[How To] Know if your Router is getting old?

Are you also one of those who feel that their router is getting old and needs to be replaced, just because their are more fancier routers available.

Check your routers capabilities using Internet Connectivity Evaluation Tool

Check your routers capabilities using Internet Connectivity Evaluation Tool

Internet Connectivity Evaluation Tool is a freebie which lets you run specific tests against your router and figure out what all the router supports. Apart from other tests, Internet Connectivity Evaluation Tool runs Basic Internet Connectivity Test, NAT Test, TCP optimizations test, Traffic congestions test.

Though these tests give you a fair idea about the capabilities of your router, its always good to have a few things at the back of your head before you actually start blaming your router

1.) How good is your Internet Broadband speed? If the internet broadband speed itself is slow, the router cannot do much.

2.) Is your router’s firmware up-to-date? If not, visit your router manufacturers website and look for a firmware upgrade. You can also try Tomato.

3.) Is your laptop or desktop safe from virus and spy-wares. Spy-wares can clog your bandwidth if they are good enough to send data back to the origin. Learn more about top 3 free antivirus and anti spyware software.

4.) Check out the default password list for various routers. This can come handy in situations where you are locked out and the only thing you can bet on is Default Password.

5.) Keep your Router’s security upbeat. As WPA also has been compromised, learn how to stay safe from the WPA Encryption crack.

With the above points and the tests results in front of you, you can certainly be sure if you need a new router or not. Also, in case if you have forgotten the key of your router, WirelessKeyView from Nirsoft can help you get access to your old keys.

Also read: Default Password List for various Routers

Understanding TCP Connection Basics.

Understanding NULL Session Attacks

Some notes on Ethical Hacking

Hacking Ruby on Rails.

You can also follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/vaibhav1981

Do stay tuned to Technofriends for more, one of the best ways of doing so is by subscribing to our feeds. You can subscribe to Technofriends feed by clicking here.

Cheers

Vaibhav

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This Valentines day, play safe

Valentines day is here and so is the prospect of PC onslaught by Storm worm trojan. As per the warnings issued by various security agencies , Storm worm trojan is continuing on its holiday-themed onslaught. The trojan was first seen in fake Christmas and New Year’s mail messages – with a huge wave of ” love” notes that seek to deliver a poison kiss to the recipient’s PC in the form of malicious code.

I love you

Network World writes The Storm Worm virus has capitalized on various holidays in the last year by sending millions of e-mails advertising an e-card link within the text of the spam e-mail. Valentine’s Day has been identified as the next target.Such email directs the recipient to click on a link to retrieve the electronic greeting card (e-card). Once the user clicks on the link, malware is downloaded to the Internet connected device and causes it to become infected and part of the Storm Worm botnet. A botnet is a network of compromised machines under the control of a single user.

Trojan messages

TrustedSource has released a new tool called StormTracker, this tool can be found on the website of TrustedSource.org research portal. The tool automatically updates on real time basis the most active web proxy IPs and domains associated with Storm.

All in all, have a great Valentines day but as they say ” play safe ” .

Also read:

SVCHOST.exe and the mystery behind it.

Computer Viruses: How do they work?

How does Email Scanning Work?

Top 3 FREE Antivirus Applications

Anti Spyware Applications: Here goes the ranking. 🙂

Do stay tuned to Technofriends for more, one of the best ways of doing so is by subscribing to our feeds. You can subscribe to Technofriends feed by clicking here.


From the Archives

This post is primarily an attempt to bring out 5 posts from the Archives. The posts listed here have been popular with the readers since the time they got published. Hope you will enjoy reading/ glancing through them again.

From the Archives
  • Microsoft Windows: More fun with the HOSTS file : In this post, i have tried to describe a few more ways of having fun with the Hosts file. The post talks about blocking websites using Hosts file and also about interchanging the websites getting loaded using Hosts file.
  • Microsoft Windows: How to Process Idle Tasks : This post describes a way to process idle tasks in Microsoft Windows. It kills the threads associated with the tasks already closed and therefore gives you a better performing PC.
  • Open DNS: A big DNS Cache : This post talks about OpenDNS which is a free, faster, secure and reliable DNS service. Read this post, to get a faster and safer internet experience.

