Tag Archive: Microsoft Windows

Synology – Better Than Most Backup Solutions for Me!

What is the Best Backup for Windows in a Small Home or Office?  (SOHO)

This is the question I asked myself over two years ago.  At the time I recommended the SynologyDS210j and I still would if they made it!

It’s now been replaced by the DS212j, that’s it on the left.

This though, is essentially the same as my old one and in fact, in appearance it’s the same.  My DS210j has functioned perfectly for well over two years.  It just sits there, quietly doing its own thing and has never let me down.

I’ve uprated the internal operating system (called DSM) several times and it now stands as version DSM 4.2-3202.  Synology have said that this will be the last incarnation of this software and that there’ll be no further versions for me on this hardware beyond version 4.

If I was buying now, I’d just buy the latest version.  It does everything anyone would want, is quiet and reliable.

New Kid? The D-Link ShareCenter 2 Bay….

Well nearly, but it’s not for me.

My friend has just bought a D-Link ShareCenter 2 Bay Cloud Network Storage Enclosure since they didn’t want to spend so much…

It’s less than half the price of the Synology and tomorrow evening, I get to set it up!

The specifications, included software, and operating system functionality are almost identical to my Synology.  You know, stuff like media server, web server, iTunes server, backup drive, security camera monitoring, the list goes on..!

  • The reviews, however, say that it is noisy, though my friend says this isn’t an issue since it’s going in a cupboard with the router and internet gateway. It does seem to have a smaller fan than my little white cutie, so that could be it.
  • Some reviewers had difficulty setting it or its software up.  Well actually, I’ve had a few difficulties myself with the DSM software from Synology – if you’ve not done things like this before, it can be difficult and confusing.  It’s not Windows after all!

So, watch this space.  I’ll get back later when it’s all done.

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Problems with Conficker or Downadup?

Or How to Disable Autoruns

– to Stop This Particular Infection Route

This is a brief summary of what to do…
  1. Make sure you have a proper anti-virus program running
    • NOD32 is a good one!
    • AVG is too
    • Kaspersky, Trend, CA are also good brands
  2. Make sure your anti-virus is current and updated.  Check like so:
    • Somewhere on your program will be it’s last update
    • For NOD32, hover your mouse cursor over the little icon next to the taskbar clock (bottom right in XP)
    • As well as version numbers, the last update shows in reverse date format – 6 Feb 2009 is 20090206
    • Other programs are very similar and the last update is usually pretty obvious so you don’t need to fiddle with settiings etc.
  3. Disable autoruns as this is a good way for the virus/malware/trojan to get you
    • This is the best and easiest way to do this:
Copy This Text:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\IniFileMapping\Autorun.inf]

Open Notepad:

start -> run -> type ‘notepad’ (without quotes) and hit Enter on the keyboard

Paste Into Notepad:

Now paste the copied text into Notepad

Now Save the File:

Call the file a handy name like “StopAutoRun” but make sure it has a ‘reg’ extension!

So your file should be called something like StopAutoRun.reg

Now Run The Reg File You’ve Just Made:

Double-click the file – your registry will pick up the change and the handy autorun feature will be disabled!

Of course, you may be used to using this “handy feature”.  If you want to keep it, don’t do any of the above but be very, very, very careful about any USB stick you insert into your computer, any CD you insert or play, any video you watch on DVD, and any network you map or connect to…

What About if I’m Already Infected?

How to Clear and Eliminate Conficker or Downadup?

  1. Connect to the internet with a “good”, clean computer.  You may need to borrow one or visit a friend’s house..
  2. Download a clean up program – the NOD32 version is here: http://download.eset.com/special/EConfickerRemover.exe Other Anti-virus makers have similar ones.
  3. Copy the tool you’ve just downloaded to your own PC and run it.   It may take a while and you’ll definately need a reboot afterwards.
  4. Install and/or Update a good Antivirus program (see above at top)

Further Reading and Information Sources

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The Problem with Microsoft and Oledb32.dll

Another day, another Microsoft security alert..

This morning, another raft of advisories arrived in my mail from Secunia, this is one;
Internet Explorer Data Binding Memory Corruption Vulnerability

This rivetting title is like deja-vu.  Time and again we’ve seen this.  This is the fault of a company, Microsoft, that puts form before function, functionality before security.

Yet again, the core problem stems from years back when Microsoft had the bright idea to get everything linked together, like the internet is now, but different.  The key is the method of linking.

When you connect to a web page, like this one, you connect, when you decide you want to.

Microsoft, unfortunately, have everything set up as they originally envisaged it, that is, everything is permanently connected to everything else!  And that’s the problem!

