Installing And Securing Linux Mint 17, And Installing Adobe Reader

I was installing Linux Mint 17 for a virtual machine on my PC, and I decided it was a good idea to record the whole process.  Furthermore, I also installed Adobe Reader manually on Linux Mint 17, and so by watching this video you will also know how to do this.  If you’re trying to do what I’ve done within this video, make sure you do not deny shell access and lock the password for the regular user or users that you want to use, because if doing so you will not be able to log into the system.  Of course, if you follow my video closely, deny shell access means editing the /etc/passwd file, and lock password means editing the /etc/shadow file by executing the command line passwd -l [username].

Moreover, if you’re trying to edit the /etc/fstab file as I’d done in the video, make sure you make a copy of the original /etc/fstab file first before editing the original /etc/fstab file.  /etc/fstab file is very important, because it tells the system how to load up the devices such as hard drive, and screwing this file up will prevent your system from loading/booting.  Having the original copy of /etc/fstab file will allow you to restore it in the case that you screw up the original /etc/fstab file.

If you are going to pay close attention to my part of editing /etc/fstab file, you will notice that I’d made error on adding rw option to the /tmp and /dev/shm devices, but you will also notice that I had correct the errors in the video few seconds later.  Basically, rw option is correct, but in the video, before I made the option as rw I had the option as wr.  By having the option as wr, the system won’t recognize this option.  So instead of wr, it should be rw.

rw is a permission option.  By adding rw option to /tmp and /dev/shm, the /tmp and /dev/shm devices won’t allow anything to execute commands in these devices, but these devices only allow whatever to read and write to them.  Anyhow, you can check out this video right after the break.  Enjoy!!!

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Allowing Specific IP Addresses To Access QNAP’s Web Apps Using .htaccess File And Preventing All Other IP Addresses From Meddling With QNAP’s Web Apps

If you’re using QNAP as a NAS, you probably know that QNAP allows you to install web apps onto QNAP server.  Web apps are cool, but these web apps can be a security nightmare.  This is why you often have to upgrade these web apps.  One example of a popular web app that you can install on QNAP server is WordPress.  Anyhow, whether a web app might carry a computer vulnerability or not, you want to secure your QNAP’s web apps with .htaccess file.  By adding .htaccess file to /share/Web directory in QNAP server, you add one more hoop (security layer) for hackers to have dealt with.  In the video right after the break, I’m going to show you how to add a very simple .htaccess file to QNAP’s /share/Web directory to thwart a possible malicious user which might be able to bypass the router’s firewall and hack your QNAP server using web apps’ vulnerabilities.  Enjoy!!!

Virtual Machine Is A Very Beautiful Thing

Virtual machine is a very beautiful thing, but the majority computer users might be ignorant of it.  How beautiful virtual machine is?  Let me just say this right off the bat, virtual machine is there to piss off evil doers!  It’s so beautiful that you can basically download computer viruses onto a virtual machine without the fear of these nasty things go around and infect a physical machine.  Of course, with just about anything, if one is so inept in computer things, one might be able to allow the computer viruses and what not to infect the whole Intranet (LAN) network even one is using a virtual machine.  Nonetheless, one has to be very inept to do so.  For an example, allowing virtual machine to be on the same subnet with a physical machine without its own protection measures (i.e., antivirus, firewall and what not) — thus, showing just another door to the evil doers.  The evil doers can use a compromised active virtual machine as a gateway for their Intranet (LAN) hacking activities.  The beautiful thing is that if one is smart enough to secure a virtual machine, one basically has a hardened sandbox which can easily be used as a platform for browsing the dangerous web at will.  Perhaps, even downloading computer viruses and what not for testing purposes such as testing to see the effectiveness of an antivirus program.  Professional antivirus software reviewers are mostly using a hardened virtual machine to test to see how effective an antivirus program can be.

