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Gadgets Hack Mobile

Hack Windows Password in 2 Minutes

hackerAt least, that is how long it would take me to hack into any Microsoft Windows account – 2 minutes! Very worrisome, isn’t it? Goes to show that anyone that thinks his data is safe just because it is tucked away in his passworded Windows account would really need to have a rethink.

I will not go through the process of how to go about hacking a Windows account here,sorry, but a quick search on the Internet would give you a number of options you can use.

So does it mean all hope of having a secured Windows Operating System is lost? Far from it!

One quick option that is within the reach of about anyone is the use of BIOS PASSWORD.

A BIOS password can be very effective at controlling access to your personal computer. All you need do is access the setup menu of your laptop and enable the Bios Password. Subsequently, once you switch on your PC – at the hardware level – you are prompted to insert a password before booting up any Operating System. If the computer won’t boot up until a password is entered, it is effectively useless to most would be opportunist hackers or other intruders.

However, the Bios Password is not hackproof. A determined hacker can still use online resources to hack the password or may just extract the hard-drive from the laptop, insert into another and hack away.

Another option is creating vaults within your hard-drive using tools like Steganos Safe software. The software allows you to protect your data in several ways. It enables you to create a secure area on your hard-drive or on removable media such as a USB key. It works just like a real vault, protecting all of your data from unauthorized third-party access. Without the right password, nobody can retrieve the contents. You can read more about this software here.

Lastly, we have Microsoft’s own Bitlocker. Probably the most secure of the lot, BitLocker Drive Encryption is a full disk encryption feature included with the Ultimate and Enterprise editions of Microsoft’s Windows Vista, Windows 7, and with Pro and Enterprise editions of Windows 8 desktop operating systems. The latest version of BitLocker, included in Windows 7 and Windows 8 adds the ability to also encrypt removable drives, as described here.

Bitlocker is an effective and essential tool for protecting sensitive data, it effectively addresses the threats of data theft or exposure from lost, stolen, or inappropriately decommissioned computers.

BitLocker lets you encrypt the hard drives allowing you to protect your hard drive from offline attack.  This is the type of attack where a malicious user will take the hard drive from your mobile machine and connect it to another machine so they can harvest your data.  BitLocker also protects your data if a malicious user boots from an alternate Operating System.  With either attack method, BitLocker encrypts the hard drive so that when someone has physical access to the drive, the drive is unreadable.

Now if there is a need to harvest data from a hard drive when a machine fails, there are tools that you can use which will prompt the admin for the recovery key that was given when Bitlocker was being enabled on the drive.

Note that BitLocker does not protect the computer contents while Windows is running.  BitLocker was specifically built for offline attacks.

For those without these versions of Windows, you may consider drive encryption softwares like DiskCryptor or Truecrypt.

There are still many more data security options out there not mentioned but the ones listed are very much tested and so far, trusted. No one knows tomorrow though. 🙁

Categories
Gadgets Mobile

Windows 8 OS Convergence – The Pros and Cons

With an expected release date of October 26, 2012, Microsoft’s Windows 8 will be the first unified Operating system platform across desktop and mobile devices.

Before now, there have been talks about Apple venturing into creating a unified platform. Thwarting all expectations, the company has come out to say there will still be clear boundaries between its iOS and OSX operating systems.

However, leveraging on its global OS dominance, Microsoft is ready to set the trend for the future, offering a singular Windows 8 experience across all devices.

Let us quickly analyze what might be considered as the pros and cons of this innovation:

PROS

  • Universal user experience with the power of cloud

When you move from a mobile to a desktop in today’s world, you have to go through the learning curve of adjusting to a new interface. But with a unified platform, such a need becomes obsolete. For example, Windows 8 supposedly offers the same user experience when you move from a tablet to a PC. Hence, users will have a high comfort level between various devices, and will be pleased with the convergence of technologies. Also, a unified platform can harness the power of the cloud to synchronize data across all devices. Imagine using your mobile to download apps and documents on the go, only to get back home and realize that all of the same stuff you downloaded is already synced to your home PC. Wouldn’t that be awesome!

