Best Antivirus Software for 2013

Bitdefender had humble beginnings in Romania, but is now a globally-recognized brand that demonstrates its prowess each year in the AV testing houses. This application is clearly thebest antivirus software for 2013 due to a wide range of reasons. In its multiple incarnations of Total Security and Internet Security, this article will focus on Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2013.

Ever since the redesign of the antivirus’ interface, the application has been quite easy to use with its well-designed control panel and easy-to-setup Windows 7 and 8 widget. The widget has proven useful as it shows scan and update activity as well as security events and the security status of your device. An impressive feature is the ability to drag and drop a file onto the widget for a simple file scan.

The main control panel consists of four sub-panels: Antivirus, Privacy, Update and Safego. You can switch between the usual options of auto-scanning (which can be scheduled) and on-start scans. The Privacy sub-panel offers antiphishing software in addition to a secure file shredder. Safego is designed to work with social networks like Twitter and Facebook and automatically checks links before navigating you to the end destination. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2013 also offers Safepay, a separate icon featured on your desktop which allows you to open any banking pages into a separate and secure browser designed to protect against hacking.

While AV-Test has yet to test Bitdefender’s 2013 antivirus engine, the 2012 version was given a score of 17/18, which was the highest score awarded for the year. It also scored full marks for protection against malware and for repairing damaged systems. Performance has slightly decreased, but this has allowed Bitdefender to continue to reduce occurrences of false positives when identifying malicious files.

The installation for Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2013 is rather lengthy. That doesn’t necessarily mean it was complex, but it simply took a while to complete. The reason behind the installation taking so long, as is standard practice for many antivirus applications, is that Bitdefender is scanning all of your system files. Even as you are installing the software, it is actively scanning for malware as well as other antivirus applications. In the event that it finds another antivirus system in place, it will display a warning. Antivirus software is designed to work solo and will oftentimes counteract the efforts of other applications.

Once the installation is complete, you’ll be safe from worms, spyware, phishing attacks, identity theft, social networking threats, rootkits, key loggers and much more. Of course, you will still be expected to be cautious in the locations you traverse online. No antivirus software is perfect, though this one makes a valiant effort. Bitdefender can be integrated into your email to keep your inbox safe. It will also tell you which sites are safe to visit when you perform searches through Google and Bing via the Search Advisor.

You can also choose between multiple modes to make your life easier than ever. Remote Monitoring allows you to scan computers from another computer on the same network, which is helpful for corporate offices. It can also switch to Laptop mode to conserve battery life and Game Mode to prevent pop-ups from interrupting game play. Then there’s Rescue mode, which will help rescue your computer if you can’t reboot it.

What are tablet computers?

Technology nowadays has taken our lifestyle and communication to a new level. There has been a lot of new technology always coming out and bring us innovation to make our lives easier. Computers have evolved from being super gigantic to personal computers to laptops and now, the new generation of computer has arrived. It is even more handy and portable and you can carry anywhere you go – the tablet computer. What are tablet computers, some of you may ask. Well, generally speaking it is much like the same old computer that you have that allows you to do all the things you need to do such, as computing, typing, gaming, communication and many others. The only difference one may easily notice upon looking is the size. Tablet computers are so much more handy and portable with smaller size in terms of length, width, height and weight. You can take this anywhere with you and you don’t have to worry about your back aching anymore. Tablet computers allow you to be free and access everything you need to access anytime, anywhere.

A more detailed description to answer the what are tablet computers question is that it is a portable computer that uses a touch screen interface that is smaller than a netbook, some are even cellphone-like in size, but definitely smarter with more options and features than a regular cellphone. Because it is touch screen, there is a built-in virtual keyboard for you type in texts and most of them also come with a stylus or digital pen for easier navigation. There are many different types of tablet computers you can find being sold in the market today by different brands with different features and programs unique to each. Here are some of the more famous and functional types of tablet computers.

  • Convertible tablet – this is very much similar to a netbook or even a laptop and probably the heaviest in terms of weight of all tablets. The screen can be rotated up to 180 degrees and can be folded to close just like your ordinary laptop. It has also an integrated keyboard you can find below the screen. You can use it touch screen which includes a stylus and virtual keyboard or if you still prefer the laptop way with the real keyboard you may use it as well.
  • Slate tablet – this is probably the most popular type of tablet as it is popularized by the leading IT Company in the world. It works solely on touch screen with virtual keyboard but is sold without the stylus. But you can still integrate it with a hardware keyboard which is sold separately and is connected to the tablet with a dock.
  • Rugged tablet – if you travel a lot this is the tablet for you. This is designed to withstand extreme weather conditions and rough handling. It is also shock-proof so you are sure that your tablet is always protected.

