Could Recent Bomb Scares Spell The End Of Cellphone Or Wi-Fi Services On Aircraft?

A few days ago we all became aware of a new attempt at sneaking a bomb onto an aircraft, scheduled for delivery of packages here in the U.S. It seems that a terrorist had attempted to disguise bombs as being printer cartridges. But just as airlines were starting to gear up for wi-fi and cell phone service on-board their aircraft, this recent incident could spell doom for these projects. The bombs found on the aircraft in the UAE had a cell phone connected in what appeared to be an attempt at remote detonation.

In a recent article it also stated that:

This comes as the aviation industry is gearing up to provide broadband in-flight entertainment systems that feature both cellphone and Wi-Fi connections for passengers. These systems would mean that passengers would no longer need to illicitly use their cellphones when they come into range of ground masts at low altitudes near airports – a potentially dangerous activity that could interfere with the aircraft’s avionics.

In-flight communications is a fast-growing market at the moment. Market researcher InStat of Scottsdale, Arizona, says that 2000 passenger aircraft are expected to have this kind of satellite broadband communications technology by the end of this year, compared with just “a couple of dozen” in 2008.

Last week’s discoveries cast doubt on the wisdom of in-flight communications, says Roland Alford, managing director of Alford Technologies, an explosives consultancy in Chippenham, Wiltshire, UK. He says he expects the technology to be scrutinised in the security reviews being undertaken by the UK government and US Department of Homeland Security in the wake of the discovery of the printer bombs.

In-flight Wi-Fi “gives a bomber lots of options for contacting a device on an aircraft”, Alford says. Even if ordinary cellphone connections are blocked, it would allow a voice-over-internet connection to reach a handset.

“If it were to be possible to transmit directly from the ground to a plane over the sea, that would be scary,” says Alford’s colleague, company founder Sidney Alford. “Or if a passenger could use a cellphone to transmit to the hold of the aeroplane he is in, he could become a very effective suicide bomber.”

I don’t know about you, but I can go a few hours without cell phone or wi-fi service, if it means added security for the flight I am on. I don’t believe we need to be connected 24 x 7 to any device or technology.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Source – NewScientist

What Is The Best Free Anti Virus Program? You Decide

On August 21, 2009 I wrote a piece about what was going on with Free AVG, citing another article in which the writer had stopped recommending Free AVG to his family and friends. [AVG article on August 21, 2009]

So this morning when I read an opinion article over at PC World, which rated 9 Free anti virus products, I stopped for a look-see. Below is how PC World rates each of the 6 top Free anti virus programs.

  1. Avira AntiVir Personal
  2. Alwil Avast Antivirus Home Edition
  3. AVG 8.5 Free
  4. Microsoft Security Essentials Beta
  5. PC Tools Antivirus Free Edition
  6. Comodo Internet Security

Three others, Panada Cloud Antivirus, PC Tools ThreatFire and ClamWin Free Antivirus were not considered as recommended programs for various reasons.

I must admit I am prejudiced. I do not consider PC World a trusted source for recommending any software or hardware. I personally have been using AVG Free edition for well over 5 years and have never been infected with any bugs.

So what is your opinion? Do you believe the results as presented by PC World?

Comments welcome

PC World source

Comodo Anti Virus Reviewed

Reader Buffet asked what my opinion was of Comodo’s anti virus program, and since I had not tried it, I decided to take it out for a test drive. The first thing I had to do was but my prejudices on the back burner. Last year I tried Comodo’s firewall which completely irritated the hell out of me, when the firewall shutdown my Internet connection. But that is another story. I also personally believe that AVG makes the best free anti virus program. So I entered into this review with an open mind.

I downloaded the Comodo software from their website which is a combo anti virus and firewall program and is about 45MB in size. During the installation you have the option to select just the anti virus or firewall software or both. I selected just the anti virus software. I installed the software on my test box which is a AMD dual core, 4GB RAM running Windows XP SP3. I installed AVG to make room for Comodo and to test it properly.

After the installation I updated the software and scanned my system for critters. Comodo reported my system was clean. I than checked out the Comodo GUI and found it intutive and very easy to use. I continued to oberserve Comodo anti virus for a week and found that the software is light on resources and did not slow down the system. 

