Posts Tagged ‘application’

Checking the sites your computer is connecting to in Windows

Have you noticed a sudden drop of your Internet speed? A possible explaination is that some nasty program is doing things behind your back. Whether it is spyware, malware or adware you might have a serious case of unauthorized traffic on your hands.

But don’t worry, it’s quite easy to get a list of your connections in Windows. Such a list may turn quite helpful and may help you find some unknown applications are using your bandwidth for their dirty bidding.

Naturally this list will be generated through the Command Prompt. First, open the Command Prompt under Administrator Mode. To do that, open the Start menu, type cmd in the search box:

Right-click on cmd.exe and select Run as administrator:

The command prompt will open:

Enter the following command:

netstat -fab 5 > connections.txt

Now, before we press Enter, let’s take a moment to look what exactly are we doing here. First of all netstat is a command that generates a lot of useful information about your network status. Additionally there are several options we can add to our netstat command, some of which are:

 -f – for displaying the full DNS name for hosts on the other side of each connection. This makes the generated data a lot easier to comprehend.

-a – to put it simply this stands for “all”. As in “all connections and listening ports”.

 -b – to output the name of the application making the connection.

Alternatively to -f you can use -n to display only IP addresses.

Naturally, “5” stands for how often do we want this information to be gathered. Finally, “> connections.txt” means that we want to output this information to connections.txt (so called piping).

So now that we now what we are doing, we can freely hit Enter.

Wait for a couple of minutes and press Ctrl + C to stop netstat. Now you can open connections.txt (which in our case is located in C:\Windows\System32  because we ran netstat from there) and see the activity of every application for the moment you started netstat, until you turned it off.

Note: This information may not be complete as we set netstat to update once in five seconds.

Note: This trick works on Windows 7 and Windows Vista. If you are still using Windows XP you need at least SP2.

 

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Run cron jobs within Django using django-cron

Quite often web applications require cron-like behavior which more or less contradicts with the request-response model.

Not many host providers allow users to create a cron jobs, and even if it is possible, if your site relies on an external script it loses its integrity. It no longer is a website, it is a website relying on cron jobs.

Now at first glance, there is not much difference, but such things make migrating harder and/or may cause a lot of problems in the long run.

As we all know Django is an open source web application framework, designed for rapid development. It follows the so called DRY principle and therefore greatly emphasizes on “pluggability”. In this short tutorial we will show you how to “plug-in” a little but very useful Django application called django-cron, which allows you to easily get cron line behavior.

You can visit the project’s site in at http://code.google.com/p/django-cron

Installation is fairly easy:

  • Download the source
  • Place django_cron on your python path
  • Add “django_cron” in the list of installed apps in your settings.py:
INSTALLED_APPS = (
    'django.contrib.auth',
    'django.contrib.contenttypes',
    'django.contrib.sessions',
    'django.contrib.sites',
    'django.contrib.messages',
    'django.contrib.admin',
    'django_cron',
)
  • In the beginning of your global urls.py file add:
import django_cron
django_cron.autodiscover()
  • Write your crons in a file named cron.py inside the application you want write crons to. Note: The application must be installed in your settings.py

A cron job is fairly easy to write.

Here is an example cron.py file which deletes old files from a fixed directory:

import os
import time
from django_cron import cronScheduler, Job

class DeleteOldFilesCron(Job):
“””A cron which deletes files older than a minute from a fixed directory”””

    run_every = 60*60*24 # run every day

    def job(self):
        path = ‘/var/www/html/media/tmp/’
        files = os.listdir(path)
        for file in files:
            if(time.time() – os.path.getmtime(path + file) > 60):
                os.remove(path + file)

cronScheduler.register(DeleteOldFilesCron)

Naturally you can have several crons in your cron.py

Note: There are some Apache specific configurations which must be taken into account. For more information visit http://code.google.com/p/django-cron/wiki/Install

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Fake Netflix application steals Android users’ data

A new Android app looks nearly identical to the original Netflix app and steals account information.

The applications was discvered to be a Trojan, not long ago by Symantec. According to their blogpost the application originated from an online forum. What the application basically does is it sends user’s login information to a remote server, displaying a message that states that there are compatibility issues with the user’s hardware and then uninstalls itself.

According to Symantec the server, which was used for receiving the stolen logins is now offline.

The perpetrators could easily steal users accounts with the login information and perhaps even gain access to some private information. However, users don’t need to worry about their banking accounts, since the Netflix site displays only the last four digits of their credit/debit card number.

This basically means that no one actually knows what was the point of this fake app. Some speculate that this may be just a test and that we may see new fake apps, which could in their turn get their hands on a lot more sensitive information.

On the other side, some believe that the app was nothing, but a prank or a home project for some bored programmer.

What’s interesting about this app is that is not a modified and repackaged version of a normal app, but a completely new and independent app.

