Archive for February, 2010

Don’t believe Facebook email asking to update your account!!!

February 17, 2010 Leave a comment

There is yet another hoax targeted directly at Facebook users. All Facebook has a good article on this latest email attack on Facebook users. I will let their article go into the details, they do a good job. I will just take this moment to remind people of some basic (yet IMPORTANT) email best practices:

  • Never click on an email attachment you are unsure of! NEVER!
  • Companies such as Facebook will NEVER send you an email attachment for updating your account information.
  • Never click a link in an email to update account information. If you get an email saying you need to update the account information log into the site the way your normally do and update then. NEVER click that link!
  • If you receive a ‘weird’ email or an email with an unexpected attachment from someone you trust contact them BEFORE you click on anything in that email. If they are infected it is quite likely you will receive an infected email from them.

With the rise in popularity of social media sites such as Facebook all of the above best practices are also true on ‘walls’. If someone posts something weird or suspicious on your wall then DO NOT CLICK THE LINK!!! Its likely a scam or worse.

Categories: Facebook, Security

With the latest round of Adobe Reader exploits please follow some simple best practices!

February 17, 2010 1 comment

PDF files have allowed computer users to share documents with a wide audience for quite some time now. They are great from an author’s standpoint. Just a few of their benefits include:

  • Documents can be viewed no matter what type of computer the audience has (Microsoft Windows, Mac, LINUX, Smartphone, etc…).
  • The author can control how the document will look when printed by the audience.
  • Documents can be locked to prevent them from being edited.
  • Documents can be digitally signed for security and/or legal reasons.

Those are just a few of the reasons people use PDF files every day. However, there is a downside to any type of document being so popular:  it will become a target of hackers!!!  In particular Adobe Reader has become a favorite target for software exploits.

There are some steps users can take to reduce the risk from these exploits. Here are some best practice items for everyone:

  • Insure you have anti-virus software installed. Also make sure it is set to automatically update its signature at least every day! Having an outdated anti-virus signature is almost as bad as having no anti-virus software at all.
  • Apply the latest security updates for you software. If you are using Microsoft Windows insure your computer is set to automatically update.  Programs like Adobe Reader are a little trickier, because people don’t think about them. But I would recommend going into any software you use often and do a “check for updates” on a regular basis.
  • Use a less popular yet equally functional competitor of the software in question. For PDF files in particular I no longer use Acrobat Reader. Instead I use a product called Foxit Reader. Foxit Reader has fewer known exploits. Notice I said “fewer known exploits”. The key is that Foxit Reader is not as widely distributed as Adobe Reader. Hackers are going to target the top software of a category for maximum impact. Foxit Reader may have as many exploits as Adobe Reader, but they haven’t been discovered because hackers are attacking Adobe.
  • NEVER open documents from a source you do not trust. Abstinence really is the best prevention!
  • Be wary of documents from trusted sources if you were not expecting a document. Just because a document comes from a friend does not mean it is safe. If you weren’t expecting a document from them I would email or call them to ask if they really meant to send it to me.

These steps will help for any software exploits, not just PDF’s.  However since Adobe Reader has become a top target of hackers it is very important that everyone take these few but necessary steps to protect their computer. I also hope the increase of exploits in Adobe Reader will not stop people from using PDF files. They really are great to work with. But just like any other software there are some security best practices which MUST be followed.

Categories: Security

Empty langs.xml in Notepad++

February 15, 2010 1 comment

For the last few weeks I’ve had a problem with Notepad++. Whenever I would open the program I would get an error saying ‘load langs.xml failed’. After clicking OK it open and function fine. My operating system is Windows 7 64bit. The langs.xml file is located in C:\Program Files (x86)\Notepad++.

When I looked at langs.xml it was 0 bytes, there was no information in it. After a Google search I found this site which stated to rebuild the langs.xml with the langs.model.xml file found in the same directory. This fixed the issue. It appears to be an issue affecting 64 bit versions of windows.

As a side note I would recommend all administrators looking at Notepad++. The program is a quite powerful replacement for windows notepad. It is especially helpful for scripting and viewing certain types of logs.

Categories: Microsoft, Tools Tags:

Allow Windows Vista and Windows7 to write to a SAMBA share

February 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Recently I was having a lot of problems getting Samba to work on an AIX6.1 box. I used the install from the AIX Expansion Pack to be sure I was using an IBM approved/tested version. I could see the SMB shares from my windows machine, but I could not write to them. While I was playing around with Samba I discovered the problem was on my workstation O/S, not with Samba. From my Windows7 machine it was not possible to write to the share. From a virtual XP machine I had no problems at all!

After a quick Google Search I found the following article. It has nice screen shots of how to fix this. Below is a summary of the steps if you don’t care about pictures.

  1. Got to Start > Run
    1. Type in secpol.msc
    2. Hit enter
    3. Click on “Local Policies” > “Security Options”
      1. Navigate to “Network Security: LAN Manager authentication level”
      2. Double-click on it.
      3. Change the drop down arrow to “LM and NTLM – use NTLMV2 session securely if negotiated”.
      4. Reboot your machine.

I have used the above procedure successfully on both Windows Vista and Windows7 machines. Supposedly version 3 supports NTLMv2 authentication making this unnecessary. However I was unable to get that working and didn’t have more time to devote to this issue.

Categories: AIX

Insure you are seeing all your Facebook friends posts

February 9, 2010 Leave a comment

For some crazy reason Facebook puts a limit of how many friends’ postings you will see on your News Feed (formerly known as Live Feed). To insure you see all friends postings use the following procedure.

Increase number of friends to show up in News Feed

  • Go to your Facebook News Feed
  • Make sure “Most Recent” is chosen in the upper right hand side.

    Insure "Most Recent" is chosen

    Insure "Most Recent" is chosen

  • In the lower right hand side of this page click on “Edit Options”.

    Click on Edit Options

    Click on Edit Options

  • In this screen it will show how many friends will show up on your News Feed.  By default I’ve heard people have only 250 here.  As you can see I have changed mine to 5000 (the maximum amount of friends allowed by Facebook).

    Insure this number is sufficient

    Insure this number is sufficient

  • When you are done click Save.
Categories: Facebook

Unblock an application from Facebook’s News Feed

February 9, 2010 Leave a comment

Blocking an application can be a great way to reduce clutter on the Facebook newsfeed. It prevents you from seeing constant updates about games and applications you don’t care about. However, sometimes you may block something by accident, or later decide to use the application you have blocked in the past. The following steps show you how to unblock an application from the News Feed with Facebooks new setup

Unblock an application from the News Feed

  • First go to your Facebook News Feed.
  • Choose “Top News” on the upper right hand side of this page.

    Make sure your on Top News

    Make sure your on Top News

  • Go all the way down to the bottom of this page and click on “Edit Options” on the lower right hand side.

    Click on Edit Options

    Click on Edit Options

  • In the list that comes up click on “Add to News Feed” for any applications you wish to see in your News Feed.
    • Click close when you are done.

      List of blocked applications

      List of blocked applications

  • When this procedure is done make sure to click on “Most Recent” in the upper right hand side to see all current feed items.
Categories: Facebook

View Status Updates with the new Facebook home

February 5, 2010 1 comment

Another thing Facebook changed was the quick link for Status Updates. To view this you can click on “Friends” then on “Status Updates”. You can then bookmark this page on your browsers bookmark bar for quick access.

Facebook Status

Facebook Status

Categories: Facebook