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.

 

There’s Time To Be Nice, But Digital One Isn’t So

Should you be a nice guy when it comes to Internet etiquette?  The answer isn’t so simple since it’s all depending on the context of things.  For an example, a friend sent you an email for whatever purpose, important or not, you might have to reply to him or her.  Down to earth Internet etiquette cannot be so disconnected from physical world, otherwise we are not who we are, as in being human with complex emotions.  Thus, our strong human traits such as politeness can also be our weaknesses.  This is why social engineering is useful for some bad actors who have intension to hack into your digital life.

Without going to rant much on elusive Internet/digital philosophy, let me get to the point.  I’d recently received many online bank surveys through my email inbox.  The politeness of online etiquette wanted me to click on the survey request link in the email so I could start a survey, because being polite is good, whether that would be on the web or off the web.  Unfortunately, in the back of my head, my impolite part of the brain told me to not being so nice and polite, because the survey itself might not be sent from the bank.  I think there are ways to fake emails that look like they’re from the legitimate party.

My eventual action was usually a quick delete of such email.  Why?  Although I’m a nobody and poor, thus my bank account would be a waste of time for whoever wants to hack into it.  Thus, I’m not supposed to be all that protective toward my online bank account.  Regardless, I don’t really like being hack, because it feels very invasive.  Imagine a stranger just walks into your life and does whatever to you, how do you feel?  This is the feeling of being hack, because you don’t know the hacker or hackers!  So, it was a quick and simple decision, I rather not being polite and willy nilly clicking on a bank account survey link.  I don’t care if the email is legitimate or not, I just won’t subject myself to downloading malware or virus or trojan onto my computer just so I could have a nice digital etiquette.

In summary, I think we need to be very cautious about the stuffs that go through our emails.  Especially, survey invitations and what not might not be so innocent.  I’m writing this post is to remind my future self and whoever else to be more cautious about Internet security in regarding to email.  Furthermore, I like to remind my future self and whoever else that if a hacker has your email account, he or she can basically try to reset your passwords from your bank accounts, social website accounts, and what not.  If hackers are successful at resetting your online accounts’ passwords, then they’re basically taking control of your digital life.  Simply put, do you want a stranger to take over your life, albeit it’s an Internet one?

With The New Mavericks, I Found Love In Bitdefender Virus Scanner

English: An "X" colored to be simila...

English: An “X” colored to be similar to the logo for Mac OS X tiger (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just got done updating my MacBook Pro to the latest Mac OS X which is the Mavericks.  Coincidentally with the Mavericks update, my Kaspersky antivirus for Mac is about to be expired, seven days to be exact, and so I was frantically searching for a good alternative.  I downloaded all sorts of antivirus for Mac out there, but I found many of them had performed poorly or not worked at all with Mac OS X Mavericks.  Luckily, I found one that is working rather well with Mac OS X Mavericks at this point in time.  I didn’t even have to download it on a strange website, because it is readily available in the Mac App Store.  Basically, I pulled my hair out for nothing!  The antivirus I’m talking of is the Bitdefender Virus Scanner.

You can download Bitdefender Virus Scanner for free in the Mac App Store.  This antivirus app runs well, and I haven’t found any trouble with it yet.  It does not slow down my MacBook Pro at all, and so this is a really big plus.  I found most Mac antivirus software tend to slow down my MacBook Pro a lot, but Bitdefender Virus Scanner proves to be not this sort of case at all.  One downside to this Mac antivirus app is that it does not have a real time monitoring/scanning feature.  You know how the antivirus software on Windows would behave?  (Lurking in the background and checking to see if there is a malicious process!)

Bitdefender Virus Scanner also got a paid version, and you can also find it in the Mac App Store.  I think it is being called as Virus Scanner Plus.  I think the paid version comes with more features such as Continuous Scan, but I don’t really know what this feature does since I haven’t yet bought the paid version.

I combine Bitdefender Virus Scanner with Little Snitch Network Monitor to add an additional sound security defense measure for my MacBook Pro.  The first line of defense is obviously would be the Mac OS X Mavericks’ default firewall.  Still, you can never know how much computer security measures would be enough, because there is always that somebody who knows just enough to poke a hole through your computer security defense.  I hope this little confession of mine will be of some help to Mac users who are thinking of adding an antivirus program to their computer security defense.

How To Protect Windows 8.1 From Viruses And Malware For Free Or On The Cheap!

Windows 8.1 just came out to update Windows 8.  Usually, a slight change in the iteration version such as Windows 8.1, hence it’s still a Windows 8 iteration, means there will be little improvement and change to the overall of the iteration.  Nonetheless, Windows 8.1 is not at all like this.  Instead, Windows 8.1 iteration version brings a lot of changes to the Windows 8 iteration.  One example of the major changes to Windows 8 iteration is that 3D printer is now being supported by Windows 8.1.

When early adopters such as I see something new and shiny, we want to be the first people to jump on the bandwagon.  Unfortunately, more than often we think, being the first people on the bandwagon can be rather unfortunate.  In Windows 8.1 case, there are many unfortunate events.  One example would be driver failure.  Nonetheless, with enough heart, an early adopter might eventually feel that it’s totally worth it.

In Windows 8.1 case, driver failure is supposed to be the least concern, but it turns out to be a much bigger concern.  Furthermore, many software that support Windows 8 aren’t so compatible with Windows 8.1, considering 8.1 is a slight change in the iteration versions.  Some of these incompatible software might work just fine with the switching of the compatibility mode.  (Sarcastically, yes it’s still being run on Windows 8!)  I found out that other software basically refuse to be ran on Windows 8.1 altogether even though these are being instructed to be ran in Windows 8 compatibility mode.

With all of that being said, I’m definitely all for being an early adopter, because being an early adopter might push you to tinker with whatever you’re trying to experiment with at the early stage of its lifespan.  By tinkering with things, one might be able to improve one’s whatever skill and knowledge.  Furthermore, being an early adopter means you can be the early warning sign hero in telling the good and the bad about whatever that you’re trying to adopt early.

In Windows 8.1 case, although not a biggie, I’m going to be the early warning sign hero of how to protect Windows 8.1 from viruses and malware for free or on the cheap.  Within the video right after the break, I speak of how to protect Windows 8.1 from viruses and malware for free or on the cheap.  (Not everyone is having a luxury of affording expensive computer security software’s annual subscription, therefore knowing how to protect a computer from computer infections with a shoestring budget is a very cool thing to do.  Saving money is definitely cool!  Saving money but having a computer getting hacked is definitely not cool!  So doing it right is definitely awesome!  Obviously, there won’t be a hacker proof computer security measure or measures.  Nonetheless, without trying to protect your computer from the bad stuffs implying that you’re welcoming your computer to be hacked.)  Enjoy the video right after the break, and hopefully you don’t snore before the video ends.

(The audio of the video is now synching correctly!  Please enjoy the video!)