Monday, 31 December 2012

Hard Disk Problem


The most common problems originate
from corruption of the master boot record, FAT, or directory.
Those are soft problems which can usually be taken care of
with a combination of tools like Fdisk /mbr to refresh the
master boot record followed by a reboot and Norton disk doctor
or Spinneret.

The most common hardware problems are a bad controller, a bad
drive motor, or a bad head mechanism.

1. Can the BIOS see and identify the hard drive correctly? If
it can't, then the hard drives onboard controller is bad.

2. Does the drive spin and maintain a constant velocity? If it
does, that's good news. The motor is functioning.

3. If the drive surges and dies, the most likely cause is a
bad controller (assuming the drive is cool). A gate allowing
the current to drive the motor may not be staying open. The
drive needs a new controller.

4. Do you hear a lot of head clatter when the machine is
turned on and initialized (but before the system attempts to
access the hard drive). Head clatter would indicate that the
spindle bearings are sloppy or worn badly. Maybe even lose and
flopping around inside.



1. If the drive spins, try booting to the A> prompt, run Fdisk
and check to see if Fdisk can see a partition on the hard
drive. If Fdisk can see the partition, that means that it can
access the drive and that the controller electronics are
functioning correctly. If there is no head clatter, it may be
just a matter of disk corruption which commonly occurs when a
surge hits you machine and overwhelms the power supply voltage
regulator. It commonly over whelms the system electronics
allowing an EM pulse to wipe out the master boot record, file
allocations table, and primary directory. Fdisk can fix the
master boot record and Norton Disk Doctor can restore the FAT
and Directory from the secondaries.

2. The drive spins but Fdisk can't see it. Try the drive in
another system and repeat the test to confirm that Fdisk can't
read through the drives onboard controller. If it sees it in
another system, then your machines hard drive interface is
bad. You can try an upgraded or replacement controller card
like a Promise or CMD Technologies (there are others) in you
machine after disabling the integrated controller in the BIOS,
but if the integrated controller went south, it may just be
symptomatic of further failures and you'd be wise to replace
the motherboard. Trying the drive in another machine also
eliminates the variable that your machines 12 volt power
output being bad

3. If you get head clatter but a constant velocity on the
drive motor (no surging), you might try sticking the hard
drive in the freezer for about 12 hours. This is an old trick
from back in the days of the MFM/ESDI driver era. This can
cause the drive components to shrink enough to make the track
marker align with the tracks. We don't see that kind of
platter spindle wear much anymore, but back in the old days,
the balancing and bearings weren't as good. Still, under the
right circumstances, it might help. It would depend on how old
the drive is and how many hours of wear have occurred. You
have to be quick to get your info off the drive when it works.
Back then, the drives were much smaller, so there wasn't so
much to copy. So, go after the important data first.

4. The drive doesn't spin. Either the onboard controller is
bad or the motor is bad (assuming you did try the drive in
another machine). It's time to hit the net and local
independent shops to see if you can locate another drive of
the same make and model that's good. Since the drive is
probably an older drive and no longer in distribution, your
best bet is to find an identical used drive. If you know
someone with the same make and model, you might be wise to try
and persuade them to sell you their drive with an offer of
providing them with a free upgraded drive. If you can locate
an identical drive, start with the controller replacement ...
this is the simplest and least invasive. If swapping the
controller doesn't produce the desire result, you can tear
into the drive and swap the motors. While you have both drive
opened up to accomplish this, scrutinize the platters, heads
and armatures. You might even hook the drive up and power it
from a system with both drives attached. This way, you could
see anything that deviates between the actions of both drives
when they are initialized. Swapping patters is unlikely to
produce any positive result. They are a balanced system like
the tires on your car and I suspect that the balance will be
different for each drive as will other variables.



If the info is all that important to you, I would seek some
professional and experience technician in your locality who
makes his living from servicing and building computer systems
... not just selling them. If you have had much experience
salvaging information from bad hard drives, your likelihood of
success is low. In the case of soft corruption, all utilities
have their eccentricities. Often times, Norton Disk Doctor
will go too far (if you let it). It's wise to just let those
utilities small steps and then have a look at the drive and
see if you can copy it off. Norton will go so far as to rename
directories and files, and even delete them or break them up
into fragments which are useless.
 Think Smarter...!

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Monday, 24 December 2012

Registry

In this post I'll be telling about the computer registry, by reading this post I assure you that you can easily tuneup your PC to get its best performance and hope will help others by sharing this...!


So what is the Registry..? 

The Registry is a database used to store settings and options for the 32 bit versions of Microsoft Windows including Windows 95, 98, ME and NT/2000, Windows7... It contains information and settings for all the hardware, software, users, and preferences of the PC. 
 
Whenever a user makes changes to a Control Panel settings, or File Associations, System Policies, or installed software, the changes are reflected and stored in the Registry...!

The physical files that make up the registry are stored differently depending on your version of Windows; under Windows 95 &
98 it is contained in two hidden files in your Windows directory, called USER.DAT and SYSTEM.DAT, for Windows ME there is an
additional CLASSES.DAT file, while under Windows NT/2000 the files are contained separately in the %SystemRoot%\System32\Config directory.
 You can not edit these files directly, you must use a tool commonly known as a "Registry Editor" to make any changes
Hope you know about Win XP and my favorite Win7...

 (using registry editors will be discussed later in the article).

Syntax of .Reg Files

A .reg file has the following syntax:

RegistryEditorVersion
Blank line
[RegistryPath1]
"DataItemName1"="DataType1:DataValue1"
DataItemName2"="DataType2:DataValue2"
Blank line
[RegistryPath2]
"DataItemName3"="DataType3:DataValue3" 
 
The Structure of The Registry
The Registry has a hierarchical structure, just similar to the directory structure on your hard disk.  Regedit is similar to Windows Explorer.
-> Goto to Run and type regedit to open the panel and have a closer look
Each main branch (denoted by a folder icon in the Registry Editor, see left) is called a Hive, and Hives contains Keys.
 Each key can contain other keys (sometimes referred to as sub-keys), as well as Values. The values contain the actual information stored in the Registry.
There are three types of values; String, Binary, and DWORD - the use of these depends upon the context.

There are six main branches, each containing a specific portion of the information stored in the Registry. They are as follows:


* HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT - This branch contains all of your file association mappings to support the drag-and-drop feature, OLE information, Windows shortcuts, and core aspects of the Windows user interface.


* HKEY_CURRENT_USER - This branch links to the section of HKEY_USERS appropriate for the user currently logged onto the PC and contains information such as logon names, desktop settings, and Start menu settings.


* HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE - This branch contains computer specific information about the type of hardware, software, and other preferences on a given PC, this information is used for all users who log onto this computer.