Virtual machine is so beautiful that it is very perverted.  How?  I’ve heard how many people have seen their computers got infected with computer viruses, worms, trojans, and what not just because they have been browsing dangerous pornographic websites.  What’s worse is that these folks do not use readily available simple measures such as Javascript blocker software/plugins (e.g., ScriptSafe, Noscript, etc…).  For an example, I’d talked to one person who complained that he would format his computer often, because he caught too many computer viruses.  This very person would like to say that he’s an advance computer user.  Nonetheless, he’d told me that he befuddled how his Windows machine kept on catching a flu (i.e., sarcasm for computer viruses).  Furthermore, he told me that it was too easy for his computer to catch a flu whenever he got perverted.  Obviously, it meant that he browsed pornographic websites and his computer caught a flu.  In the end, he told me his assumption that there’s no way a PC can be OK if one is browsing a pornographic website.  I told him flat out that he’s dead wrong.  The simplest answer I could give to him at that point was that just make sure his physical machine is clean (i.e., not being infected with any computer virus) and then install a virtual machine.

Virtual machine is beautiful since it’s allowing us to have a secure sandbox to play around.  Of course, it’s a bit more complicated than just a secure sandbox, because a virtual machine can run just about all major operating systems.  Furthermore, a virtual machine can be a quick testing ground for security software and what not.  If a virtual machine user doesn’t like what he or she sees, he or she can simply go through few clicks to delete a virtual machine and make a new one.  My suggestion for whoever that does browse the web dangerously is to install a virtual machine on a clean physical machine, install Linux such as Ubuntu, install firewall and ClamAV onto Ubuntu, harden up Ubuntu (virtual machine) as if it’s running on a real machine, and then browse the dangerous web.

Virtual machine is a strange beast, because it can do certain things exceptionally well and efficient, but it can be totally useless at times.  For an example, playing games on a virtual machine is a no no.  First of all, a virtual machine does not use a dedicated graphic card, because it’s emulating one.  Even if a virtual machine environment allows a physical computer to share dedicated graphic resources, I doubt a virtual machine could really share dedicated graphic resources efficiently.  Playing intensive graphic resource demanding games would be almost impossible.  Nonetheless, if one uses a virtual machine for applications such as virtualizing a NAS (i.e., Network Attached Storage server), it can become very interesting.  Imagining this further, how interesting it is for one to be able to clone a virtualized NAS easily, right?  Virtual machine platforms such as VirtualBox is certainly carrying the option of allowing a computer user to clone a virtual machine through few clicks of a mouse.

In summary, virtual machine is very beautiful, but the degrees of beautifulness are scaling accordingly according to whoever is using it.  One can simply use a virtual machine to test out how effective an antivirus software can be, but one can also use it to run a virtualized NAS.  If one is horny, one can simply browse the dangerous pornographic websites with a virtual machine.  Basically, virtual machine is quite useful and secure if one knows how to use it as a sandbox.

 

How To Use CrashPlan To Backup Data To QNAP And Backup QNAP’s Data To CrashPlan Central

Normally, CrashPlan won’t allow you to backup computer data to network share/drive.  Nonetheless, you can get around this if you’re using iSCSI.  In the video right after the break, I show you how to create iSCSI with QNAP (Network Attached Storage) server,  connect to QNAP’s iSCSI target, and format iSCSI share as NTFS share for Windows 7/8.  This way, you can use CrashPlan software (free or paid) to backup data from a local computer to QNAP’s iSCSI share, and you can go one step further by backing up the data of iSCSI share (on QNAP or whatever NAS that may be) to CrashPlan Central (cloud service for hosting backup data).  Enjoy!!!

How To Bypassing The Recycle Bin When Deleting Files On Windows 7 And 8

When deleting files on Windows 7 or 8, these files are not permanently deleted.  Instead of being permanently deleted, the files you’ve deleted are being stored in Recycle Bin.  This is fine and dandy, because the Recycle Bin allows you to recover the deleted files in case you had accidentally deleted them.  Nonetheless, what if your Recycle Bin is residing on Drive C: and yet the files you are trying to delete are on Drive D: (for an example)?  The answer to this very question is that deleting small files in few number will be OK, but if you’re deleting many huge files and in large number of them will definitely be a very slow process (PC will have to move these files from one hard drive to another).  Bypassing the Recycle Bin altogether when deleting files on Windows 7 or 8, you can speed up the process of deleting files (i.e., large files and in large number).  Furthermore, Recycle Bin doesn’t have to store any file, therefore you actually save space for your hard drive (i.e., the hard drive that is hosting the Recycle Bin folder).  Of course the danger of doing this is that you won’t be able to recover the deleted files from the Recycle Bin.  Within the video right after the break, I’ll show you how to enabling the bypassing Recycle Bin when deleting files on Windows 7 and 8 feature.  Enjoy!!!