  • Write once, run anywhere

Currently, developers have to write separate code to build applications to run on the iOS and Mac OSX system. An app that is delivered on an iPhone will not simply work on a MacBook. However, a unified platform makes such a difficulty obsolete. Developers will be able to code an app on a single framework and deliver that to multiple devices. This is extremely important as it avoids reduplication of effort and accelerates delivery of projects for clients. On Windows 8, Metro-style apps can be developed using several languages, including C++,C# and JavaScript.

CONS

  • “Converging a Toaster and a Refrigerator”

Exact words of Apple CEO, Tim Cook when asked about converging its operating systems iOS and OS X. A similar feeling was echoed from the feedback gotten from the early adopters of Windows 8 on a PC. The UI and the user experience in general was greatly skewed towards mobile experience.

  • Compatibility Issues

Two variants of Windows 8 is expected to be released, one variant based on the traditional Intel based chipset and the other variant on the arm based chipset, a processor commonly associated with mobile devices but as since been scaled up to run at speeds that could be used to power laptops and desktops. Will one version of Windows 8 provide the same user experience as the other? While Microsoft says “definitely”, it remains to be seen if applications will work the same way across various hardware architectures. For example, the RT version will not be able to support a traditional desktop. Similarly, users may become disgruntled that older versions of their favorite Windows applications don’t work on Windows 8. If this is not addressed properly, it will cause havoc among consumers.

 

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Hack Linux

Linux & OS X-only Trojan Spotted

I have always been a Linux apologist – apologies to no one. My migration to the Linux platform a few years back was largely influenced by the bitter experiences i had with malwares and viruses on Windows. Rumours were rife then of the near impregnability of Linux, that Linux is virus (trojan horse) free. It was said that the old-fashioned multi-user heritage of Linux prevents malware, since users are not normally running their programs in admin mode (as root user).

But lately, i have been worried – very worried. The near invincibility image of Linux platform is fast being compromised. Now you hear of Linux trojans and hacks all around you. So much that i am now convinced that the only reason the statistics is still relatively low compared to Microsoft Windows is because of the low rate of adoption of Linux on desktops. And only if end users can adhere to best practices on the use of Microsoft Windows PCs as highlighted here, chances are that virus infiltration of the Windows platform will not be as widespread.

Below is an excerpt from theregister.co.uk, on the latest threat to the Linux (and its cousin, Apple OSX) platforms;

Security researchers have discovered a potential dangerous Linux and Mac OS X cross-platform trojan.

Once installed on a compromised machine, Wirenet -1 opens a backdoor to a remote command server, and logs key presses to capture passwords and sensitive information typed by victims. The program also grabs passwords submitted to Opera, Firefox, Chrome and Chromium web browsers, and credentials stored by applications including email client Thunderbird, web suite SeaMonkey, and chat app Pidgin. The malware then attempts to upload the gathered data to a server hosted in the Netherlands.

The software nastie was intercepted by Russian antivirus firm Dr Web [which] describes Wirenet-1 as the first Linux/OSX cross-platform password-stealing trojan.

Multi-platform virus strains that infect Windows, Mac OS X and Linux machines are extremely rare but not unprecedented. One example include the recent Crisis super-worm. Creating a strain of malware that infects Mac OS X and Linux machines but not Windows boxes seems, frankly, weird given the sizes of each operating system’s userbase – unless the virus has been designed for some kind of closely targeted attack on an organisation that uses a mix of the two Unix flavours.

Analysis work on the Wirenet-1 is ongoing and for now it’s unclear how the trojan is designed to spread. Once executed, it copies itself to the user’s home directory, and uses AES to encrypt its communications with a server over the internet.

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Articles

Windows vs Linux vs Mac Smackdown : An Objective Comparison

Comparisons between the Microsoft Windows, Apple MAC and Linux computer operating systems have been a long running topic since the beginning of time.Comparisons of these operating systems tend to reflect their origins, historic user bases and distribution models.