* HKEY_USERS - This branch contains individual preferences for each user of the computer, each user is represented by a SID sub-key located under the main branch.


* HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG - This branch links to the section of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE appropriate for the current hardware configuration.

Each registry value is stored as one of five main data types:

* REG_BINARY - This type stores the value as raw binary data. Most hardware component information is stored as binary data, and can be displayed in an editor in hexadecimal format.


* REG_DWORD - This type represents the data by a four byte number and is commonly used for Boolean values, such as "0" is disabled and "1" is enabled.
Additionally many parameters for device driver and services are this type, and can be displayed in REGEDT32 in binary, hexadecimal and decimal format, or in REGEDIT in hexadecimal and decimal format.


* REG_EXPAND_SZ - This type is an expandable data string that is string containing a variable to be replaced when called by an application. For example,
 for the following value, the string "%SystemRoot%" will replaced by the actual location of the directory containing the Windows NT system files.
 (This type is only available using an advanced registry editor such as REGEDT32)


* REG_MULTI_SZ - This type is a multiple string used to represent values that contain lists or multiple values, each entry is separated by a NULL character.
(This type is only available using an advanced registry editor such as REGEDT32)


* REG_SZ - This type is a standard string, used to represent human readable text values.

Other data types not available through the standard registry editors include:

* REG_DWORD_LITTLE_ENDIAN - A 32-bit number in little-endian format.
* REG_DWORD_BIG_ENDIAN - A 32-bit number in big-endian format.
* REG_LINK - A Unicode symbolic link. Used internally; applications should not use this type.
* REG_NONE - No defined value type.
* REG_QWORD - A 64-bit number.
* REG_QWORD_LITTLE_ENDIAN - A 64-bit number in little-endian format.
* REG_RESOURCE_LIST - A device-driver resource list.



Editing The Registry

The Registry Editor (REGEDIT.EXE) is included with most version of Windows (although you won't find it on the Start Menu) it enables you to view,
 search and edit the data within the Registry. There are several methods for starting the Registry Editor, the simplest is to click on the Start button,
 then select Run, and in the Open box type "regedit", and if the Registry Editor is installed it should now open and look like the image below.




                                         * Windows 7 Home Premium many lack this feature...
 
An alternative Registry Editor (REGEDT32.EXE) is available for use with Windows, it includes some additional features not found in the standard version,
including; the ability to view and modify security permissions, and being able to create and modify the extended string values REG_EXPAND_SZ & REG_MULTI_SZ.

Create a Shortcut to Regedit
This can be done by simply right-clicking on a blank area of your desktop, selecting New, then Shortcut, then in the Command line box enter "regedit.exe" and click Next, enter a friendly name (e.g. 'Registry Editor') then click Finish. Now you can double click on the new icon to launch the Registry Editor.

Using Regedit to modify your Registry, once you have started the Regedit you will notice that on the left side there is a tree with folders, and on the right the contents(values) of the currently selected folder, as shown in the pic.

Like Windows explorer, to expand a certain branch (see the structure of the registry section), click on the plus sign [+] to the left of any folder, or just double-click on the folder. To display the contents of a key (folder), just click the desired key, and look at the values listed on the right side.
You can add a new key or value by selecting New from the Edit menu, or by right-clicking your mouse.
And you can rename any value and almost any key with the same method used to rename files; right-click on an object and click rename,
or click on it twice (slowly), or just press F2 on the keyboard. Lastly, you can delete a key or value by clicking on it, and pressing Delete on the keyboard, or by right-clicking on it, and choosing Delete.

Note: it is always a good idea to backup your registry before making any changes to it. It can be intimidating to a new user, and there is always the possibility of changing or deleting a critical setting causing you to have to reinstall the whole operating system.
 It's much better to be safe than sorry!

Importing and Exporting Registry Settings

A great feature of the Registry Editor is it's ability to import and export registry settings to a text file, this text file, identified by the .REG extension, can then be saved or shared with other people to easily modify local registry settings. You can see the layout of these text files by simply exporting a key to a file and opening it in Notepad, to do this using the Registry Editor select a key, then from the "Registry" menu choose "Export Registry File...", choose a filename and save. If you open this file in notepad you will see a file similar to the example below:
 * You can do this to backup your computer Registry settings..

Quote:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\RNG]
"ExternalEntropyCount"=dword:00000002
"Seed"=hex:53,65,65,64,46,69,6c,65,00,d0,07,00,72,18,ab,5f,cd,a2,4f,c0,01,77,\
  25,0e,9b,ff,23,71,37,d6,97,20,49,b9,ab,f6,78,45,20,d1,99,43,81,5e,fa,0a,cf,\
  04,cf,f5,7c,51,6d,75,72,a7,13,12,82,23,7c,d3,00,5e,9b,0f,46,e1,8d,94,a3,12,\
  1b,46,b8,ab

The layout is quite simple,
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 indicated the file type and version, [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\RNG] indicated the key the values are from,
 
"ExternalEntropyCount"=dword:00000002
 "Seed"=hex:53,65,65,64,46,69,6c,65,00,d0,07,00,72,18,ab,5f,cd,a2,4f,c0,01,77,\
  25,0e,9b,ff,23,71,37,d6,97,20,49,b9,ab,f6,78,45,20,d1,99,43,81,5e,fa,0a,cf,\
  04,cf,f5,7c,51,6d,75,72,a7,13,12,82,23,7c,d3,00,5e,9b,0f,46,e1,8d,94,a3,12,\
  1b,46,b8,ab

  are the values themselves the portion after the "=" will vary depending on the type of value they are; DWORD, String, Binary or Hexadecimal format.

So by simply editing this file to make the changes you want, it can then be easily distributed and all that need to be done is to double-click, or choose "Import" from the Registry menu, for the settings to be added to the system Registry.

Deleting keys or values using a REG file
It is also possible to delete keys and values using REG files. To delete a key start by using the same format as the the REG file above,
but place a "-" symbol in front of the key name you want to delete.
For example to delete the [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Setup] key the reg file would look like this:

Quote:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\RNG]

The format used to delete individual values is similar, but instead of a minus sign in front of the whole key,
place it after the equal sign of the value. For example, to delete the value "SetupType" the file would look like:

Quote:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\RNG]
"ExternalEntropyCount"=-


or just right click on the content and click delete to delete the Registry value.

 
Use this feature with care, as deleting the wrong key or value could cause major problems within the registry, so remember to always make a backup first.

Regedit Command Line Options
Regedit has a number of command line options to help automate it's use in either batch files or from the command prompt.
 Listed below are some of the options, please note the some of the functions are operating system specific.