I am a FREE freak. When possible I only use free stuff on my computers. I believe that the free software are just as good, if not better, than their commercial counter parts. So I give Comodo anti virus two thumbs up. It is a definte alternative to the commercial products such as McAfee and Norton.

But is it better than AVG or Avast free versions? I don’t believe so. But it is another alternative to the paid programs that suck the life out of our computer systems. I’m going to continue to use Comodo anti virus on my test box for the next few months to evealute it further.

Comments welcome.

Comodo download site

Why didn’t AVG, Lavasoft and Comodo detect registry redirects?

You have to read this first, than I’ll give my opinion about what the writer wrote.

Why didn’t AVG, Lavasoft and Comodo detect registry redirects?

Hi all

I’ve just spent the last week tearing my hair out with a terrible rogue dialler, browser hijack and virus. And, against my will, sending out thousands of emails along the lines of No More Teeny Man in Locker Room! and Discount Ci%lis.

Finally I solved it all in one morning, by getting Spybot into the computer via a pen drive. It immediately detected several registry entries redirecting sites such as this one to 127.0.0.1 (as well as finding the dialers and a Firewall Bypass script.

I wonder why AVG, Lavasoft and Comodo didn’t detect these, even when booting in safe mode?

Cliff

It all comes down to one simple principle that most of us already know. There is no one anti-virus program, one anti-spyware/malware software, one of any suite of protections that does it all. It is a combination of programs one needs to use, to keep your system free of bugs and critters. There are plenty of free programs available for us to use including many online programs we can use to scan our systems.

Bottom line – don’t trust your computer to any single group of protections.

Comments welcome.

Source.

AVG 8 – Other Free Alternatives

As some of the comments have indicated in my review of AVG 8 have noted, some of you have been experiencing some issues with the latest version. Though I am still a believer in the effectiveness of AVG and still support using the free version, I though I would provide a list of alternative programs you can try. If anyone has any other free anti-virus they can recommend, please let me know so that I can add them to the list.

Avira AntiVir Personal Edition

Downside is that it does not scan email.

Website is here.

Avast!

A lot of people swear by Avast and even prefer it over AVG.

Website is here.

BitDefender

This software has received many awards and is highly rated by some.

Website is here.

Comodo AV

This is a new product and is still in beta testing.

Website is here.

Comments welcome.

[tags]free, anti virus, programs, software, avg, avast, antivir, comodo, bit defender,  [/tags]

Scot Finnie Concludes Firewall Testing – And The Winner Is?

After a year and a half of testing, Scot Finnie has finally concluded which is the best of the best when it comes to firewall protection. Needless to say it wasn’t the built in firewall supplied by Microsoft. :-) But before we discover who Scot has given the honor to, I want to commend Scott for his tenacity is staying in for the long haul. A long haul that has included email battles between himself and executives at Comodo when Scot criticized their product.

Scot’s winner for firewall of 2008 is given to Online Armour. Scot states:

There are many reasons why I’ve selected Online Armor
(OA) as the best software firewall for Windows users; the rest of this
story delivers the details. But boiled down to a single thought, the
most important reason is this: Online Armor offers the best blend of a
high degree of protection with a high level of usability.

That may sound simplistic, but in this software category such a balance
is the toughest thing for a software development company to achieve.
It’s very easy to throw up a blizzard of pop-up user-prompts. You can
make your system so secure that you’ll never want to use it again. It’s
also easy to dumb down the security so much that you’ll rarely, if
ever, see a pop up — and in the process, render the firewall
ineffective. The trick is to offer solid protection with minimal user
interruptions. OA 2.1 is the only firewall software I’ve tested that
delivers a near-perfect balance.

That pretty much states Scot’s feeling about which is the best of the best. He than goes on to say that Comodo is a very fine product as well. :-)

I have been using Comodo 3 the free edition for well over a month. Though it does have some overly protective pop ups, it is not so offensive as to cause me to stop using it. I haven’t full explored OA but will be taking a look at it.

You can read Scot’s newsletter from here.

See what you think and share your opinion. What software do you think is the best firewall?

