Sunday, July 14, 2013

Dealing with Browser Hijacking

Have you experienced a browser which runs sluggish in nature, starts up with a thousand uninvited redirect pages and pop-ups which you have not intended to open even once in your life? Have you recently experienced a barrage of ads on each page you browse that was once clean ? Have you started to view graphics redirecting you to web-porn in even the prime news sites you often open to hunt for news ?. Have you seen new and unheard toolbars and add-ons on your favourite browser which offer fake search results? Then you maybe the victim of Browser Hijacking,a not much recent phenomenon, which can compromise your PC security and online security as a whole.

This is a situation where primarily Scammers use malicious software to take control of your computer's Internet browser and change how and what it displays when you're surfing the web. You can keep the hijackers away by keeping your computer updated with the latest security software updates and practice safe Internet browsing. The following instructions can help you to keep defended against compromised security, and malicious attacks accompanying this type of threat:

  1. Check using the test listed here if your computer is infected with malware.
  2. Apart from antivirus and antispyware check, 'Hijackthis' and 'CWShredder' are good tools to enumerate  browser and system security against malware.
  3. Check you browser settings and go through the plugins/add-ons and disable/uninstall any malicious/unintended entries in this sections.
  4. Check toolbars section in browser menu and disable those which you have not intentionally enabled.
  5. Check you ‘hosts’ file (at C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc)and remove any entries other than : #       localhost      and  #            ::1             localhost
  6. Check the advanced security setting in your browser using the US-CERT guide:
  7. Norton Power Eraser is a free, downloadable tool that uses aggressive methods to detect threats related to browser hijack.Check the link
The above read may be time-consuming and steps listed shall be painful for those who can’t wait much…But devoting some time towards this can be a life-saving one for most of you.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Another first in Linux hall of fame

The apex organization that played the most major role in experiments leading to existance of the 'god particle' a.k.a, the Higgs Boson particle, privately and publicly lauds the part of three factors greatly helping in the process - Linux, coffee and C++.

An unnamed physicist at CERN has quoted "I need to mention how Linux(Specifically Scientific Linux and Ubuntu) had a vital role in the discovery of the new particle at CERN" in a recent 'Ubuntu Vibes' article.

But those watching the High Performance Computing scene closely will not be amused at this as it's not exactly any secret that Linux dominates the world of high-performance computing."We use it every day in our analyses, together with hosts of open software, such as ROOT, and it plays a major role in the running of our networks of computers (in the grid etc.) used for the intensive work in our calculations", the officials at CERN adds.

CERN website has a recently featured support site for Scientific Linux at the address :

Then again, an anonymous scientist noted "The most important members of the team: the folks who made coffee, those who managed linux OS and apps and finally who codes in C++"

Robert Pogson, a noted blogger wrote "Then, too, there's the fact that "the data-analysis needed at CERN for the Higgs boson is immense," he pointed out. "No scientist at a time like this wants an OS that wants to re-re-reboot, slow down, welcome malware or phone home." In short, "the fact that that other OS charges more to do less makes the choice of OS for number-crunching easy," Pogson concluded. "Go, GNU/Linux!"

In fact the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid (WLCG), which combines the power of more than 170 computing centres in 36 countries, is based on Scientific Linux. You can get a live real-time information of the worldwide LHC data processing mapped on top of Google Earth from here:

It is felt by everyone that when talk is of serious scientific computing, linux is the standard and is practically synonymous to High Performance Computing.Sadly,as we are now aware, the Higgs Boson is not a 'God particle' any more than any other particle can be said to have a divine connection; but it might be the elusive phenomenon of nature that helps cement Linux's reputation as science's best friend. 

NOTE: The views expressed here are exclusively the personal views of those who expressed them. This blog doesnt endorse them to any degree of exactness.The discretion of reader is advised.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Case for MeeGo

(Cross-posted on Blog Inquirer Mind)

Nokia unveiled its latest smartphone, N9, at the "Nokia Connection 2011" summit on June 21 at Singapore.On a first look,it is everything you'd ever wanted from the company: a smartphone with a competitive spec sheet, and a touch-centric UI that looks futuristic.

The company had laid claims that is would be the only high-end smartphone line based on MeeGo,- which is an open source, Linux project which brings together the Moblin project, headed up by Intel, and Maemo, by Nokia, into a single open source activity.

Observers believe that Nokia is at crossroads as it has announced it is abandoning the Symbian platform in favour of Windows Mobile but had to take U-turn with announcement of the N9 handset powered by MeeGo which is another open source platform.

The compelling features touted by the manufacturer as being highlight of this handset are as follows:

- Polycarbonate material
- Carl zeiss lens 8mp camera
- Gorilla glass Display,
- HD playing capability upto 1080p,
- Dolby Sound Enhancement" etc.

The real story

But the real story behind this new gadget is the war between two platforms (Windows Mobile and MeeGo(or the larger open source bandwagon to be exact))on one side and two mobile giants (Nokia and Intel)on other.

Earlier, after release of Nokia N8,Nokia announced it would make Windows Phone 7 Nokia's primary mobile platform, not MeeGo. This halted a bold initiative to bring Linux to a new class of Nokia mobile devices.This had been deplored by scores of mobile enthusiasts and platform developers (especially from open source arena)as a behind the scene understanding between Nokia and Microsoft to put brakes on open-source based mobile OS's to emerge as a strong contender in market through Nokia handsets.

Moreover, Nokia at the corporate level had tried to use the wings of some negative reviews by tech gurus on MeeGo OS that is was yet to develop a viable development community. But after negative reviews from public and also the resignation of its technical head in this issue,Nokia had second thoughts and made a u-turn by this announcement that MeeGo shall be the primary OS for at least the upcoming high-end release from Nokia.