Now you know what are tablet computers and the different types of it. You can now choose your own depending on which features you prefer and make the lighter switch from you old heavy laptops to the new generation tablet computers.

Password Security

People have a lot of online accounts. If you are anything like me, you will forget the majority of your passwords a week after you have placed them, and have to go through that tedious process of requesting an email notification to change it.

The one thing we shouldn’t do, whether we use our Apple Mac or O2 – Samsung Galaxy, is use the same password over and over. However this is a difficult feat for most of us because face it, our memory isn’t all that great. How can we possibly remember which password goes where? For the security novices, here are a couple of tips:

Storing your password

You can store them online and offline. The trick is in finding a place that is secure like LastPass or KeePass. Alternatively you can save them on your browser, however this can be dangerous if anyone were to hack into your PC, Mac or Tablet.

Resetting

Reset your password regularly to ensure your accounts are safe. You can request a new password if you have forgotten it, you can reset the password by logging into the account, or you can answer the security questions. Yes it is tedious, but worth doing.

Upper and lower case

To make your password difficult to figure out, you should add at least one upper case letter to throw off a hacker. Don’t just place it at the beginning. This is the most obvious place to try. A lot of sites like iTunes use upper case as a password requirement.

There is no guarantee no matter what you do, but above all else: Don’t write your passwords down! Not in a notebook, not on your hand, not on a post-it note. Unless you are planning to hide it in your safe, under the floorboards, otherwise anyone can look.

Easy ways to boost up your Wi-Fi Strength

Wi-Fi means Wireless Fidelity. It allows device such as a personal computer, video game console, cellphone or digital audio player to connect to the Internet as long as they are within the range of a wireless network’s broadcast range. Nowadays, there are already several ways to maximize your Wi-Fi range so that you can be more comfortable without spending too much. There are already homemade alternatives that you can do easily. I will state some of them below:

Boosting your Wi-Fi range with just a homemade parabolic reflector

  • To do this, all you need is an aluminum foil but it works better if you microwave the foil first. You can finish it in less than 5 minutes and it will just cost you some cents.
  • First, you must tear a cut of aluminum foil in a rectangle shape.
  • After that, fold the sheet halfwise then fold each of the four sides for about 2 centimeter.
  • Next, begin forming a curve into the foil.
  • After that, you can now position the parabolic reflector behind the antenna of your wireless device, which should be pointed in the general direction of the wireless hub.
  • Then you will see that the signal strength will be truly maximized. For best results, you can also try doing second parabolic reflector then put it next to the antenna of your wireless router then you will notice that the signal will more increase and you would be able to download files faster.
  • When you fold each side of the foil this helps to straight a frame to add stability. And when you form a curve into the foil, this curve shape resembles the general shape of the parabola.

Adding strength to your Wi-Fi

The man in the video used the bottom of a box and covers it with a foil. He put two holes in the lower side where he will insert the antenna of the wireless router. He puts the Wireless router with a satellite-like box covered with foil up into he’s wall. What happens after what he has done is he’s Wi-Fi strength boost up. From 48 mbps, his signal gradually increases to 54 mbps.

How to maximize your Wi-Fi strength by just using old can

  • In doing this, you need an empty can, marker, and any tool you can use to cut the can.
  • First thing you must do, is to draw a line just below the opening of the can and continue it to the sides.
  • Next step is to cut the can along the line and remove the bottom.
  • Then you make a hole where you will insert your antenna below the can.
  • Next, you can paint the can or just cover it with foil or duct tape around the edges and on the exterior.
  • Lastly, Put the finished product above your wireless router; insert the antenna in the hole you’ve made.

Resetting Windows Password

Tested on: NT 3.51, NT 4 (all versions and SPs), Windows 2000 (all versions & SPs), Windows XP (all versions, also SP2 and SP3), Windows Server 2003 (all SPs), Windows Vista 32 and 64 bit (SP1 also), Window 7 (all variants). Some also say that it works on Windows Server 2008 too.

If used on users that have EFS encrypted files, and the system is XP or Vista, all encrypted files for that user will be UNREADABLE! and cannot be recovered unless you remember the old password again. If you don’t know if you have encrypted files or not, you most likely don’t have them (except maybe on corporate systems).

Boot your computer with Hiren’s BootCD and follow the steps below for resetting your password:

1. Enter “Offline NT/2000/XP/Vista/7 Password Changer”

With Up & Down keys select Offline ‘NT/2000/XP/Vista/7 Password Changer’ and press Enter.