Do stay tuned to Technofriends for more, one of the best ways of doing so is by subscribing to our feeds. You can subscribe to Technofriends feed by clicking here.

Cheers

Vaibhav

How not to get Phished,Learn from Phil the Fish

Carnegie Mellon University scientists have developed an Online game to teach users about the various issues and dangers that revolve around Phishing.

Phil

In one of my previous post Spoofing Explained : Another attempt to cover Hacking fundas, I tried to explain how Spoofing or Phishing as it is called in general context can be achieved using Simple Tricks. Everytime the idea actually revolves around Education. Being educated about an issue is the best way to stay protected. This post revolves around the game developed by CMU Scientists to help users stay protected from the evil clutches of phishing.

Phish

The game which is called Anti-Phishing Phil features a cartoon fish called Phil. The game definitely helps the players discern fraudulent Web sites than those who simply read tutorials about the threat. Play the game by clicking here

In general these are the basic steps you should be following to stay away from Phishing scams :

  • Always go through the URL of the website. A closer look at the URL can certainly give you clues with regards to the fraudulent websites.
  • Never reply to emails asking for your bank account number, internet user details etc. Remember NO BANK asks you for such information. If they do, change your bank 🙂
  • The old saying “When in doubt, talk”, holds true here as well. If you are in a doubt about the email/website, just take the phone and call up the call center of the service to get an explanation on your doubt.
  • Forward spam that is phishing for information to spam@uce.gov and to the company, bank, or organization impersonated in the phishing email. Most organizations have information on their websites about where to report problems.
  • Don’t open email attachments sent to you by strangers. Email attachments can have programs which can affect your computers once opened.
  • Always follow steps to a healthy PC. You can read my previous post 4 steps to a Healthy PC to learn more on this.
  • Always keep your Anti Virus Softwares, Spywares and Firewalls updated. You can use Update Checker which happens to be a free service for this. Also read my previous post Use Update Checker to Keep your Softwares UPDATED.

Related Posts:

Spoofing Explained : Another attempt to cover Hacking fundas

Anti Spyware Applications: Here goes the ranking. 🙂

Top 3 FREE Antivirus Applications

Cheers,

Vaibhav

SVCHOST.exe and the mystery behind it.

Often, when i boot my Windows XP-SP2 operating system, the first thing i notice is a huge CPU utilization by a process called as SVCHOST.exe.The process infact almost sucks up my entire CPU percentage.Therefore to gain an insight into what exactly goes on, i thought of dugging up about SVCHOST.exe. This post is all what i have learnt about this process till now.

Svchost

Leo Notenboom says “On Windows XP, 2000, and 2003, SVCHOST is not a virus. On those systems SVCHOST is a required system component. If you happen to successfully delete it, your system will not run. You’ll be much worse off than before.”

Also read:Computer Viruses: How do they work?

The svchost.exe file is located in the folder C:\Windows\System32.

During startup process of Windows, Svchost.exe which is located in the above mentioned folder checks the services portion of the registry in order to construct a list of various services that it needs to load post startup. Its perfectly normal to have multiple instances of Svchost.exe run at the same time. In such a scenario each Svchost.exe session can contain a grouping of services, so that separate services can be run depending on how and where Svchost.exe is started. This allows for better control and debugging.

SVCHOST stands for Service Host. By typing “tasklist /svc” at the command prompt ( type without quotes) you can actually see all the copies of svchost and what services they are running.

The most important things to remember about SVCHOST are that it is not a virus (it is SCVHOST that can be treated as a virus but not SVCHOST) and that this program is important for the stable and secure running of your computer and should not be terminated.

To learn more about SVCHOST, please refer to Microsoft Website

Cheers,

Vaibhav

Computer Viruses: How do they work?

I first heard of this term called Computer Virus when i was 10 years old and that was 15 yrs back. Since then, Computer Viruses have matured both in the way they attack and the coding that goes behind them.