My Downgrading Of Windows 8.1 To Windows 7 For Reliability And Driver Availability

Sometimes, more whistles and bells don’t mean more if the support foundation isn’t reliable and working just fine.  Windows 8.1 is this very case!  Although Windows 8.1 is bold and exciting, I’ve found it’s too unreliable and not stable.  Perhaps, it’s not Windows 8.1’s fault, but it’s more of that it’s too new and thus not enough drivers that are designed to work with its core services, leading to a very unreliable operating system.  I’ve encountered more computer issues with Windows 8.1 more than any other operating systems that I’ve ever used.  Thus, nowadays, whatever computers in my vicinity that have issues with Windows 8.1, I don’t have any hesitation to downgrade the computer’s Windows 8.1 to Windows 7 operating system.  I’ve to say I’m fond of Windows 7 for its reliability.  Sure, Windows 8.1 is more appealing in term of features and user interface, but reliability is more important in my opinion.  With reliability, Windows users don’t have to waste time in figuring out why their computers suddenly aren’t working the way they should, and such reliability enhances productivity.

As I was downgrading a computer of mine from Windows 8.1 to Windows 7, I’ve found UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) is nice but troublesome.  Nice in a way that UEFI has more whistles and bells and prettier than traditional BIOS user interface, but UEFI is a troublemaker.  How?  When installing other operating system that isn’t Windows 8.1 or newer, computer user might encounter a hairy situation.  For an example, a newbie computer user may not be able to figure out how to enable Boot\CSM(Compatibility Support Module) and set Boot Device Control to UEFI and Legacy OPROM.  Without enabling Boot\CSM support within UEFI Bios settings, a newbie computer user would find that it’s impossible to install Windows 7 and have Windows 7 boot up.  Of course, this would also hold true for installing Linux and other operating systems when a motherboard is using UEFI and not a traditional BIOS settings.

I’ve also found out that when installing Windows 7 under UEFI system, it might be confusing and hard to make sure Windows 7 would install its reserved partition on the intended hard disk/drive.  I’m not sure about you but when I didn’t physically disconnect a second hard drive that is larger than 2 terabyte from the internal arrangement of my PC, Windows 7 got confused and installed reserved partition on the second hard drive, thus nullifying the ability to convert the second hard drive to GPT (GUID Partition Table) filesystem.  Without being able to do a conversion of a second hard drive to GPT partition/filesystem, Windows 7 won’t recognized that my second hard drive is a 3 terabyte drive, thus my PC can only use 2 terabyte out of second hard drive’s 3 terabyte hard disk size/space.  Here is a tip for you, perhaps when installing Windows 7 under UEFI system, you might have to physically disconnect all internal hard drives except for the main hard drive that you are using for installing Windows 7.

Through the trial of downgrading Windows 8.1 to Windows 7 for a PC, now I learn a lot more about UEFI.  According to TechRepublic’s “10 things you should know about UEFI” article, UEFI BIOS user interface supposes to simplify how drivers would be written for most operating systems… which is to write one driver for a specific PC component that would work for all operating systems so a developer won’t have to write different drivers for different operating systems.  Save time and effort!  Nonetheless, in practice UEFI makes life harder for PC users.  Nonetheless, I guess UEFI does have a benefit of making life easier for the developers.  Still, I think more emphases need to be emphasized for PC users, because without PC users (and their happiness) the developers won’t have customers to write software for (thus will not be able to generate incomes).

In conclusion, I think Windows 8.1 is a step in right direction for Microsoft to embolden the effort of improving Windows operating system ecosystem, but Microsoft’s execution is not in synch with the mass.  Drivers for Windows 8.1 should be readied at the inception of the Windows 8.1 official release.  Still, 3 months after the Windows 8.1 official release, I had read many driver compatibility complaints and see many Windows 8.1 driver issues first hand, thus I’m not having an easy time with Windows 8.1.  Instead of relying on Windows 8.1, I’m backpedalling toward the stream of Windows 7.

Source:  http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10-things/10-things-you-should-know-about-uefi/ (link)

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