Thursday, August 31, 2006

New Yahoo! Accounts Phishing Sites

I have located new sites that steal your Yahoo! accounts. Please do not enter your credentials there!
Spaces were inserted for security reasons.

h t t p : / / w w w . g e o c i t i e s . c o m / lol_ just4 laughs . com2/
h t t p : / / w w w . g e o c i t i e s . c o m / lol_ just4 laughs . com3/
h t t p : / / w w w . g e o c i t i e s . c o m / lol_ just4 laughs . com4/
h t t p : / / w w w . g e o c i t i e s . c o m / lol_ just4 laughs . com5/

Finally I Got Rid of IE 7 Beta 2

That means that I managed to uninstall it. How? I installed Beta 2 on another system and copied the uninstall folder on my laptop. Then I could uninstall it from both systems. Now I could install RC1... yupee!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Watch for Open Connections

Ever wondered what network connections your computer has open? Well... open a Command Prompt (I won't tell you how to do that) and type "netstat" (without quotes of course!) and take a look at the list (you are interested in the ones with "ESTABLISHED" status).
Next try some variations: "netstat -a" which will display all connections, open and listening too (listening connections are the ones that your computer will accept if someone else tries to access them). Add the "-n" parameter to skip resolving of host names and see the IPs instead like "netstat -n" or "netstat -a -n".
Type "netstat /?" to see a list of all available options.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Create Web Pages W3C Style

You want to create web pages? If you are not targeting a specific browser then you may want to make sure that your pages validate according to W3C. The validators are located at:
HTML validator:
CSS validator:

You can add those links to your page (if it is available on the Internet) to do an automatic validation of your page:

If the validation passes, W3C gives you some logos that you can add on your page.
Why is it important? If you pages pass W3C validation that means:

  • The page is written in portable HTML and/or CSS which works on most browsers

  • Putting the W3C logos on your valid page is a marker of quality

  • You look smart ;)

OK, I'm joking with the last one, but there are other benefits too, I let you discover them.
One more... using those validators you can find some very obscure but small mistakes so you can correct them.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Internet Explorer 7 RC1

Microsoft released the Release Candidate 1 of Internet Explorer 7. Unfortunately I cannot install it since I am stuck with beta 2 version (remember what I did to get stuck?)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Find Out MAC Addresses, the Easy Way

When securing a (wireless) Windows network, in addition to using security protocols such as WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) or WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) encryption, you can use Media Access Control (MAC) address filtering.
When MAC address filtering is enabled, the access point, router or firewall software verifies that the network card in the computer requesting access has a MAC address in its filter list before allowing or denying the computer to access the network. This means that you must first obtain the MAC addresses of each computer in that network in order to build that access list. To do so you don't ave to manually visit each computer and use the getmac or ipconfig /all commands. An easier way to gather MAC addresses is to take advantage of the ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) command. First, use the ping command to ping the computer you want to find out its MAC, then run (in a command prompt window) the command "arp –a" (without the quotes of course).
When used with the –a parameter, the ARP command displays the ARP cache, which stores the IP and MAC addresses of the computers that most recently accessed the system, or in this case, those computers that responded to the ping command.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Desktop Themes

Big things are spoken about the desktop themes in Windows, pros and cons.
Here are my 2 cents...

  1. Nicer looking desktops

  2. Modern looking windows and applications

That was it, not a long list, isn't it? Now the cons:

  1. Slows down the computer a little bit (not a big deal for modern computers, but still)

  2. Incompatible with some applications (I really hate those incompatibilities)

  3. Bigger borders, taskbars and windows (not a problem unless you are a developer like me and every pixel counts)

I also keep this one short. I am not against themes, but the first thing I do after I install the OS is to disable the themes service (actually set it to manual start) and change the desktop theme to "Windows Classic". So it looks like a good old days Windows 2000, so what? I like it. Plus no more conflicts and the system runs without being slowed down.
What you should do? It's completely up to you. However, use themes when:

  • The OS is not a server type one, but a workstation one (like Windows XP)

  • You do not care about the slowdown it introduces

  • You actually like them

  • Desktop space is not that important to you

Do not use them when:

  • The OS is a server type one (like Windows 2003)

  • You can notice an improvement in computer speed and response when the themes are off

  • You do need every pixel on the screen

  • You don't like them

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Sites are Down

The sites I have reported to Yahoo! in the post More Yahoo! Accounts Fishing Sites seams to be down. I also received several personalized messages from Yahoo! like thise one (preety automatic and by template, but they did the job):

Dear Leontin,

Thank you for writing to Yahoo! Geocities.

Thank you for informing us of possible abuse on Yahoo! GeoCities. We have investigated the site and taken the necessary action. We appreciate your concern and thank you for reporting this incident to Yahoo!.

Please continue to notify us of any content you believe violates the
GeoCities Terms of Service, located at:

Your Yahoo! ID and password are your own confidential information. No Yahoo! employee will ever ask you for your password or personal information in an unsolicited phone call or email message. If you are ever asked for your password in an unsolicited manner, or by someone youdo not believe to be a representative of Yahoo!, *do not* share your password with them.

For more helpful information on password scams as well as information on how to protect your password, visit:

For additional information on ways to protect your information online, please visit the Yahoo! Security Center at:

Thank you again for contacting Yahoo! Customer Care.


Xxxxxx Yyyyyyy
(name hidden)

Yahoo! Customer Care


Monday, August 21, 2006

Let Employees Surf From Work - They Make It Up

Here is an interesting post that I found on the net...
which points to another post to back up its claims:

Essentially he said "In the continuing debate over whether or not companies need to actively monitor and/or block employee surfing habits, there's always this assumption that any non-work activity done at the office must be "bad". This simply isn't true". Personally I totally agree since I see myself and my colleagues doing it...

Sunday, August 20, 2006

More Yahoo! Accounts Fishing Sites

I did my own little research and I've found the same pattern on several sites (DO NOT ENTER YOUR CREDENTIALS IN THOSE PAGES!):

w w w . g e o c i t i e s . c o m / lol_ funniest_ online_ humor. com_ 30/
w w w . g e o c i t i e s . c o m / lol_ funniest_ online_ humor. com_ 25/
w w w . g e o c i t i e s . c o m / lol_ funniest_ online_ humor. com_ 24/
w w w . g e o c i t i e s . c o m / lol_ funniest_ online_ humor. com_ 23/
w w w . g e o c i t i e s . c o m / lol_ funniest_ online_ humor. com_ 22/
w w w . g e o c i t i e s . c o m / lol_ funniest_ online_ humor. com_ 20/
w w w . g e o c i t i e s . c o m / lol_ funniest_ online_ humor. com_ 15/
w w w . g e o c i t i e s . c o m / lol_ funniest_ online_ humor. com_ 10/
w w w . g e o c i t i e s . c o m / lol_ funniest_ online_ humor. com_ 6/

As you see, there is a pattern. All sites are carbon-copy of the each other, so the same person or group is behind all of them. The e-mails behind those pages are different and some are repeating. I guess that at some point there were quite a bunch, but some were already shut down.
The sites and mail addresses were reported to Yahoo and Google.


w w w . g e o c i t i e s . c o m / lol_ funniest_ online_ humor. com_ 28/
w w w . g e o c i t i e s . c o m / lol_ funniest_ online_ humor. com_ 26/

(and probably more) are also online now. The mail addresses behind were already reported...

Another Yahoo! Account Thief

I don't know if it is the same thief or not, but I found another site that does the same thing.


List of password fishing sites I've found (spaces were inserted in the URLs for security reasons):

20 Aug. 2006: w w w . g e o c i t i e s . c o m / lol_ funniest_ online_ humor. com_ 21/
14 Aug. 2006: w w w . g e o c i t i e s . c o m / now_ thats _funny_ 203/

I already posted details of the previous site I've found (but that time I did not posted the URL for security reasons), and this one looks pretty much like a carbon copy.

Please be aware of such kind of sites that ask for your passwords, bank accounts and other personal data.

P.S. Yahoo! and Google have been notified about the abusers of their services.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

.NET and Read-only Text Fields

A note of caution to all .NET developers: if you change a read-only text field (with runat="server") with javascript on the browser, you will not see the change in the Text property after a postback. However the value is sent by the browser and it is present in the Request parameters. This does not apply if you change the value from the server side.
This caused me and my colleagues a lot of headaches.
To work around it you can use a the Request directly, ahidden field to double the value or, if you use inheritance, override the method LoadPostbackData with the following code:

protected override bool LoadPostData(
string postDataKey, NameValueCollection postCollection)
string text1 = this.Text;
string text2 = postCollection[postDataKey];
if (!text1.Equals(text2, StringComparison.Ordinal))
this.Text = text2;
return true;
return false;

If you are curious, use Lutz Roeder's .Net Reflector and take a look of the original implementation.

Friday, August 18, 2006

ROSI and eLiberatica are online!

Both sites are online now at:

I already posted about those two, so no more comments...

Windows and Hibernation

First of all what is it?
When Windows entrees in hibernation mode, it saves all its memory content in a file on the hard drive (hiberfil.sys) then powers the entire system off. Yes, it really does that, it is not a stand-by mode of some sort, it is fully powered off (however, modern computers still keep a small amount of power going on even in off mode, but that is by design). In this state you can unplug the computer from the main power supply and, if it is a laptop, you can also remove the battery with no danger in losing the data.
Data loss
There is no danger in losing any data since the memory is safely saved on the hard drive. However if something fails with the "wake up" from hibernation, Windows may delete the hibernation file and start all over.
Powering up
When the computer is powered on again, Windows reads the memory content back from the hard drive and resumes from the point it was before hibernation. This means that all open programs are still open, open documents are still open, network connections are resumed and so on.
What to do before hibernating your computer
First of all save all your open documents. It is not necessary to close them, but saving them ensures that if there is a problem with waking up from hibernation the documents are intact. However if you keep them unsaved, when you resume you can still save them safely in most of the cases. Second, ensure that you don't have downloads or file transfers in progress because all network connections are reset before hibernation and all transfers will fail on wake up.
Enabling hibernation
To enable or disable hibernation open Control Panel (Start > Settings > Control Panel) then go to Power Options. There open the "Hibernation" tab. If this tab is not visible then your computer does not support hibernation. In that tab make sure that the checkbox is checked to enable the hibernation or unchecked to disable it.
Hibernating the computer
Use the normal Start > Shut down... procedure and choose Hibernate from the list. If you are under XP and you have a shut down box with three buttons on it (Stand by, Turn off and Restart) press the Shift key and the Stand by button transforms into Hibernate and you can click it. You can also use the Power Options applet from Control Panel where in the Advanced tab you can choose what the computer should do when you press certain buttons or switches like "Power", "Sleep" or when you close the LID on your laptop.
The main advantage is that all your programs and documents stay open so you can continue your work later. Another advantage is that usually it takes less to wake up from hibernation than powering up from zero, especially if the computer is slow or you have many programs in the start up list.
The only disadvantage is that this way you don't shut down the computer for days, weeks or even months, so sometimes the system gets chocked and chocked and goes slower with no apparent reason. Some reboots now and then or normal shut downs are recommended. Also, a big file (hiberfil.sys) will be created on hard drive with the size equal to the ammount of memory you have (1 GB memory >> 1 GB file size).
If you want to use hibernation is up to you. I use it daily both on my laptop and on my desktop. For me is so simple to press the power switch (and close the LID on the laptop) then leave with my work "frozen in time"...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Thiefs Stealing Yahoo! Accounts

This is a warning and a story in the same time...

