Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Conficker Worm Set to Hit April 1

No this is not an April Fool's Day joke, this is serious. Every few years, the internet is hit by a vicious malware that wreaks havoc on on computers. And it all seems to happen on one day, April 1st, and security experts are racing against time to mitigate the impact of this hazard. For some reason, malware creators like to target April Fool's Day and this latest attack, known as Conficker C, is rumored to be the most damaging attack seen in years.

The infamous Conficker had its debut in late 2008 and started getting buzz when its victims reached over 9 million in January. This third installment, known as Conficker C, has grown increasingly more virulent, complicated and powerful. However, no one really knows what exactly the damages will be come emergence day.

What is really impressive, is that Microsoft is offering a quarter-million dollar bounty on the head of the maker of the worm. Security researchers are desperately digging into the worm's code attempting to engineer a cure or find the writer before the deadline. What is known, is that as of April 1, all infected computers will come under the control of one master computer located somewhere in the vast reaches of the internet. At this point, anything and everything is possible. These controlled computers could do a number of things. They could steal personal information, completely wipe hard drives, deny service, or even generate more pop-ups and extortion-like services designed to sell you made up security software.

Conficker is no ordinary virus, it's smarter than the others. It is really really good at hiding it's tracks. It uses an incredible amount of URLs to communicate with its HQ computer. Conficker's first version only used about 250 different URLs daily, allowing researchers and ICANN buy and disable. Unfortunately, Conficker C has increased the dosage to an astonishing 50,000 different addresses each day! This incredible size makes ot impossible track and disable each one by hand.

Right now you should be extra careful about protecting your computer. Only patch Windows through Windows update and upgrade your anti-malware software as well. You should also make sure your antivirus software is running too, because Conficker just may have disabled it.

It makes me wonder, what with all this talk about master computers, computer HQ, controlled computers, nation-wide extremely violent computer viruses and such, if we are slowly approaching the D-Day foreseen in the Terminator movies? On a serious note though, what is the purpose of these computer viruses? Why do people sit around and create something that ruins people's lives? What joy do they get from it? I guess we may never know. All we can do is protect ourselves as best we can and pray to God that the amazing people trying to help us stop this virus before it infects us all.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Falcon Northwest Mach V - Radeon HD 2900 XT

Falcon Northwest Mach VWhen it comes to gaming computers, you always want the larest and greatest model so you can have that extra step on the competition. Well now you can have it with the Falcon Norhwest Mach V(Radeon HD 2900 XT).

When you are in the market for a gaming computer, your best option is to go with a company that custom builds one to your needs. The boutique system builder like Falcon Northwest is one of the better companies out there. Falcon NW offers many more flexible configurations than most companies, like the ability of installing both Windows XP Pro and Windows Vista Premium on the same computer. Other companies will require you to choose one or the other or may not even offer XP Pro amd most new machienes only come with Vista.

But what is special about this particular computer? This computer comes with the new ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT cards which are the first single 1GB cardson the market. These new cards are set up in a CrossFire configuration and use internal connectors. This is good because ATI's CrossFire and nVidias's SLI require extra cables to have the cards connected for direct communications. The new version uses internal ribbon cabels which is way more attractive than the previous generation CrossFire's ugly external dongle. In addition to being better looking, you now do not have to worry about your external cabels getting caught on things when you move your PC around.

The Mach V has an overclocked quad core QX6800 processor which helps to boost the system's multimedia scores. Like the prvious model of the Mach V, the new version runs the Photoshop CS2 test in 27 seconds and smokes all competition at the Windows Media Encoder Test with an impressive 47 seconds. This fast speed lets you finish multi-media projects very quickly and allows you to get over a dozen different iterations of the project before most computers can pump out three or four.

With all this power, the Mach V has particular forte, gaming. But this Mach V is different from most gaming computers. Like always , the Mach V tops all 3D gaming tests but this version does it on Vista. The Mach V breaks the 16,000 barrier at 3DMark06(16,660 at 1,280-by-1,024 res.) Games have fluid and stutter free animations.

Compared to some other gaming PCs on the market, like the XPS 710 H2C from Dell and Gateway's FX530XT, the Mach V may seem overpriced and overpowered. However, the money you save on the other ones will result in a downsize of performance. The Falcon NW Mach V will run you around $7,930, a hefty price to pay but the performance you are getting is unparalled. This computer is definitley worth a look if you are in the market for a top notch gaming PC.

As an added bonus, Falcon Northwest comes with a beatuiful variety of custom designs you can outfit on your PC. Each design is custom sage brush painted for a truly unique look.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Apple Ipod Shuffle How Small is Too Small

The new Ipod Shuffle is here and if you thought the last one was small then this one might just blow your mind. The new Ipod shuffle is the worlds smallest mp3 player.
Height - 1.8 inches Width - 0.7 inches Depth – 0.3 inches Weight – 10.7 grams or 0.38 ounces. This thing is tiny it weighs roughly the same as 2 nickels and is the size of a standard paper clip!

Also did I mention it has no buttons on the device itself. It looks like a glorified flash drive with an off/off switch and an apple logo that’s it. All the button are on Apples Headphones on a remote that’s attached to the cable. The remote come with 3 buttons: two for the volume control (up/down); and a central button that has multiple functions. Press once to stop/play, twice to skip song, three to skip back, or you can hold to activate the voice system. Holding down the button will cause the Shuffle to say the song that you are playing.

Also if you hold down the middle button for 3 seconds your Shuffle’s Voiceover will start naming your playlists and just press the clicker again to access the playlist that the voiceover is currently announcing.