We will start with a background comparison of the three operating systems.

Windows

Windows is one of the most well known operating systems developed by Microsoft. About 9 out of 10 homes and businesses currently use at least one Windows computer. Windows was originally based off of MS-DOS. This line of Windows OS became known as the 9x series. Eventually, all subsequent Windows OS’s are based off Windows NT. The most recent WINNT OS would be Windows 7.

Mac OS X

OS X is an operating system developed by Apple and is currently the 2nd most used OS after Windows. It has less than 20% marketshare. OS X unlike Windows, is actually based off of Unix. Therefore, OS X is considered to be part of the Unix OS family like Linux is. In fact, you can almost consider OS X to be a Linux Distribution.

Linux

Linux is not actually a single OS, but rather several distributions all based off of the original Unix system. Linux is very popular for servers but has recently found its way to the desktop. It’s not as popular as OS X or Windows yet, but it’s popularity is rising. Unlike OS X or Windows, Linux is free and open source. There are many distributions of Linux like Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, etc.

The Myths & Facts About These Platforms

  • Viruses

It is generally stated that PCs commonly get viruses but Linux and Macs do not. That is untrue because OS X is just as vulnerable to viruses as Windows is. The reason why Windows appear to be more vulnerable is because it literally has more viruses programmed for it. But that doesn’t mean the system itself is more vulnerable. Mac OS X seem to have no viruses targeted at it because hackers don’t think OS X is worth making viruses for. This is because barely anyone owns a Mac compared to the number of Windows users out there. Therefore, there’s not much incentive to program a virus for a Mac. Mac viruses do exist and can affect a mac system just as much as a Windows virus can affect a windows system. There is no hack – proof or virus proof system.

Even Linux systems have a few viruses too.

Truth be told, hardening techniques like the one discussed here makes the Windows platform less susceptible to viruses than it is perceived.

  • Stability

Many people say that OS X never crashes and is the most stable OS ever. The same can now be said about Windows 7.

Truth is, Windows 7 is the most stable Windows Operating systems ever. OS X can crash just as frequently as a Windows OS. In fact, OS X crashes even more when you are running non-Apple approved software such as Adobe Flash or Audacity. Even Steve Jobs admitted that Macs can crash a lot, despite what his “I’m a Mac” ads have said.

The famous BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) on Windows is a misconception from older Windows 9x systems. Back during Windows 9x series, stability was actually an issue. However, the switch to Windows NT systems made the OS much more stable and Blue Screens are considered quite rare now. Apple and other Apple fanboys are using the Windows 9x history as an argument against Windows even though those systems have long been discontinued and those problems no longer affect modern Windows systems.

As for Linux, it can crash too although it’s much more rare than WIndows or OS X. When a Linux crashes, it’s called a Kernel Panic.

  • Hardware

Normally in a Windows vs Linux comparison, hardware would not be given much mention, but because Mac OS X locks users to Apple hardware, this comparison is necessary.

For Windows and Linux, you can choose what you want to install your OS on. There are tons of options from manufacturers like Dell, HP, Acer, Gateway, Lenovo, Asus, and so on. For Mac OS X, you only have Apple.

Firstly, using the same hardware specifications, a Windows PC usually cost much less than an Apple Mac. Probably the deal breaker for most is that carrying out a hardware upgrade task on a Mac is a near impossible task, except for the real geeks. This is if you do not mind the fact that opening up a Mac will void your warranty and violate Apple’s EULA.

  • Software Library

Windows OS has the largest software library than any other OS. This means that the majority of programs, applications, and games out there are meant for Windows. Productivity Suites like Microsoft Office are always available on Windows first. That same version will be released on OS X later on. Many other programs out there are also Windows exclusive. If you’re into gaming, you’ll need good hardware (see above) and to play more games, you’ll need Windows. Many PC games today are meant for PC’s running Windows. There’s a new line of games called Games For Windows, which is obviously meant for Windows. Many Steam games are also meant for Windows. Only a few games will work on Macs or Linux.

