Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

How To Block iFrames*

If you are interested in Tech, and visit Websites such as this one, it will not be very long before you read about Firefox. (In fact just this week I posted an article.) And, it won’t be long before you see NoScript mentioned. Odds are, you already have.

NoScript is a small program you download and add ‘into’ Firefox to enhance its functionality (these small programs are known variously as “add-ons”, “plug-ins”, and “extensions”– different words for the same concept.)

NoScript gets mentioned in the Tech media a lot because it is a security tool that automatically “blocks” (prevents from running) certain web page ‘elements’ (scripts) — Java, Flash, JavaScript, and XSS– from running unlesNSOptss you click the Option button and select “Allow”, or “Temporarily allow”.

Which puts you in control, and goes a long ways toward preventing “drive-by downloads“, and other malicious Internet attacks and activity from occurring should you happen to visit a Website which has been poisoned” by a hacker.
(I don’t mean to depress you, but the current state of the Internet is so insecure that this can be, literally, any Website.)

By default, NoScript is a powerful tool (to read the NoScript “About” page, click here) and for many people is the primary reason they have made the switch to Firefox.

Tip of the day: Enhance your NoScript protection by turning on the IFRAME blocker feature.
IFRAMES are another dynamic Web element that cyber-criminals are now using as an “attack vector” (aka “method”) with great success. Like the scripts mentioned above, IFrame attacks can happen invisibly and automatically. Oh, the joys of Web 2.0!
[note: today’s advice should be of interest to Mac and Linux users too.]

1) In Firefox, click on “Tools”, then “Add-ons”
Add-ons
2) Scroll ’till you find NoScript, and click the “Options” button. (If you have not yet installed NoScript, click the “Get Add-ons” icon in the upper-left.)
NoScript
3) Click on the Plugins tab. Place a check in the “Forbid <IFRAME>” checkbox.

That’s it. You’re done. Now when you visit a site that uses IFrames, you will have to approve them (aka “whitelist”) before they’ll appear.

[Note: the scripts and tools (Web 2.0 “features”) mentioned in this article are NOT in themselves bad or dangerous, and it is thanks to them that the Web is such a rich and interactive environment.. but, in the wrong hands they can — and are — being used with criminal intent.]

Related: A short video tutorial for using NoScript can be seen here.

Today’s free link: One of the more disturbing (outright alarming, if you ask me) hacker uses of IFrame attacks is the alteration of Search Engine results (Yes, you can’t truly trust Google, Yahoo!, or MSN anymore) and Internet Security blogger Bill Mullins has posted an excellent article on this subject, Fake/Redirected Search Results – Consequences for You

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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November 7, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, Firefox, how to, Internet, PC, security, tech | , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Firefox 3.0.2 now available

Tip of the day: Mozilla has released a new update for its extremely popular Firefox Web browser. This update closes two “critical” security holes, and fixes several bugz (for details, click here), and I suggest Firefox 3 users get and apply the update.

Today’s free download(s): Folks, we here at T4E Headquarters encourage you to give an “alternative” browser a test drive if you have not already done so. (‘Export’ your Favorites/Bookmarks to a .htm file, and then ‘Import’ them into the new browser.) Without question Firefox is the most popular alternative to IE– and with good reason considering the multitude of capabilities you can enjoy when you discover Firefox Add-ons. Go on, give it a try, visit the download page here.

Also, we strongly advise you keep all the programs updated with the latest patches. Visit the for a quick scan: “The Secunia Online Software Inspector, or short OSI, is a fast way to scan your PC for the most common programs and vulnerabilities, thus checking if your PC has a minimum security baseline against known patched vulnerabilities.” [note: you can also download the more robust Personal Inspector here too]

* Since this post, 3.0.3 has become available.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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September 24, 2008 Posted by | advice, browsers, computers, Firefox, Internet, News, PC, security, software, tech | , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Real Life Review of Google’s New Browser

Google recently made news with its entry into the Web browser “war” — a direct challenge to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Mozilla’s Firefox.

Google’s browser is called “Chrome” (no, I don’t know why). It is still in Beta, but was released to the public early this month.

Try

Needless to say, the “tech community” was a-buzz. Why would Google build a browser? Aren’t there enough of those? (Read Google’s answer here.)
It was fun to watch.. especially the conspiracy theorists.

But seriously, are you still searching for the perfect Web browser? Or, do you have your favorite ‘tweaked’ just right.. and it would take some kind of revolutionary quantum leap forward to get you to change? (I am one of the latter.)