* regedit.exe [options] [filename] [regpath]
* [filename] Import .reg file into the registry
* /s [filename] Silent import, i.e. hide confirmation box when importing files
* /e [filename] [regpath] Export the registry to [filename] starting at [regpath]
e.g. regedit /e file.reg HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT
* /L:system Specify the location of the system.dat to use
* /R:user Specify the location of the user.dat to use
* /C [filename] Compress (Windows 98)
* /D [regpath] Delete the specified key (Windows 98)

Maintaining the Registry

Thanks to PCMag  to give me these information, as Win 95, 98 are out dated, you can skip them and proceed to Win NT.

How can you backup and restore the Registry of 95's and 98's...?
 Windows 95
Microsoft included a utility on the Windows 95 CD-ROM that lets you create backups of the Registry on your computer.
The Microsoft Configuration Backup program, CFGBACK.EXE, can be found in the \Other\Misc\Cfgback directory on the Windows 95 CD-ROM.
 This utility lets you create up to nine different backup copies of the Registry, which it stores, with the extension RBK,
 in your \Windows directory. If your system is set up for multiple users, CFGBACK.EXE won't back up the USER.DAT file.

After you have backed up your Registry, you can copy the RBK file onto a floppy disk for safekeeping. However, to restore from a backup,
 the RBK file must reside in the \Windows directory. Windows 95 stores the backups in compressed form,
which you can then restore only by using the CFGBACK.EXE utility.

Windows 98
Microsoft Windows 98 automatically creates a backup copy of the registry every time Windows starts,
in addition to this you can manually create a backup using the Registry Checker utility by running SCANREGW.EXE from Start | Run menu.

What to do if you get a Corrupted Registry
Windows 95, 98 and NT all have a simple registry backup mechanism that is quite reliable, although you should never simply rely on it,
 remember to always make a backup first!

Windows 95
In the Windows directory there are several hidden files, four of these will be SYSTEM.DAT & USER.DAT, your current registry,
and SYSTEM.DA0 & USER.DA0, a backup of your registry. Windows 9x has a nice reature in that every time it appears to
start successfully it will copy the registry over these backup files, so just in case something goes wrong can can restore it
to a known good state. To restore the registry follow these instruction:
[list=1]
* Click the Start button, and then click Shut Down.

* Click Restart The Computer In MS-DOS Mode, then click Yes.

* Change to your Windows directory. For example, if your Windows directory is c:\windows, you would type the following:

cd c:\windows

* Type the following commands, pressing ENTER after each one. (Note that SYSTEM.DA0 and USER.DA0 contain the number zero.)

attrib -h -r -s system.dat
attrib -h -r -s system.da0
copy system.da0 system.dat
attrib -h -r -s user.dat
attrib -h -r -s user.da0
copy user.da0 user.dat

* Restart your computer.



Following this procedure will restore your registry to its state when you last successfully started your computer.

If all else fails, there is a file on your hard disk named SYSTEM.1ST that was created when Windows 95 was first successfully installed.
If necessary you could also change the file attributes of this file from read-only and hidden to archive to copy the file to C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM.DAT.

Windows NT
On Windows NT you can use either the "Last Known Good" option or RDISK to restore to registry to a stable working configuration.


Windows Xp, 7
C:\Windows\System32\config  is the location where you can find the backups

You can directly download the registry files and double click on it to restore your basic registry settings by googling out...!

How can I clean out old data from the Registry?
Although it's possible to manually go through the Registry and delete unwanted entries, Microsoft provides a tool called Windows Defender other tools can be used like JetCleaner. RegRepair analyzes Windows Registry keys stored in a common location in the Windows Registry.
 It finds keys that contain erroneous values, it removes them from the Windows Registry after having recording those entries in the Undo.Reg file.

You can get better software's to clean your PC's Registry...

But still do you think your PC is Modified...?
Have you enhanced your system security...? 
Share it if YES... do it if NO...  


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Friday, 21 December 2012

Common Errors in English


Although English is a foreign language yet its important to learn in our country, If you needs to survive just out of your state now English is must...! then what about living out of country without knowing this Global Interconnection Language...? Yes I considered English as GIL after watching the promos of a Hindi movie English Vinglish...
 Today a large number of peoples try to learn the language, not only in India but globally, but it is essential for us to know how to speak and write in English correctly to support this here I'm posting the common errors that we make while speak and writing in English...


   "Be perfect in Grammar to make sentence Glamour"

a. Errors due to the confusion of English words
    There are some pair of words in English that sounds quite similar or may have same words placed in different order, which differs in their meaning, such errors can change the whole meaning of a sentence, so proper care must be taken to avoid such  mistakes. Here is a list of commonly confused pairs.

 i. Advice, Advise    
   Advice :- Counsel, Instruction (noun)
   Advise :- To give advice, To notify (verb)

  Wrong usage:  My friend always gives me good advise.
                          My friend adviced him to work hard.
                                                                                   
   Right usage:   My friend always gives me good advice.
                          My friend advised him to work hard.

ii. Adapt, Adopt, Adept
   Adapt :- Make fit for a change (verb)
   Adopt :- To choose something (verb)
   Adept :- Skilled one (adjective)

  Wrong usage:  You must adopt yourself to the changed conditions.
                           He has now adapted the proper course of action.
                           Ram is an adapt in the art of drawing.

   Right usage:  You must adapt yourself to the changed conditions.
                           He has now adopted the proper course of action.
                           Ram is an adept in the art of drawing.

iii. Alter, Altar
     Alter :- To change (verb)
     Altar :- A raised structure on which gifts or sacrifices to a god are made (noun)

     Wrong usage: I don't want to altar my decision.
                            We made an offering at the alter.

      Right usage:  I don't want to alter my decision.
                           We made an offering at the altar.

iv. Angel, Angle
     Angel :- Messenger of god (noun)
     Angle :- A point where two lines meet (noun)

     Wrong usage: A square has four angels.
                             I saw an angle in my dream.

     Right usage: A square has four angles.
                             I saw an angel in my dream.

v. Beautiful, Handsome
   Beautiful   :- Attractive (adjective)
   Handsome :- Pleasing in appearance (adjective)

   Wrong usage: Jessica is a handsome woman
                          Alex is a beautiful man

   Right usage: Jessica is a beautiful woman
                        Alex is a handsome man

vi. Check, Cheque
     Check   :- To examine/ To Stop (verb)
     Cheque :- Written order to a bank for money (noun)

      Wrong usage: Cheque you bag before coming to school.
                              I have issued you a crossed check.

      Right usage: Check you bag before coming to school.
                            I have issued you a crossed cheque.

vii. Ceiling, Sealing
      Ceiling :- Top surface of room, roof (noun)
      Sealing :- To stamp with seal(verb)

      Wrong usage: Sealing of my house is very bad.
                              I got a ceiled parcel.


