An Internet Security Blog

PC-SOS is now on a co.cc domain with WordPress.org!

Posted by Bob Zenith on January 21, 2011

You may have noticed a lack of updates on PC-SOS recently. Not to fear; PC-SOS isn’t ending; it’s entering in a new phase 🙂

The reason for the lack of updates is due to the work of transferring PC-SOS over to a co.cc domain with WordPress.org. Can you guess the URL?


There were a number of reasons for this change, and they are all explained on the first post on the new domain.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Happy Holidays!

Posted by Bob Zenith on December 24, 2010

Just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone Happy Holidays!

While you’re preparing for 2011, why not take a moment and make some New Year’s Resolutions? Here are some ideas:

  • Be Safer on the Internet
  • Teach someone how to be safe on the Internet
  • Become active on an online forum dedicated to Internet safety

Or, if you’re addicted to the internet, a good resolution idea would be to try to peel yourself away from the computer and spend more time with family / friends 😉

Anyways, enjoy the last bit of 2010 while you can; the next post of PC-SOS will be in 2011.

Posted in Misc. | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Calling all WOT users

Posted by Bob Zenith on December 13, 2010

Chip.de, which appears to be a German software review site (can’t be sure, I don’t speak German), has several pages for the WOT add-on (for Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome) with less-than-satisfying ratings.

Current ratings:

It’s obvious that a group of people are trying to game chip.de’s reviewing system (which is only protected by a simple CAPTCHA) and lower WOT’s reputation on the web. This is especially evident in Chrome’s score, whereas the more popular versions (IE and Firefox) show more accurate scores, but still low.

It’s been suspected that the group trying to lower WOT’s reputation is the same group that submitted several poor reviews of WOT on the Mozilla Add-ons page claiming that the add-on was malware.

Please take 20 seconds of your time to visit WOT’s pages on chip.de and vote up the add-on (this can be done simply by clicking the green ‘thumbs up’ symbol and entering a CAPTCHA – requires no registration).

More background can be found here: http://www.mywot.com/en/forum/8707-bad-user-ratings-for-wot-on-chip-de

Posted in WOT: Web of Trust | Leave a Comment »

Thank You WikiLeaks

Posted by Bob Zenith on November 29, 2010

Many of you have already heard of the situation going on with WikiLeaks this week. To summarize: somehow, someway, WikiLeaks got a hold of confidential government documents and published them online.

Disregard whether what WikiLeaks is doing is ethical or not for a moment. Whether or not you agree or disagree with it, WikiLeaks has recently leaked thousands of documents, mostly from the U.S. government. My question is, how did they do it?

Does no one find it odd, even a little bit scary that somehow a website with limited resources has been able to get a hold of and publish confidential documents? Although it is not known how WikiLeaks has been able to get a hold of the documents (who their source is), it still begs the question, what kind of data protection is the U.S. government using? Obviously, their current protection is inadequate, to say the least.

Luckily, due to this situation, the U.S. government is now reviewing their security parameters and, hopefully, increase them substantially so that these types of documents don’t get into the wrong hands.

Okay, now a bit into the politics of this issue.

The Obama administration argues against what WikiLeaks is doing because:

the disclosures could endanger lives, damage trust among U.S. allies, impinge on anti-proliferation efforts and undermine U.S. military and counterterrorism efforts.

Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40422504/ns/us_news-security/

Okay, a couple of things about this. One, if you are doing something that could potentially damage trust among allies of the United States, why are you doing it in the first place? If no one knows about it, does that make it okay? Of course not.

Secondly, if these documents are really such a big deal (“endanger lives”, “undermine U.S. military and counterterrorism efforts”), then why were WikiLeaks able to get access to them in the first place? Someone, somehow, was able to access these confidential documents, which shows how poor the government’s security measures are. They need to overhaul their security measures to make sure this never happens again.

Well, whether you agree with what WikiLeaks is doing or not, you have to thank them for essentially forcing the government to take a serious look at their outdated security measures.

Do you agree with what WikiLeaks is doing? Do you agree we should thank them? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Posted in Data Security | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

New Look

Posted by Bob Zenith on November 17, 2010

Well, I’ve been messing around with PC-SOS’s source code (or as much of it as I have access to…) in order to try to get it to validate, and it appears I have changed something major, because the blog has a totally new look! So, until I can undo what I did (which might take awhile, because I have no idea what I changed…), this will be the blog’s [temporary] new look.

I’ll update when I get it reverted back to its original theme.

/Update: Fixed the error; the blog is back to normal 🙂

Posted in Site Updates | 3 Comments »

A wonderful alternative to Adobe Reader

Posted by Bob Zenith on November 7, 2010

Ok, how many of you are tired of all the 0-day adobe reader exploits we’ve been hearing about? How many of you are tired of Adobe Reader altogether?