 

2. Wait for “Offline NT Password & Registry Editor” to Load

On the screen below, you’ll see is several lines of text that quickly run down the screen. You don’t need to do anything here. Wait for “Offline NT Password & Registry Editor” to load.

1. Select “NT/2000/XP/Vista/7 Password Changer”
2. Linux files are loading…

3. Choose the Correct Hard Drive Partition

This step in the Offline NT Password & Registry Editor process is to select the partition that contains the Windows installation that you want to delete a password from.

Many computers have a single operating system installed on a single partition on a single hard drive, making this a very easy choice.

If that’s the case for you, just press ENTER to accept the default partition. Otherwise, type the number corresponding to the correct partition from the Candidate Windows partitions found list and then press ENTER.

 

If more than one partition is listed and you’re not sure which one to pick, chances are the larger partition is the one with Windows installed.
Every Windows 7 PC will have more than one partition listed.

 

4. Confirm the Windows Registry Path

Offline NT Password & Registry Editor now needs to know the exact location of the Windows Registry. Except in the rarest of occasions, the default location will be the correct one.

Just Press ENTER to accept the default Windows Registry path without writing anything else.

3. Choose the Correct Hard Drive Partition
4. Confirm the Windows Registry Path

5. Choose the Password Reset Option

Offline NT Password & Registry Editor is now asking which part of the registry it should load.

Press ENTER to accept the default choice of Password reset.

The Offline NT Password & Registry Editor tool can perform various functions aside from resetting passwords but since that’s the focus of this particular walkthrough, that’s all we’ll discuss.

6. Choose the Edit User Data and Passwords Option

Now that the registry is loaded and available to the program, Offline NT Password & Registry Editor needs to know exactly what you want to do.

Press ENTER to accept the default choice of Edit user data and passwords.

This will load the necessary options for the actual password reset.

5. Choose the Password Reset Option
6. Choose the Edit User Data and Passwords Option

7. Enter the Username to Edit

Offline NT Password & Registry Editor now needs to know which user’s password you’d like to delete (erase, clear, blank, remove, call it what you like).

A default user is listed between the brackets at the prompt. In the above example, you can see that it’s the Administrator user.

If the default user is the user you’d like to remove the password from, simply press ENTER. Otherwise, enter the username and then press ENTER.

 

8. Type 1 to Clear (blank) user password and then press ENTER

At the bottom of the screen you’ll see the User Edit Menu with several options to choose from.

Type 1 for Clear (blank) user password and then press ENTER.

 

Offline NT Password & Registry Editor shows some interesting information about the username you entered in the last step – the full name, what groups the user belongs to, how many failed login attempts have taken place, how many total logins have been completed, and more.
If you see a check in the “Passwd not req.” box, this means that a password is not a requirement for this particular user. It does not mean that a password is not required to access the account in Windows. In other words, it’s saying that it is possible to erase this user’s password.

 

7. Enter the Username to Edit
8. Type 1 to Clear (blank) user password and then press ENTER

9. Type ! to quit the User Edit Tool

Assuming there weren’t any problems, you should see a Password cleared! message after entering 1 in the previous step.

Type ! to quit editing user and then press ENTER.

You must confirm these changes in a later step before they are actually complete. If you quit Offline NT Password & Registry Editor now then the password reset will not take place!

10. Type q to Quit Offline NT Password & Registry Editor

Enter q and then press ENTER to quit the Offline NT Password & Registry Editor registry editing tool.

Important: You’re still not done! You need to confirm your password reset change in the next step before it will take effect.

9. Type ! to quit the User Edit Tool
10. Type q to Quit Offline NT Password & Registry Editor

11. Type y and then press ENTER to confirm Password Reset Changes

At the Step FOUR: Writing back changes menu, Offline NT Password & Registry Editor asks if you want to write file(s) back.

Type y and then press ENTER.

You should see an EDIT COMPLETE message appear on screen. If you do, it means that Offline NT Password & Registry Editor has written the password changes to your computer!

 

12. Confirm That You’re Finished Using Offline NT Password & Registry Editor

Offline NT Password & Registry Editor gives you an option here to rerun the program. If you’ve been following along with this guide and everything seems to have worked properly then there’s little reason to repeat anything.

Press ENTER to confirm the default option of not rerunning the password reset.