       Right usage: Ceiling of my house is very bad.
                              I got a sealed parcel.

viii. Discover, Invent
       Discover :- To make known previously unknown thing(verb)
       Invent     :- To create something new(verb)

      
      Wrong usage: Vasco-da-Gama invented the sea route to India
                              Television was discovered by Baird 
       Right usage: Vasco-da-Gama discovered the sea route to India
                             Television was invented by Baird
ix. Fair, Fare
     Fair :- Attractive (adjective)
                An exhibition (noun)
                Without fraud or cheating(adjective)  [ I'll tell about these words next ]
     Fare :- Price charged

 
    Wrong usage: They are going to fare today.
                           What is the bus  fair from Bangalore to Mumbai...?

    Right usage:  They are going to fair today.
                          What is the bus  fare from Bangalore to Mumbai...?

x. There, Their
    There :- At that place
    Their :- Them
  
   Wrong usage: You can take it from their.
                            Some one hit there car.

   Right usage:  You can take it from there.
                            Some one hit their car.


b. Common errors in the use of Gender
    Many mistakes are committed by us because we do not know the right use of genders, they often confused about Masculine, Feminine and Neuter genders

i. Wrong usage : My friend is without marriage.
    Right usage  : My friend is a bachelor.
ii. Wrong usage : He married a woman Jew.

    Right usage  : He married a Jewess.
iii. Wrong usage : The milk-woman will be late today.
      Right usage  : The milk-maid will be late today.
iv. Wrong usage : She is a woman priest.
      Right usage  : She is a priestess.



c. Common errors in the use of Singular and Plural
    This is all about the usage of s and es. A noun denoting more than one person or thing is called plural, if not that may be a singular.., lets look at the usage, errors and corrections..

i. Wrong : He has prepared several dishs.
    Right :  He has prepared several dishes.

ii. Wrong : He has purchased two pianoes.
     Right : He has purchased two pianos.

iii. Wrong : I saw the thiefs yesterday morning.
      Right : I saw the thieves yesterday morning.

 iv. Wrong : He has two childrens / Childs    
      Right : He has two children.

v. Wrong : He bought three dozens of Oranges.
    Right : He bought three dozen of Oranges.

vi. Wrong : I have two man-servants.
      Right : I have two men-servants.

vii. Wrong : She purchased two pairs of shoe.
       Right : She purchased two pairs of  shoes.

viii. Wrong : He helps the poors.
        Right : He helps the poor.

ix. Wrong : My hairs are grey in color.
      Right : My hair is grey in color.



d. Common errors in the Construction of Sentences
   These are some errors during the formation of a sentence, this can be avoided by a careful observation  while framing the sentences...

i. Wrong : Both yourself and your son are intelligent
    Right : Both you and your son are intelligent.

ii. Wrong : Alex had a son in U.K. would send him enough money to meet his expenses.
     Right : Alex had a son in U.K. who would send him enough money to meet his expenses.

iii. Wrong : Jessi is the very girl whom of all other I most love.
      Right : Jessi is the girl I most love.

iv. Wrong : Everyone of these girls are beautiful.
     Right : Every one of these girls is beautiful.
 
v. Wrong : Neither Ben does sing, nor I do.
    Right : Neither does Ben sings, nor do I.

vi. Wrong : Each of the clerk in this office are efficient.
      Right :  Each of the clerk in this office is efficient.


e. Common errors in the use of Pronouns
     A pronoun is a word that is used instead of a Noun an error in the usage of these words may create some embracing satiation so here are some instances for that...,

i. Wrong : Let John and I go to his house.
   Right :  Let John and me go to his house.


ii. Wrong : Our's is not a larger house.
    Right :  Ours is not a larger house.



iii. Wrong : All is not a gold that glitters.
     Right :  All that glitters is not gold .

iv. Wrong : It was me who punished.
     Right :  It was I who punished.

v. Wrong : Who do you want...?
     Right : Whom do you want...?

vi. Wrong : Your's faithfully.
     Right :  Yours faithfully.


f. Common errors in the use of Adjectives
  An Adjective is a word used to add something to the meaning of a Noun...

i.  Wrong : These flowers smell sweetly.
     Right :  These flowers smell sweet.

ii.  Wrong : Alex is my eldest brother.
     Right :  Alex is my oldest brother.


iii.  Wrong : Open your book at 23rd page.
     Right :  Open your book at page 23.

iv. Wrong : The rich people should help poors.
     Right :  The rich people should help poor.

v. Wrong : I prefer milk than tea.
     Right :  I prefer milk to tea.

vi. Wrong : He did not buy some pencils.
     Right :  He did not buy any pencils.



 So the Wanderer comes back again with some more errors next time hope you will welcome him in the same way, with the same curiosity...!
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Thursday, 20 December 2012

1 word 2 meanings in English

 Funny English words having more than one meanings, makes fun of the Circumstances...!

Many English words have more than one meaning. If you only know one meaning, it is easy to get confused, that can give a smile on your face when you read it in your self and to others when you convey it to others..!
   So let's look at some of these words and make some fun of English here

    Bank - Place where money storage / The river bank.
    Bat - A flying animal. / A small racket with a long handle, used to play cricket.
   Bear - To carry. / A furry animal.
   Box - A container / The fist fight.
   Bright - Smart / Giving off light
   Coat - Layer of paint / Heavy jacket
   Deck - A pack of cards / The platforms in a ship.
   Duck - Quacking animal / To move down.
   Fly - Type of insect / To move through air.
   Foot - Body part / Measuring unit.
   Gay - Bright and pleasant / Homosexual.
   Light - Something shining / Something not heavy.
   Left - A direction / Past tense of leave
   Lie - To rest / Not to tell true.
  Mean - Average / Be unkind .
  Might - Power / Possibility.
 Mount - Attach to a support / The act of climbing something.
 Nails -  Your nails / what you use for a hammer.
 Pound - Unit of currency / Weight.
 Pop - Appear suddenly / explosive noise / a genre of music.

 Play - Game / An act or a performance.
 Pussy - Informal terms referring to a domestic cat / Obscene term for  female
 Race - Group of people / A competition.
 Rock - A genre of popular music / A stone.
 Ring - Circular object / A bell.
 Saw - Blade for cutting / See or watch
 Stick - Part of tree / To fix.
 State - An area / To say clearly.
 Shade - Area with no sun / color that differs slightly from another color.
 Sink - No float / Where you wash hands.
 Sign - Signature / Communicate silently and non-verbally by signals or signs.
Trip - Vacation / accidental misstep.
Tip - Extreme end of something / Small amount of money given for services.
 Top - The upper part / Child's plaything.
 Too - Exceeding normal / In addition.
Tear - To Separate / A drop of the clear salty solution.
Trunk- Of a tree / A suitcase.

