Saturday, 11 August 2007

Fight Spam Strategies and Software to take back your Inbox

Efficiency and accuracy in communication may be more important today than at any time in human history. The number of spam messages passed between individuals and businesses continues to increase significantly each day, to the point that some are literally overwhelmed by their sheer volume. Now, more than ever, it is vital that true non-spam email messages be absolutely accurate and arrive at the correct location, on time.

According to most studies, Americans are doing their part in adding to the vast number of electronic messages, but they are also creating a huge number of unwanted, unnecessary messages. One set of statistics shows that as many as 4 of every 10 spam items come from U.S. addresses. Europeans are far worse, however. Half of all emails originating there are spam, according to some statistics.

But what is spam, really? Of course, most people know about the canned food made from pork products (a Hawaiian delicacy). The definition widely used in electronic messaging and email defines spam as a "disruptive, commercial message that is unsolicited and usually sent indiscriminately." The sheer number of unsolicited messages is enough of a problem in that the sheer handling of this additional traffic slows the entire process of communication. In addition, those messages contain symbols, code etc. that actually cause system disruption or total failure. The resulting damage can be costly.

Some of the top stories in the world of email and electronic messaging recently have focused on the motivation behind spamming. In the end, it is mostly greed/money that motivates these "spammers" who spend their time distributing spam full-time through automated bots and zombie computer networks. Many of those who watch this industry carefully acknowledge that current Federal laws in the United States and at the individual State level fall short of controlling this type of "white collar" crime.

So, what can be done to remedy this situation? Actually, a number of steps can be taken to ensure that individual and business email is safe and efficient. Just making sure the inbox is free of unwanted messages is an obvious place to start. But how is that done?

Much of the spam sent to worldwide email addresses is meant to introduce products, in the hopes that the receiver will be enticed to buy. Financial schemes (the dreaded Nigerian Email scam) and illicit pharmaceutical adverts make up a significant portion of spam; as does pornography and offers for adult material.

Basic e-mail filtering (determined by the content of the e-mail) is a simple step each and every user should be taking at the start of each day and at the start of each email session. In essence, this filtering can be initiated by certain words or phrases that automatically send messages to the trash. Beyond this initial effective step, there are black hole lists (DNS-based) of known spammers, as well as email addresses that are not intended to be used except to capture spam (spamtraps) which offer more intermediate ways to combat the problem at the computer user level.

Some of the best methods employed by individuals and businesses have not been enough to stop the most determined of spammers, however. The most aggressive will use false names and addresses to establish multiple accounts across multiple ISP's. The use of "buffers" or third-party senders, helps to isolate the actual spammer from recrimination. Spammers have found and will continue to find open paths to unsuspecting inboxes, with the added risk of virus-infected messages a growing concern.

Spam and viruses are a particular risk to companies with extensive communications networks. While many of the simple steps noted above will help keep a system clean (with constant attention by administrators), more aggressive tactics are needed to ensure the continued success of larger, commercial internal communications networks.

New technology, such as highly intuitive anti-spam filtering software, may be the answer to many of the problems caused by a worldwide increase in spam. Current email users can download these anti-spam software updates in real-time and in doing so will help keep their network current. This type of technology is at the top of the list for users looking for email maintenance and for help in maintaining the efficiency and integrity of an entire communications system. Among the key focus areas for general email users are virus-free stability, lower maintenance and upgrade costs, email search capabilities for customized spam surveillance, archive services and anti-spam tools that put the daily maintenance in the hands of the local administrator.

Spam continues to grow, as senders find motivation to increase their efforts. At one time only a few hundred people received these unwanted messages. But over the years, the problem has exploded and now affects billions of email users and businesses each day. By one estimate, only about 15% of email is truly wanted and needed by the end receiver. Companies have come to realize this inefficiency cannot be supported over the long-term and are turning more and more to professional software protection options for help.

Don't let spam win, make sure your email messaging system is protected by a robust anti-spam software solution and take back your inbox today!

Author: Casey Markee
Article Source :

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Cisco CCENT / CCNA Certification Exam Tutorial: What Are Broadcast Storms?

The Cisco CCENT exam demands that you master the fundamentals of networking, and it doesn’t get much more fundamental than broadcasts! Every network has them, and every network administrator needs to be aware of what broadcasts are and their potential impact on network performance.

When a device on a network generates a message, it’s one of three types – a unicast, a multicast, or a broadcast. A unicast is a message intended for one other host; a multicast is intended for a group of hosts; a broadcast is intended for every host that can possibly receive it – and that’s where the trouble can begin.

