Oct 10, 2012

Sep - 26 2012 | By

Scamming banner ads and bogus PC tools and antivirus: BUSTED


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<Remember there are 2 more shows this month : on the 24th & 31st>

 

Paul spent some time covering topics he didn't get to on the previous show.

He reminded listeners of the program to test flash drives called H2testw.

He noted flash drives keep getting cheaper — 32gigs for under $12 — making them a good option for backing up most of the stuff you have on your hard drive.

With Vista or Windows 7, if you want to know what it would take to replicate your machine such that it could be restored elsewhere, go to the C: drive and find the folder called 'Users'. Right-click on it and left-click on Properties. "If your data under the folder Users on Windows 7 or Windows Vista says it's less than about 30gig, one of these $10 or $12 flash drives will, essentially, back that up". Backing up the Users folder "will allow you to recreate, on a different machine, everything that makes your machine what it is".

If you use XP, the folder you want to look at is "Documents and Settings". If you back that up, you'll back up more than you need. On his XP computer, Paul uses the software Cobian Backup. It will back up that folder for you, and it can be set to skip some of the unnecessary stuff.

These tips don't apply to the application programs, only the data. The programs themselves will have to be installed from scratch, on the new machine. If you have a program with a license for use on only one machine, you may have to check with the vendor — it may have to be decommissioned on one machine and recommissioned on the new one.

Paul said you can get a "hard drive equivalent flash drive", like a SATA drive. They allow for faster booting but are less reliable than the traditional hard drive (with the spinning platters). They have a limit on the number of times you can write to them, and when they fail, they fail catastrophically — making data recovery impossible.

He said Windows 7 requires only about 15gig, so you can use a 32gig flash drive to install Win7. However, the "flash drive it has to be arranged mechanically in such a way that it looks like a hard drive". "If you try booting from a flash drive in a USB socket, strange things happen". <He gave no further details>

Glenn went on the net and found an OCZ Agility 4 512gig SATA flash drive for $280 at buy.com.

Another topic left out of the last show was a long range, inexpensive wireless link. You need 2 at about $90 each. The one Mikail found is the Pico Station 2 by Streakwave. It transmits at 1 watt of power — a normal in-home wireless transmits at about 20 miliwatts, which is good for about 100 feet. The 1 watt of power is good for about 1000 feet, and that's without a directional antenna.

The last item in the previous show is Whats App for Android, iPhone & Blackberry. It's like an instant messenger that lets you send audio files, pictures, text and your location. It also has guarantied delivery — it lets you know when the item you're sending has reached the recipient. It requires a wi-fi connection, but then of course, you won't be charged on your data plan.

Marsdon <maybe Marston> called. He has an Apple computer and wanted to know how to find and delete the cookies on his machine. He use both the Safari & Firefox browsers.
– In Safari go to preferences -> privacy -> details. There you can remove cookies, cache and other things. Paul didn't think you can select the individual sites whose cookies to delete, which Marsdon seemed to want to do. Glenn said you can do that with Firefox. And, in Firefox, you can select the sites from which to accept cookies — turn on the "ask me about cookies" option.
– Cookies facilitate a website in remembering some of your preferences so when you revisit it, you don't have to reselect various options. When you delete cookies, a website will send you new ones the next time you go there.

Marsdon was concerned about Google knowing what he's searched for and feeding him related ads. Paul thought there's more involved than just cookies. If a site uses Google Adsense, Google can tell you've been there, even if you don't have a Google account.
<An article about Google's tracking is here.>

Marsdon said he's been using DuckDuckGo to do his searching, in order to avoid Google's tracking. <It was mentioned on the last show>

Some of the current browsers have a 'do not track' option, but it's a voluntary protocol. You can request that websites don't track you but they aren't required to comply. Paul said he's tried it and it didn't seem to make any difference. To enable it in Firefox go to tools -> options -> privacy.

Anonymizing services do provide a degree of anonymity but your provider (AT&T, Verizon, etc.) still knows who you are, because your connection is routed through their servers. And, because the traffic is encrypted, you draw some attention to yourself. There's something to be said for behaving like everyone else on the net, you blend into the background when you're not doing anything unusual.
<Examples of anonymizers are Anonymizer.com and GhostSurf (google GhostSurf for even more links). Disclaimer: I'm not recommending either of these.>
<Tips on becoming anonymous here.>

Paul mentioned there about 5 popular browsers:
– Internet Explorer, which he's not fond of.
Firefox, which he likes because it's familiar to him.
– Safari, which is included in the iTunes download.
Opera, which Glenn uses along with Chrome & Firefox.
<I think he was going to include Chrome in the list, too>

Paul said each browser keeps it's own set of cookies. If, for instance, you have 2 Gmail accounts, you can have both opened in separate browsers — something difficult to do using only one browser.

Paul went on to say that Yahoo (followed by Hotmail) email accounts have been broken into at an alarming rate. He suspects the service itself has been compromised rather than each account being cracked. He knows people with very strong passwords, and their accounts have been hijacked. He suspects it's an 'inside' job, i.e. disgruntled employees.

The disclaimer:
The views and opinions that are expressed here on this show, and others probably, are those of these speakers only and don't necessarily represent those of the station itself, its board, management, staff or people who contribute.

Ellen called. She's a member of Catalog Choice, which lets you automatically opt out of receiving printed catalogs after you buy something online. She uses the Firefox browser and Catalog Choice installed a button, which only works when she goes to her brokerage site <apparently not when it's actually supposed to>.
– In Firefox, go to tools -> addons -> extensions & uninstall it from there.
– Glenn suggested going to the government website that lets you opt out of mail advertising, He couldn't remember the web address.
– There is also a government site to opt out of telemarketing calls. If you opt out and the calls keep coming, you can sue for a monetary penalty.
– There is a scam-baiting site called 419eater.com.
<The government Do Not Call Registry is here.>
<A do-not-mail registry here And its FAQ is here.>

Ralph called. He recently installed a plugin in Firefox that gives him a 'do not track' option and he likes it. It tells him who's tracking him at each website.
– Paul said Firefox also has a private browsing option. It lets you use a private browsing session where no cookies are accepted or sent back. It leaves no history, puts nothing in the cache and doesn't administer cookies. To initiate it, go to tools -> start private browsing.

Ralph also asked about getting Youtube videos to preload before being viewed, because his internet connection is a bit too slow to view them in real-time. The tool he was using before no longer works.
– Youtube videos are supposed to preload anyway. If you start the video and hit pause it should continue loading in the background.
– You can use Download Helper, an addon for Firefox. It will allow you to download the video. Then use Videolan (vlc) to play the .flv flash video file you just downloaded. Videolan plays many other video and audio formats.
– Download Helper and Videolan are available for the Mac, too.
<DownloadHelper is mentioned and a link provided in the 7/25/12 shownotes.>

Scott called. He wondered if the guys prefer Firefox over Safari.
– Yes, but not because there's anything wrong with Safari, they're just more familiar with Firefox and it's ubiquitous.
– If you're familiar with Safari continue using it.

Max called. He too recommends Firefox because it customizable.

<At this point the KVMR audio stream stopped and I missed the rest of the show. There were only a couple of minutes left>

Last updated 9:42 PM 10/15/2012
Changes:
added link – article about Google's tracking
added link – Examples of anonymizers
added link – Tips on becoming anonymous
added reference to – DownloadHelper
added link – Do Not Call Registry
added link – do-not-mail registry