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How to run Xp with the least privilege January 28, 2006

Posted by peewitsol in Technical.
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Browse here to view the paper titled “Applying the Principle of Least Privilege to User Accounts on Windows XP” – it gives a good explaination of how to reduce the amount of time both you and your users need to be logged in with Administrative privileges. We at Peewitsol, think it’s pretty well accepted that running as admin is generally a bad idea from a security perspective, as any code you run (either deliberately or accidentally) will also run with privilege – this is often the route that malicious software uses to exploit machines.

Think about Browser Helper Objects (BHO) for a moment. These are effectively ActiveX style extensions that can be installed into Internet Explorer to provide additional browsing features and interface richness. IF YOU’RE running with admin privileges BHOs can be silently installed on your system – there are plenty of malicious BHOs out there. If you visit a site that has malicious (or safe) BHOs then they’ll fail to install if you’re running as a regular user.

This approach of running with less privilege will get much easier with Windows Vista but in the meantime it’s important to learn how to adopt the principle of least privilege for Windows XP.

Work with your businesses house developers to encourage them to develop with least privilege too as that way the code they write is more likely to be able to operate with least privilege too.

If you are a home user or SME ( Small to Mediun Enterprise ) it would be advisable for you to run your system/computer’s this way too.

Using the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard as a quick file backup tool in Windows XP January 28, 2006

Posted by peewitsol in Technical.
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Have you backed up your files lately? Put the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard to use, and preserve valuable information on your Windows XP machine.

You can migrate your files and settings from one computer to another using the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard in Windows XP. Did you know that you can also use the same utility to back up files? Using the Wizard, along with an external hard drive connected via a USB or Firewire connection, you can. In addition to an external hard drive, you can even back up to a network drive.

Here’s how:

1. Launch the Files And Settings Transfer Wizard, select the Old Computer option on the Which Computer Is This? screen, and click Next.
2. Choose the Other option on the Select A Transfer Method screen.
Click the Browse button, specify the backup destination—an external hard drive or a network drive—and click Next.
3. On the What Do You Want To Transfer screen, select the appropriate Files And Settings option, and click Next.

Follow the instructions in the wizard to create the compressed backup file.

To restore the files, simply run the Files And Settings Transfer Wizard as though you were transferring the files to a new computer.

For more information of the Files And Settings Transfer Wizard, see the following articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

Using Files And Settings Transfer Wizard in Windows XP
Using the Files And Settings Transfer Wizard By Using the Windows XP CD-ROM
Using the Files And Settings Transfer Wizard with a Wizard Disk in Windows XP

Online premiere of the I.T. Crowd January 28, 2006

Posted by peewitsol in Technical.
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There’s an odd marriage for computer geeks and comedy fans coming soon to British TV when a new series starts on Channel 4. The programme’s called ‘The IT Crowd’ and premieres next Friday 3rd February with a double bill. But you don’t need to wait until then. Watch the first episode from the comfort of your computer screen courtesy of those chirpy folks at Channel 4: http://www.channel4.com/entertainment/tv/microsites/I/itcrowd/. Recognise anyone you know on there?!

Office Training Audio’s January 28, 2006

Posted by peewitsol in Technical.
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http://office.microsoft.com/en-gb/training/default.aspx   Update your Office skills with these training audio files, each audio session lasts for about 30 minutes 

Using the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard as a quick file backup tool in Windows XP January 26, 2006

Posted by peewitsol in Technical.
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Have you backed up your files lately? Put the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard to use, and preserve valuable information on your Windows XP machine.

You can migrate your files and settings from one computer to another using the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard in Windows XP. Did you know that you can also use the same utility to back up files? Using the Wizard, along with an external hard drive connected via a USB or Firewire connection, you can. In addition to an external hard drive, you can even back up to a network drive.

Here’s how:

1. Launch the Files And Settings Transfer Wizard, select the Old Computer option on the Which Computer Is This? screen, and click Next.
2. Choose the Other option on the Select A Transfer Method screen.
Click the Browse button, specify the backup destination—an external hard drive or a network drive—and click Next.
3. On the What Do You Want To Transfer screen, select the appropriate Files And Settings option, and click Next.

Follow the instructions in the wizard to create the compressed backup file.

To restore the files, simply run the Files And Settings Transfer Wizard as though you were transferring the files to a new computer.