Why? Because not every other host needs or wants to receive that message, and if “Host A” should not receive broadcasts sent by “Host B”, we should configure the network accordingly. Everything we do on a network has a cost in performance, and if a host is regularly processing messages that it doesn’t need, that will result in a decline in that host’s performance. That decline may be slight, but if the host in question is receiving many unnecessary broadcasts, the decline in performance may be significant. Worse, the impact to our network as a whole may be significant as well.

Broadcasts tend to result in more broadcasts, and if hosts on the network continue to answers broadcasts with broadcasts, we end up with a broadcast storm. Broadcast storms start small, but just like a snowball, they can end up being very big – so big that normal network operations are compromised and/or prevented!

Don’t let the threat of a broadcast storm make you nervous about broadcasts, though. Broadcasts are part of a network’s normal operationArticle Search, and we’ve got quite a few methods available to prevent these storms. We’ll discuss those in a future Cisco CCENT exam tutorial!

Source: Free Articles from


Chris Bryant, CCIE #12933, is the owner of The Bryant Advantage, home of free Cisco CCNP Certification and CCNA Certification Exam tutorials, The Ultimate CCNA Study Package, and Ultimate CCNP Study Packages. You can also visit his blog, which is updated several times daily with new Cisco certification articles, free tutorials, and daily CCNA / CCNP exam questions! Visit his blog and sign up for Certification Central, a daily newsletter packed with CCNA, Network+, A+, and CCNP certification exam practice questions. A free 7-part course, “How To Pass The CCNA”, is also available. Pass your CCENT Exam with The Bryant Advantage!

Looking at Different Belkin Wireless Network Cards

Before you buy a Belkin wireless network card, you really ought to gather information first. By asking people for their opinions and reading reviews, you would be able to save a lot of time on deciding later. You will also be able to separate the hype from the truth. In doing so, you will be able to make sure that you make a decision which you will not regret later. Here are some facts about Belkin wireless network cards to help you get started:

N1 wireless adapter – This Belkin wireless network card is actually sold as a companion to the N1 router, which is Belkins' first 802.11n product. The N11 wireless adapter is actually pretty easy to install since the software driver that comes with it is pretty straightforward with easy-to-understand instructions. Another great thing about this Belkin wireless network card is the fact that it actually costs less than its other-branded counterparts. Let's not kid ourselves: we all like being able to save cash on a purchase.

However, there are a few disadvantages to this Belkin wireless network card as well. One of the most noticeable would be the fact that it doesn't actually take advantage of the 802.11n technology. This means people might be expecting a lot more than what this product delivers. Sure, it performs just as well as other products, but that really isn't much, is it?

Wireless G plus MIMO notebook card – This Belkin wireless network card is quite disappointing when you compare it to the performance of other products in the Belkin line. Basically, this Belkin wireless network card just performs a lot slower than its predecessors –proving that "new" doesn't necessarily mean "better". The wireless G plus MIMO notebook card installs easily and can be configured quite well because of the included tools. However, these advantages are overshadowed by this Belkin wireless network card's shortcomings performance-wise.

The bottom line is, if you truly want to go with the brand, you are better off buying other models.

Pre-N PC card – This Belkin wireless network card is quite fast. We all know that what people look for the most in a network adapter is fast performance. This Belkin wireless network card also has a great range which means that, with this product, wireless does mean freedom. A lot of wireless network cards today claim to bring you freedom through wireless technology when in fact, the range of the adapters virtually confines you.

With this Belkin wireless network card, you also get easy, hassle- free installation. You just insert the accompanying installation disk, follow the wizard, and voila –you're done!

Of course, this convenience cannot come free. One thing you have to know about this Belkin wireless network card is the fact that compared to other products, it can be quite pricey. However, you need to learn how to recognize a good investment when you see it and this is definitely a good investment.

Wireless notebook 54 Mbps – This Belkin wireless network card is designed specifically for notebooks. If you want your laptop to have the power of high-speed wireless network access, then this is the card for you. It is actually quite cheap at just 35 dollars, but it packs quite a punch. Of course, the performance of this Belkin wireless network card does suffer when used in a mixed-mode environment but on the wholeComputer Technology Articles, it can be a worthy investment.

Source: Free Articles from


Rajesh Karavadia owns, providing information on wireless network setup and wireless network security

Repair your iPod Mini using Linux

This guide is a great walkthrough to fix a bricked iPod. By bricked, I mean beyond repairing with the windows iPod restore tool. Very easy to follow and a lifesaver. It says its for the mini, but it can be used to fix any type of iPod.

This process involves using a Linux Boot CD, an iPod Mini (4GB), and a local Harddisk! It was tested with a friends nuked iPod Mini. You need to follow these instructions EXACTLY. If you are worried about erasing your own local PC Harddisk in the process, take it out and use another disk or use a test-PC you may have etc.. this process should only touch your local HD for READING, but if you make a typo you could accidently write the ipod firmware to your own local HD and that would render your PC USELESS! OK!? I also hope I wrote this up proper.. I've re-read it a few times! Also, I guess this process goes against your warranty or somein.

This process has been tested with: iPod Mini 4GB WINDOWS version using USB connection, Knoppix Live CD v3.4, Windows 2000 SP4, Pentium 3-500 PC.

NOTE! - This process has been tested using a USB connection, I have not seen the firewire connection and therefore most of this document would be irrelevant for that connection type!

NOTE! - The MAC iPod Mini is slightly different (disk structure is 3 partitions instead of 2), and since I haven't even seen a Mac iPod none of the below applies to a Mac iPod!

NOTE! - This process has been tested with a 4GB iPod Mini. Larger size Mini's should also work since we are not specifying a size for the 2nd partition, but that is untested OK!.

Have Fun!


iPod appears nuked, only shows folder icon and ! on its LCD and is unmountable under windows? (running iPod Updater just does nothing - does not even detect the device as an ipod!)

This is likely due to complete loss of Harddisk boot sector, structure and areas.


iPod structure: (WINDOWS iPod Mini version)

Hard Disk (4GB) -> Partition 1 = 32MB for Operating System -> Partition 2 = ~4GB (4161536MB?) for User Data (FAT32 file system)

Boot sequence: (?)

Arm ARM7TDMI CPU init -> Execute ROM init and code -> Boots HD Boot Sector -> Boots HD Partition 1 (Operating System, Arm code) -> System Up!


- iPod Mini (tested : 4GB UK model) - iPod Updater software (tested : 2005-03-23) - Resource Hacker program (v3.4.0) - Knoppix Live CD Linux v3.4 or later (other Linux versions would abviously work, I guess you need kernel 2.4.x, dd, mkfs.x, fdisk etc) - .. adventurer's spirit hey!

The Process

Firstly, you need to extract the firmware binary file out of the iPod Updater program. Use Resource Hacker under Windows, open the iPod Updater exe file, open the FIRM folder. Now you need to open the IDR_FIRMWARE-3.2.5 folder, and then select the 1033 file. Now extract this resource as a binary file to somewhere on your local HD (eg: c:\mini325.bin).

Shutdown windows.

Turn off PC.

Plug in your iPod Mini. (tested : USB connection)

Boot your PC from your Knoppix Linux Live CD.

Once Linux is up and booted, it should have mounted your local HD, probably as hda1. I would mount it manually anyway!

Open a Terminal session, get into root user with "su -", you should have: ~Knoppix[root]$: (or something like that).

Mount your local HD

Make a local mount point directory (where you will access your local HD) mkdir /mnt/localhd

Mount your local HD: (NTFS drives, windows xp, 2000 etc) mount -t ntfs /dev/hda1 /mnt/localhd

Mount your local HD: (FAT32 drives, windows 98, me) mount -t vfat /dev/hda1 /mnt/localhd

Do a directory listing to check contents of your local HD: cd /mnt/localhd ls -la

You should see "mini325.bin", your ipod mini firmware! (or the file you called it!)

Of course, if you stored the firmware on a slave HD, you need to mount that instead. In the end of the day you need access to the firmware binary file.

Prepare Your iPod Mini

Your iPod Mini should have attached as a fake scsi device /dev/sda.

To check this, "more /dev/sda" should show it is there. (Ctrl+C to quit moreing)

Now we need to prepare the disk stucture on the iPod:

fdisk /dev/sda

Use "p" to print out the current disk structure, it should be blank! no partitions! (if there are partitions then you are in unchartered terriroty and perhaps should delete them all - untested!)

Now we need to make two new partitions, one for the boot area, one for the user data.

Follow exactly: { explanations are in curly brackets, do not type these }

{ setup first partition, 32 MB in size } n p 1 +32M

{ setup second partition, the rest of the hard disk } n p 2

{ change type of partition 1 to 0, no format } t 1 0

{ change type of partition 2 to b, ie: FAT32 } t 2 b

{ show partition layout, should be two partitions now } p

{ write partition layout to the iPod } w

{ quit fdisk back to command prompt once complete } q

You should now be back to the good ol' ~Knoppix[root]$: prompt. (or similar!)

Format Partition 2

From the command prompt:

mkfs.vfat -F 32 -n "name" /dev/sda2

This will format the 2nd partition of the iPod, and give it a volume name "name".

After this you are returned to the command prompt ~Knoppix[root]$: etc.

Write Firmware to Partition 1

From the command prompt:

dd if=/mnt/localhd/mini325.bin of=/dev/sda1

This will write the input file mini325.bin from your localhd mount to the 1st partition of the ipod mini (the partition for the operating system).

This may take a few moments, you will be returned to the command prompt when complete!

Mount your iPod under Linux

Out of curiosity, mount the 2nd partition of your iPod to check it is ok!

mkdir /mnt/myipod mount -t vfat /dev/sda2 /mnt/myipod cd /mnt/myipod ls -la

There should be no files, but it should mount ok like any other fat32 disk!

Shutdown Linux and turn off your PC!

Unplug your iPod Mini from your PC.

Switch the iPod on, it should require you to plug into your mains power supply!

Plug in power, switch power on, iPod will boot up like any other booting computer, complete with loading progress bar and screen refresh . After this, you should be able to select language and use your iPod again!

Next up - ditch i-tunes because it is a bit of a demon and use Anapod or Gnupod or something and enjoy your iPod as you should! Freee...

Thank heavens for Linux eh!! and thank heavens for people trying to stick linux their pods, reading up on that is where I figured all this stuff out.

Forgotten Credits - these guys did all the hard work - Alan DonovanFree Reprint Articles, Pedro Diaz. Without them this would not have been so easy!

Thats all folks..! iPodFixed

Source: Free Articles from

Combating Viruses with Security Software

Help, I was sitting in front my computer and it started acting strange! Pop-ups were on my screen and I was not even surfing the web. My home page was changed somehow and so did other web settings. My programs are at a crawl and overall my computer is just not working the way it should be.

If this sounds like your computer, chances are you have been infected with some type of malicious software. Several types of software can infect your computer; some of these are spyware, a virus, a Trojan, and a worm. That is why you need security software.

Below is a brief and simple description of the software that can infect your computer and cause poor performance.

· Spyware is a program that gathers information about the user through the internet without their knowledge. It monitors your web activity and passes this information to another party without your knowledge. Spyware is designed for commercial gain, thus when it is installed in your computer you will probably receive unsolicited pop-up advertisements. It can also gather your email addresses, passwords, and credit card numbers stored on your computer.

· A virus is programming code or a piece of code that loads onto your computer without your consent. A virus is also self-replicating by inserting copies into an executable code or documents. Any virus is dangerous as it uses up memory and brings your system to a halt.

· A worm is much like a virus in the fact that it is self-replicating but differs in the fact that it does not need another program to do so. A worm can spread itself without any action from the user. A worm can attach itself to you address book and send a copy to everyone in it, then attaches itself to the receivers address book in addition, send it out to everyone in that address book. Worms are dangerous and in the end can cause networks to crash.

· Trojans are designed as legitimate software that you can download onto your computer. Once installed though, they can be annoying and/or malicious. Annoying activities of a Trojan would be changing your desktop around or silly icons appearing. Malicious damage from a Trojan is capable of deleting files on your computer and allowing personal and confidential information to be collected without you being aware.

Preventing spyware and other malicious software from infecting your computer through security software is lots easier going online and finding a reputable online scanning site after the fact. Sometimes if your computer is infected, you may not even be able to get online. Therefore, prevention is better than fixing.

You can protect your computer from malicious programs in many ways. Here are a few tips to consider.

Always have the latest version of anti virus and anti spyware technology on your computer. You will also need to keep the program files up to date in order to protect against newest threats.

Only download files from a trusted source. If you are not sure, run a virus scan on the file before downloading it or saving to your computer.

There are limitless resources on the internet offering anti spyware and antivirus programs. Many sites offer free online scans, and provide instructions for removal of any malicious programs on your computer. Once you have selected a well known, (well-known being the optimal word) follow the instructions for installation carefully to ensure that the scan will work properly. Below are the most common and well-known virus and spyware removal programs.

McAfee ( virus remover features up-to-date protection from the latest viruses and web activity threats for the user. They have three main anti-virus and anti-spyware programs that you can choose perfect for home and business uses.

Microsoft has an anti spyware ( removal tool that you can use to scan your computer. This functions mainly by reviewing and checking your files for unwanted software contents, and once found can be selected and removed depending on the procedures indicated on the program. Just follow the tools and guides on how you can remove the infected files.

Ad Ware Personal provided by features scanning and fixing infected files and drives, detection of known and unknown but potentially damaging software with its Code Sequence Identification (CSI) technology. This program also has a spyware removal and capabilities of removing other damaging programs in your system.

The above sites are just a few of anti spyware and anti virus removal programs that are available on the web. Take the time and do the research and you will find the right security software for your needs. Once again, it is imperative that the site you select for your computer security is credible.

Author: David Chandler