Thursday, December 19, 2013

Removing a Computer Virus

Removing a Computer Virus

Before you can claim to be a true Virus Killer such as myself, you must know the enemy! I have successfully removed thousands of those little bad guys, and up to 68 on a single PC! Some Malware can be removed by your anti-virus software, but when you get a really nasty virus your going to have to use this. From now on we'll address virus's as MALWARE. This is a more technically correct term, because a Virus is only one type of Malware. Heres a list of the three main types of Malware

  • Virus – A type of malware that replicates. It has a mission to carry out, and it's not good!
  • Worm – More the less the same as a Virus, but it can spread via the network infecting other devices that are connected
  • Trojan – Disguises itself as something useful, or free! Once you've installed it, it will seek to expose backdoors for hackers, or attempt to take control of of your operating system.
Malware survives on deception, if detected it will be wiped out. It must first deceive a user into installing it, then it will typically attempt to gain higher level system privilege. Once that’s achieved it informs the Anti-Virus software to leave it be, and the malicious code goes to work. Pretty sophisticated for such a small file! But the little bad guys can't hide from a true pro!

Malware can be exposed with simple commands from Command Prompt, please don't call it DOS we hate that! Jokes aside, back to work. Re-start your computer in "Safe Mode", at the BIOS screen press F8. At the menu displayed below, select "Safe Mode with Command Prompt".

Next type   cd/  in the command prompt window, hit enter. Then type the command   attrib   then hit enter again to display the files that are using attributes on the root of your system drive. See the picture below.

The attributes are  S - H - R .  I've high lighted them below for your reference. My PC however has no malware, yay! I want you to look at the SHR attributes, and what they stand for. 
  • S - System
  • H - Hidden
  • R - Read Only
The files with SHR, and SH on my PC are legit files from the Operating system. Removing them would cause a nightmare! DISCLAIMER BE SURE ONLY TO REMOVE THE VIRUS! REMOVING A PIECE OF WINDOWS MAY BE CAUSE YOUR SYSTEM NOT TO BOOT. 

As stated before, the malware must hide to survive. The "system" permission tells windows and your antivirus that the file is supposed to be there. The "hidden" permission keeps you from finding it. The "read only" permission keeps you from deleting it normally. The two types of files your concerned with have an  EXE  or  INF  extension following there name. See the picture below.

Notice there are some files with SHR attributes, these appear to be normal windows files. But notice the RED circled files. There is a file with an EXE and another with an INF using the SHR attributes!!! Red flags go up, but hit the pause button, don't act until your sure. First go google the names of these files on another device, be sure they are in fact a virus........ And sure enough in this example they are! Now to get them off your PC . Using the attrib -s -h -r  command followed by the file name will remove the attributes, but you will still need to delete the file. Once the attributes are removed as in line B of the picture of the picture below. Simply type del followed by the file name to remove.
Example:    del autorun.inf

Presto your malware is removed. Reboot your computer and you should be good to go. Stay safe on your computer with these tips below.

  • Don't open emails without a subject, or if the address looks suspicious
  • Pay attention to your address bar at the top of your browser, make sure your not being re-directed to an impostor site.
  • Run two accounts on your PC. Use your "Admin Account" for installing programs, use your "User Account" for web browsing. If a malicious program tries to install when your in your user account, it won't be able to.
  • Don't be tricked by the fictitious PC scans that pop up in websites telling you have errors or virus! This is such a scam, and they use it to trick people into installing there malware.
  • Keep your system up to date!!! This is the big one, if you have Windows updates install them. A large portion of the update could be security patches.
  • Perform regular anti-virus scans, and keep your antivirus up to date as well. Outdated anti-virus is useless against new threats.
  • Use strong passwords. Yours should be at least 8 characters. Using numbers, letters (upper-lower case), and symbols. Example: K33p0ut2 (keep out 2. easy to remember follows the password rule) 
  • Change your passwords regularly, don't keep the same one for years!

Thanks for reading! If you found this useful or have a question, drop a comment below.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

How to build your own Cloud!