11. Type y and then press ENTER to confirm Password Reset Changes
12. Press ENTER to Confirm That You’re Finished Using Offline NT Password & Registry Editor

13. Remove Hiren’s BootCD and Restart the Computer

That’s it! You’ve just completed the entire Offline NT Password & Registry Editor password removal process.

13. Remove Hiren’s BootCD and Restart the Computer

Note: If you receive a “job control turned off” or a “can’t access tty” error, don’t worry. As long as the EDIT COMPLETE confirmation message was posted to the screen after you confirmed the password reset changes then your password was successfully reset. You should still be able to see the confirmation on the screen at this point.

Remove Hiren’s BootCD from your CD/DVD drive and then manually reset your computer.

In the next step, you’ll finally get to logon to Windows without entering a password!

Now that your password has been removed using Offline NT Password & Registry Editor, no password is required to log on to Windows.

If you are the only user on your computer, Windows will boot all the way to the desktop on the next reboot and will skip the logon screen altogether.

If you’re on a multi-user computer (as many families are), the logon screen will still appear after starting Windows but when you click on the user that had the password removed, you will not be prompted for a password and will instead enter Windows automatically.

Having a secure password is important so please don’t continue to use Windows without one. As soon as you’ve gained access to your computer again, configure a new password – one you can remember a little easier!

Source: HBCD

How to Protect Your PHP Website from SQL Injection Hacks?

As a web developer, I often read articles about hackers (from the lowly to the knowledgeable) infiltrating websites via the dreaded ‘SQL Injection’ method and completely taking control, changing, gaining access, or destroying the owner’s data. As a fellow web developer, I’m sure you want to know how to protect against it. Well, here it is! In this article, you will find out what SQL Injection is, what you can do to protect against it, and additional recommendations that are easy to do and only makes your data more secure.

Please note: I am not an ‘absolute’ expert, but none of my projects have ever been hacked (yet), are SQL Injection proof (as far as I know), and I love to learn. I guarantee nothing.

What Is SQL Injection and How Is It Used?

Basically, SQL Injection is a method used against websites and applications to gain access to the website’s or application’s data, stored in a SQL database. SQL Injection is used to gain access to a database’s information (or an entire company), to destroy a database’s information, or to manipulate a database’s information. It is a method used to exploit the security vulnerability of an application or website. There are different types of SQL Injection, but in this article we will only cover the basics.

Let’s see how it is used, to further understand what it is. I am going to use PHP as my scripting language in these examples. You can use substitute any language(s) you use. The focus should be on the SQL commands.

Example

Suppose you are a professional with your own business. You have created an SQL database with a table that contains all of your clients’ information, that you use to send out important notifications, billing, etc. It took you an entire year to gain 50,000 very important clients. You manage your database by logging in online, as you travel, and doing whatever you need to do, directly from your website.

Your SQL query in your PHP log-in script, on your website:

<?

$q = “SELECT `id` FROM `users` WHERE `username`= ‘ ” .$_GET[‘username’]. ” ‘ AND `password`= ‘ ” .$_GET[‘password’]. ” ‘ “;

?>

One day a self-proclaimed hacker stumbles upon your website. He clicks the ‘Log In’ button.

He enters the following in the ‘username’ field:

‘ ; SHOW TABLES;

The hacker now has been shown every table you have in your database.

Since he knows your table’s name, he enters :

‘; DROP TABLE [your table’s name];

All of your information is gone.

Note: There are attempts that are much more complicated than this, and someone can spend a lot of time to get into your database, or they can even use a program to try to exploit the vulnerability of your website, database, application, etc.

Step 1 Use mysql_real_escape_string()

This PHP function escapes special characters for use in SQL queries and protects you from attack.

The query would now look like this:

<?

$q = “SELECT `id` FROM `users` WHERE `username`= ‘ ” .mysql_real_escape_string( $_GET[‘username’] ). ” ‘ AND `password`= ‘ ” .mysql_real_escape_string( $_GET[‘password’] ). ” ‘ “; 

?>

Step 2 Use mysql_query()

Using ‘mysql_query()’ has additional protection against SQL Injection. A query not wrapped in ‘mysql_query()’ could allow a hacker to use multiple SQL commands from your ‘username’ field, instead of just one, which is another vulnerability. ‘mysql_query()’ only allows one command at a time.

So, our query would now look like this:

<?

//connection
$database = mysql_connect(“localhost”, “username”,”password”);

//db selection
mysql_select_db(“database”, $database);

$q = mysql_query(“SELECT `id` FROM `users` WHERE `username`= ‘ ” .mysql_real_escape_string( $_GET[‘username’] ). ” ‘ AND `password`= ‘ ” .mysql_real_escape_string( $_GET[‘password’] ). ” ‘ “, $database);  

?>

Recommendation: Centralize Your Connections

In your script, you should centralize your connections to one page.

On each page that needs it, just use the ‘include()’ function to include the page that hosts your SQL database connection information. This would force you to create queries with the same format on every page you create, and reduces the chances of a mistake leaving a vulnerability open.

So, let’s say we make a page called ‘connections.php’ and put in the following:

<?

//connection
$database = mysql_connect(“localhost”, “username”,”password”);

//db selection
mysql_select_db(“database”, $database);

?>

We could modify our query using the new setup. Our log-in page would have:

<?

include(“connections.php”);

$q = mysql_query(“SELECT `id` FROM `users` WHERE `username`= ‘ ” .mysql_real_escape_string( $_GET[‘username’] ). ” ‘ AND `password`= ‘ ” .mysql_real_escape_string( $_GET[‘password’] ). ” ‘ “, $database); 

?>

Recommendation: Clean Data at the Beginning of the Page

Many programming languages force you to declare variables before you can use them throughout the script. PHP does not force you to do this, however, it’s a good habit to clean out your variables at the beginning of the page anyway!

Sure someone can ask, “If I’m cleaning each variable throughout the page, why should I clean the variables at the top? Aren’t I doing the same thing with your recommendation?”.

It is easier on you to clean variables at the beginning of the page for a few different reasons, beyond formatting.

  1. It reduces the amount of code you have to write.
  2. Once the variable is clean, you can use it freely throughout the page, without the fear of vulnerabilities.
  3. It is cleaner and more organized, allows you to work easier, and avoids mistakes.

If we cleaned variables at the beginning of the page, our script would look like this:

<?

include(“connections.php”);

$username = mysql_real_escape_string( $_GET[‘username’] );
$password = mysql_real_escape_string( $_GET[‘password’] );

$q = mysql_query(“SELECT `id` FROM `users` WHERE `username`= ‘ ” .$username. ” ‘ AND `password`= ‘ ” .$password. ” ‘ “, $database); 

?>

You could even go as far as creating a function to do all cleaning for you, reducing the amount you have to type further. Look at the following example.

<?

function cleaner($input){

//clean variable, including mysql_real_escape_string()

}

include(“connections.php”);

$username = cleaner( $_GET[‘username’] );
$password = cleaner( $_GET[‘password’] );

$q = mysql_query(“SELECT `id` FROM `users` WHERE `username`= ‘ ” .$username. ” ‘ AND `password`= ‘ ” .$password. ” ‘ “, $database); 

?>

Recommendation: Check Even After It Is Cleaned

You can have additional checks in place to guard against unnecessary processing on your server. This is achieved by adding checks to your script before you ever get to the point of running the query; only running the query when you find the data acceptable.

<?

function cleaner($input){

//clean variable, including mysql_real_escape_string()

}

include(“connections.php”);

$username = cleaner( $_GET[‘username’] );
$password = cleaner( $_GET[‘password’] );

//Check if the input is blank.

if( ($password == ”) || ($username == ”)){

//dont let them pass

//Check if they are putting in way too many characters than should be allowed. 

else if( (strlen($username) > 20) || (strlen($password)> 20) ){

//dont let them pass

}

//Passed all of our checks! Run query.

else {

$q = mysql_query(“SELECT `id` FROM `users` WHERE `username`= ‘ ” .$username. ” ‘ AND `password`= ‘ ” .$password. ” ‘ “, $database); 

}

?>

That’s pretty much it.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

What is Jailbreaking?

Technical Definition of Jailbreak:
The iPhone, iPod touch, iPad & Apple TV hack that allow users to gain access to the entire Unix filesystem. In Unix terms, this refers to changing the root of the directory tree to /.

Understandable Definition of Jailbreak:
A hack that gains access to areas of the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad that users aren’t supposed to mess with. Typically, this is an immediate prelude to either installing cool programs, unlocking the handset for use with another cellular network, or both.

Through jailbreaking, you are able to add additional applications to your iDevice. It allows you to do so by adding an application called Cydia to your iDevice. It also allows modding (changing) of your iDevice application icons, wallpaper, dock, status bar, chat bubbles, weather backgrounds, keyboard….etc. Wondering why you would want to jailbreak your iDevice? Visit our Why Jailbreak page.

For more information on the Cydia or Installer applications, see our f.a.q page.

For instructions on how to jailbreak your iDevice, see our jailbreak page.

Disclaimer: Jailbreaking voids your warranty.