basically tech

13 How To Keep Good Posture When In Front Of A Computer

Monday 30th October, 2006

Some useful tips for those of us who spend much of the day in front of a computer screen.

Regarding point 3 (Minimize Reaching), I personally find keeping my arms extended to be more comfortable, so I have my keyboard and mouse quite far away from me.


12 Ten reasons Linux and BSD are vastly superior to Windows - Part I

Saturday 28th October, 2006

Unfortunately the OpenAddict website seems to have disappeared.
Rob. March 2015.

A great article from Open Addict. This guy tells it like it is! :) This is very much a to-the-point article, there's no beating around the bush. This is first of a two-part article. I'm going to be very interested to see part 2. He is also very willing to defend his article in the comments (something I'm far too lazy to do).


11 Shell stuff: more multiple file renaming goodness

Wednesday 25th October, 2006

I had an e-mail from a guy named Devon telling me yet more ways to rename multiple files. I thought they were pretty good (damn it!) and had to share these new (to me) techniques.

These alternative methods seem to require the use of the Bash shell, so some people may not wish to read any further!

10 Shell stuff: rename multiple files on the command line

Tuesday 24th October, 2006

If you wish to quickly rename multiple files in a directory, a for loop (sometimes combined with other utilities such as sed or tr) is one way to do the job.

The examples in this article include removing spaces from filenames, adding and removing suffixes and prefixes, and changing from uppercase to lowercase.

9 Greedy trojan eliminates rivals from your system

Saturday 21st October, 2006

A malware researcher has discovered a trojan which eliminates potential competitors (for bandwidth) by installing and running a modified anti-virus software package. The rival trojans/viruses are tagged for removal on the next reboot. The anti-virus software has been modified to ignore the trojan which installed it.

The SpamThru trojan is used to send spam about stocks and shares. Personally, I have noticed a large increase in this sort of spam recently.


8 Who's in charge of your PC?

Thursday 19th October, 2006

Thanks to Edward Snowden, it is starting to become apparent that almost all governments have a blatant disregard for their citizens' privacy.
Rob. March 2015.

Do you know what's running on your system? The Swiss government are mulling over plans to surreptitiously install trojans onto people's PCs so that they can monitor VOIP transmissions. A trojan is a hidden program running on your computer without your knowledge.

The application, essentially a piece of Trojan code, is also able to turn on the microphone on the target PC and monitor not just VoIP conversations, but also any other ambient audio.
The company claims that the software is able to skirt round any firewalls and evade detection by any antivirus applications already installed on the target machine.

Those claims in the second quote are a bit broad, and certainly not sustainable for the future. The worrying thing is, if the Swiss government is proposing it, what other governments are thinking about it?

The thing about proprietary software is that if a government decides it wants a way in, it's hard for a company, even one like Microsoft, to refuse. Think of the benefits they could gain if a government, wishing to monitor its citizens, decided to actively promote (or decree) the use of software from a single, controllable entity.

With Open Source software, all those little backdoors become visible. Even if you're not a programmer, they become visible to thousands of others who are, and who are conscientious, and who will talk. You still have a choice, for now.


7 NVidia Linux root exploit?

Wednesday 18th October, 2006

There have been many reports of this exploit. Rapid 7 seems to have announced this first on Monday 16th October, and story was rapidly taken up by Slashdot and Kerneltrap. The Rapid7 report goes on to state:

This bug can be exploited both locally or remotely (via a remote X client or an X client which visits a malicious web page).

The worry concerning this particular exploit seems to have been exacerbated by several factors:

6 Ageia -- too little, too late?

Monday 16th October, 2006

Ageia, the "game physics on a card" people, have released a new driver which prepares the way for the future use of multiple Agiea cards to boost in-game physics for selected games.

After seeing an impressive demonstration of in-game physical effects enabled by the newest (as yet unavailable) Intel Core2 Quad CPU, I can't help thinking that Ageia were just too late with their product. Add to that the need for extra programming to enable these effects, which is just hassle for the programmers and hassle for the gamers.

unsurprisingly, AMD are also rushing to release their own quad core CPUs.


5 BBC - Cracking high-tech crime

Friday 13th October, 2006

The BBC provides a summary of their Cracking hi-tech crime series of articles.

The series finishes with several articles, including Spinning a web to catch a hacker, a introduction to Lance Spitzner and his Honeynet Project. What never ceases to amaze me is the corporate attitude that their image is more important than their data, or their customer's data:

"In some cases when we told them they had been compromised and needed to clean up their systems they just turned around and sent their lawyers after us."

There is a short glossary of tech jargon related to hi-tech crime.

There are also links to a couple of older articles, Tackling the botnets at source and Caught in the net.


4 How to spot a phishing scam

Thursday 12th October, 2006

The BBC's series on Internet crime continues with How to spot a phishing scam. Phishing is a technique to try to get you to hand over confidential information (such as bank website login details). Those of you unfamiliar with phishing may find the hints on detecting a phish useful.