This is not the end you can find still more words like this, so its your turn now to add on with this...
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Sunday, 16 December 2012

Backtracking Email's


I always hate Spammers..., they are the network evils.
I was not able to check out my yahoo inbox that was meant for a add business for 7 days.., but when I logged in on the 8th day I was shocked to see 200 new mails in my Inbox and more than 350 spam mails which are unnecessarily  sent across the network... Its difficult to manage them all at a time so I called spammers as evils as these spam mails are useless and are may be a security threat ....!
Look @ d spam sources :-


Ask most people how they determine who sent them an email message and the response is almost universally, "By the From line." Unfortunately this symptomatic of the current confusion among internet users as to where particular messages come from and who is spreading spam and viruses. The "From" header is little more than a courtesy to the person receiving the message. People spreading spam and viruses are rarely courteous. In short, if there is any question about where a particular email message came from the safe bet is to assume the "From" header is forged.

So how do you determine where a message actually came from? You have to understand how email messages are put together in order to backtrack an email message. SMTP is a text based protocol for transferring messages across the internet. A series of headers are placed in front of the data portion of the message. By examining the headers you can usually backtrack a message to the source network, sometimes the source host. A more detailed essay on reading email headers can be found .

If you are using Outlook or Outlook Express you can view the headers by right clicking on the message and selecting properties or options.

Below are listed the headers of an actual spam message I received. I've changed my email address and the name of my server for obvious reasons. I've also double spaced the headers to make them more readable.


Return-Path: <s359dyxtt@yahoo.com>

X-Original-To: xyz@example.com

Delivered-To: xyz@example.com

Received: from 12-218-172-108.client.mchsi.com (12-218-172-108.client.mchsi.com [12.218.172.108])
by mailhost.example.com (Postfix) with SMTP id 1F9B8511C7
for <xyz@example.com>; Sun, 20 Nov 2012 09:50:37 -0800 (PST)

Received: from (HELO 0udjou) [193.12.169.0] by 12-218-172-108.client.mchsi.com with ESMTP id <536806-74276>; Sun, 20 Nov 2012 19:42:31 +0200

Message-ID: <n5-l067n7z$46-z$-n@eo2.32574>

From: "Maricela Paulson" <s359dyxtt@yahoo.com>

Reply-To: "Maricela Paulson" <s359dyxtt@yahoo.com>

To: xyz@example.com

Subject: STOP-PAYING For Your PAY-PER-VIEW, Movie Channels, Mature Channels...isha

Date: Sun, 20 Nov 2012 19:42:31 +0200

X-Mailer: Internet Mail Service (5.5.2650.21)

X-Priority: 3

MIME-Version: 1.0

Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="MIMEStream=_0+211404_90873633350646_4032088448"


According to the From header this message is from Maricela Paulson at s359dyxxt@yahoo.com. I could just fire off a message to abuse@yahoo.com, but that would be waste of time. This message didn't come from yahoo's email service.

The header most likely to be useful in determining the actual source of an email message is the Received header. According to the top-most Received header this message was received from the host 12-218-172-108.client.mchsi.com with the ip address of 21.218.172.108 by my server mailhost.example.com. An important item to consider is at what point in the chain does the email system become untrusted? I consider anything beyond my own email server to be an unreliable source of information. Because this header was generated by my email server it is reasonable for me to accept it at face value.

The next Received header (which is chronologically the first) shows the remote email server accepting the message from the host 0udjou with the ip 193.12.169.0. Those of you who know anything about IP will realize that that is not a valid host IP address. In addition, any hostname that ends in client.mchsi.com is unlikely to be an authorized email server. This has every sign of being a cracked client system.


Here's is where we start digging. By default Windows is somewhat lacking in network diagnostic tools; however, you can use the tools at to do your own checking.
xyz@nqh9k:[/home/xyz] $whois 12.218.172.108

AT&T WorldNet Services ATT (NET-12-0-0-0-1)
12.0.0.0 - 12.255.255.255
Mediacom Communications Corp MEDIACOMCC-12-218-168-0-FLANDREAU-MN (NET-12-218-168-0-1)
12.218.168.0 - 12.218.175.255

# ARIN WHOIS database, last updated 2003-12-31 19:15
# Enter ? for additional hints on searching ARIN's WHOIS database.

I can also verify the hostname of the remote server by using nslookup, although in this particular instance, my email server has already provided both the IP address and the hostname.

xyz@nqh9k:[/home/xyz] $nslookup 12.218.172.108

Server: localhost
Address: 127.0.0.1

Name: 12-218-172-108.client.mchsi.com
Address: 12.218.172.108

Ok, whois shows that Mediacom Communications owns that netblock and nslookup confirms the address to hostname mapping of the remote server,12-218-172-108.client.mchsi.com. If I preface a www in front of the domain name portion and plug that into my web browser, http://www.mchsi.com, I get Mediacom's web site.

There are few things more embarrassing to me than firing off an angry message to someone who is supposedly responsible for a problem, and being wrong. By double checking who owns the remote host's IP address using two different tools (whois and nslookup) I minimize the chance of making myself look like an idiot.

A quick glance at the web site and it appears they are an ISP. Now if I copy the entire message including the headers into a new email message and send it to abuse@mchsi.com with a short message explaining the situation, they may do something about it.

But what about Maricela Paulson? There really is no way to determine who sent a message, the best you can hope for is to find out what host sent it. Even in the case of a PGP signed messages there is no guarantee that one particular person actually pressed the send button. Obviously determining who the actual sender of an email message is much more involved than reading the From header. Hopefully this example may be of some use to other forum regulars.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Anonymity on Web


Introduction 
Nowadays, everyone wants privacy on the web, because no matter where you go, someone could be watching you. Someone like your employer, someone trying to hack your system, companies gathering all your info to sell to yet other companies, or even the government, may be on your track while you peacefully surf the web. Thus, anonymity on the web means being able to use all of its services with no concern about someone snooping on your data.
Your computer being connected to the net has an IP [Internet Protocol] address. If you have a dial-up connection, then your IP changes every time you connect to the internet (this is not always true, though. There are dial-up ISP's, specially for university students, that do have static IP's). Cable modems and DSL connections have a static IP, which means that the IP address does not change. One of the goals of getting anonymous is to make sure your ip, either static or dynamic) isn't revealed to other users of the internet, or to server administrators of the servers you roam around when using internet services.
Here let me try to give you some hints on how to maintain your anonymity on the web. Some of the hints may sound banal, but think of, if you really abide them in every situation.

