PC-Cillin 2006 Induces Nirvana

Any readers who’d decided not investing in Trend Micro’s PC-Cillin Internet Security 2006 (either the current Beta or the final release) based on my remarks in this column, there’s good news. Internet Security 2006 Beta 2 (TIS2006B2)successfully installed and banished the issues faced with the previous Beta version. I also better memory management. Of the 384 MB installed RAM, on average 160-175 MB remains free. This in comparison with Internet Security 2005 where free RAM never exceeded 120 MB.

Interestingly enough TIS2006B2 is also the first security suite I’ve used that seems to gracefully recover from system errors. If the system tray icon changes, double-clicking it pops up a Windows restart suggestion. And if there’s a startup process failure that auto-resolves there’s a pop-up notification. With more details about the failure causes available at a web link.

TIS2006B2 Windows Vulnerability checking has improved to where it can recognize if specific Windows or Office updates are installed. But there’s still room for improvement. If all you have is a workstation running Windows 2000 Professional without the .Net Framework installed, why need MS05-004 to resolve issues with ASP.Net security! Ditto for MS05-023 to resolve Word remote code execution vulnerability on a system with just Excel and Powerpoint installed?

The included anti-spyware scan is still very poor. After a weekend of hectic web surfing all it found were 2 cookies both Data Miners reportedly from Lycos and Realmedia. But a follow-up Ad-Aware SE scan turned up 47 more such cookies. And a second follow-up using Spybot Search & Destroy found a CoolWebSearch (CWS) cookie. All on a system with Microsoft AntiSpyware installed. Which proves you really can’t trust just a single anti-spyware solution!

However after spending the better part of the last 10 days using an IPSec policy to close known ports. With a short slip into using ZoneAlarm 6 Security Suite with Antivirus and AntiSpyware trial (caused Microsoft AntiSpyware to crash) that blocked all access to the Internet! I finally decided my sole path to data Nirvana remained with TIS2006B2.

Other software updates this week are to Maxthon 1.5 which now includes several improvements. Now when set as the default browser it can trap links fired from MSN Messenger, Windows Update, and other Microsoft software that would usually open only in Internet Explorer. There’s also an integrated 404 (site error) page that attempts to help the user with web search options. The integrated search engine too has been tweaked. And the float ad detector has been improved. Also noticeable is improved web page rendering. And better memory management even with more than 8 windows open and active.

There are also Firefox 1.0.7 and Thunderbird 1.0.7 versions that are recommended security updates. But before you install either, do make sure to uninstall any previous versions. Firefox resolve an IDN security issue. Thunderbird 1.0.7 now ensures return receipt settings for IMAP accounts on RECEIVED mails have no effect. In the Linux version (10 MB) URLs passed on the command line are parsed by bash (shell).

AM-Deadlink locates duplicate bookmarksAM-Deadlink is a free browser bookmark checker that detects and deletes dead and duplicates links from Internet Explorer, Netscape, Mozilla and Opera. As well as from comma-separated (CSV) and tab-delimited files. After you run a search duplicates and delete the extras, you are prompted to save the list. And if you do accidentally delete a valid URL, the deadlink.log file contains information about such links. And best of all, AM-Deadlink you can archive your bookmarks to separate ZIP files.

Today’s Internet also sees a return of free online storage services. With limitations on the number of files stored. Or a cap on daily bandwidth uploaded. Or the type of files permitted. Some site limit you to images. Other allow MP3, EXE and Zip files. And in case you are a Yahoo Briefcase user, believe me what’s on tap here is way more advanced.

There are two main groups. One is limited to image files alone. The other supports all kinds of file types. And in both there are free and paid accounts available. The free ones come with several limitations (file size, storage size, and bandwidth available). The paid ones mostly cost under $100 a year.

The free TinyPic limits you to image files (BMP, GIF, JPG, PNG) that aren’t bigger than 250 kB each. The service creates a link URL and blocks hot linking. ImageHosting supports only images with two service levels. The free version is limited to 10 MB of storage and download bandwidth respectively. Paid accounts max out at 2 GB storage and 1 GB traffic and cost $18-153 per year. hot linking is allowed. Photobucket allows only image files (BMP, GIF, JPG, PNG, SWF). And free accounts are limited to 250 kB per image, 25 MB storage and 1.5 GB monthly bandwidth. However the site supports image upload via FTP, E-mail and Windows XP Publishing with hot linking.

Putfile stores both image (GIF, JPG, PNG; max 2 MB each) and multimedia (WMV, AVI, MPG, MOV, ASF, ASX, MP4, MP3, MID, WAV, MIDI, SWF; max. 10 MB each). You can’t direct link files but instead share them via an ad-supported Putfile page. The site blocks offensive content. ZippyVideos limits itself to AVI, MPG, WMV, ASF, 3GP, MOV, RM and SWF files. Anonymous upload is limited to a 10 MB bandwidth cap. But register for free and your limit’s increased to 20 MB per file. Hot linking is blocked but there’s a 18+ category with a family filter to limit offensive content into a section of its own. Flurl allows up to 10 MB of ASF, MPEG, MPG, MP3, AVI, SWF, WMV, JPG, GIF, MP3 and WAV files.

RipWay supports any file type and offers 30 MB, unlimited downloads for self and 10 MB daily bandwidth with public access to files for free. Hot linking is limited to paid service. YourFileHost limits you to 50 MB per file and allows all file types. As does RapidShare except you can download just one file at a time and have to navigate multiple pages with ads.

That’s it for this time. More next week. Stay Safe!

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