For more information of the Files And Settings Transfer Wizard, see the following articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

Using Files And Settings Transfer Wizard in Windows XP
Using the Files And Settings Transfer Wizard By Using the Windows XP CD-ROM
Using the Files And Settings Transfer Wizard with a Wizard Disk in Windows XP

Music Mix in Messenger January 25, 2006

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Investigating Windows Vista’s built-in spyware Defender January 24, 2006

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This is a description of the fully loaded edition of Windows Defender, which is included in the December CTP of Windows Vista. In the December 1st edition of the Windows Vista Report, “Windows Vista’s Security Center stands to gain some real substance“, I alluded to the fact that the next CTP version of Windows Vista would contain an actual Spyware Protection program. And it does indeed, with the fully loaded edition of Windows Defender (formerly known as Windows AntiSpyware). Microsoft’s new antispyware software is based on the technology obtained by the December 2004 acquisition of GIANT Company Software. Here’s a closer look at Windows Defender–some of its most interesting features and how it works.

At home in the Security Center

Windows Defender is integrated into the Security Center in the Spyware Protection section by default, as shown in Figure A. This will provide your computer with protection against spyware right out of the box. However, like the Firewall and Virus Protection, you’ll be able to replace Windows Defender with a third-party antispyware utility if you wish.

Figure A

Windows Defender is integrated into the Security Center.

Accessing Windows Defender

Once you launch Windows Defender, which you can do from within the Security Center or a tray icon, you’ll immediately notice that the user interface is very clean, as shown in Figure B, which makes it easy to use. As you can see, the main page quickly provides detailed status information. The green shield icon at the top provides a quick indication that the system is free from spyware while the panel at the bottom provides you with a more detailed account, including when the last scan was run, what level of scan was run, when the next automatic scan is scheduled to run, that real-time protection is currently monitoring, and the version and date of the currently enabled spyware signatures.

Figure B

Windows Defender’s user interface is very straightforward making it extremely easy to use.

And while I’m on the topic of spyware signatures, I’ll point out that because Windows Defender is integrated into the operating system, new spyware signatures are delivered and installed via Automatic Updates and Windows Update.

Working with Windows Defender

To work with Windows Defender, you use the icons on the toolbar. To initiate a quick scan, you can click the Scan icon or you can click the adjacent drop-down arrow and select a Full Scan or a Custom Scan, which will allow you to target a specific drive or folder to scan, as shown in Figure C. 

Figure C

The Custom Scan feature allows you to target a specific location for a spyware scan.

Clicking the History icon displays a page that contains a list of all the spyware and other potentially unwanted software that Windows Defender discovered on your system. The History page also provides details on whether the spyware/software was removed, blocked or allowed.

Clicking the Tools icon displays the Settings and Tools page, as shown in Figure D, where you’ll find both standard antispyware configuration options as well as several other very interesting items, such as AntiSpyware Community, Software Explorers and the Windows Defender website.

Figure D

In addition to the standard fare, Settings and Tools page provides some very interesting options.

The AntiSpyware Community is a forum where you can go to get more information about the items that Windows Defender flags as spyware and how to handle them. For example, you’ll be able to access a trust rating system that compiles information on how many other members have removed, blocked, or allowed the same items.

Software Explorers is a real-time analysis tool that can examine and identify every running program in several categories. For example, choosing the Currently Running category provides detailed information about every process that you’d find on the Task Manager’s Processes tab, as shown in Figure E. Now, you’ll be able to easily identify operating system processes and isolate suspect processes.

Figure E

The Software Explorers will provide you with detailed information about running applications.

Clicking the Windows Defender website button takes you to Microsoft’s Security page where you’ll be able to get more information and additional tools.

Conclusion

While I’ve only provided you with a quick tour, it’s easy to see that Windows Defender looks like it’s going to be a very nice addition to the Windows Vista’s security features. Keep in mind that Windows Vista’s official release date is still over a year away and some of the information presented about Windows Defender may change.

World Cup Fixtures in Outlook January 24, 2006

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2006 Football Germany World Cup – All Outlook Appointments for all Fixtures/Games/Matches
Fancy having all the fixtures for the Football World Cup in Germany in your Outlook Calendar – then go here. Just drag and drop them from the zip file into your Outlook Calendar and Voila –
England are playing Sweden on my birthday. To be honest, I don’t have a great track record when it comes to England results on my birthday, but you never know. There’s always a first time .. .. ..
Oh yeah, if you’re an egg chaser then the 6 Nations Rugby fixtures are up there too.
If you are a football fan and you’ve qualified for the World Cup then I’d be interested to know who you’re supporting and how well you think you’re going to do.
I’ll start – England – disappointing exit in the quarter finals.

Microsoft earns patching praise from IT execs January 24, 2006

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Microsoft may take the most heat on security vulnerabilities, but other software vendors need to catch up when it comes to dealing with flaws found in their products, IT execs and analysts say. Read the Computerworld article here

http://www.computerworld.com/securitytopics/security/holes/story/0,10801,107938p2,00.html

New Honda Advert January 23, 2006

Posted by peewitsol in Technical.
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I just like this HERE go watch, then see how they made it.