 First Tips:
When chatting on IRC, ICQ, AIM (etc..), do not give out personal information about yourself, where you live, work, etc.
Do not use your primary email address (the one your ISP gave you) anywhere except to family members, close friends or trusted people. Instead create for yourself a web-based email account such as yahoo, hotmail, gmail, etc. and use this e-mail address to signing up for services, when in the need to give your mail to download something, or to publish on your homepage.
When signing up for services on the web, don't give your real information like address, phone number and such unless you really need to do so. This is the kind of information that information gathering companies like to get, so that they can sell out and fill your mailbox with spam.
Use an anonymous proxy to surf the web. This makes sure your ip doesn't get stored on the webserver logs. (Webservers log every GET request made, together with date, hour, and IP. This is where the proxy comes in. They get the ip from the proxy, not yours)
Use a Bouncer to connect to IRC networks, in case you don't trust the administrators, or the other users. A bouncer is a program that sits on a permanently connected machine that allows you to connect there, and from there to the irc server, just like a proxy works for webservers.
Use anonymous remailers to send out your e-mails.
Cryptography can also help you by making sure the material you send out the web, like by email, etc, is cyphered, not allowing anyone that doesn't have your key to read it (in key-based cryptography). Programs like PGP (pretty good privacy) are toolkits with all you need to cypher and uncypher your stuff.
Delete traces of your work with the computer including history files, cache or backup files.
Care full while choosing a proxy.., an error in selection may restrict you to be online...!

About proxies

Proxies are caches that relay data. When you configure your web browser to use a proxy, it never connects to the URL. Instead it always connects to the proxy server, and asks it to get the URL for you. It works similarly with other type of services such as IRC, ICQ etc. There'll won't be direct connection between you and the server, so your real IP address won't be revealed to the server. When you view a website on the server, the server won't see your IP. Some of web proxies do not support forwarding of the cookies whose support is required by some of the websites (for ex.hotmail).
Here are some anonymous Pxory List that you can use to surf anonymously (notice that some of these may be a payed service):


You'll highly probably find many websites that provide the lists of unauthorised proxies and re- mailers,  Such lists are being compiled usually with the help of port scanners or exploit scanners, scanning for computers with wingate or other proxies' backdoors. Using these proxies is illegal, and is being considered as unauthorized access of computer. If you get such list to your hands, check if the info is legal or compiled by script kiddie, and act acordingly.
If you anyhow decide not to use proxy, at least do not forget to remove your personal information from your browser. After you remove details like your name and e-mail address from your browser, the only info a Web site can sniff out is your ISP's address and geographical location. Also Java and JavaScript applets can take control of your browser unexpectedly, and if you are surfing to unknown and potentially dangerous places you should be aware of that. There are exploitable browser bugs (mainly Internet explorer ones) reported ever week.

 Cookies
Maybe you're not aware of the fact that if you have the "allow cookies" feature in your browser on, websites can store all sorts of information on your harddrive. Cookies are small files that contain various kind of information that can be read by websites when you visit them. The usual usage is to track demographics for advertising agencies that want to see just what kinds of consumers a certain site is attracting. Web sites also use cookies to keep your account information up-to-date. Then for instance when you visit your e-mail webbased account without being unlogged some hours later, you find yourself being logged on, even if you turn off your computer. Your login and password was simply stored on your harddrive in cookie file. This is security threat, in case that there is more persons who have the access to your computer.
Most of the browsers offer the possiblity to turn off the cookies, but some of sites like Hotmail.com require them to be turned on. In case you decided to allow cookies, at least never forget to log off from the websites when you're finishing visiting them.

 FTP Transfers
When using an FTP client program to download files, assure yourself, that it's giving a bogus password, like guest@unknown.com, not your real one. If your browser lets you, turn off the feature that sends your e-mail address as a password for anonymous FTP sessions.

 Secure Transaction
Everything being sent from the web server to your browser is usually in plain text format. That means, all transferred information can be easily sniffed on the route. Some of the web servers support SSL (which stands for Secure Socket Layer). To view and use these websites you'll need SSL support in your browser as well. You recognize, that the connection is encrypted, if URL starts with https:// instead of usual http://. Never use web server without SSL for sending or receiving sensitive private or business information (credit card numbers, passwords etc.)

 SSL Tunelling
What is SSL?
SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. The ?Secure? implies an encryption, while Socket Layer denotes an addition to the Window Socket system, Winsock. For those that don?t know, a Socket is an attachment to a port on a system. You can have many sockets on one port, providing they are non-blocking (allowing control to pass through to another socket aware application which wishes to connect to that port).
A Secure Socket Layer means that any sockets under it, are both secure and safe. The idea behind SSL was to provide an encrypted, and thus, secure route for traffic along a socket based system, such as TCP/IP (the internet protocol). Doing this allows security in credit card transactions on the Internet, encrypted and protected communiqué along a data line, and overall peace of mind.
The SSL uses an encryption standard developed by RSA. RSA are a world respected American organisation that specializes in encryption and data security. Initially, they developed a cipher length of only 40 bits, for use with the Secure Socket Layer, this was considered weak and therefore a longer much more complicated encryption cipher was created, 128 bits. The reasoning behind it was simple: it needs to be secure.
The RSA site puts the advantage of a longer encryption length pretty clearly: because 40-bit encryption is considered to be relatively weak. 128-bits is about 309 septillion times ( 309,485,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 ) larger than 40-bits. This would mean it would take that many times longer to crack or break 128-bit encryption than it would 40-bit.
If you want more information on the technicalities or RSA?s SSL encryption engine, visit their site: http://www.rsasecurity.com/standards/ssl.
But what does all this encryption and security have to do with you?
Well, that?s a simple question. No matter how hard you try, at times your privacy will need to be knowingly invaded so you can make use of the product offered for doing so. If you think about food, for example, one cannot eat without swallowing. When we wish to make a transaction or view a site on the internet, where we have to give enough information away so that it happens, we also want to be assured no one else along the line gathers that data. An encrypted session would mean our data is not at the hands of any privacy perpetrators unless they knew how to decode it ? and the only ones in the know, are those you specifically wish. SSL uses public key encryption as explained in the PGP section.
To put this at a head: if you use an encrypted connection or session, you can be relatively assured that there are no prying eyes along the way.
And how do I implement SSL with SSL Tunnelling?
We know that a Secure Socket Layer is safe, but what we don?t know is what a Tunnel is. In the most simplistic form, a tunnel is a proxy. Like proxy voting in general elections, a tunnel will relay your data back and forth for you. You may be aware though, that there are already ?proxies? out there, and yes, that is true. Tunnelling is done via proxies, but it is not considered to be the same as a standard proxy relaying simply because it isn?t.
Tunnelling is very special kind of proxy relay, in that it can, and does relay data without interfering. It does this transparently and without grievance or any care for what is passing its way.
Now, if we add this ability to ?tunnel? data, any data, in a pipe, to the Secure Sockets Layer, we have a closed connection that is independent of the software carrying it; and something that is also encrypted. For those of you wanting to know a little more about the technicalities, the SSL layer is also classless in the sense it does not interferer with the data passed back and forth ? after all, it is encrypted and impossible to tamper with. That attribute means an SSL capable proxy is able to transfer data out of its ?proxied? connection to the destination required.
So to sum up, we have both a secure connection that does the job and relays things in the right direction; and we have direct tunnel that doesn?t care what we pass through it. Two very useful, and almost blind entities. All we need now is a secure proxy that we can use as the tunnel.
Proxies:
Secure proxies are alike standard proxies. We can either use an HTTP base SSL equipped proxy - one specifically designed for security HTTP traffic, but because of the ignorant nature of SSL communication, it can be bent to any needs ? or we can use a proper SSL service designed for our connection ? like you would use a secure NNTP (news) program with a secure proxy on port 563 instead of taking our long way - which would probably work as well.
A secure HTTP proxy operates on port 443. Host proxies are not public, that means they operate for, and allow only traffic from their subnet or the ISP that operates them ? but, there are many badly configured HTTP proxies and some public ones out there. The use of a program called HTTrack (available on Neworder) will aid you in scanning and searching for proxies on your network or anywhere on the Internet if your ISP does not provide you with one.
Neworder also features a number of sites dedicated to listing public proxies in the Anonymity section. While it?s often hard to find a suitable fast proxy, it?s worth the effort when you get one.
So how can I secure my connections with SSL Tunnelling?
That?s a big question, and beyond the scope out this tuition as it must come to and end. I can however, point you in the right direction of two resources that will aid you in tunnelling both IRC, and most other connections via a HTTP proxy.
For Windows, the first stop would be http://www.totalrc.net?s Socks2HTTP. This is an SSL tunnelling program that turns a normal socks proxy connection into a tunnelled SSL connection.
The second stop, for both Windows and Unix is stunnel.

