Posts Tagged ‘google’

What is “phishing”?

One of the cybercriminals’ most favorite weapons is “phishing”. But what exactly is it? Well, phishing actually falls in the classification “social engineering”, that is to say it’s more of a con, than it’s something technical – it has more to do with fraud, than with hacking. The greater part of these frauds is actually done with something so simple and easily available on the internet – e-mail.

For a few bucks one can easily get a thousand e-mails and all it is left is trick people into giving away personal information or money.

Most of the times phishers take on a false identity, pretending they are a friend of yours, a bank or a site that you may use (PayPal, gmail, etc.). They often ask users to send them their passwords – for example the phisher may present himself/herself to be an employee of a site and ask you to send him/her your account name or password.

In a different scenario the victim receives an email with a link. The e-mail usually seems like an e-mail from a website (for example, let’s say PayPal). The link however leads to a forged page which is absolutely identical to the PayPal login page. The victim need only enter his/her username and password and they are automatically sent to the phisher.

Many times phishers present themselves to be someone you know either by having hacked their e-mail or their account on a social network or by using your publicly viewable information on different social networks (Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.).

You may think that these mechanisms are quite simple and that’s why many times phishers target older people.

There is nothing you (or anyone) can do to stop phishers, but there are a few rules that if you follow you should be safe:

  • When you somehow get redirected to a site, always check its domain or certificate. US government sites rarely have a certificate but they use the .gov TLD, phishers can’t get their hands on a .gov.
  • Restrain yourself from clicking links in suspicions e-mails. Actually restrain yourself from opening suspicious e-mails.
  • Watch out for weird e-mails from your friends – it is always possible that their e-mail is compromised – ask them in person to be sure.
  • Don’t visit secure services by clicking links in your e-mail. Always enter the URL of the site in your browser.
  • And finally… never ever share your private information – names, credit/debit card number, e-mail, phone number, address, social security number (or equivalent in your country), unless you are absolutely positive that you trust the person enough to share that information with him/her.
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The clash of the browsers

There is a rule in software – the more choices the customer has the larger the chance to choose the worst option. Nowadays there is a large variety of anything, including browsers. Add the ease of access to the internet and as a result we get the Browser Wars II.

Today the most used browsers are Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera and Apple’s Safari. Basically, the only thing either of these browsers could do is to out-innovate each other.

At first IE held the dominant place, but its share has been shrinking thanks to the strong competition from Firefox and Chrome. However with the last release of IE – Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft got back in the game, by doing what won them the first Browser Wars – innovation and embracing (and implementing) new standards(in this case HTML 5 and CSS3).

In a recent benchmark related to HTML5, Firefox 3.7 and Opera are just a little faster than IE9 and extremely faster than Chrome. In terms of CPU, Firefox 3.7, Opera, IE and Chrome came with pretty much the same results. However, when it comes to JavaScript, Chrome and Opera are on the top.

In terms of HTML5 and CSS3, Opera and IE9 support a larger part of the standard compared to their competitors, however they don’t support WebGL like Firefox and Chrome.

To talk about a perfect browser is naïve and ridiculous. Each browser has its flaws and depending on the users’ needs each browser can be “the perfect choice”. It is up to us, the users, to choose the browser that fits our needs.

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The future of Skype

The future of Skype

Unless you have been living in a cave for the last few days, you have probably heard this news: Microsoft will buy Skype for $8.5 billion. It should be noted that this is will be Microsoft’s most expensive acquisition.

Many analysts say that this is a great deal for Microsoft, because it will allow Microsoft to use Skype’s voice and video technology and integrate it in Kinect and Windows. This however is rather questionable as both Windows and Kinect have built in voice and video (NetMeeting, Windows Live Messenger).

The main purpose of the purchase is of course the 170 million users of Skype. A small part of which, actually pay for some of Skype’s services (e.g. calls to telephone numbers). And when I say “small” I do mean 9 million people.

In an interview for Times, Ballmer commented “Skype is a verb, as they say”. On the topic of things that have recently became verbs – “google” is a brand new verb as well. Somehow this whole “buying Skype” business sounds a lot like “look at my brand new toy, Google”.