I’ve just found a great alternative to Adobe Reader, SumatraPDF

What makes Sumatra PDF so great? Well, two things, mainly. First, Sumatra is completely Open Source (source code available here), and it is very lightweight (only 2 MB, compared to Adobe Reader’s 38 MB). It’s final install size is ~4 MB, while Adobe Reader’s ~143 MB.

Although SumatraPDF doesn’t have all of the fancy capabilities of Adobe Reader, it is fine for the average user. The only thing I use Reader for was to open and read PDF files, which Sumatra also does.

I highly recommend giving this program a try – it is a wonderful alternative to the heavily exploited Adobe Reader

Posted in Misc. | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Twitter Placing Ads in our Tweets?

Posted by Bob Zenith on November 3, 2010

Everyday,  more and more companies go over to the “dark” side of privacy. This week, the company was Twitter.

It appears that Twitter is now slipping in “promoted tweets” into tweet streams of those who are using HootSuite. Twitter has said that if all goes as planned, they will soon be expanding these ads to the general population of Twitter users (i.e. those not using HootSuite).

So, what’s the problem, you ask? Well…

[This practice is] invasive and unethical. It is also not uncommon for malicious links to be contained within adverts and I for one do not want to be a hoster for this, knowingly or not.

Source: Spudz (forum post)

This wouldn’t be as big as a deal as it is if it was an opt-in or opt-out scenario. In a perfect world, this service would be opt-in, so unless we choose to do so, ads would not be put in our Tweets. However, even if this was not instituted, there should still be an option to opt-out of receiving these “promoted” Tweets.

Oh, and what’s wrong with putting a little [Paypal] donation box on Twitter? Its much less invasive, and I’m sure they’ll still get a lot of money.

Posted in Misc. | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

MalwareBytes Seal – Am I missing something?

Posted by Bob Zenith on October 28, 2010

First of all, let me state that I consider MalwareBytes Anti-Malware to be one of the best (if not the best) anti-malware products available, and I frequently use and recommend the free version. However, yesterday I noticed something odd:

I was browsing through the MalwareBytes online store, just to see the price of the Pro version, and I noticed that the page had 3 security seals on it. One from Comodo, one from McAfee, and one generic SSL-Secured seal.

The seal from Comodo is legitimate and clickable.

The generic “SSL-Secured” seal is not clickable (I didn’t expect it to be), but it is true; MalwareBytes’s online store is SSL secured, so there’s no problem there.

However, the McAfee Seal is NOT clickable. Odd, I thought, since a McAfee seal needs to be clickable in order to be legitimate. At first, I thought one of my security add-ons was causing issues (NoScript, RequestPolicy, etc.). So, I disabled all my add-ons and restarted Firefox, returning to the page. Alas, the seal was not clickable.

At this point, I still was giving MalwareBytes the benefit of the doubt, and I believed something was causing issues with my Firefox and the seal. So, I tried the test in Internet Explorer; same result – the seal was not clickable.

Furthermore, I went to MalwareByte’s SiteAdvisor page. If the seal is legitimate, then the scorecard will have a McAfee Secure logo on it, such as siteadvisor.com’s scorecard. Nope – MalwareBytes.org’s scorecard does not have a McAfee Secure logo on it. Neither does store.malwarebytes.org’s scorecard.

Looking at the “seal” at store.malwarebytes.org more closely, I discovered that it doesn’t share similar characteristics with legitimate McAfee seals. Normally, when you attempt to right-click a McAfee seal, you receive a warning message:

Copying Prohibited by Law – McAfee Secure is a Trademark of McAfee, Inc.

Try it yourself – right-click the McAfee seal in the top right hand corner of the site. It’ll pop-up a window. You can also try it here, except the seal is at the bottom of the page.

This does not happen with MalwareBytes’s seal…. the seal allows you to right click it, and potentially, copy the image.

…So, what gives?

\Update: MalwareBytes has removed the seal from their site until a clear policy about the seal from McAfee can be put in place.

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments »


Posted by Bob Zenith on October 27, 2010

Steven over at hosts-file.net and it-mate.co.uk has created his own URL Shortening / Redirection service (ok, it’s been there awhile, I just haven’t gotten time to check it out until yesterday).

A unique service, sURL allows you to enter a link and create a short URL, long URL, huge URL, and an “ARE YOU NUTS???” URL.

For example, “https://personalcomputersos.wordpress.com” has a short URL of http://surl.co.uk/?9917. When you click on the link, you are directed to an sURL page offering details of the target URL, to make sure you really want to go there (ie: is not malicious). After determining the target link is probably safe, you can click the link and enter the site.

This will be my new URL Shortening / Redirection service of choice on Twitter, and I encourage others to use it also.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Accepted into GeekU!

Posted by Bob Zenith on October 13, 2010

Alright, here’s some exciting news (well, maybe not for you, but for me it is): I’ve been accepted into the GeekU Malware Removal Training School! 🙂
If you haven’t already, I recommend getting yourself GeekU certified in removing malware by graduating from their Malware Removal School

-Off Topic-

Opera 10.63 was released yesterday; check it out!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »