How anti viruses work

An antivirus software typically uses a variety of strategies in detecting and removing viruses, worms and other malware programs. The following are the two most widely employed identification methods:

1. Signature-based dectection (Dictionary approach)

This is the most commonly employed method which involves searching for known patterns of virus within a given file. Every antivirus software will have a dictionary of sample malware codes called signatures in it’s database. Whenever a file is examined, the antivirus refers to the dictionary of sample codes present within it’s database and compares the same with the current file. If the piece of code within the file matches with the one in it’s dictionary then it is flagged and proper action is taken immediately so as to stop the virus from further replicating. The antivirus may choose to repair the file, quarantine or delete it permanently based on it’s potential risk.

As new viruses and malwares are created and released every day, this method of detection cannot defend against new malwares unless their samples are collected and signatures are released by the antivirus software company. Some companies may also encourage the users to upload new viruses or variants, so that the virus can be analyzed and the signature can be added to the dictionary.

Signature based detection can be very effective, but requires frequent updates of the virus signature dictionary. Hence the users must update their antivirus software on a regular basis so as to defend against new threats that are released daily.

2. Heuristic-based detection (Suspicious behaviour approach)

Heuristic-based detection involves identifying suspicious behaviour from any given program which might indicate a potential risk. This approach is used by some of the sophisticated antivirus softwares to identify new malware and variants of known malware. Unlike the signature based approach, here the antivirus doesn’t attempt to identify known viruses, but instead monitors the behavior of all programs.

For example, malicious behaviours like a program trying to write data to an executable program is flagged and the user is alerted about this action. This method of detection gives an additional level of security from unidentified threats.

File emulation: This is another type of heuristic-based approach where a given program is executed in a virtual environment and the actions performed by it are logged. Based on the actions logged, the antivirus software can determine if the program is malicious or not and carry out necessary actions in order to clean the infection.

Most commercial antivirus softwares use a combination of both signature-based and heuristic-based approaches to combat malware.

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How Firewalls Work

If you have been using Internet on a regular basis or working in a large company and surf the Internet while you are at work, you must have surely come across the term firewall. You might have also heard of people saying “firewalls protect their computer from web attacks and hackers” or “a certain website has been blocked by firewall in their work place”. If you have ever wondered to know what exactly is this firewall and how it works, here we go. In this post I will try to explain “How firewalls work” in a layman’s terms.

How Firewalls Work

Firewalls are basically a barrier between your computer (or a network) and the Internet (outside world). A firewall can be simply compared to a security guard who stands at the entrance of your house and filters the visitors coming to your place. He may allow some visitors to enter while denying others whom he suspects of being intruders. Similarly a firewall is a software program or a hardware device that filters the information (packets) coming through the Internet to your personal computer or a computer network.

Firewalls may decide to allow or block network traffic between devices based on the rules that are pre-configured or set by the firewall administrator. Most personal firewalls such as Windows firewall operate on a set of pre-configured rules that are most suitable under normal circumstances so that the user need not worry much about configuring the firewall.

Personal firewalls are easy to install and use and hence preferred by end-users for use on their personal computers.  However large networks and companies prefer those firewalls that have plenty of options to configure so as to meet their customized needs. For example, a company may set up different firewall rules for FTP servers, Telnet servers and Web servers. In addition the company can even control how the employees connect to the Internet by blocking access to certain websites or restricting the transfer of files to other networks. Thus in addition to security, a firewall can give the company a tremendous control over how people use the network.

Firewalls use one or more of the following methods to control the incoming and outgoing traffic in a network:

1. Packet Filtering: In this method packets (small chunks of data) are analyzed against a set of filters. Packet filters has a set of rules that come with accept and deny actions which are pre-configured or can be configured manually by the firewall administrator. If the packet manages to make it through these filters then it is allowed to reach the destination; otherwise it is discarded.

2. Stateful Inspection: This is a newer method that doesn’t analyze the contents of the packets. Instead it compares certain key aspects of each packet to a database of trusted source. Both incoming and outgoing packets are compared against this database and if the comparison yields a reasonable match, then the packets are allowed to travel further. Otherwise they are discarded.

Firewall Configuration

Firewalls can be configured by adding one or more filters based on several conditions as mentioned below:

1. IP addresses: In any case if an IP address outside the network is said to be unfavorable, then it is possible to set  filter to block all the traffic to and from that IP address. For example, if a cetain IP address is found to be making too many connections to a server, the administrator may decide to block traffic from this IP using the firewall.