I recently exchanged e-mails with a frequent reader of Tech–for Everyone, and the subject of Chrome came up. Since she is an excellent writer (check out her poker-oriented blog http://www.gadzooks64.blogspot.com/) and computer savvy, I asked her for her opinion of, and experiences with, Chrome.

She has kindly agreed to allow me to share with you what she wrote.. a non-techie review: 
Chrome is definitely nicer than Firefox is some respects.  I certainly don’t have the Flash issues with it that I sometimes have with Firefox…

The interface is clean, but I prefer that my actual window space be maximized and the menus and toolbars to be as small as possible…

I realize this is still a Beta release so I hold out hope that the issues I had with it will be addressed prior to release. (Issues = nit picky quirks.)
Every time Chrome opens it opens in the same place and size: WHICH IS NOT THE PLACE AND SIZE I WANT IT TO BE. Even after I maneuver it into the spot I want and the size I want, it continues to open where it darn well pleases. A nuisance for sure but not necessarily a deal breaker.
Chrome must have and/or allow Add-ons: I LOVE my Delicious Toolbar, Woot Watcher, Abduction!, Adblock Plus, Colorful Tabs, Forecastfox, ScribeFire… you get the picture.  I assume Chrome won’t have any need for IE Tab.  Honestly, I could live without all of those BUT Delicious.  I have to have my Delicious.  I assume the Chrome will take Add-ons once it’s released.  I can’t see anyway they can compete with Firefox without add-ons.
• For something that is supposed to be so streamlined I find the title area to be pretty large compared to my compact theme for FF.  I think they could do a better job minimizing the browser and maximizing the viewable area. Since Chrome has no footer bar, it appears they have pretty comparable viewing areas..

Other than those quirks I found Chrome to be delightful (my emphasis). I would be inclined to give it a serious go as my default browser when it’s released.. provided I will have access to my Delicious bookmarks toolbar!

There’s a good chance I will use it before IE when I run into a Webpage that just won’t load right for me in FF.  I recently pulled up a page with video feeds from all over the areas being hit by the hurricane.  Firefox just didn’t want to load that page correctly while Chrome loaded it just fine. 
I will be giving Chrome another tryout once they release the full version, that’s for sure.  It definitely needs some work before it will replace Firefox as my default browser.

So there you have it– an average person’s (by that I mean, not a tech blogger’s) experience with Google’s new browser.

I don’t have anything to add. I welcome competition in the browser market. I am looking for serious improvements in security (and speed is nice too).
Who will win the “browser war”? You got me, but I’ve no doubt Chrome will prove a very serious contender.

Today’s free download(s): The new generation of Web browsers are here, and if you’re still using IE 6, well, please stop. Try a more secure and capable browser– such as:
* Microsoft’s (currently in Beta2).
* from Mozilla (first update released).
* Google’s (Beta).
* Apple’s .
* | | | | etc.

Bonus link(s): for an excellent advisory on general browser security, please read Drive-by Downlods–Update Your Browser Right Now! by Bill Mullins.
And for TWiT’s (Leo Laporte, Steve Gibson) podcast on Chrome’s security, click here.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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September 15, 2008 Posted by | Apple, browsers, computers, Firefox, IE 7, Internet, News, PC, software, tech, Windows | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Extracting text from Web pages*

Today’s quick tip was inspired by a reader question. The gentleman used to use an old technique to “print” webpages to text files so that he could edit and incorporate the text into his documents, and he wanted to know if he could still do this, but in a more modern way.
I would like to take a moment here to remind my readers that I do answer questions sent to me; and also that if I believe the question-and-answer will benefit “everyone”, you could very well see it posted here.

Q: How do I copy the text on a webpage to my document?
A: There is actually a couple of different ways to do this, including the old “print-to-file” method that DOS users remember. The trick is to get just the text and information you want, and not all the advertising and hyperlinks and graphics/logos that most webpages incorporate.

1) If all you need is a small portion of text from a webpage, the easiest way to get it from your browser to your word processor is to ‘highlight’ the sentence (or paragraph) on the webpage, press Ctrl+C to Copy, click on the place in your document that you’d like to insert the text and hit Ctrl+V to Paste the selection into your document (you may have to change the font and text size to match the rest of your document’s format).
Sometimes, it can be a little tricky — working in the browser — getting your cursor to change from an arrow (navigation) to the vertical bar and selecting the page’s text. But rest assured that you can ‘select’ the text on a webpage. Usually you have to get the point of the arrow very close the edge of the first letter, and make small, gentle mouse movements until the cursor changes. You could also try clicking in an easier part of the text, and use your arrow keys to move the cursor to where you want it.
(As a writer, I simply must express my hope that you will pay some mind to the concept of Copyrights, and original work, and properly attribute your “borrowed” material.)

