Monthly Archives: August 2009

Warning: your computer might be infected!

noscript logo. lelijk beestje, dat script-monsterWarning: your computer might be infected while surfing the web! Because these days web criminals aren’t just attacking government or corporate servers any more, but your browser as well. That way they can steal/ manipulate your data or install other malware. Most of these attacks happen while you are surfing and all the anti-virus software and spyware-scanners in the world will not fully protect your system and data (as Clopin found out while cleaning multiple PC’s of his family). The good news? There are only two big threats: malicious javascript and your own utter stupidity. And both can easily be countered.

Although stupidity is normal, you should try to live by one simple rule: don’t download software. Just don’t. And if you really must, only install if it comes recommended by at least one trusted source such as a computer-literate friend or a high-profile tech website. But don’t download software because a flashing red text on some obscure website tells you your computer is “infected”. Don’t “install a new version of Flash Player” to see that free porn movie. Don’t download, don’t install. Don’t!

Protecting against evil javascript (and malicious html, css, flash, java, …) is another issue. Attacks such as XSS, XSRF or clickjacking are barely visible. You’ll be happily surfing, clicking hyperlinks left and right, logging into your favorite web-apps and before you know it your data has been stolen or tampered, a password was reset or someone gained access to one of your online accounts. Entirely disabling javascript is not an option (you need it for most of modern web-applications to run), but if you’re a security-conscious Firefox-user there’s an easy solution; Noscript.

Noscript is a Firefox-addon that simply blocks all code (Javascript, Flash, Java and Silverlight) from being executed, protecting you by default against almost all types of browser-based attack (“almost”, as I’ve seen a nice proof-of-concept of a history-stealing web-page that only uses CSS-trickery, which Noscript can’t block). If you’re on a site you trust, you simply tell Noscript to temporary or permanently allow javascript -and other code- for that site and you’re back in web2.0-land. It may take some getting used to (a.o. to build a good permanent whitelist to allow your default sites to function), but it’s a great tool that can even double as a flashblock and (to some extend) adblock plus replacement!

So, to summarize; don’t install software and install Noscript and all will (probably) be well.

As found on the web (August 7th)

youtube (feed #48)
Liked 2 videos.
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blog (feed #46)

Het is zomer en daar hoort een zomerhit bij! Zomer, dat is vakantie en vakantie, dat is Frankrijk. Alors, un tube dété Fra…

youtube (feed #48)
googlereader (feed #38)

Voila le tube d’été!

Het is zomer en daar hoort een zomerhit bij! Zomer, dat is vakantie en vakantie, dat is Frankrijk. Alors, un tube d’été Français misschien, zoals het  heerlijke “Voila l’été” van Les Negresses Vertes uit 1989? Of het opzwepende “Vivre la vie” van Kelly Joyce, niet doorgebroken bij ons, maar in Frankrijk wel grijsgedraaid in 2001?

Soit, in tegenstelling tot de geruchten is mijn zomerhit van het jaar dus niet een bizarre mashup van Nirvana en Rick Astley, maar wel “1901” van het Franse Phoenix. Hieronder een live “tubeken”, met muzikale ondersteuning van het pracht-apparaat dat ik niet wil (maar de minimale versie of die met de volledige bezetting bij Letterman zijn evenzeer de moeite);

Phoenix - 1901 (Live on 89.3 The Current)
Watch this video on YouTube.

Nog een paar andere leuke dingetjes die ik al rondklikkend op Youtube vond;

As found on the web (August 5th)

googlereader (feed #38)
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Een Nederlandse Facebook-vriendin vroeg om een vertaling van de stravve affiche die ik vorige week bij Brussel-Noord had zien…

googlereader (feed #38)
blog (feed #46)

Apparently Im not the only one at work who cares about the lousy browser were still supposed to work with. A colleague sent…

Hey IT; even my mobile phone has a better browser!

Apparently I’m not the only one at work who cares about the lousy browser we’re still supposed to work with. A colleague sent me this personalized Hey IT-poster (click to download as pdf);

heyit: mobile phone browser

I’m not entirely sure I would prefer mobile Safari on an iPhone over MSIE6 on PC, but that might have more to do with the screen size and the lack of a keyboard than anything else.

Anyway, this is a powerful slogan if you’re in telecom, so I’m printing 10 of these as we speak. I might even try to put one up against the wall of our CTO’s office. :-)