2. Domain names: Since it is difficult to remember the IP addresses, it is an easier and smarter way to configure the firewalls by adding filters based on domain names. By setting up a domain filter, a company may decide to block all access to certain domain names, or may provide access only to a list of selected domain names.

3. Ports/Protocols: Every service running on a server is made available to the Internet using numbered ports, one for each service. In simple words, ports can be compared to virtual doors of the server through which services are made available. For example, if a server is running a Web (HTTP) service then it will be typically available on port 80. In order to avail this service, the client needs to connect to the server via port 80. Similarly different services such as Telnet (Port 23), FTP (port 21) and SMTP (port 25) services may be running on the server. If the services are intended for the public, they are usually kept open. Otherwise they are blocked using the firewall so as to prevent intruders from using the open ports for making unauthorized connections.

4. Specific words or phrases: A firewall can be configured to filter one or more specific words or phrases so that, both the incoming and outgoing packets are scanned for the words in the filter. For example, you may set up a firewall rule to filter any packet that contains an offensive term or a phrase that you may decide to block from entering or leaving your network.

Hardware vs. Software Firewall

Hardware firewalls provide higher level of security and hence preferred for servers where security has the top most priority whereas, the software firewalls are less expensive and are most preferred in home computers and laptops. Hardware firewalls usually come as an in-built unit of a router and provide maximum security as it filters each packet in the hardware level itself even before it manages to enter your computer. A good example is the Linksys Cable/DSL router.

Why Firewall?

Firewalls provide security over a number of online threats such as Remote login, Trojan backdoors, Session hijacking, DOS & DDOS attacks, viruses, cookie stealing and many more. The effectiveness of the security depends on the way you configure the firewall and how you set up the filter rules. However major threats such as DOS and DDOS attacks may sometimes manage to bypass the firewalls and do the damage to the server. Even though firewall is not a complete answer to online threats, it can most effectively handle the attacks and provide security to the computer up to the maximum possible extent.

My View : Zone Alarm is the best firewall out there on the Internet.

Display legal notice on startup:Win XP Hack

Wanna tell your friends about the do’s and dont’s in your computer when they login in your absence. Well you can do it pretty easily by displaying a legal notice at system start up.

GOTO->RUN->REGEDIT

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\system]
“legalnoticecaption”=”enter your notice caption”
“legalnoticetext”=”enter your legal notice text”

Great Trick, I am using this one currently ….

Example:

“legalnoticecaption”=”Mann’s Cyberdyne Security”
“legalnoticetext”=”Authorized Personnel Only”

Download complete websites to your desktop and surf them offline.

Website eXtractor saves you time and effort by downloading entire Internet sites (or the sections you stipulate) to your hard drive.

Whether you browse the web for research, work, or fun, there’s nothing worse than having to wait for page after page to load in Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator (or in other popular browsers). The problem is they will only load one page at a time. So if you are viewing a large website with a thousand pages, you’d have to click the mouse a thousand times … and … choose a directory/folder a thousands times when you want to save each file. You end up spending a lot of time waiting around and not enough time reading or viewing pages on the Internet.

Note: Using a regular browser to surf large websites or photo galleries takes the fun out of web browsing and makes research a real chore.

But now, with WebSite eXtractor, you can download whole websites (or parts of them) in one go to your computer. You can then view the whole site offline at your leisure – and you can whiz through the saved pages at lightning speed.

WebSite eXtractor is a great tool for researchers, journalists, students, equity analysts, business and marketing executives – as well as for those who want to browse family websites containing digital photo albums.

Advantages :

  • Transfer whole websites to CD-ROM or floppy
  • Another big benefit of the program is it changes html-links to relative names. In other words, it turns web addresses (URLs) into addresses that work on your computer.
  • Researchers, writers, and journalists can easily archive reference material from the Internet.
  • The program can download up to 100 files at a time, which saves you a huge amount of time compared to ordinary browsers.
  • Website eXtractor automatically lets you download any files that were not copied due to transfer errors or bad connections.

To download the full version use the given torrent :
http://torrents.thepiratebay.org/3655896/Website_eXtractor_9.52_Retail.3655896.TPB.torrent

If you dont have torrent client download from here :
http://www.internet-soft.com/DEMO/webextrasetup.exe