2) But if you want all the information on the webpage, and you want it to be available as a file you can reference at your leisure, the Copy>Paste method is not the best and another technique will serve you better.
Some people prefer to download the webpages in a method called “Offline webpages”, which is a whole ‘nother topic. Offline gives you the whole webpage — logos/graphics, links, ads — as if you were connected to the Internet, and this is more info than we need for today’s topic… we just want the text.

In Firefox and the older Internet Explorer 6 (Please, folks; IE 6 is quite probably the most hacked program ever written– update to IE7, or use an “alternative” browser), you can click on the “File” menu on your browser’s toolbar. IE7 users (who haven’t re-enabled the old Menu bar) should click on the “Page” button. Whichever manner you used, now click on “Save As”.
pgopts.jpg

Now the Save As window will open, and here is where we will make our important decisions.
sa.jpg

As usual, you will be presented with the ability to select the “where” the file will be Saved, and give it a name. But the primary thing is to select the “Save as type”, so that we will have a file we can use as we want to– in this case, a text file (.txt).
Once the webpage is Saved as a text file, you will be able to Open it with any word processor. And you will be able to edit it to your heart’s content.. and it will be available whenever you need it.

*If you decide to Save the webpage as one of the other options in the “file type” (or, made a mistake here) selection, and Save the page as an *.htm,*html file or even a “archive”, you will still be able to Open it with a word processor [by default, it will open with your browser] and edit it… it will just contain a whole bunch of junk-looking code, as well as the text you want.

Today’s free link: I am not a real big fan of free all-in-one “optimization” programs, but I do have one that I like and can recommend. Advanced WindowsCare Personal. From publisher: “is a comprehensive PC care utility that takes an one-click approach to help protect, repair and optimize your computer. It provides an all-in-one and super convenient solution for PC maintenance and protection.” (Vista compatible.)

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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August 26, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, IE 7, Internet, software, tech | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

It’s not your fault– how the Tech Industry is failing you

Your computer was infected with pop-up pornography because you visited a popular travel Website to look at hotel room prices in Orlando. And you have a well-known Company’s Internet Security Suite.

Or maybe, because your ISP promised you they’d scan all your e-mails for you, before they got into your Inbox.. you thought they really did, and you also thought that made your e-mail safe. You clicked on a link in one of those e-mails… (it said it was from your Uncle Victor..) and, voilà! Someone’s using your credit card.
In Malaysia.
To buy big-screen TV’s.
Like, six of them.. so far.

Perhaps you did neither of those things. But.. your friends wanna know why you’re sending them all this junk e-mail, and your ISP is threatening to turn you off if you don’t stop sending mass-mailings. Huh?
Turns out, you happen to have CoolProgram 6.0* on your machine, and a cracker has “exploited” the code and turned your machine into a spambot. Your machine has been merrily sending out thousands of e-mail come-ons for generic drugs, male enhancements, and penny stocks… all while you were asleep in bed.

Or you brought home a new digital picture frame…

Does this sound like a bad sci-fi movie to you? It does to me. But, sadly, this is our current reality.

You haven’t done anything wrong (or, really stupid) and you’ve even tried to protect your machine, but you got hijacked anyway.

I, for one, think there’s something seriously wrong with this state of affairs. When I think about the state of the Internet, I start feeling like that guy in the movie.. you know the one..

Why is this happening? Many reasons. Some are:
* Software companies are, to this day, releasing programs which contain insecure code.
* Hardware manufactures don’t include any extra features– like hard-wired security.
* In their rush to bring us new and exciting technology (he who’s first to market, wins), nobody stops and ponders the consequences.. or the vulnerabilities.
* For a long time, nobody took the hackers seriously enough.
* Cost. (I put this last because this can be offset.)

Believe it or not, there are steps the IT Industry can take to remedy a lot of this, and counteract this unsecured Internet. They could be doing much more to combat spam, malware, and hackers. There’s also steps we (us “consumers”) can take as well.. which space restriction has run out of room for today, and I will discuss tomorrow.

To be continued…

Today’s free link: I have recommended other graphics manipulation/image editing tools in the past, and it is only fitting that I give space to another winner: Paint.NET is simply the closest thing to Photoshop I have seen. 5 Star-rated by C/Net.

* Pick a program, any program. “CP 6.0” is simply my generic example.

*** Folks, like my new look? Hate it? Let me know by answering this 1 Question survey Click Here to take survey. ***

To read part 2, click here.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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May 9, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, hardware, Internet, PC, security, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments