishing sites, and Safari 4 offered just 2% overall protection. Firefox 3.5 crashing issues prevented it from being tested reliably.”


Sell Your Old Electronics – Help Reduce Ewaste

Do you have any old iPods, cell phones, or game consoles lying around and taking up space in your desk drawer or closet? Have you mastered the latest video game and are now looking for the next challenge? We can help!

At NextWorth we’ll help you sell, upgrade and/or recycle your used gadget or video game the easiest, safest and fastest way possible. We have been helping consumers trade-in and upgrade their iPods, iPhones and other electronic gadgets both online and in-store at Target and a few other retail stores nationwide.

Not only can we help you get more value out of your old devices more easily and conveniently, we can also promote reuse and recycling by keeping these tiring products out of the landfills. Now you can get money while doing your part to keep the world green!

Find out your product’s NextWorth and turn your unused into opportunity!

via NextWorth: Reselling Gadgets.

Printing Long Documents so they come out in the right order

I just installed a new printer and printed a multi-page document. Most inkjet printers will stack the printed pages face up. Laserjets usually come out face down so they stack properly. Well, my printer, being an inkjet,  printed from the first page to the last, which was nice, but what wasn’t so nice is that I then had to go through and reverse the order of the pages since the first page was at the bottom of the stack with the last page on top.

In order to not have that happen every time I print, I went into my printer settings and was able to change a setting so that printing will occur in reverse order, meaning that the last page prints first on up to the first page printing last but at the top of the stack.

In Windows, you can do this by clicking on the Start button, double clicking on Control Panel, and double clicking on Printers and Faxes.  Right click on the the printer you want to modify and left click on Properties. Under the General tab, click on Printing Preferences. Every printer will it’s own unique settings, but try to find an option for Page Layout, Page Order,  or something similar. If you can’t find that, look through the different tabs until you find an option for copies or document options. Usually, you’ll find a check box there for Reverse Order. Check it and save your settings. From then on, everything you print will come out stacked correctly.

How Strong are the Passwords You Use Online?

When it comes to online passwords, most people have no idea how to create strong ones. Many people use easy-to-crack passwords: pet names, birthdays, and common dictionary words. Additionally, they rarely ever change their passwords.

Along with that, a lot of people use the same password for every site they’ve signed up for. You may not think the password to your webmail account is valuable but anyone that might steal your information can use it to send spam and ruin your online reputation. More seriously, you may have entered the same password at an online banking site, or a site where your credit-card number is stored for easy ordering, such as Amazon.

You can see whether your current passwords are rated “strong” by using Microsoft’s online Password Checker.

According to MicrosoftStrong Passwords: How to Create and Use Them

What makes a strong password
To an attacker, a strong password should appear to be a random string of characters. The following criteria can help your passwords do so:

Make it lengthy. Each character that you add to your password increases the protection that it provides many times over. Your passwords should be 8 or more characters in length; 14 characters or longer is ideal.

Many systems also support use of the space bar in passwords, so you can create a phrase made of many words (a “pass phrase”). A pass phrase is often easier to remember than a simple password, as well as longer and harder to guess.

Combine letters, numbers, and symbols. The greater variety of characters that you have in your password, the harder it is to guess. Other important specifics include:

• The fewer types of characters in your password, the longer it must be. A 15-character password composed only of random letters and numbers is about 33,000 times stronger than an 8-character password composed of characters from the entire keyboard. If you cannot create a password that contains symbols, you need to make it considerably longer to get the same degree of protection. An ideal password combines both length and different types of symbols.

• Use the entire keyboard, not just the most common characters. Symbols typed by holding down the “Shift” key and typing a number are very common in passwords. Your password will be much stronger if you choose from all the symbols on the keyboard, including punctuation marks not on the upper row of the keyboard, and any symbols unique to your language.

Use words and phrases that are easy for you to remember, but difficult for others to guess. The easiest way to remember your passwords and pass phrases is to write them down. Contrary to popular belief, there is nothing wrong with writing passwords down, but they need to be adequately protected in order to remain secure and effective.

Dos and don’ts to keep your passwords safe

Do use a password manager such as Roboform, which I told you about hereWhat was that password again?

Do change passwords frequently. Don’t reuse old passwords. Password managers can assign expiration dates to your passwords and remind you when the passwords are about to expire and generate new passwords for you for a site.

Don’t use passwords made up of dictionary words, birthdays, family and pet names, addresses, or any other personal information. Don’t use repeat characters such as 111 or sequences like abc, qwerty, or 123 in any part of your password.

Don’t use the same password for different sites.

Don’t use the “remember me” or automatic signin option available on many Web sites. Have your password manager fill in the information for you.

Don’t enter passwords on a computer that’s not yours — such as a friend’s computer — because you don’t know what spyware or keyloggers might be on it.

Don’t enter a password or even your account name in any Web page you access via an e-mail link. These are most likely phishing scams. Instead, enter the normal website address  for that site directly into your browser, and proceed to the page in question from there.

