Elite News

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

First StarOffice, OpenOffice Virus Found

Staroffice and Openoffice are opensouce Microsoft Office alternatives. Openoffice is even free. And for some time now, macro viruses only effected Microsoft Office products. However, those days are now over. Kaspersky Lab researcher has found a macro virus that they have dubbed "Stardust" that effects both StarOffice and OpenOffice. As mentioned before in a previous entry, viruses are getting more cross platform, making the belief that Unix, Linux, and Mac users are safe from such treats obsolete.

Norton Confidential coming soon!

Symantec is releasing a new program called "Norton Confidential" which they say will help protect online transaction interactions. It will identify suspicious web sites from trust worthy ones on the fly. It will also manage sensitive information used in online transactions and help protect against password stealing torjans and keyloggers. This competes with Mircorosft in their antiphishing technologies like Windows Live OneCare. In the arena of security, Symantec hopes to stay ahead.

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Join the Band Wagon in Video!

first there was ifilm.com. Then came youtube.com. then google video, then veoh.com. And now, Yahoo has joined the band wagon with video.yahoo.com. The only difference is yahoo video lets viewers search for video that isn't hosted on yahoo servers. So now viewers have the freedom of watching video host anywhere! It's a good innovation.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Hackers can crack top antivirus program

Thursday, May 25, 2006; Posted: 6:07 p.m. EDT (22:07 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Symantec Corp.'s leading antivirus software, which protects some of the world's largest corporations and U.S. government agencies, suffers from a flaw that lets hackers seize control of computers to steal sensitive data, delete files or implant malicious programs, researchers said Thursday.

Symantec said it was investigating the issue but could not immediately corroborate the vulnerability. If confirmed, the threat to computer users would be severe because the security software is so widely used and because no action is required by victims using the latest versions of Symantec Antivirus to suffer a crippling attack over the Internet.

Symantec has boasted that its antivirus products are installed on more than 200 million computers. A spokesman, Mike Bradshaw, said the company was examining the reported flaw but described it as "so new that we don't have any details."

Researchers from eEye Digital Security Inc. of Aliso Viejo, California, discovered the vulnerability and provided evidence to Symantec engineers this week, said eEye's chief hacking officer, Marc Maiffret. He demonstrated the attack for The Associated Press.

eEye said it appeared consumer versions of Symantec's Norton Antivirus software -- sold at retail outlets around the country -- were not vulnerable to the flaw, though consumers who are provided Symantec's corporate edition antivirus software by their employers for use at home may be affected.

Maiffret's company -- which has discovered hundreds of similar flaws in other software products -- also produces intrusion-protection software, called "Blink," that he said already blocks such attacks and can operate alongside Symantec's antivirus products.

Maiffret published a note about the company's discovery on its Web site but pledged not to reveal details publicly that would help hackers attack Internet users until after Symantec repairs its antivirus software. eEye said it intends to describe the problem in detail privately for some of its largest customers.

"People shouldn't panic," Maiffret said. "There shouldn't be any exploits until a patch is produced."

The reported flaw comes at an awkward time for Symantec. Its chief executive, John Thompson, has campaigned in recent months to convince consumers they should trust Symantec -- not Microsoft Corp. -- to protect their personal information.

Maiffret said eEye's testing showed the problem affects Symantec Antivirus Version 10, including its corporate editions. He said Symantec's consumer antivirus product, known as Norton Antivirus 2006, and its current security suite -- which includes both antivirus and firewall features -- did not appear to be vulnerable.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Teenager repellent \"Mosquito\" turned into ringtone

Techno-savvy UK pupils have recorded the ultra-high sound - audible only to under-20-year-olds - from the ultrasonic device Mosquito onto their cell phones - and are now receiving calls and text messages in class without teachers having the faintest idea of what is going on.

read more | digg story

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Dangerous MS Word Virus Exploit

A new recently discovered vulnerability in Microsoft Word is already being exploited by hackers. It is spread through emails with a document attachment. According to BetaNews , "Users who open the attachment with Word XP and Word 2003 are then infected with a trojan that contains rootkit-like features in order to hide itself from antivirus scanners." Once infected, the hackers will have what seems like full access to the compromised computer. Microsoft is currently researching a patch for this and plans to release it at their next patch release date June 13, 2006. Users beware!