One big complaint that I would have with this is what I you have your ipod shuffle hooked up to your stereo in your car. You literally could not use it unless you have some software that integrates your car stereo with your ipod otherwise there would be no way to play your music because you would have no buttons.

The specs on the shuffle though are pretty good. It comes with 4GB of space which is about 1000 songs, and has a battery life of 10 hours. The cost though is a big disappointment with a high cost of $80.

Ok back to the size of this. I personally would never be able to hold on to this for more than a week before loosing it. I mean if I can’t keep quarters or pens from falling out of my pocket how am I going to keep this from falling out. This should be the final size that these get down to, any smaller then I am going to have to be using a microscope to find my shuffle.

Peer To Peer File Sharing and Idenity Theft

Dangers of P2P file sharingExperts in security have been warning for years against the hazards of peer-to-peer{P2P} sharing by corporations. The practice of p2p sharing can create security holes allowing malware onto networks and giving access to your sensitive data.

The P2P community may at last be heeding the warnings; next week a company representing P2P file sharing providers will publish a report that purportedly finds P2P software companies are modifying their programs in an effort to make it harder for users to inadvertently share sensitive information.

The problem in corporate America, experts say, is that employees are violating corporate policy by using P2P software at work or on work laptops to download MP3 files, or they take the work laptop home and their children install file-sharing software on it. "Ninety-three percent of P2P disclosures in the enterprise are inadvertent," said Tiversa Brand Director Scott Harrer. "You can't really guard against human error."

The latest version of popular file sharing software, released earlier this year, LimeWire 5, includes a number of the suggested security changes and served as a "poster child for compliance," said Marty Lafferty, chief executive of the DCIA.

It's not just corporations that should fear P2P sharing; home users need to be concerned as well. According to the Identity Theft Assistance Center, throughout this year "criminals will continue to exploit new technologies to commit identity theft." At the top of their list of 'major event' security breaches from 2007 is a case involving a P2P file sharing network.

Even with the public becoming more educated on P2P sharing, the use is steadily on the rise. A large number of people use file sharing to download music, movies and games. What they don't know is doing so can allow access to their personal information, such as business, tax and personal files.

The danger here is clear, as it is commonly acknowledged that criminals now troll file sharing networks for the sole purpose of finding sensitive data that can be used to commit identity theft.One of the steps you can take to protect your files is looking into software like Identity Finder.Identity Finder has the ability to automatically search for personal information inside files, e-mails, and web browsers. It then helps individuals securely delete the data or protect the information with encryption.

The best thing that corporations and the public can do is become educated in P2P sharing and the dangers that exists. For more information on P2P sharing click here.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Seagate Demos 6Gbs Hard-Drive Transfer Speed

It looks like Seagate and AMD are already planning for the future for SATA drives by showing off their first tech demo of Serial ATA Revision 3.0. That is pretty much a fancy name for SATA 3. The new SATA 3 cables will feature a new transfer rate of six gigabits per second (589.09 MB/s) which is double to the speed of the current generation SATA 2 cables (288.55 MB/s).

Before you get excited though you should know that this will not double the transfer rate of data for your hard drive. Currently no Hard Drive, even the SSDs, have broke the SATA 2 288.55 MB/s data transfer cab, but some are getting close, the Intel X-25M is currently the highest at 250MB/s.

So why bother you may ask, Seagate commented by saying that usually the SATA cable technology always improves a couple of years in advance of the Hard Drives. Also the new spec also includes greater support for streaming operations in its Native Command Queue, so you can do streaming reads/writes without grinding all the rest of your operations to a halt. Even better news is the SATA 3 cables will be fully compatible with all SATA 2 products and will be out by the end of the year.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

2009 will be the worst year ever for PC sales

Computer Sales Down for 2009

If 2008 wasn’t bad enough for computer sales according to the research company Gartner, PC shipments will fall 12 percent in 2009. If the analysts report turns out to be true then 2009 will be the worst decline in the industry ever.

"The PC industry is facing extraordinary conditions as the global economy continues to weaken, users stretch PC lifetimes, and PC suppliers grow increasingly cautious," said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner.

This is already following bad news from the industry with 2008 Q4 pc shipments being down 0.4% and US PC sales being down 3.5%.

According to Gartner PC sales will be hit with a staggering 32% decrease in sales for desktops from the previous year, meanwhile, laptops are expected to grow by 9% due to mainly to the rise in demand for netbooks. Looks like bad news for Dell, HP, and Apple.

Monday, March 2, 2009

1.5-terabyte External Hard Drive for $112.49 shipped

Seagate FreeAgent 1.5 Terabyte External Hard DriveWow, seriously 1.5 terabytes. This is enough storage to hold your entire music, movie, and picture collection on and you should still have a ton left over. If you are in dire need for storage this is the deal for you. Dell has just gave out a coupon code that allows you to buy a Seagate External FreeAgent external drive that is holds 1.5 terabytes for the low cost of $112.49 and free shipping.

The coupon code is T4346M$Q6GRJB$, just enter it at the checkout and it is good up until April 4th.

The External Drive is just a simple 7200 RPM USB 2.0 drive. It does not have eSATA, but Seagate backs the drive with an impressive 5 year warranty. their is some bad news though, the FreeAgent is said to be only compatibly with Windows XP and later models of Microsoft's OS, so that means bad news for you guys using a Mac or Linux. Also there has been an Average Review rating of around 3-3.5 on Newegg and Amazon so I would recommend reading the reviews before buying.

The fact is though you are getting a Giant 1.5 terabyte drive at the low cost of 7.5 cents a gig.