It is interesting to note that the success of the fake app is largely due to the so called “gap in availability” that Netflix inflicted on their users – their app was first released to a rather limited number of devices and recently republished in the Android Market.

What is even more interesting to note is that someone downloaded this app from a forum!

Last, but not least, take a look at the original and fake app (picture courtesy of Symantec):

The real and Fake netflix app

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Skype vulnerability revealed

A few days back, a security issue in the popular VoIP application Skype was revealed. Apparently the vulnerability allows the attacker to access the accounts of his contacts and in some rather rare situations it may even be used to gain access to the contact’s system.

 

The issue is caused by a cross-site scripting vulnerability. Basically the attacker embeds JavaScript in the phone field of his profile information. As Skype fails to clear or filter the phone field, when one of the attacker’s contacts logs into Skype, the JavaScript is immediately executed. As an example, an attacker may use this vulnerability to “steal” his contact’s session (by stealing his session cookie).

On the plus side, apparently this vulnerability doesn’t always manifest itself. According to Skype, which not only confirmed, but fixed the issue as well, the attacker must appear in his contact’s “Frequent Contacts” list in order to acquire the desired effect.

According to the person who discovered the issue – Levent Kayan, the issue is present in Skype 5.3.0.120 and in previous versions of Skype (for Windows and Mac). The Linux version of Skype is not affected in any way.

It should be noted that Kayan informed Skype of this issue immediately after his discovery – many thanks for that.

As previously stated, Skype have confirmed the existence of the issue and have already developed a patch to fix it (which at the time of writing should be just around the corner if not already released).

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Google’s ocean cooled data center

Google’s ocean cooled data center

More than four years ago – in 2007, Google Inc. filed a very interesting patent application. Nearly two years later the patent got published and since then it roams the Internet for a couple of weeks and then goes back to where it came from. What are we talking about?

Imagine this: a fleet of enormous high-tech ships, each of them harvesting the energy of the ocean itself (the energy of the waves). And each one of those ships houses a datacenter with enormous capabilities cooled by the seawater. And let’s not forget the economic aspect of placing the ships outside of national jurisdiction.

Well, maybe we over exaggerated a bit here. And to be honest, this whole thing, as cool as it may sound – won’t happen.

First reason – the economic aspect. The territorial waters are about 14 miles from the shore. The “exclusive economic zones” are about 230 miles. This means that the data centers will most probably reside in the jurisdiction of some country or they will be 230 miles away from any country. No property taxes? What about marine fees? And another thing, I highly doubt Google cares a lot about property taxes.

Second reason – the “cable” aspect. It is highly doubtful that wave energy will be enough to power such a facility at all time. And even if it is, the data center will need data cables to communicate with the land, won’t it? Undersea cables cost around 75 000$ per mile.

Third reason – it’s in the middle of the ocean. This means no law enforcement, the need to house personnel working on shifts. Not to mention the corrosion. In the middle of the sea even the air is corrosive.

In closing, although it sounds absolutely amazing, it is highly doubtful that anyone will have ocean-powered floating datacenters anytime soon.
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How to manage the Open with menu in Windows

How often have you opened a file using the Open with menu or the Open menu in Windows Explorer.? Read the rest of this entry »

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Run applications in Administrator mode from the Start menu recent items and Start menu search box in Windows 7

By default, if you run an application in Windows 7 it will not run in Administrator mode (will not have Administrator rights). To run an application as an Administrator you need to right-click on it and select Run as administrator: Read the rest of this entry »

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How to give more resources to specific applications in Windows 7

Most of the times when I work on my PC I find myself in the following situation. I have several applications running and the one I need the most is working extremely slow and is frustratingly irresponsive. How often has this happened to you? Well, no more. With just a few simple clicks you can modify the priority of a given application resulting in an increase (or a decrease) of the resources given to it by Windows.

First open the Task Manager. You can use the good old Ctrl + Alt + Del combination and select Start Task Manager from the menu or the new hotkey combination Ctrl + Shift + Esc which will instantly open the Task Manager:
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How to change the source viewer in Opera

I’m a great fan of Opera (the browser), but if there is one thing that has always bothered me it’s that its source viewer sucks. Sure it uses different colors for JavaScript and stuff like that, but have you ever tried searching for text using it? It barely highlights the text that matches. Not to mention luxuries like highlighting the corresponding tag to the one you have selected, regular expressions, etc. But, what Opera’s source viewer lacks in functionality, Opera makes up with the ability to use an external program for viewing source code. In this tutorial we will show you how to make Opera use Notepad++ as its source viewer. Read the rest of this entry »

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How to set a program to run in Administrator Mode automatically in Windows 7

Normally when you run an application in Windows 7, you run it without administrator privileges. But, there are programs that need to be run in Administrator Mode to function properly. With this short tutorial we will show you how to set a program to always run in Administrator Mode.

Right-click on the program or a shortcut to the program and select properties:
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