If you have Visual Studio, say 2008, as I have, when web applications are constructed, one of the key things you’ll notice is the data-binding going on.  The wizards and the help system are all permanently geared to doing this!

This is totally at-odds with a dynamically connected internet

This latest problem hangs around OLEDB32.dll   In M$ shorthand, this stands for “Object Linking and Embedding Data Base 32-bit Dynamic Linked Library”

There we have it, Linking & Embedding.  This is wonderful technology for putting spreadsheets in Word documents within the corporate offfice environment.  However, when passing secure information over unsecured internet lines, it’s not!  Of couse, you can delete oledb32.dll, but then you cannot access any data….doh!

Despite the continuous obvious failings of this methodology, just listen to the sanctimonious obfuscatory speech in their “Security Advisory” here: Microsoft Security Advisory (961051): Vulnerability in Internet Explorer Could Allow Remote Code Execution

Our investigation so far has shown that these attacks are only (my emphasis!) against Windows Internet Explorer 7 on supported editions of Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows XP Service Pack 3, Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2, Windows Vista, Windows Vista Service Pack 1, and Windows Server 2008. Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.01 Service Pack 4, Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 Service Pack 1, Microsoft Internet Explorer 6, and Windows Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 on all supported versions of Microsoft Windows are potentially vulnerable

Basically, this means all their current operating systems and browsers!  Not “only”….

The vulnerability exists as an invalid pointer reference in the data binding function of Internet Explorer. When data binding is enabled (which is the default state), it is possible under certain conditions for an object to be released without updating the array length, leaving the potential to access the deleted object’s memory space. This can cause Internet Explorer to exit unexpectedly, in a state that is exploitable.

Well that’s what’s wrong.  So what are Microsoft going to do, I can hear you asking?  It’s their software design, after all?

We are actively investigating the vulnerability that these attacks attempt to exploit. We will continue to monitor the threat environment and update this advisory if this situation changes.  On completion of this investigation, Microsoft will take the appropriate action to protect our customers, which may (my emphasis) include providing a solution…   Microsoft continues to encourage customers to follow the “Protect Your Computer” guidance of….having a firewall and anti-virus…

So Microsoft is looking, and if it gets worse they’ll let us know!!!

Let’s have the final word on this  from the Secunia Advisory;

NOTE: Reportedly, the vulnerability is currently being actively exploited.

The vulnerability is confirmed in Internet Explorer 7 on a fully patched Windows XP SP3 and in Internet Explorer 6 on a fully patched Windows XP SP2, and reported in Internet Explorer 5.01 SP4. Other versions may also be affected.

We all bought into the “Welcome to Microsoft” world.  We are all fully patched.  Caveat Emptor.

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Why Buy Vista – the HP View

Following on from my post http://strangelyperfect.tv/442/why-buy-vista/, I’ve noticed that Hewlett Packard have now put some of their stats into the public domain which refute the Microsoft notion that Vista sales are whizz-bang and superb.

This posting, http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/215502/hp-windows-xp-accounts-for-majority-of-vista-sales.html, reports the fact that Microsoft is double-counting sales of Vista and XP because customers are getting new machines with XP installed as a downgrade option for Vista – and then doing the downgrade!   It’s got to be the first time in history when a downgrade is an improvement!

On top of this, consider Microsoft’s pricing structure, which should seriously dent anyone’s aspirations to acquire XP over Vista……

Novatech on this page, , has these prices for Operating Systems (32 bit shown here).  It’s representative for the UK.  OEM prices are shown – no-one in their right mind pays full whack.

OS Price (UK)
Windows XP Home OEM Service Pack 2

Manufacturer Code: N09-02030 3pk plit to 1

£59.92 inc vat
Windows XP PRO OEM Service Pack 2
Manufacturer Code: E85-04914 3PK SPLIT
£95.17 inc vat
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 32-Bit Edition DVD – OEM – 1Pk

Manufacturer Code: 661-00752 3pk split to 1

£69.33 inc vat
Microsoft Windows Vista Business 32-Bit Edition DVD – OEM – 1Pk
Manufacturer Code: 66J-02289
£89.30 inc vat

What this shows that for comparable systems (XP Pro versus Vista Home Basic), Microsoft is setting their price structure to push the Vista product.  The cheapest Vista isn’t worth talking about as any user who’s bought it will tell you, the much vaunted aero interface doesn’t work with it!  The Business edition has some extra network stuff, but most businesses don’t get it as the HP experience proves….

So what we have is the classic lies, damned lies and statistics effect.  Microsift is using dubious statistics to push their line that Vista is okay whereas people would rather have the 95 quid product over the 70 quid one!

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