  • Usage

There’s a common myth that Mac OS X is better and more common for video editing. This is untrue. Almost all video editing programs are multi-platform meaning that they work on both Windows and OS X. Linux may be a less favoured exception.

Programs like Sony Vegas, Adobe Premiere, Autodesk Avid, and so on all work on both OSes. The only notable video editing program that is OS X specific is Final Cut Pro. As for application and software development including game development, Windows is definitely the main platform. Many programs today are written in programming languages such as C++, C#, Java, and Visual Basic. While some of those languages work on OS X and Linux, the newer and more common ones are now for Windows only such as Visual Basic and C#. Game development for consoles and PC’s are done primarily on a Windows platform for the same reason as above.

However, it should be mentioned here that a software called Wine lets you run Windows software on other operating systems like Linux. With Wine, you can install and run these applications just like you would in Windows.

As for server use, Linux accounts for over 60% of server systems. However, Windows is also common for server usage. It depends on preference and the amount of resources someone has.

OS X also has a server edition, however it is not very popular and is rarely used mainly because of cost issues. Apple software and hardware tend to be very expensive and overpriced.

So which is the best OS? Well, that really depends on what you want. Windows is generally recommended for most users who do not have specific needs. I use Linux as my main OS but switch with Windows when there is a need for a software not supported on Linux.

Reference

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Gadgets

Did Apple Kick The Ball Into its Own Goal With its Campaign Against Flash?

By forcing Web developers, and ultimately Adobe, out of the Flash business, Apple made HTML5 apps better. That’s good for Safari users, but it’s also good for users on other Web platforms, like Android. If there’s a truly good universal platform for online apps, it stands to reason that the smart developer will build apps for it, since this way the app will be available to the largest number of users. Right?

Furthermore, now that Adobe has HTML5 religion, the company is releasing high-quality HTML5 developer tools, migrating its Flash developers over to the new platform. So we should be about to see a flood of new Web-based mobile apps.

All this appears to be just as Apple intended: Steve Jobs’ campaign to rid the world of Flash is succeeding. The Web is getting better apps and the Web-browsing experience on Apple’s mobile devices is getting better.

But this could be bad news for Apple’s lucrative App Store business. While Apple takes a 30 percent cut of all app sales through its store (still the only way for consumers to get apps), Apple gets 0 percent of “Web apps” loaded up through the browser. The better HTML5 gets, the less developers will write apps, less money Apple will make, and the less unique the iPhone and iPad will be.

I talked with the CEO of a Web company who is excited about the advances in HTML5 because he sees a future in which the devices and operating systems are on the same level. It’s a world where new products, like Microsoft Windows phones, can come along and be instantly competitive. And where companies like his can have a shot at dominance in their market niche after building only one app, the HTML5 version.

In other words, Apple, in pushing the world toward HTML5, is killing its own golden goose.

Or is it?

The counter argument comes from another CEO, one who’s built a successful business around both Web services, and software for mobiles and traditional computers. He says that apps are here to stay, because the “lowest common denominator” strategy (using the Web) doesn’t cut it for developers ultimately, nor for consumers, and most importantly not for the tech megaliths behind mobile operating systems: Apple, Google, and Microsoft.

The challenge for apps developers, my source explains, is getting their apps seen for more than a fleeting moment. For those making Web apps, there’s just no good way. Even a good review of a Web app on a popular site has only a temporary impact. The way to get your app in front of potential customers, time and again, is to get it featured in an app store.

You do that by building an app that highlights its unique hardware capabilities—the features that the hardware company is using to sell the product. These will likely be features that you can’t access today, or in the foreseeable future, with a Web app. This isn’t because HTML5 won’t advance, but because the device and OS manufacturers will always do their best to keep their products somewhat ahead of the lower-common-denominator Web platform. It is how they sell products.