The story... Yesterday I received a link via Yahoo! Messenger from a friend. So I clicked it. It supposed to be a funny picture and since I love to see funny things I went along. The site that opened looked exactly like Yahoo! Photos log-in page. A little bit strange, but it was hosted on Geocities which is an Yahoo! member. So I typed in the user name and password... Next I see again the log-in page with my user name read-only, this time the page was the legitimate Yahoo! Photos log-in page. That moment was just like a striking bold to me... So I went back to that page and viewed the source. Surprise! The page was mailing those credentials to a GMail account! Imagine my frustration in that moment as I should seen that before I entered the password! So the next move was to change the password for the account. Luckily it worked and I managed to keep the account. So the next move was to send a warning to Google, Yahoo! and F-Secure (see below why) and I sent a note in Romanian and English to all my Yahoo! contacts.

The warning... Please, pretty please... be very careful where you type in the credentials to your accounts, banks etc. and make sure that you actually use the right sites. Never ever follow links in e-mails that ask for bank credentials and be suspicious about the ones that want your site credentials.

The analysis of the page... Now I get technically. I used view source and looked at the <form> tag, here is the content of it:

<FORM METHOD="POST" ACTION="http://<a site address goes here>/form/mailto.cgi" ENCTYPE="x-www-form-urlencoded">

<INPUT TYPE="hidden" NAME="Mail_From" VALUE="Yahoo">

<INPUT TYPE="hidden" NAME="Mail_To" VALUE="<a mail account>">

<INPUT TYPE="hidden" NAME="Mail_Subject" VALUE="Yahoo id">

<INPUT TYPE="hidden" NAME="Next_Page" value="">

Look at it! The action for the page is a mailer CGI... that means that it actually mails the password to someone! Next you can see that it mails it to a GMail account with the subject "Yahoo id" and the mailer redirects you to Yahoo! Photos.

Looking at the hidden fields there you can see that the mailer is a public accessible one and not a custom made one. And since I could see what GMail account was used to receive it, I notified it to Google. The page is hosted on Yahoo! Geocities, so I notified Yahoo! to0. And since I am a "fan" of F-Secure products I also dropped them a note too.

So I really hope that the site from Geocities will be shut down as well as the mail account on Google too. Hopefully the owners of the abused accounts will perform criminal investigations and the thief will be caught and brought to justice... Am I too harsh with her/him? You judge and tell me...

Improve Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 Pagefile Speed

Improving pagefile speed improves system speed. There are several things that you can do to speed up Windows pagefile speed. Some may seam strange, but trust me...

  • Place the pagefile on the fastest hard drive you have

  • Set the minimum and maximum size to the same value, forget about those that say to set 500 MB min, 800 MB max

  • Even if the recommended size is 1.3 * RAM size, based on my experience 1024 MB (1 GB) is usually enough and big enough for any normal use; so set 1024 on min and max size fields

  • Make sure the hard drive with the pagefile is defragmented

  • Use pagedefrag to defragment your pagefile and other system-critical files

An idea to defragment your page file, that unfortunately involves several restarts is:

  1. Set pagefile min and max size to minimum (2 MB) or completely move it on another partition

  2. Defragment the partition that will held the pagefile (not the one you move it to) as good as you can; notice that Windows Defragmenter needs several runs to do a better job

  3. Set the pagefile size back to the desired size or move it back to the initial partition.

Steps 1 and 3 require a restart, but this is sometimes the only way to get an unfragmented pagefile.

Just starting

I just started to use this site as my primary blog. Previously I used Yahoo! 360 which is nice but it has limited functionality.
This blog will contain all kind of entries, each one with the apporpriate label.
I plan to start publishing tips&tricks and how-to entries that will make your life easier with the computers... I know that there are many that do that, but me is me and I will try...