 Anonymity on IRC
A BNC, or a Bouncer - is used in conjunction with IRC as a way of hiding your host when people /whois you. On most IRC networks, your host isnt masked when you whois, meaning the entire IP appears, like 194.2.0.21, which can be resolved. On other networks, your host might be masked, like IRCnetwork-0.1 but it can still give valuable information, like nationality if your host is not a IP, but a DNS resolved host, like my.host.cn would be masked to IRCnetwork-host.cn but this would still tell the person who whoised you, that you are from China.
To keep information such as this hidden from the other users on an IRC network, many people use a Bouncer, which is actually just a Proxy. Let us first draw a schematic of how a normal connection would look, with and without a BNC installed.
Without a BNC:
your.host.cn <<-->> irc.box.sk
With a BNC:
your.host.cn <<-->> my.shell.com <<-->> irc.box.sk
You will notice the difference between the two. When you have a BNC installed, a shell functions as a link between you and the IRC server (irc.box.sk as an example). You install a BNC on a shell, and set a port for it to listen for connections on. You then login to the shell with your IRC client, BitchX/Xchat/mIRC, and then it will login to the IRC server you specify - irc.box.sk in this case. In affect, this changes your host, in that it is my.shell.com that makes all the requests to irc.box.sk, and irc.box.sk doesn't know of your.host.cn, it has never even made contact with it.
In that way, depending on what host your shell has, you can login to IRC with a host like i.rule.com, these vhosts are then actually just an alias for your own machine, your.host.cn, and it is all completely transparent to the IRC server.
Many servers have sock bots that check for socket connections. These aren't BNC connections, and BNC cannot be tested using a simple bot, unless your shell has a socket port open (normally 1080) it will let you in with no problem at all, the shell is not acting as a proxy like you would expect, but more as a simple IRC proxy, or an IRC router. In one way, the BNC just changes the packet and sends it on, like:
to: my.shell.com -> to: irc.box.sk -> to: my.shell.com from: your.host.cn <- from: my.shell.com <- from: irc.box.sk
The BNC simply swaps the host of your packet, saying it comes from my.shell.com. But also be aware, that your own machine is perfectly aware that it has a connection established with my.shell.com, and that YOU know that you are connected to irc.box.sk. Some BNCs are used in IRC networks, to simulate one host. If you had a global IRC network, all linked together, you could have a local server called: cn.myircnetwork.com which Chinese users would log into. It would then Bounce them to the actual network server, in effect making all users from china have the same host - cn.myircnetwork.com, masking their hosts. Of course, you could change the host too - so it didn't reveal the nationality, but it is a nice gesture of some networks, that they mask all hosts from everyone, but it makes life hard for IRCops on the network - but its a small price to pay for privacy.
Note: Even if you do use IRC bouncer, within DCC transfers or chat, your IP will be revealed, because DCC requires direct IP to IP connection. Usual mistake of IRC user is to have DCC auto-reply turned on. For an attacker is then easy to DCC chat you or offer you a file, and when IRC clients are connected, he can find out your IP address in the list of his TCP/IP connections (netstat).
How do I get IRC bouncer?
you download and install bouncer software, or get someone to install it for you (probably the most known and best bouncer available is BNC, homepage : http://gotbnc.com/)
you configure and start the software - in case it's bouncer at Unix machine, you start it on your shell account (let's say shell.somewhere.com)
you open IRC and connect to the bouncer at shell.somewhere.com on the port you told it to start on.
all depending on the setup, you may have to tell it your password and tell it where to connect, and you're now on irc as shell.somewhere.com instead of your regular hostname

Mail crypto
Usually the safest way to ensure that your e-mail won't be read by unauthorised persons is to encrypt them. To be compatible with the rest of the world I'd suggest to use free PGP software.
PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) is a piece of software, used to ensure that a message/file has not been changed, has not been read, and comes from the person you think it comes from. Download @
How does pgp Work?
The whole idea behind PGP is that of Public and Private keys. To explain the algorithm PGP uses in order to encrypt the message would take too much time, and is beyond the scope of this, we will however look at how it ensures the integrity of the document. A user has a password, this password has to be chosen correctly, so don't choose passwords like "pop" or "iloveyou", this will make an attack more likely to succeed. The password is used to create a private key, and a public key - the algorithm ensures that you can not use the public key to make the private key. The public key is sent to a server, or to the people you send e-mails/files, and you keep the private key secret.
We will use a few terms and people in this introduction, they are: Pk - Public Key, Sk - Secret Key (private key). Adam will send an e-mail to Eve, and Rita will be a person in between, who we are trying to hide the content of the mail from. Rita will intercept the email (PGP doesn't ensure that Rita cant get her hands on the package, she can - its not a secure line like other technologies) and try to read it/modify it. Adam has a Sk1 and a Pk1, and Eve has a Sk2 and a Pk2. Both Adam, Eve, and Rita have Pk1 and Pk2, but Sk1 and Sk2 are presumed to be totally secret. First, here is a schematic of how it all looks:
PUBLIC SERVER
Pk1, Pk2