So if you make a mobile app, you want to feed into that trend, because it will feed you.

And what about HTML5? It’s good for apps that don’t depend on the app stores for sales. The means enterprise apps, essentially. HTML5 has its place in consumer apps, too, including inside many successful mobile apps. But not for the core features or the main UI.

Relying on HTML5 to quickly get to broad compatibility across the mobile landscape is a trap, my guy says. To succeed, you need to tackle each platform separately. In fact, he says, you might want to build apps that only work on the latest and greatest version of a phone, and intentionally not on previous models. Yes, fewer people will be able to use it. But everyone who buys the new toy will. The more your app makes the hot new hardware look good, the more it’ll get promoted by the hardware or OS manufacturer. That can give your app presence it could not otherwise get. Once your product is succeeding on the brand-new hardware, you can start adapting it to other platforms.

Try to conquer the entire mobile world at once and you’ll have no marketing partners. Or, put more starkly: It’s hard to win when nobody loses.

Source : Linux Today

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

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Linux

Is Linux Still The Safest Operating System?

When you first started to see personal computers come on the scene back in the late 70’s and early 80’s there was not that much thought about the security of the devices. The people who created them did not envision that soon they would be used to talk to people all around the world. When you finally did get some of the signs that the personal computer would be used for networking, most of the time it was between people who already knew each other or professionals who were using it for work. But as more people started to purchase home computers and the more the networks started spreading, computer security became an issue.

Hackers both on the good side of the law and the bad started to figure out that they could use their computer and access another person’s computer over the network without anyone noticing. This especially became a problem when teenagers with nothing else better to do started figuring out that they could do this as well. What started out as little pranks started to become a real problem because they were started to access sensitive information on these computers. The companies that made personal computers and operating systems knew that there had to be a change.

But the change did not come quick enough. While the security changes in the popular operating systems at the time were incremental at best, the hackers got better in wide leaps and bounds. They found that they were able to access systems through a numerous amount of holes in the machine. And through all of this time both the personal computer and the internet started to become more and more popular. There were targets everywhere for a hacker to do damage.

At the time, Microsoft Windows was the biggest operating system in the world. It was both popular in the work place and at home. Since this was the case, most of the attacks on networks were aimed at Microsoft systems. And Microsoft did not handle this very well. They waited and waited until their reputation was pretty much slandered before they got serious when it came to securing your computer. And so even in this time, while Windows 7 is one of the safest operating systems on the market, it still has the reputation of having the most holes. But does it really? What about the other operating systems out there such as Mac OS X and Linux? While OS X has made some improvements lately it is Linux that has always been known as one of the safest operating systems to use. Is it still that way?

What is Linux?


While most people who are reading this article should already know what Linux is, there are some people who do not. Linux is an operating system just like Windows or Mac OS X. The difference being is that it is a completely open sourced operating system that allows anyone to work on the code. This means that if there are any problems with the operating system people can examine the code and figure out a fix for it. Once the fix is made, then it can be shared with the other installations of Linux.

And this is what makes the system so secure. You are able to get fixes all of the time and they come in more regularly than the other operating systems do. Also what makes Linux more secure is that it is based on the UNIX operating systems which when it was built, was built for security. Several people at the same time used UNIX computers so there was always a concern that it needed to be built with protection.

But recently there have been more and more holes found in Linux that have let the bad guys cause more serious damage. The problem with Linux is that it is the most popular server in the world. So while the bad guys are not able to find that many people using Linux at home, they will find Linux on a bunch of servers that are out there. That makes Linux a real tempting target when it comes to exploitation.

While Linux has had more problems than it used to, it is probably just as safe as the other operating systems that are on the market. Where once it had a wide lead when it came to security, that gap has narrowed a lot and there is very little difference between it and the other operating systems. But when it comes to using it as a server, it is still one of the safest operating systems out there. You can make a Linux server very hard to crack into. You just have to be willing to learn about it and make sure that you know what you are doing.

