Monday, March 28, 2005

If you get a note about a patch

If you receive an email from Microsoft®, McAfee®, Symantec or any other software companies that attaches a program saying it is an update, patch or fix for a virus... DISCARD the note without opening. Never, ever open the attached file.

Most (if not all) software companies will never send you a note with a file attached. If they do an update or patch a critical flaw they might send you an email without any attachments! Be paranoid and don't use the provided link. Go to your browser and type in the link yourself (if you don't have the link already bookmarked). The reason is that some trojans/viruses take advantage of a flaw in how some browsers render web pages (if you have not applied the patch) and you won't be sent to the site that is in the email.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Unintended testing of Linux Recovery

Looks like my 15 inch monitor on the work machine blew. Dead and no response. I even when hooked up to the server to see if it was the monitor or the video card.

When I get a new monitor I will be finding out how well Linux handles a less than controlled shutdown as I couldn't see the results of my keying a shutdown. I obviously screwed up the keystroke sequence as the machine didn't power down as expected. It was an old monitor (1998) so it is not a major loss, but, the video card I have in the work machine won't handle the 17 inch monitor that is on the server. It may be an excuse to buy a 'new' video card for the machine too.

On the upside at least I have the server I can use for a day or two. I don't like it using the server this way, but, I need my internet fix.

Lesson learned ->
  • Write down the keystrokes required to do a controlled shutdown when I don't have a monitor.
  • Find out where I can safely dispose of old electronics rather than putting it into the garbage.

Monday I will be looking at a new monitor and doing a recovery of what I had in progress.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Welcome to my musings

This will be my forum to track a number of things that I have been following and doing and hopefully you will find of interest. I have a personal web page that I have be using. My personal pages has a section on security, trojans and how to protect yourself. Over time I will be transferring some of those thoughts from there to here as a short series of blogs on various aspects on PC security.

I am also a Linux enthusiast who is in the process of converting my home network of 6 PCs from Windows to Linux. As a Linux enthusiast I am also following the SCO lawsuits, particularly SCO v IBM and I will probably be posting a number of my musings here.

Mandrake 10.2 Beta

Well I downloaded release candidate 2 (RC2) of Mandrake 10.2 and installed it on my main work machine. It took only about 60 minutes to install and configure the basic setup of this distribution. It took me another 2 hours to tweak and download various packages/updates. My observations:
  • It didn't have XFCE, not a problem I downloaded the RPM files and installed without a problem. For those of you who don't use Linux, XFCE is a light-weight desktop environment. With my current setup my system will use about 60 megs at startup. I like the environment as it stays out of my way when I work.
  • It didn't have XMMS. This is a major pain as I run GKRELLM to monitor the system and the plugin package expects XMMS to be on the system and won't load until I do. This is a problem as I can't find XMMS for 10.2 RC 2 at this time. Hopefully Mandrake will change this as I really like XMMS.
  • I found amaroK and it appears to have most of the functionality of XMMS. Most importantly it allows me to play web music (yay).
  • Thunderbird (email) was not installed, again this is not a problem as I can download and install the RPM.
  • GTK-Gnutella was not installed.
So far the RC2 distro seems to be solid and I have not had a problem yet with this machine. I like Mandrake as it is easy for me to install, configure and support. The only thing that I have noticed is that the number of CDs have been growing and the bloat factor has been increasing. Now to work on Webmin and configure my security sessions back to their normal paranoid levels.