NCA

NCA’s ‘Two-Week Opportunity’ – What you can do now

This is not like my ‘usual’ posts, but something that I think is very important and not overly obvious to your usual computer user. I issued similar guidelines like these to all staff at at my employer today, feel free to use this for yours if you are in a similar boat.

As part of the NCA efforts to combat some pretty nasty ransomware being distributed I have some quick things you can do to help secure your computer(s).

1)       Install Malwarebytes Anti Malware and run a deep scan (https://www.malwarebytes.org/free/)

This will scan for and remove any malware/spyware currently on your system that could allow for backdoors to other programs. Run this at least once a month to ensure you are secure.

2)      Install Anti-Virus (Also if you are on a Mac!)

While Microsoft Security Essentials is great, it’s not going to keep you safe from a lot (see this PC Pro article), you do need another layer of protection.

And while there are not many viruses for Mac’s, as they grow in market share it will become a very popular target, especially with the general apathy to AV in the Mac community.

  1. Sophos Free (http://www.sophos.com/en-us/products/free-tools/sophos-antivirus-for-mac-home-edition.aspx) is excellent for Mac users. I use this on mine and have had no issues.
  2. AVG Free is also very good for Windows and Mac users (http://free.avg.com/gb-en/homepage)
  3. Avast is also very good (http://www.avast.com/en-gb/index)
  4. Any commercial package is OK (Norton etc).
  5. Anti-Cryptoware programs – CryptoPrevent has been recommended to be my a colleague as a very good tool, and was also written up in the Telegraph. a

3)      Change your website passwords

  1. Following all the OpenSSL (Heartbleed) exploits and recent data breaches, it would be advisable to change your password for your any accounts you have online, if you have not done to in the last month. Your bank passwords are ones you should change regularly. LastPass has had good reviews from colleagues.

4)      Update your Operating System / Phone Software

  1. Ensure all latest Windows/Mac OS/Linux Distro updates are installed as soon as possible after release. This also applies to your smartphone operating system.

5)      Backup your data

  1. “To go forward, you must first backup”. Tacky quotes aside, the viruses going around these days do some nasty things, Cryptolocker et al. encrypt your data with a random key and ask you to pay to ‘release’ your files. This usually just takes your money and leaves the files encrypted and useless.

As always vigilance is key, if you see an attachment you don’t recognise or weren’t expecting (usually a .zip file) just delete it. Common sense can be the best Anti-Virus on the market.

Please feel free to add to this in the comments. There are always tools and different ways of doing this.

Battlefield-41

Battlefield 4 Issues (Xbox 360) – Resolve Initial Crap Performance

BF4 has been out for just over a month and a half, and anyone following it will be aware of the nightmare DICE have been trying to dig themselves out of, and the Class Action Lawsuit being filed against EA!

When starting Multiplayer, the game downloaded the Multiplayer Update 4, installed itself and played. Then lagged, crashed mid game, and finally started locking up the entire console mid session losing all progress.

Raging, I took to Google and after a while finally resolved my issue. You need to MANUALLY INSTALL UPDATES 1,2 AND 3!

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ownCloud + Bit Torrent Sync = Dropbox Clone!

owncloudbtsync

ownCloud is a very good self hosted solution to host all your contacts, photos, documents etc. Now, ownCloud does provide its own file sync application, but I believe using BitTorrent Sync is much better solution to keep your files in sync between your local machine and your ownCloud installation.

This post won’t cover installation of ownCloud, or BitTorrent Sync (see my post here for BTSync setup) and shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes!

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Install BitTorrent Sync on Debian (Raspbian)

BitTorrent Sync

BitTorrent Sync was released last month and I’ve been playing around with it for the last couple of days. I currently have it syncing data between OwnCloud and my personal machine, effectively creating my own fully fledged DropBox replacement (more on that in another post!).

Today I am going to cover installing BitTorrent Sync into your copy of Debian (I am using Raspbian on my RasPi), so that when you restart the machine, it starts up with you. Hit the jump for the detailed instructions!

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Secure Public Wi-Fi on Mac OS using SSH and Raspberry Pi

If you are a regular user of a public Wi-Fi access point and have a Raspberry Pi being used as a web server, you can secure your connection in these areas using SSH.

First of all, you need to have your Raspberry Pi (or any server with SSH installed) running and accessible from the outside world (I’m not going to guide this, there is plenty of help on google if you want to get this running). A basic installation will have this.

Next, go to http://chetansurpur.com/projects/sidestep/ and download the application (and check out the rest of Chetan Surpur’s website, its pretty good!). When this is installed, follow the steps and your away.

When ever you are on a public wifi, click connect!

Sidestep.
Sidestep.

 

Keep HDMI Powered off on Raspberry Pi

On the debian based OS’s (Raspbmc / Raspbian), if you run the device headless most of the time you can ensure the HDMI port is powered off by editing /etc/rc.local and adding the below line above exit 0:

/opt/vc/bin/tvservice -o

(notice its the same line that I posted in the script to turn XBMC off and on in Raspbmc).

Reboot and done. Not sure how much you gain from this but its a nice little trick.

domain.com/~user/ website setup – Lighttpd

If you want to enable the users on your linux box have their own home page, where you can access from domain.com/~user, its pretty simple!

  1. Edit /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf

Under server.modules add: “mod_userdir”

In the main body of the file, add userdir.path = “public_html”.

2. Add the “public_html” folder.

In your account root, (cd ~). run mkdir “public_html”

3. Insert a test index.html file.

cd public_html to get into the directory.

sudo nano index.html to create the index file.

<html><body><h1>Done!</h1></body></html> the html to add to the file. Save and close the file.

4. Restart lighttpd.

sudo /etc/init.d/lighttpd restart

Done! If this didnt work for you leave me a comment and I will see if I can help.

Raspbmc: Turn XBMC On or Off (inc. HDMI Out) from SSH

Why would you want to do this?

I use my RPi for XBMC and as a web server (yet to reinstall after switching to Raspbmc). I do not always want XBMC running, as I am not always home and also not always watching films! So in the interests of saving system resources I wanted to stop XBMC and shut off the HDMI to stop any TV interference. There are two commands to do this, but they are quite long and not easy to remember! I needed something to shorten this process. Preferably xbmc start/stop.

This is how I implemented it.

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