How to build your own Cloud!

There's a lot you can do with your own intranet, and a million advantages to hosting your own cloud. Such as control, speed, security, and convenience. With a properly configured Server or NAS (Network Attached Storage) you can have all your pictures, music, movies, and documents accessible to any device in your home. You can stream your own movies, and music to every room in the house for free. You can even access your server from anywhere in the world using the internet. 

The term “Cloud” is a cute little word that came into use a few years back. In a nutshell your data hosted somewhere else. A server that you access from the internet to get your data. How about hosting your own cloud for free? Stay tuned, I'm going to show you. At the end of the artical I will provide some links to hardware as well

We're going to use a NAS that I have personal experience working with the “WD My Book Live”, but before we get there we need to focus on the network. Take a look at my illustration below. You can see a home, with three computers connected to a server. This is just for reference, there can be any number of computers, game consoles, set top boxes, etc.

The brain of your network is the router! The router moves your data where it needs to go. The newest and fastest wireless technology for routers is IEEE 802.11AC, for short we'll just say AC. In order for you to achieve AC speed your devices will have to support the AC standard as well, otherwise the device will run at the speed of its network card. Other problems with wireless routing are distance, obstructions, other radio waves, the number of devices using bandwidth. While they claim IEEE 802.11AC is faster than wired gigabit ethernet, I can assure you in practical use nothing is as fast as the wired connection. Design your network with these tips in mind. 

  1. Centralize your router. Or put it close to the most demanding device (The TV or game console) so you can use a wired connection.
  2. Connect your NAS directly to the router with an ethernet wire, do not use Wi-Fi to connect the NAS!
  3. Wire as many connections as possible, wired connections offer the best speed / least problems. Trust me!
  4. If you have a long distance or multi-level home and cannot connect some rooms via ethernet or wi-fi, use a Wi-Fi extender to increase your wi-fi signal range.
When your network is finished connect your NAS and follow the instructions for install. 

(Windows PC) After the installation is complete you will be able to click the Windows Start Button, and then click Computer to bring up this view. You can see MYBOOKLIVE at the top left. From there you can pull up your shared folders for Music, Pictures, Videos, etc. You also can create new shares or folders on the server. 

Your Device is now vissible on the network and connected, simply load the shared folders with your media. Other Windows PC's can go Windows Start Button, and click Computer and in the bottom left corner will see a Network Tab, clicking on this will show devices on the network. Select My Book Live to view the contents of the server. I find it usefull to create quicklink shortcuts to shared folders on the server. (See the circled section of the pic above) To do this simply right click on the shared folder under the My Book tab, select copy, and then on your desktop screen right click and select paste shortcut. Other devices like set top boxes tyically search for network shares and display them automatically. You can now add the mobile WD 2go app to your phones, tablets, laptop, etc for accessing your data anywhere in the world!

As promised links and current prices of the devices I reviewed today. Thanks for reading, and if you find anything useful or have any questions drop a comment below!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Hexadecimal and Binary The Easy Way

Hexadecimal and Binary The Easy Way

We'll begin with Binary, all the little 1's and 0's. Just follow my 4 simple steps! Let me break it down Newb Style.......
  1. All the 1's signify an “On” bit, and all the 0's signify an “Off” bit.
  2. Start from the Right and work your way to the Left (Yes Backwards)
  3. Start with number 1 then double every number after.
  4. The 0's have a place value, but only add the value of the bits that are "On"
So for our first example I will use the four bit binary number 1111.
  • Binary number :1111
  • Place Value     :8421
  • Add the "On" Bits :8+4+2+1 = 15
1111 = 15!!!