[ read more ]

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Biggest Game Developer You've Never Heard Of?

Game developer Tose has 1,000 employees, and created 1,100 games since 1979 (including Final Fantasy GBA versions, though they can't mention it in this interview!), but they're basically unknown, because they're 'game development ninjas', and 'refuse to put [their] names on the game'.

read more | digg story

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Super Virus or Coincidence?

This is a post for viewers' comments. Recently with in the time span of a week and a half, I have personally witnessed 4 incidences of bizarre computer system crashes due to hard drive failures. The symptoms are all the same. Upon booting up the computer and after the windows OS splash screen, the computer will blue screen and then restart. The same thing will happen every time upon subsequent boot-ups. The blue screen of death will happen in the same spot even when booting into safe mode. Upon taking the hard drive out of the case and plugging it in to another system as a slave drive in an attempt to recover the data on it, the system has a hard time recognizing what the hard drive is; in fact, most times it doesn't know what that hard drive is and will crash windows explorer. Have any one else experienced this and has brushed it off as normal hard drive failure? I am interested in what you have to say about it. Please leave your thoughts and comments to this entry. Thank you.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Drag and drop your Windows taskbar buttons!

Free program that lets you drag and drop your Windows taskbar buttons to re-order them! No extra hotkey or lame extra steps, just drag 'n drop... sooo useful.

read more | digg story

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Installing Programs on a U3 Smart Drive Launcher

I needed a new USB flash drive because the one I was using was only 64 MB and I was unable to install all of the programs I wanted so I bought a 2 GB SanDisk Cruizer USB Drive. What I didn't know when I purchased it, is that it came with a nifty U3 Launchpad that lets you access your programs quickly and easily.

I then drag and dropped the contents of my old USB drive into my new one. But then I thought, it would be cool to have my programs on the U3 Launchpad. I quickly realized the only way to add programs was adding programs from their list of supported programs [ http://software.u3.com/ ] or by adding a .u3p package. At first I thought the Launchpad was useless because the programs I wanted didn't have a u3p package, but I knew there had to be a way I could get my programs onto the Launchpad List.

Beginner's Guide to Adding Programs

A U3 "smart drive" is a USB drive with a small partition that acts as a virtual CD-ROM drive. The virtual CD drive allows the USB drive to autoload the U3 Launchpad when you insert it into a computer. The Launchpad allows you to easily access your programs. For more information about the U3 smartdrive visit http://www.everythingusb.com/u3.html

This is a simple guide to adding a icon to your program list. I'm going to use PortableVLC for this example. [ PortableVLC ]

1. Install the portable Application anywhere on the USB drive.
(ex: G:\program files\PortableVLC\)

2. Open up the Hidden System folder in the root of the drive and navigate into the Apps folder. Create a folder of any name, the program name makes things easier. This is going to become the uuid, so remember what you named it for later.
(ex: i created G:\System\Apps\vlc\)

3. Inside the newly created folder, make a new folder named Manifest . Inside create a new notepad document. Rename the document to Manifest.u3i . Manifest.u3i is really a disguised XML file that the U3 Launcher uses to describe your program with. Having one is Vital to the Launcher.
(ex: i created G:\System\Apps\vlc\Manifest\Manifest.u3i)

4. Make or find an icon. I normally either find the offical *.ico somewhere in the folder where its installed or just go to the website of whoever makes it and steal the favicon.ico (ex: for vlc i found the vlc icon in G:\program files\PortableVLC\PortableVLCCode\ but you can also find a lower quality one at http://videolan.org/favicon.ico ). Put the .ico in the Manifest folder right next to the Manifest.u3i