But on a more serious note, whenever some corporate giant buys a product I like and use, I start twitching. It always fails. A lot of money flows around, independency is promised and in a few months (best case – a few years) the product is simply destroyed. A shame.

For example: Cisco bought and killed Flip, Yahoo bought and killed Upcoming, MusicMatch, HotJobs.com, Broadcast.com, GeoCities and Konfabulator. AOL bought and killed Netscape, CompuServe, Xdrive.

“Well that’s them, we are talking about Microsoft!”, some of you may say. WebTV, Groove, Placeware, Massive, LinkExchange. Ring any bells?

I’m not trying to say that Microsoft will kill Skype. It’s just that the odds are not in Skype’s favor.
It is still quite possible that this will be for the better of humanity. Look at Visio, HotMail and TellMe. Yes, neither has truly evolved after being acquired by Microsoft, but they still live. Let’s not forget NetMeeting, it cost Microsoft about $200 million to buy PlaceWare, but the result is… not so bad.

This however brings up the following question. If Microsoft already has a voice and video chat application (the aforementioned NetMeeting), why are they buying their main competitor?

The future of Skype is quite clouded, however all that us users can do is keep our fingers crossed and be on the lookout for a Skype alternative, just in case. Read the rest of this entry »

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How to set the download location in Google Chrome

All files downloaded through Google Chrome are placed in a default folder on your PC. However you can modify this so that the files you download are stored in a different location. We will show you how to do just that in a few simple steps. Read the rest of this entry »

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How to import data from Internet Explorer to Google Chrome

There is one downside to picking a browser – you have to pick it very, very carefully. Cause most of the times when you decide “This browser sucks! I’m changing it!” you come to the realization that you will lose all your bookmarks, stored passwords, browsing history, etc. Well actually it depends. There are many tricks to export your personal data from one browser to another. In this short tutorial we will show you a quick and easy way to import all your personal data from Internet Explorer to Google Chrome. Read the rest of this entry »

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How to import data from Firefox to Google Chrome

If you have ever switched browsers before you probably know that it is tedious for two reasons. First, the navigation, shortcut keys, behavior, etc. is different. And second, your history, bookmarks, saved passwords are pretty much lost. Well… not exactly. If you are switching from Firefox to Google Chrome you are in luck because exporting data between Firefox and Chrome is a matter of a few clicks. Read the rest of this entry »

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How to clear your browsing data in Google Chrome

If someone else shares your PC or your account to your PC with you, you probably don’t want him/her to be able to see what sites you have visited, not to mention being able to log anywhere using your passwords. If you have accidentally saved one of your passwords or you simply want to delete your browsing history, Chrome provides this functionality. Read the rest of this entry »

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How to hide which sites you have visited in Windows

Most of the browsers support a Private Browsing mode which allows users to surf anonymously without storing any history of the session. Although this does help you remove some of your Internet tracks it still leaves some information that can be retrieved by someone who knows a thing or two about computers. The thing is that this Private Browsing mode doesn’t delete the DNS cache. This means that, if someone types ipconfig /displaydns in the Command Prompt, he can easily find out the websites you have visited. To take care of that, we will show you how to clear you DNS cache.

First we need to run the Command Prompt in Administrator mode. To do that, open the Start menu, type cmd in the search box:
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Use Google Chrome as the default PDF viewer

Most of the people use some kind of PDF viewing program to open their PDFs. But if you use Google Chrome as your browser you don’t need any additional software to view PDF files. Chrome has a built-in PDF viewer which is as light as a PDF viewer can get. Using it you can forget about choosing from the many PDF viewers out there. Read the rest of this entry »

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Deactivate the Firefox 3.5 Geolocation feature

Many people worry about their privacy because of the new Firefox 3.5 feature called Geolocation. Well turning it off is really easy using a little about:config trick.

How it works: The Geolocation feature determines your location using the Google Locations Services. It uses your IP, information about nearby wireless access points and a client identifier which is assigned by google every two weeks.

First open Firefox. In the address bar enter about:config:
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