Exposed: the PC repair shops that rifle through your photos and passwords

Although this took place in the U.K., it happens in the U.S.  as well. It’s very important that before you take your computer to a repair facility, always back up sensitive data and remove it from your laptop before taking it to be repaired (if you can). Clear the cache of log-in details and passwords and always get more than one quote. If you can’t access your files, get referrals from friends or family and only take your computer to a trusted source.

When Sky News launched an undercover investigation into PC repair shops, it turned to PC Pro readers for help with identifying rogue traders. As a result, Sky’s cameras caught technicians scouring through private photos, stealing passwords and over-charging for basic repairs. Here is what they found

How many technicians does it take to fix a laptop? Just one, but if you know where to find him, please let us know.

We’d heard there were serious problems with computer repair shops: faults misdiagnosed, overcharging for work and data deleted. So we put them to the test in order to find out why customers were getting such a raw deal and who the culprits were.

The exercise was simple. Create a simple fault on a laptop, load it with spy software, take it into several repair shops, then sit back and see what happened. Would they arrive at the same diagnosis and charge us a fair price to fix it?

First, Sky News engineers installed professional spy software on a new laptop. Spector Pro was programmed to load on start-up and silently record every ‘event’ that took place. If the mouse was moved, a folder opened or a file looked at, we would know about it. Every event would also trigger a screen snapshot to be taken.

We also installed Digiwatcher. This devious little tool auto-runs on start-up and quietly tells any connected webcam to secretly film whoever is at the machine. The process is invisible and the video file is hidden on the hard drive and password protected.

We then filled the hard drive with the sort of data anyone might have on their PC: holiday photos, curriculum vitae, MP3s, Word documents and log-in details. Our laptop now looked just like any other.

To create the fault, we simply loosened one of the memory chips so Windows wouldn’t load. To get things working again, one needs only push the chip back into the slot and reboot the machine. Any half-way competent engineers should fix it in minutes.

All we needed now was our targets. We teamed up with PC Pro readers to track down shops with the worst reputation and took our laptop into be repaired. We expected poor customer service, but nothing prepared us for the first shop we visited.

Snooping on holiday snaps

Laptop Revival in Hammersmith initially offered us a free diagnosis when we dropped our laptop off. Yet the spy software later revealed something extraordinary. The webcam shows that almost immediately the technician discovers our loose memory chip and clicks it back into position [based on recorded boot and shut down times]. The machine is rebooted and the problem solved.

Yet he then begins browsing through our hard drive. A folder marked ‘Private’ is opened and he flicks through our researcher’s holiday photographs.

He then picks up the phone and calls our researcher. He tells her our motherboard is faulty and will need to be replaced. Usually it costs £130 but he’ll do it for £100. We tell him we’ll think about it and call him tomorrow.

After more snooping, he logs off. But a few hours later, another technician boots our machine. He also begins searching our hard drive until he finds log-in details for our Facebook and Hotmail accounts. With a cackle he removes a memory stick from around his neck, plugs it in and then copies them across.

Most worryingly, when he discovers log-in details for our online bank account, he logs onto the bank’s website and attempts to break into the account. He only fails because the details we created were false.

There were also difficulties with PC World in Brentford. The technician triumphantly diagnosed a faulty motherboard and insisted we needed a new one. We were told unless we paid £230 in advance, we couldn’t have it repaired. We agreed. But when we collected the laptop and got it home, we discovered only a memory chip had been replaced and not the motherboard.

Prepare for repairs

So a word of warning. Always back up sensitive data and remove it from your laptop before taking it to be repaired (if you can). Clear the cache of log-in details and passwords and always get more than one quote.

And bear in mind technicians often place all objects in the world into one of two categories: things that need to be fixed and things that will need to be fixed after they’ve had a few minutes to play with them.

Yahoo Gives In to Microsoft, Gives Up on Search – BusinessWeek

Yahoo Gives In to Microsoft, Gives Up on Search

In a long-awaited pairing aimed at taking on Google, Yahoo will handle ad sales while Microsoft gets the real prize: data on who’s doing what online

By Peter Burrows and Robert D. Hof

Ever since Microsoft (MSFT) made its $45 billion bid for Yahoo (YHOO) in early 2008, it was clear the software giant was serious about taking on arch-rival Google (GOOG) in the lucrative Internet search business. And now, after years of talks with Yahoo, it seems Microsoft has achieved its goal. In a 10-year deal announced in the early hours of July 29, Microsoft became the clear No. 2 in a market long dominated by arch-rival Google.

In a deal that presages its departure from a market it helped pioneer, Yahoo will scrap its own efforts to best Google in search and instead rely on Microsoft’s recently debuted Bing search engine…

Insurance for Microsoft and Bing

Microsoft wins in other ways. The deal gives a big boost to Bing. The combined search market share of Yahoo and Microsoft would approach 30%. That’s still far below Google’s 65%, but analysts say it may provide enough of a critical mass at least to stave off further Google advances and help the enlarged search engine gain some ground. At a minimum, the deal doubles as a kind of insurance policy for Microsoft, in case all of the positive buzz about the Bing search engine doesn’t translate into actual market share. By adding Yahoo’s 20% market share, Bing assures its place as the only search engine provider other than Google with size that really matters.

via Yahoo Gives In to Microsoft, Gives Up on Search – BusinessWeek.