Comments welcome.

[tags]firewall, best, 2008, online armour, comodo, test, pop ups, protection, [/tags]

Comodo 3 Revisted Once Again

Well I got Scot’s Newsletter Blog on Sunday afternoon, and I noted that Scot once again is visiting the Comodo firewall software. You may recall that last month there was a minor confrontation between Scot and the folks at Comodo in which some lively discussions ensued. But in the end, it may appear that the winners of this ……. eh……… debate, may be us consumers. Not only is Scot once again discussing the merits of the Comodo firewall, along with a new and improved version of Online Amour, but is even using the words “excellent product” when describing Comodo.

That is a huge switch from last month. But it also shows what I have already known. Scot is a fair person and his personal evaluations of products are and have been unbiased. Like myself, he doesn’t take any ‘payola’ like some on the internet to recommend a POS just to make a buck. His concern is how well or not so well a product works. That is the bottom line as it should be.

With this in mine, I’m going to give Comodo 3 another go. I have had to uninstall Sunbelt’s [aka Kerio] Personal Firewall after being unable to play some videos online. After some ponding on the software, I still wasn’t able to even watch weather videos at AccuWeather. Off it went. It is either me, my system or maybe firewall software in general, but I personally have had very bad behavior with just about every firewall I have tried. The exception is the built-in firewall of XP & Vista and also the old version of Sygate Personal Firewall which as of now remains my overall favorite. Yeah I know it’s old and hasn’t been updated. But it doesn’t mess with my system like some others have.

Back to tying Comodo 3 once again. They have a new and improved flavor which corrects the terminology during installation making it more user friendly. We will see what happens. Finger crossed.

Comments welcome.

Scot’s newsletter is here.

[tags]scots, newsletter, comodo, online armour, reviews, testing, procedures, review, software, problems, firewall, [/tags]

Comodo 3 Firewall – Updated Information

On January 21, 2008 I wrote a piece about Comodo 3 Basic software program that may not provide outbound protection to its users. [Article is here,] My writings were based on Scot Finnie’s blog report in which he concluded that users should not use Comodo 3 Firewall Basic protection and recommended an alternative product. Since that time both representatives from Comodo and Scot himself have been involved in a war of words, each trying to make a case for their respective positions.

Before I proceed any further, let me explain my relationship to Scot Finnie. I have been member of Scot’s Newsletter Forum since March of 2003 and I am currently a MVP on his site. I have been a reader of Scot’s newsletters and also his magazine articles for many years prior to joining his forum. I have come to respect his opinions concerning software & hardware that he has tested.

Notice the word opinions. Anytime we read the opinions of others, myself included, there are always going to be those who may disagree. That is just the nature of the beast. My only purpose for posting Scot’s article was to present his opinion on what he had found and his recommendations. Since I do not use Comodo 3 I have no opinion.

Scot has posted a rebuttal on his blog here.

Comodo has posted their thoughts here.

Comments welcome.

[tags]comodo, firewall, opinions,  [/tags]

Comodo Firewall Revisited

At this month’s newsletter over at Scot Finnie’s site, he addressed concerns about the Comodo firewall that were expressed by some of his readers. Scot was also kind enough to provide a link to an article I did in December of last year after trying Comodo. In that article I was disappointed with the performance of Comodo and subsequently uninstalled the software. But this current issue by Scot stated that the newer version of Comodo version 2.4 was vastly improved.

Scot also mentioned that Comodo was in the process of also releasing version 3.0. He states:

Comodo 3.0 Is Close

I got an email from a Comodo marketing VP letting me know that Comodo 3 is about six weeks away from release. I don’t have much detail on the product, but some of the product features are listed on this Comodo Forums post.

The most notable changes are Windows Vista support (both 32 bit and 64 bit) and a host-intrusion-prevention system (HIPS) module — both of which should be welcome additions.

Reminder: This evaluation focuses on software firewalls for Windows XP SP2. More and more software firewalls are being updated to support Vista, but at the time that I started this work, not enough of them supported Vista to make that a useful endeavor.