So remember I said the 0's have a “place value” but they are not counted. Double every number, remeber to move Right to Left like this 128-64-32-16-8-4-2-1. At the end, just add up the numbers that have an "On" bit above them. Let me show you how on our next example 1010
  • Binary number :1010
  • Place Value     :8421
  • Add the "On" Bits :8+2 = 10
1010 = 10

Lets do one more just for fun, 1011
  • Binary number :1011
  • Place Value     :8421
  • Add the "On" Bits :8+2+1 = 11

1011 = 11

The joke above should make perfect sence. 10 in binary equals 2 because the 1st bit is off, and the 2nd bit is on. Do you see the pattern? The place value always stays the same. As the number grows it will continue to double. As Buzz Lightyear would say “To Infinity and Beyond!”. Now that your reading ones and zeros like Neo from the Matrix trilogy lets take a look at the Hexadecimal number system! This will be easy since you understand binary already. Lets look at my simple rules for understanding Hex.
  1. Your new number system is 1-15, but you will use letters after 9.
  2. Count it like this. 1, 2 ,3 ,4 ,5 ,6 ,7 ,8 ,9 ,A ,B ,C ,D ,E ,F.
  3. A=10 , B=11 , C=12 , D=13 , E=14 , F=15
  4. Always use 4 bit chunks when converting

Now lets put it all together, Conversion Time! Super simple, let me show you....
  • Binary number :1101
  • Place Value     :8421
  • Add the "On" Bits :8+4+1 = 13
1101 = 13
13 = D in the Hexadecimal number system

Simple right? Now lets take it up to an 8 bit number. Rules are the same nothing changes!
Here is our next number 10101001
  • Binary number : 1   *   0  *    1   *    0  *   1  *  0 *  0 * 1
  • Place Value    :128 *  64  *   32  *   16  *   8  *  4 *  2 * 1
  • Add the "On" Bits :128 + 32 + 8 + 1 = 169
  • Now for Hex (Hex rule 4, break the binary into 4 bit chunks!) 1010*1001
  • 1st Binary number :1010
  • Place Value           :8421
  • Add the "On" Bits :8 + 2 = 10
  • 10 = A in Hexadecimal
  • 2nd Binary number :1001
  • Place Value            :8421
  • Add the "On" Bits  :8 + 1 = 9
  • 9 is the same in hex, no change
  • 1010 * 1001
  •    A    *    9
10101001 = 169

10101001 = A9

           A9 = 169

There you have it, my simple formula for Binary and Hexadecimal! You can use the calculator built into Windows to switch from Decimal to Binary to Hexadecimal to check your math. If your interested in programming or networking this a must! If you found this useful, or have a question drop a comment below! Thanks for reading and remember,

“Always pass on what you have learned” - Yoda

Friday, December 13, 2013

My Free PC Software Archive

“My Free PC Software Archive”

Yes you read this correct! Free software that I use as an admin during my 9am-5pm. This is open source or distributed free from the various developers & company’s who created it. Many useful tools, free office software, etc. All legal & legit. Enjoy!

Here's the Link:

If you find something useful, or have a question drop a comment below.

May the force be with you

The Real Price of Free Apps (Cell Phones)

“The Real Price of Free Apps Cell Phones”

Technology over the years has come a long way! Believe me me when I tell you I am the king of free. Especially when it comes to tech. But whats the real price on a free cell phone app??? Years ago people were questioning Microsoft, and AOL over privacy practices. These days nobody cares, or they are very poorly informed. The common mindset is I go to the android market or itunes store and go get me a FREE APP! What a wonderful concept, but that’s not really all that’s happening here. Upon searching for a “flashlight” app I was taken to the permission screen. Hmm, this is very sophisticated flashlight! It needs all my contacts, personal info, account access, and full internet capability!

Unfortunately folks just gave this developer access to their entire life, and permission to use their data plans to do what they want! This is just one of a million examples I could give. The truth is, most people have traded privacy for convenience. I will never do that, and unlike most I will ALWAYS be an Administrator on the device I own! (This requires software modification on most phones) But that’s another topic altogether! I did eventually find my flashlight app, it was very far down on the list, but worked without stealing my info for advertising or malacious purposes!

Be Tech, Be Safe, & Read the Fine Print. If you found this useful or have a question drop a comment below!

May the force be with you,