Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hacking or Phishing?

During the past few weeks, some Maldivian blogs got hacked according to the blog authors or those close to them. How did all these blogs get hacked? Is GMail security that low that any script kiddie could take over your blog? Or is there something else to it? Was the bloggers phished?

As far as I know GMail is pretty secure and there is no known way of hacking into someone's GMail account unless you know their password or secret question answers. Therefore, the only reasonable explanation for the recent "hacking" of several Maldivian blogs can only be attributed to phishing (this seems to be what is suggested by a recent article on the dhiislam website).

If you want to learn more about phishing and how to protect yourself from phishing attacks please read my previous post on phishing attacks. You can also read more about phishing on howstuffworks.com

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Windows 7 & the freezing Windows Live Messenger

  • Windows Live Messenger freezes randomly from a few seconds to a few minutes on a Windows 7 system. The problem occurs while you chat and gets worse when you try to select an emoticon or wink from the menu.
  • Windows 7 has a service called WinHTTP Web Proxy Auto-Discovery Service  which gets called by Windows Live Messenger each time it wants an internet connection. This service fails to perform as expected under some circumstances.
  • Windows Live Messenger uses Internet Explorer settings to determine the type of internet connection the user has.
  • Disabling Automatically detect settings under LAN Settings in Internet Explorer would prevent Windows Live Messenger from using the WinHTTP Web Proxy Auto-Discovery Service. To do this:
    • Open Internet Explorer.
    • Go to Tools => Internet Options.
    • Select Connections tab.
    • Click LAN Settings.
    • Uncheck Automatically detect settings.
    • Click OK.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Disable Automatic Virus Scanning in Firefox 3

By default, Firefox 3 runs anti-virus scans on downloaded files in Windows systems with anti-virus software installed. Depending on the type and size of the files downloaded Firefox can stop responding for a significant amount of time while the virus scan is being performed. Follow the steps below to disable automatic virus scanning in Firefox 3:
  • Type about:config in the Firefox location bar
  • Click the "I'll be careful, I promise!" button if the "This might void your warranty!" message is displayed.
  • Type browser.download.manager.scanWhenDone as the Filter. Alternatively you can just navigate to the setting browser.download.manager.scanWhenDone in the about:config page.
  • Change the value of browser.download.manager.scanWhenDone to false.
Note: Do not disable automatic virus scanning in Firefox if your anti-virus software does not support real-time protection.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Show close button on the last tab in Firefox 3.5+

In Firefox versions 3.5 and later the close button is not displayed on the last tab. If you try to close the last tab by pressing Ctrl+W then Firefox closes with the tab. Sometimes, this can be annoying, so here is a simple fix for the problem.
  • Open a new tab in Firefox and enter about:config as the URL.
  • Click "I'll be careful, I promise!" button to get to the config page.
  • Make the following changes in the config page:

    • browser.tabs.closeButtons = 1
    • browser.tabs.closeWindowWithLastTab = false
  • Close Firefox.
  • Goto folder %APPDATA%\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\xxxxxxxx.default\chrome

    •  %APPDATA% == C:\Documents and Settings\\Application Data\ folder in Windows XP
    • %APPDATA% == C:\Users\\AppData\Roaming\ folder in Windows Vista and 7
    • More details on where the Firefox Profiles folder is located in different Operating Systems can be found at http://support.mozilla.com/en-us/kb/Profiles
  • Open userChrome.css in a text editor such as Notepad++ or Windows Notepad.
  • Add the following code to userChrome.css

    /* Add tab-close-button to last tab*/
    .tabbrowser-tabs[closebuttons="alltabs"] > 
     .tabbrowser-tab > .tab-close-button {
      display: -moz-box !important;
    .tabbrowser-tabs:not([closebuttons="noclose"]):not([closebuttons="closeatend"]) > 
     .tabbrowser-tab[selected="true"] > .tab-close-button {
      display: -moz-box !important;
  • Save userChrome.css
  • Open Firefox and you should have a close button displayed on the last tab.