So with this in mind, I have downloaded and installed Comodo firewall 2.4 on my own personal system. I will be trying it for at least a month before reporting on my experiences. Or, it could be sooner if I run into problems. Hopefully this will not be the case.

Comments welcome.

Scot’s July newsletter here.

[tags]comodo, firewall, test, scot finnie, newsletter[/tags]

Comodo Firewall – Problems After Two Weeks of Use

Well I am sorry to report that the Comodo Firewall I had previously installed and which I had written about starting acting up on my system this week.

All firewalls require a learning period in which the user is asked if they want to allow certain programs on their system to access the Internet or other network computers. And so it went with Comodo. Except the software asked me if I wish to allow Firefox, my main browser, to access the Internet and I answered yes each time. I thought something was wrong, because every time I open Firefox, I got asked the same question.

So on Thursday morning I fired up my system and I was unable to connect to the Internet. I spent 20 minutes going through the normal diagnostics, including the repair option built into Windows XP. I also restarted both my cable modem and router. Still nothing. I then tried two of the other computers I have at home and both connected just fine to the Internet.

That is when it hit me. Could it be the Comodo Firewall? Sure enough, after I disabled the firewall I was able to connect to the Internet. So with reluctance, I uninstalled Comodo.

In all fairness, Comodo is not the only firewall that has this problem. I also had a similar situation using the free version of Zone Alarm on my wife’s computer. Again, all was well after I took Zone Alarm off.

I have read other similar reports concerning both McAfee and Norton having problems with their firewalls as well.

Am I done with Comodo? Nope. I’ll wait for a upgraded version and take it for another spin. :-)

[tags]Comodo, firewall, uninstall, internet, no connection, zone alarm, norton, mcafee[/tags]

Comodo Firewall – It's Simple To Use & It's FREE

I’ve been reading around the Internet that a new kid was on the block offering some free security products, and that they were getting some fairly good reviews. And after doing the article on firewall testing, and noting that Comodo received a mark of excellent, I decided to download it and give it a try.

As with most freebie software, you need to provide a email address to receive an activation serial number, and once that was done I proceeded with the download. The file is a little over 7MB. Installation was uneventful and only asked if I wished to stop the built-in firewall used by XP and required a restart.

After boot, the Comodo icon was in the system tray and activated. As with all firewall products, there is a learning experience the software goes through, in which you must tell the firewall which connections you wish to allow. Overall it is a fairly simple process. I then checked to see if my computer was going to take a performance hit with Comodo and noted it has a small footprint – using about 17k. And there were no spikes like I have seen with some firewall products.

Overall, I like the feel of Comodo. It is simple to set up and use. I would highly recommend this product to anyone wishing to use a software firewall product.

You can get your free copy of Comodo here.

[tags]comodo, firewall, free, setup, simple, software, product, testing, Comodo[/tags]

Firewalls – Which Are The Best?

Sometimes it is difficult to recommend any type of software product, because most of us have our favorites. As an example, I have used Microsoft Outlook for several years as my email client because I like the look and feel of it. Others have the opinion that they wouldn’t use either Outlook or Outlook Express because they are not secure enough. I am a die-hard Firefox user and wouldn’t use Internet Explorer. Go figure! We all have our favorites.

So I am also reluctant when I review any testing methodology since, in the back of my mind, I always wonder if the software company that came in number one paid some type of a hidden incentive fee behind the scenes for a higher ranking. I know, I’m bad! But when one reads about all of the corporate shenanigans, it is difficult, sometimes, to remain objective.

Now to the point. Over at Matousec Security, it performed a series of leak tests on software firewall products, and its results were somewhat surprising. It rated Comodo Personal Firewall 2.3.6.81 and Jetico Personal Firewall 2.0.0.16 beta as being excellent. While all of the favorites like Zone Alarm, Norton, McAfee, and the like ranked very good or lower.

Now, let’s not shoot the messenger. I’m only reporting what Matousec found.

Anyway, take a look here for the test results and make your own determination on what to use.

PS: I have heard good results from those using Comodo. I think I’ll take it for a personal test drive and do a review on it. This report peaked my curiosity on this product.

[tags]firewall, tests, ranking, comodo, jetico, excellent, [/tags]