A computer virus is nothing but a small software which piggybacks itself onto some other program. An example to illustrate this definition can be a virus which gets attached to Microsoft Word. Each time Word runs, the virus attached also gets executed.

 Computer Virus

[Image Source: http://blog.fotogenia.info]

The lifecycle of a computer virus goes through these phases:

  1. Coding/Visualizing the virus: In this phase, the developer of the virus, codes and develops the virus by visualizing the intent of the virus.
  2. Releasing the virus: The virus once ready, is released to the outer world.
  3. Spreading the infection: In order for the virus to be able to make an impact, it needs to be spread, this is often done using techniques like autoforwarding a simple email to all the contacts in your address book. ( there are though many other popular techniques)
  4. Quarantining the virus: In this phase, the virus gets Quarantined. The Quaranting process actually takes sometime. This happens only after the antivirus firms validate the signature of the virus and develop an antivirus update. The virus is then Quarantined.

Also read: How does Email Scanning Work?

More to read: Top 3 FREE Antivirus Applications

In order to prevent the spreading of application using the method mentioned above, Microsoft Applications come built in with a technique called Macro Virus Protection. Macro Virus Protection by default is turned ON. With this feature turned ON, the auto-execute feature is disabled. This ensures that when a viral code is trying to execute itself, a  dialog pops up warning the user.

Macro Virus Protection in Microsoft Word 2000, 2002, and 2003

Macro Virus Protection

Macro Virus Protection in Word 2000, 2002 and 2003 can be configured by going through the steps mentioned below

Open Word  from the Tools menu, select Macro and then click on Security

  1. In the resulting window, click on the tab mentioned as Security Level.
  2. You will then have the option to choose one of the security levels.
  3. Select Very High to allow only macros installed in trusted locations to run. Any other macros, signed or unsigned, are disabled. (This setting is available only in Word 2003.)
    Select High to allow only signed macros to run.
    Select Medium to be prompted to run macros.
    Select Low to run all macros.

Now, with the tool activated, if you load a suspect file, Word will warn you that the document contains macros and will ask you what to do about them. You can select Disable Macros to avoid infection from a file containing a macro virus.

Note: If you close the file and reopen it, or if you open an additional file with macros, you will get the same warning, and you must select Disable Macros again.

Tips on Protecting yourself from Computer Viruses:

  • Get a good Antivirus Software.
  • Keep the Antivirus Software updated with latest Virus signatures.
  • Use an Internet Firewall.
  • If you use Microsoft Windows, Visit Microsoft Update and turn on automatic updating.
  • Never open an e-mail attachment from someone you don’t know.
  • Avoid opening an e-mail attachment from someone you know, unless you know exactly what the attachment is. The sender may be unaware that it contains a virus.

Also read: How does Email Scanning Work?

More to read: Top 3 FREE Antivirus Applications

Do comment if you find this useful.

Cheers,
Vaibhav

How-To: Get default Registry values

Playing with the Windows Registry is always a risk prone job. Often, the advisory from many professionals is to take a backup of your registry before changing the values. In this How-To guide, i will try to explain the process of getting the default values from Registry.

This tutorial will be a good tool for those who often change the HKEY_CURRENT_USER branch of the registry. Sometimes, what happens is, that the user tends to forget the default value of the node while editing the registry. In such cases, it becomes tough to revert to the previous value. However, this trick comes handy.Registry

You can easily find the default registry values for most of the settings in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER branching of the registry tree in the HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT node of the registry. This is the part of the registry which Windows XP edition uses while creating new user accounts.

Lets take up an example, Lets suppose you intend to customize Windows Explorer’s Menu color setting by altering the RGB value stored in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Colors\Menu. To do this, you edit the value, but something prompts you to restore the value back to the default. However, to your horror, you had not noted the value at a safe place and now it seems to have gone.

But the good news is that you can still track down the RGB values for the default color by navigating to the HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Colors\Menu. You can then copy the default value from this subkey and paste it into the key that you’ve altered.
Following this trick will return you back your default value for the intended key. 🙂

Also Read:Why does Windows have a registry?

Cheers,

Vaibhav