April 10, 2016

Don't Rest In Peace

Slysoft was forced out of business in February. They're the folks that sold "AnyDVD" and "AnyDVD HD" all these years that allowed us to defeat region codes and encryption.

They were based in Antigua, and someone managed to get them fined $11,000 by the government.

BUT...

They aren't dead. They've reformed, in Belize, under the name Redfox. And they're still selling the products from before.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 05:30 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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March 31, 2016

Ransomware

TokyoTosho looks like it's been hacked.

(UPDATE: NO IT HASN'T. I need to pay closer attention to the calendar.)

All accesses (by me) are directed to a page which claims I've been infected by ransomware, that all my files have been encrypted, and giving instructions for paying ransom.

But my files are fine. I'm running a scan right now, but I don't expect it to turn up anything. I think it's just text, just a bluff. However, I'm not going to experiment with it to make sure, for obvious reasons.

And it would probably be a good idea for everyone to avoid TokyoTosho for a few days until the mods there notice (which shouldn't take long) and do something about it.

UPDATE: It claimed to be "Petya Ransomware" and there is indeed such a beast. But it doesn't act like what just happened to me. Meanwhile, Microsoft Security Essentials says I'm clean. Malwarebytes Antimalware is running now.

UPDATE: If this is a TokyoTosho April 1st joke, it's in terrible taste. On the other hand, if Malwarebytes turns up something else I didn't know about, it'll be rather ironic.

Meanwhile, BakaBT is running a joke, as well. Theirs is obnoxious but not frightening.

UPDATE: Malwarebytes also says I'm clean. I bet that the source for that page says "April Fool", or that entering a number at the prompt leads to a page that says that, but I don't intend to find out.

UPDATE: The page URL is http://www.tokyotosho.info/20160401/ which pretty much ices it. Bad TokyoTosho! Bad Dog! No doggie treat for you tonight!

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 05:01 PM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
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March 16, 2016

Another good reason for using ad-blocking

It's not just that the ads often slow down site loading and performance intolerably, it's that the ads can be positively harmful in themselves.

The latest example of malicious ads distributing malware happened last weekend. Someone managed to compromise a big league ad server used by the NYT and the BBC, among other high profile sites. One of the things it was distributing was the "TeslaCrypt" ransomware.

I never saw a thing.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 05:16 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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March 14, 2016

Windows 10, again

Word is that Microsoft has reclassified the Win 10 upgrade to "Recommended" and if you're not paying attention you'll get it even if you don't want it. I assume that means that anyone using AutoUpdate will get it automatically. For the rest of us, who have turned auto-update off, be really careful to peruse the "recommended" upgrade list and turn that one off.

There was a thing I ran last summer which got rid of the Win 10 nag in the tray, and also got rid of the update choice in the Update applet. I wonder if this new upgrade choice will show up for me?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 12:22 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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March 06, 2016

Mac warning

For my readers who use the Mac, it's being reported that the bittorrent program "Transmission" version 2.90 was infected with a really vicious ransomware program.

The Transmission people are saying that if you're using 2.90 you should immediately upgrade it to 2.91.

UPDATE: Actually, you should upgrade to 2.92. 2.91 wasn't infected. 2.92 deletes any infected files left over from 2.90.

UPDATE: Here's the latest:

Transmission 2.90 was released on February 28. Per Palo Alto Networks, the malware-infected version was released with a different signature on March 4. If you had upgraded to Transmission 2.90 before March 4, you might have an uninfected copy. Upgrade to 2.92 anyway, of course...

Apple has now disqualified the signature used on the bad version, so if you have a copy of the bad installer you won't be able to install it.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 03:39 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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March 02, 2016

Cheap memory

I would have posted about the latest episode of Musaigen no Phantom World but it was totally forgettable. There wasn't even any good fan service. (Except for Lulu waving a katana around.)

The HD in my main computer is getting full, so it's time to unload some stuff onto some other medium. I could buy an external USB HD (and in fact I have a couple I use for this) but it occurred to me a couple of days ago that USB flash thumbdrives might be a good way to go, so I visited NewEgg.

It's amazing just how cheap and plentiful flash memory has become. I remember back when I was still at Qualcomm that there was an industry-wide concern that demand for flash memory was exceeding supply, so prices were going up. But that appears to be long gone. Supply has exploded -- but demand is growing, too.

Anyway, I ended up ordering six 128GB flash drives, which are supposed to be delivered this afternoon.

Three quarters of a terabyte, and it cost me about $150. It could have been even cheaper but those were a supplier I had never heard of, and I didn't want to trust them.

It's typical for a product to initially be very expensive, and then as technology improves and volume increases, for it to get cheaper and eventually reach a price floor. Then, over time, it slowly becomes more and more expensive.

But when it comes to electronics, seems like we never seem to find the floor. The price just keeps falling. These days you can buy a computer for $500 which has more compute power than existed on the entire planet in 1960. And I'm buying more memory than existed back then, for $150.

We live in an age of miracles.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 12:04 PM | Comments (12) | Add Comment
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February 10, 2016

Yay, Microsoft

I wonder whether Microsoft has done something to the Update Server that makes it respond more slowly now to Win 7 users? I'm updating one of my computers now. It took 15 minutes to figure out what patches it needed. Total 251 MB. Ten minutes of downloading and it's only half done.

I bet Win 10 users don't see delays like that.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 03:44 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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December 19, 2015

Panic city

My internet connection went out about 11:30, and for a while I was afraid that my Qube had finally kicked the bucket. It's lasted for fifteen years, so it's hard to complain, but it would be hard to reconfigure all my gear to allow internet access without it.

So I had a pretty significant fear experience. Eventually I started seeing if I could find a neighbor's unprotected wifi to see if I could access the Qube from the other side. And while I was doing that, my connection came back up.

It was Comcast, after all. Total downtime about an hour and a half.

I can't really complain; it's been months since the last time they did that to me. But it still wasn't good for my heart.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 01:51 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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November 10, 2015

Windows Update hates me

I run Windows Update on my HP tablet first before I let it get anywhere near any of my computers that I care about. That's because I want to make sure that each new batch of patches doesn't brick my real computers.

It may have happened today. I just finished running the update, and the tablet was doing the restart, and now the screen is flashing, alternating between black and the Windows login backdrop.

I'm going to let it run like that for a couple of hours before I try shutting it down and starting it again, but I have a feeling it's toast.

And I won't be updating any of my other computers for a few days.

UPDATE: Well, I gave it one hour, and then tried to reboot it, and when it came back up it did the same thing. It appears to have been something trying to run during the reboot.

I plugged in my USB keyboard and managed to get it into safe mode, and now I'm doing a system restore to a save point from a week ago. Here's hoping...

UPDATE: And it's back! (Whew!)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 12:00 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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October 13, 2015

A public service announcement

Microsoft has taken the push for Win10 to the next level. As of today, if you run Windows Update, it will show you a frame which seems to be the beginning of the Win10 upgrade. There isn't any "No, don't do it" button, either.

To escape, look for "Show other updates" and click it. That shows you all the optional updates, with Win10 being selected. Deselect it, highlight it, and click "Don't show me this update" and it will gray-out and you'll never have to deal with it again, at least until they pull their next trick.

Are people with automatic update enabled getting the Win10 update without being asked?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 06:34 PM | Comments (20) | Add Comment
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