Another noted observation on the current market is that if Nokia completely turned to Propreitory OS, it would have to suffer stiff competition from MeeGo + Android on one hand and also possibility of losing its current market space to other giants which is already happening on a large scale.

The case of MeeGo

But the fact remains that MeeGo also continues to be a viable choice for device manufacturers looking to enter a competitive mobile market providing a clearly differentiated experience.Nokia hadn't expected such rave reviews from onlookers when it decided to go for Windows Mobile platform forever.Intel is actively behind MeeGo and QT and this company is going to go full throttle at the mobile space over the next few years. Maybe this has prompted Nokia who want to be another monopoly to thwart the emergence of another competitor in the market.

"The fundamentals fundamentally favor open source", said Jim Zemlin, Linux foundation director, at the Mobile World conference keynote at Singapore.The late reviews on features of new handset N9 is also positive as it sports video call facility which is not included even in latest iPhone version which claims to own the major player in smarphones.

If Intel wants MeeGo to be viable in its future, it is also needed that the platform should try to evolve as a robust one within a short span of time.The current situation though is changing soon though, as the fundamentals aren't completely horrible and the frameworks, community and ecosystem are quietly being built up for MeeGo.

The author doesn't claim that the information published in the post is authentic and is purely based on observations

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Facebook comments : A farewell to anonymity ?

On April 2011, Facebook, the leading social networking site announced its new 'comment-box add-on' aimed at what it terms "more personalized chats on third-party sites".This has become a serious concern for those who believe in anonymous and frank discussions on the corners of the net.

Even though the new feature was aimed to make comments more relevant in social networking arena, the fact that facebook adds the personal info of users next to their posts and had added links to these third party sites and feeds in the posts have increased risks on privacy of the users who comment.
All this is helpful to those interested in tying thier general online activities with Facebook. But consider the scenario if you 'don't want your comments on a site to be visible to your 500 facebook friends?'.It is suggested that in this case, by default, the "Post to Facebook" box underneath the comments widget in third-party sites should be checked.Even though your comments are hidden, the people on that site will still see your Facebook Profile picture and if they click, can access your profile.

Sometimes serious issues of free speech can be underlying like this observation where U.S. Senate Assistant Majority Leader Richard Durbin of Illinois asked Facebook Chief Executive Officer to allow users to choose anonymity, invoking the political situations in Egypt and Tunisia just a day before the former achieved freedom.The fact that many of the activists couldnt use anonymity as shield aided the state to crackdown on them.

Christopher "moot" Poole, the founder of Internet anonymity haven 4chan, thinks Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is wrong when it comes to online identities. Remaining unknown online frees people to blaze ahead with creative endeavors they might otherwise shy away from for fear of being embarrassed.

TechCrunch, which implemented Facebook Comments as an experiment last week, reports that while the total volume of comments is down significantly, the comment nastiness quotient is approaching zero -- except, apparently, for nasty comments about their new commenting system.In other words, people who might have left casual comments under the cloak of anonymity are choosing not to comment at all under the new system, turning TechCrunch into a sloppy space. This is the verification of the arguiment that the nature of commenting on the web needs to feel organic and fluid, just like it does in real life and should be anonymous if necessary.

But being such an extremely social company, Facebook's insistence that you have one identity across the web is both short-sighted and flawed, and people are starting to realize this. And i want to remind you if you are concerned about online security, switch over to anonymous browsing options and see how online anonymity can make your Facebook experience safe and secure.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Democratic Alliance for Knowledge Freedom

DAKF (Democratic Alliance for Knowledge Freedom) is a association of IT workers and IT users formed on 2008 Dec 21 at Naresh Pal Centre,Ernakulam dist', Kerala,India.It works to encourage and promote FOSS and knowledge freedom. DAKF is centred in Kerala and is very much interested in FOSS meets. It is definitely not an apolitical organization and joins political activism with a free movement for its immediate ends.

DAKF is getting into the mainstream of Kerala IT field by constituting its bodies in all districts of Kerala as well as any part of globe where malayalee IT personnel concentration is there.

Official website: (Malayalam wiki engine-based)
An allied blog on relevant issues can be found at :

The stated objectives of DAKF are:

*   Freedom of knowledge
*   Spread of Free software and computing methods
*   Breaking the divide between haves and havenots in software and related services
*   Work with a social objective in Cyberspace
*   work for the progressive development of workers and professionals in the field of IT & ITES
*   Work to ensure that public money as well as government schemes in IT or related are implemented without corruption and to weed out  
     impediments on the way for its results.

Currently, 9 district committees at Kottayam, Kannur, Palakkad, Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Kasargod, Pathanamthitta & Alappuzha have been formed in Kerala and have commenced working on the above objectives.

Also some allied organisations work in tandem with the organization :

*   Appropriate Technology Promotion Society(ATPS) Reg. No. ER-419/2001 ,a registered society working on promotion of GPL-based software(Open
     Source)on technlogy and service fields
*   Open Software Solutions Industrial Co-operative Society Limited (OSSICS) No. S. IND. E-245), a conglomeration of IT professionals providing 
     software services and consulatation based on Open Software only
*   Free Software Industries Association, Kerala ,an association of software companies offering software and services in IT and ITES
*   IT @ KWA, an organization of Kerala Water Authority staff for the promotion of free software
*  Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT)
*   Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI)
*   Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU)

DAKF is working now on many fields, organizing FOSS meets statewide, educating the public and professionals on various issues relating to FOSS as well as software freedom, activism on issues given as its objectives, classes and meets for students and teachers, hands-on workshops, developments of new open software and platforms etc. It is also having a major role in promoting malayalam-based computing in the state of Kerala.