n01getsout's blog

Update Your Web Browser Plugins

Most likely, your web browser is up to date. Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome use their own automatic updates, Internet Explorer updates are handled through Microsoft Update, and Linux systems typically use a package manager to keep everything updated. While this is good and will help keep you more secure, more and more exploits seem to target browser plugins - small helper programs that can play movies, music, games, and more right in your browser. This is probably due to the fact that some estimates show 80% of all browsers have some outdated, vulnerable plugins. Adobe's Flash has been in the news a lot recently because Apple refuses to release it on the iPhone or iPad, supposedly due (in part) to security concerns. Adobe routinely patches known bugs and vulnerabilities in Flash, but many times those updates are not installed by users. Google recently started bundling Flash together with Chrome and new updates will be installed silently - the same way Chrome updates itself.

Rooting My HTC G1

Why root?


I recently decided that I would "root" my T-Mobile G1 phone, thereby bypassing the normal security restrictions that keep me from accessing the Linux core of the Android operation system. For me, the main reason I decided to root was the limited amount of space to install applications on the G1. I had already begun uninstalling apps to make room for more and I believe the limited amount of free space caused the Android operating system to obsessively clear the cache.

Microsoft Is Screwing With My Firefox

I like to keep my installation of Firefox free from Microsoft products, but it seems that Microsoft doesn't like that. Today I had Microsoft Update pop up and say I needed to install the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 and .NET Framework 3.5 Family Update. It had the update listed as important so I went ahead and installed it. Unfortunately, it changed my user agent, installed an extension and a plugin in Firefox without asking or telling me. Apparently these additions are yet another proprietary Microsoft technology, this time to allow web browsers to run .NET programs as if they were installed locally on the computer. I haven't looked into it much, but that seems like a big security risk to me and if I absolutely need to use it (which I doubt), I can always run Internet Explorer.

 

A Tiny Google In My Pocket

There is a possibility that it is snowing in Hell right now - all because I got a new phone. Yes, you heard me correctly. For those of you who don't know me, I had a Sanyo SCP-4700 from Sprint, which if I remember correctly came out in late 2000 or early 2001. It had a green monochrome screen, speakerphone, and a calculator that wasn't very user friendly. My friends and family have been telling me to upgrade for quite a while now and it is getting to the point that strangers on the street would look at my old phone with curiosity and nostalgia.

Website Upgraded to Drupal

Recently I decided to switch my website to Drupal. Drupal is an advanced CMS that includes functionality such as blogs, wikis, forums, user management, and more. It's functionality can be extended through a wide variety of modules that can add almost anything. It can be themed to look like almost any way you can think of. If you want to get an idea of what can be done with Drupal, just check out some of the sites using it.

Customizing Firefox

Extensions

Extensions are plug-ins that add new functionality to Firefox. I recommend the following extensions:

  • Google Toolbar - Google's official toolbar that can translate web pages, highlight search terms on the page, spell check, and set mailto: links to open in Gmail.
  • Flashblock - Flash ads can sometimes be ugly, distracting, or cover up useful information. Web pages can also have Flash movies that automatically start playing even when you don't want them to. Flashblock stops Flash files from loading until you click on them.
  • BetterPrivacy - Deletes "super cookies" - Flash cookies that do not normally get deleted. BetterPrivacy helps you maintain your privacy and avoid being tracked on the Internet. It will silently and automatically delete these cookies so you will can just install this addon and forget it.
  • Ghostery - Protects your privacy by preventing "web bugs" from tracking you online. Web bugs are bits of code or objects that function much like cookies, allowing advertisers to track you from one website to the next as you browse the internet.
  • Xmarks Sync - Keeps your bookmarks and passwords synchronized between Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Safari.
  • Redirect Remover - This removes redirects from links. Redirects are links that do not take you directly to the site you want to visit, but instead route you through one or more intermediary sites. This is usually only to keep track of how many people click the link, but can be used for evil like installing spyware or viruses.
  • Web Developer - This handy tool helps you work on your website by doing things like allowing you to edit HTML and CSS on the fly right within Firefox.

Converting a Wiki to Static PHP Pages

I used PhpWiki to create my tutorials in the past, but I decided that it was restricting me from doing certain things and had too much overhead for my simple tutorials. I decided that I would just hard code the tutorials in PHP, but I knew that in doing so, the traffic from my site from search engines would pull up 404 errors. I really didn't want that to happen and I know that some search engines take forever to reindex a site.

Ahkntfs.exe (spyware)

What is Ahkntfs.exe? It is spyware. This is what I know of Ahkntfs.exe so far:


I am running a Windows 2000 machine. I use Mozilla Firefox as my web browser. I am not sure whether it exploited a bug in Firefox or if it got on my system some other way.

On my Win2K machine, the file path is "C:\WINNT\System32\?hkntfs.exe". The command line "C:\WINNT\system32\Ahkntfs.exe".

Free and Legal Music Downloads

Here are some sites to find free and legal music for downloading (in MP3 format unless otherwise specified). It may or may not be legal to burn these off on a CD. Since I am lazy, I will leave it up to you to find out. Downloads that require BitTorrent can use uTorrent for Windows or Azureus for Linux.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation

I just joined the EFF today with a monthly donation. I have been thinking about it for a while now, especially since the EFF was the first one to file a lawsuit against AT&T over the illegal warrantless wiretapping. On July 9th, 2008, Congress passed a law giving retroactive immunity to the telecoms. The EFF is now in court challenging the legislation as unconstitutional.

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