Adam <------------------------------------------> Eve Sk1 ^ Sk2
|
|
|
|
Rita
So Adam wants to send a packet to Eve, without Rite reading it, or editing it. There are three things that we need to make sure:
That Rita cant read the text without permission
That Rita cant edit it in any way, without Eve and Adam knowing
That Even knows that Adam sent it
First thing is making sure Rita cant read the text. Adam does this by encrypting the message with Eves Pk2 which he has found on the server. You can only Encrypt with the Pk, not decrypt, so Rita wont be able to read the data unless Eve has revealed her Sk2.
The second thing to make sure, is that Rite cant edit the message. Adam creates a hash from the message he has created. The hash can be encrypted using Pk2, or sent as it is. When Eve gets the message, she decrypts it, and creates a hash herself, then checks if the hashes are the same - if they are, the message is the same, if its different, something has changed in the message. The Hash is very secure, and it is in theory impossible to make a change, and get the hash to remain the same.
The third, and probably one of the most important things to ensure, is that Rita hasn't grabbed the mail, made a new one, and sent it in Adams name. We can ensure this by using Public key and Private key too. The Sk can be used both to encrypt and to decrypt, but Pk can only encrypt. When Adam normally sends a message M to Eve, he creates the encrypted message C by doing: C=Pk2(M). This means, Adam uses Pk2 (Eves Pk) on message M to create message C. Image this: Adam can encrypt the message with his Sk1, because it is impossible to derive Sk1 from the message, this is secure and without any danger, as long as no one knows the password used to make Sk1 with. If the message M is encrypted with Sk1, he gets a message called X, Eve can decrypt the message using Pk1 which is public. If the message decrypts to something that makes sence, then it must be from Adam, because Sk1 is considered as secret, and only Adam knows it.
The entire process looks like this, when sending message C: Adam signs his digital signature on C, and hashes C: X=Sk1(C). Then Adam encrypts the message for Eve: M=Pk2(X). The message is sent, and looks all in all like this: M=Pk2(Sk1(C)). Rita can intercept M, but not decrypt, edit, or resend it. Eve receives M, and decrypts it: X=Sk2(M). Then she checks the digital signature: C=Pk1(X) and checks the Hash on the way.
This way, the PGP Public/Private key system ensures integrity and security of the document e-mail, but PGP is not the only algorithm that uses the Public/Private key theory, Blowfish, and RSA are among the many other technologies that use it, PGP is just the most popular for e-mail encryption, but many don't trust it because of rumors of backdoors by the NSA (I don't know if its true though). PGP comes in a commercial, and a freeware version for Windows, and is available for Linux as well. What ever encryption you use, it will be better than none.

Anonymous Remailers
Remailers are programs accessible on the Internet that route email and USENET postings anonymously (i.e., the recipient cannot determine who sent the email or posted the article). This way the sender can't be traced back by routing headers included in the e-mail. There are different classes of remailers, which allow anonymous exchange of email and anonymous posting to USENET and often many other useful features.

ICQ Privacy
How can I keep my privacy at ICQ?
Send and receive messages via ICQ server, not directly. Every direct connection enables attacker to learn your IP. Encrypt your messages by dedicated software, encryption addons.
How to encrypt ICQ messages?
There are addons which enhance your ICQ with possibility to encrypt outcoming messages. The user on the other side needs to have the addon as well in order to decrypt your message.
Resources:

Top Secret Messenger (TSM) - trial version has only weak 8-bit encryption

Chat Buddy - a freeware Windows application for encrypting chat sessions

how encryption works in ICQ protocol v5

Spyware
As we all work hard to become more savvy about protecting our personal information and keeping as anonymous as possible on the web, advertising companies are working just as hard to come up with new ways of getting our personal information. One of the ways they accomplish this is through spyware.
Spyware are applications that are bundled along with many programs that you download for free. Their function is to gather personal information about you and relay it back to advertising firms. The information is then used either to offer you products or sold to other advertisers, so they can promote THEIR products. They claim this is all they do with this information, but the problem is nobody really knows for sure.
Spyware fits the classic definition of a trojan, as it is something that you did not bargain for+when you agreed to download the product. Not only is spyware an invasion of your privacy, but (especially if you have a few different kinds on your machine) it can also chew up bandwidth, making your internet connection slower.
Sometimes, these spies really are harmless, merely connecting back to the home server to deliver+you more advertising. Some, like Gator for instance, send out detailed information about your surfing habits, operating system, income, age demographic et cetera.
Avoiding spyware
Avoiding spyware is getting harder and harder, as more software distributors are choosing it as a method of profiting from freeware and shareware distributions. Be leery of programs with cute+little icons like Gator. Also, watch those Napster wannabes like AudioGalaxy, Limewire, and Kazaa. I've yet to find one that didn't include spyware. Before you download, check to see if the program is known to contain spyware.


Getting rid of spyware
In most cases, you can remove the spyware from your system and still use the application you downloaded. In the case of Gator and Comet Cursor, the the whole program is spyware an it must be completely removed to stop the spying.
There are several ways to get rid of spyware on your system. You can use a firewall to monitor outgoing connections. The programmers that put these things together, however, are getting sneakier and sneakier about getting them to circumvent firewalls. Comet Cursor, for instance uses an HTTP post command to connect without the intervention of a firewall. You can also install a registry monitor such as Regmon to monitor your registry for unwanted registry registry changes, but this is not foolproof either.
Probably the best method of removal is to download a spyware removal program and run it like it was a virus scanner. The best examples of these programs are:
Lavasoft's Adaware.  Or professional cybernut Steve Gibson's OptOut.  Both of these programs are free and are updated regularly.
Here are some links, if you wish to learn more about spyware:
http://www.spychecker.com/
http://grc.com/optout.htm


Cleaning Tracks
Resources:
Burnt Cookies - allows automatic detection and optional deletion of Cookies deposited by Banner Ad of the web-sites...

Surfsecret - automatically kills files like your Internet cache files, cookies, history, temporary files, recent documents, and the contents of the Recycle Bin.

Note: One sidenote on cleaning tracks. When you delete some files on your machine, these aren't actually deleted. Only the reference to their location in the hard drive is deleted, which makes the OS think that that location on the HD is free and ready to take things. Thus, there are ways to recover data even after you delete them.
There are however, several ways to _wipe_ this information. Programs that fill hard disk locations with zeros, then with 1s, on several passes are your best bet to make sure no document goes to the wrong hands. One of such programs is PGP. PHPi now comes with a utility that does this work, and you can even select the number of passes to wipe files. For *nix, there is also the "wipe" program. Use these when you feel you have data that needs secure cleaning.
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