– Posted using BlogPress

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Articles

Consumer Electronic Show (CES) 2011

The World’s largest electronic show kicks off tomorrow, 6 January.  Known as International CES, it is the flagship medium where most consumer electronic products are unveiled. Among the product highlights we expect to be unveiled are the RIM Playbook, Microsoft’s Windows 8 , loads of tablets and just maybe the Ipad 2. Stay Tuned!

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Lifestyle Linux

I Hate Windows – I am Afraid of Linux

Below is an excerpt from an article on www.osnews.com. It was published way back 2002.

First, a little background. I am a Windows user who has been using Windows since 3.1. I am not a programmer or a developer, I am a user. I process photos, use the internet, e-mail, write letters, play the ever important games and even use it to develop my comic strips. I am not computer illiterate and I use my computer with confidence and skill. Now with that said. I hate Windows.

Windows is what has always been around and I have always used it. I have seen the “Blue Screen of Death”. I have lost countless documents and information I have so carefully assembled. I have had a complete corruption of my hard drive by Windows. I have updated to new Windows products and found out that vital software programs that I use will not work. I have had to update my hardware to keep up with the ever-hungry latest version of Windows

The first dillemma that I faced (with Linux) is what company should I go with? As a Windows user I really never heard of the many different companies that produce Linux. I have heard of Red Hat and Mandrake (now known as Mandriva). I have read about them sort of on web pages, but since I never wanted to use Linux before I did not pay much attention. I wanted to find a version that was easy to install, I have heard the nightmares of having to configure all the hardware yourself. I read the web pages and decided to go with Mandrake. I really could not make heads or tails of the different distrubutions, even in the reviews. I picked Mandrake because it seemed like an easy install. Why did I have to pick? Why not just go to store and buy what ever and it is the right one?

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Articles Linux

OS Wars – Get a Mac!

Most times, your preference for an Operating System (OS) over another is largely influenced by your familiarity or comfort with a particular one. Sometimes, the opinions can be out rightly one sided especially for our country Nigeria where most people have never seen anything else other that a Windows PC.

There’s been so much superiority claims among the major players, namely Apple’s Mac OSX and Microsoft’s Windows, which has been heated up with Windows latest attack on Apple.

In my response to a comment to my write-up Who’s Afraid of Linux, i did a quick round up of the 3 majors OSes and gave the trophy to Apple Mac. It was not a resounding victory for apple, in fact, it was a very close call. The truth is, Windows has since redeemed its image overwhelmingly since the introduction of Windows 7. Windows Vista was an apology, so much that a lot of homes and businesses stuck to Windows XP, giving XP the longest shelf life for any OS. Microsoft XP was introduced October 2001 and its still being supported till 2014.

Also, one of the major edge Apple Mac had is slowly being eroded. Before now, you could easily install a Windows OS on an Apple Mac either as a Virtual Machine or a dual boot partition. It was not possible to install a Mac OSX on a PC, well, not without having to go hacking. That also has changed. Enter VIRTUALBOX , again! Officially, the virtualization software only supports Mac OSX server, but without any need for hacking, you can easily install your Mac OSX Snow leopard in your Windows 7 OS. Moreso, with the price of a Mac OSX going for this cheap, i think now it’s the time to take the Mac for a spin.

Why not Get a Mac?

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Hosting Tutorials

Who is afraid of Linux?

Imagine switching on your laptop in the midst of your friends and UBUNTU boots up, it confers an immediate geekiness status on you. What can be more cool?! You can even use it to score a point or two with dem babes. Some fantasy ehn?

The first time I tried my hands on Linux was way back in the late 1990’s and it was not a pleasant experience,can’t even remember the name of the Linux distribution i tried. One major contributor to this negative experience was the fact that there was no Graphical User Interface (GUI) to explore with like you have with Microsoft Windows, it utilised a text mode interface,called Command Line Interface (CLI). Those familiar with MSDOS or GWBASIC (my,my,my) would understand.