5. Edit Manifest.u3i in notepad (or TextPad, etc)

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<u3manifest version="1.0">
<application uuid="vlc" version="0.8.4a">
<vendor url="http://portableapps.com/apps/audio_video/media_players/portable_vlc">Portable VLC</vendor>
<description>VLC media player is a highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, XviD, WMV, mp3, ogg, ...) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It can also be used as a server to stream in unicast or multicast in IPv4 or IPv6 on a high-bandwidth network.</description>
<upgrade appData="overwrite" deviceExec="overwrite"/>
<appStart workingdir="%U3_DEVICE_PATH%\program files\PortableVLC" cmd="%U3_DEVICE_PATH%\program files\PortableVLC\PortableVLC.exe">start</appStart>
<appStop workingdir="%U3_DEVICE_PATH%\program files\PortableVLC" cmd="%U3_DEVICE_PATH%\program files\PortableVLC\PortableVLC.exe">stop</appStop>

Make application uuid the same name as the file folder in your Apps directory (ex: vlc in my case). This is the ID of the application, you will need to use it again elsewhere. version is just the version of the application, its arbitrary, set it correctly if you want your launcher to display the correct ver #.
icon is the name of the icon that you want to display on your program list. ill go over this in the next step.
name = display name.
vendor url and description = the url of the program's website and the description displayed in "Manage U3 Programs."
minFreeSpace = number of MB that the program requires on the drive, rounded up to the nearest MB.
appStart and appStop , there are a few more optional actions like clean up, but these two are the required two to run your program. workingdir = the directory that your program runs from/in. Set this as the file folder that your executable is located in, make sure you use %U3_DEVICE_PATH% rather than the drive letter (ex: G:). cmd = the executable that you want to run when you click the button.

6. Zip the Manifest folder and name as the same name of your uuid from before. The items inside the zip file MUST be placed in the correct location.
Follow my example:
Inside my vlc.zip is a Folder with the name Manifest
Inside the Manifest folder is a Manifest.u3i and a vlc.ico
vlc.zip => Manifest\Manifest.u3i and Manifest\vlc.ico

Now rename the uuid.zip folder to uuid.u3p (ex: vlc.zip -> vlc.u3p) and leave it in the uuid folder (ex: now i have a G:\System\Apps\vlc\vlc.u3p)

7. Go back to the Apps folder (ex: G:\System\Apps) and find and edit the LPDB.xml file.
add in <APPLICATION guid="vlc" launchOnStart="N" lastUsed="5/4/2006 10:03:12 AM">\vlc.u3p</APPLICATION> right next to the ones similar to it. change the guid to your uuid and the location accordingly.

8. Eject your USB Drive and plug it back in.

When the U3 Launcher loads when you plug it back and and you did everything correct, you have a new item on your program list. If you left a typo in the code or something went wrong, it will tell you that the u3p failed to load and if you want to delete the program associated to it.


Finished Product:


To better understand what's going on here are some definitions.

*.u3p - Type zip. This is the u3 package that stores the program for initial installation. Contains the folders: Data, Device, Host, and Manifest.
*.u3i - Type xml. This contains the data displayed inside the Program Manager inside the Launcher.

Data folder (inside u3p) - The contents of this folder is transfered out of the .u3p package into the Data folder outside of the package. This has data much like Windows "Application Data".
Device folder - The contents of this folder is transfered out of the .u3p package into the Exec folder outside of the package. This contains the actual application executables.
Host folder - This remains inside of the package. This contains each application's launcher.
Manifest - Stores the information given to the U3 Launcher about the program. Contains Manifest.u3i and an icon of *.ico.

Data folder (outside u3p) - Automatically copied from the Data folder inside the *.u3p.
Exec folder - Automatically copied from the Device folder inside the *.u3p.

LPDB.xml - Program list that is accessed when the U3 Launcher starts.
LPGDB.xml - Program list automattically spawned of the current programs installed on the U3 Program List. Also includes their order and last running time.

uuid/guid - Application ID.
appStart - Action in the u3i that is taken when you start the program.
appStop - Action taken when you exit. For many simple programs, just have it as the same file as appStart.
hostCleanUp - I think its the Action taken after the application is stopped.
hostInstall - Action taken when installed.
hostConfigure - Action taken when configured.