Leo’s Answers #270 – February 15, 2011

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Leo Notenboom

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*** New Articles

Will IPv6 break my internet on old machines?

Hi Leo, In my local free paper I read a headline "Internet full, please try later..." and they basically say they have run out of IPv4 numbers and (to quote directly) "Consumers using older software such as Windows XP and many household broadband modems cannot read IPv6 ... and websites with new-style addresses may not be accessible to many users." What do you know about this?

At work, we still have a couple of windows 9.x and windows me computers. I also have an older game machine with windows 98, will all three still work when ipv6 arrives?

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There were a few news reports in recent weeks describing how the internet is running out of the addresses used to identify individual computers, and as a result how it's moving to a new addressing scheme that will allow many orders of magnitude more.

The headlines I keep seeing are all pretty sensationalistic.

The reality, I believe, is a lot more boring, and doesn't make for gripping news articles.

For example: the average consumer just doesn't need to worry, at least not for a long time.

Continue reading: Will IPv6 break my internet on old machines?
http://ask-leo.com/C4742

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Do green bars in the defragger mean my BIOS has a virus?

My local adviser tells me I have a virus in my bios which cannot be removed; at least, not by Norton. Proof of the virus, he insists, is that I have two green columns in the dialog box of my disc defragmenter. He further insists that the green will continue to expand until my pc fails completely. Second advisor insisted the second green column could be eliminated by going to Systems, Performance, Virtual Memory and clicking "no page file". Tried several times. As soon as I restore the page file, the second green column reappears. Then he suggested Page Dfrag.zip. It also failed to eliminate the second green column. At that point his confidence failed and he too leaned to the virus as a most probable. Is this a situation which should worry me? My pc is five years old and is running fine. I have Norton 360 v4 on Windows XP. My C drive has 290 GB cap and 280 GB free space at present.

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I think it's time to find new advisors.

Those "green bars" are normal and expected, and don't indicate a virus at all - BIOS or otherwise. The advisor who suggested that they do is just plain wrong.

I'll show you what they do indicate.

Continue reading: Do green bars in the defragger mean my BIOS has a virus?
http://ask-leo.com/C4741

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How can I prove that a photo was stolen from my original?

I have a friend who is a photographer. A few years ago, a publisher decided to publish a book using his image without his permission. When he saw the book on Amazon up for pre-order, he contacted them and they modified the book, claiming that they never printed any with his image. But, his image shows up all over the web as the cover of the book. We've called around to the bookstores that are selling the book and it always turns out the image is wrong and the book they have is the one without his picture.

My question is: how much info is stored in those images? Could we find out where they came from and who made them?

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There's definitely a lot of information that could be in that image. The question, though, isn't really how much there is, but rather how much survived and whether you have access to it.

I'll look at how information might be included in images and why it might get lost or altered.

I'll also touch on what I think is the only practical solution for a case like this.

Continue reading: How can I prove that a photo was stolen from my original?
http://ask-leo.com/C4740

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Can I backup more than one machine to a single external hard drive?

I have two laptops and three PCs: two Windows 7, two Vista, and one Vista Pro 64 bit. I want to back up all of them on one two-terabyte external hard drive. Can this be done and how should I go about it? The external drive is not a network type: it's a USB drive.

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Yes.

I'll look at two approaches: one that's very inconvenient, but most likely to work on every machine, and another that's more complex to set up, but requires almost no intervention once in place.

Continue reading: Can I backup more than one machine to a single external hard drive?
http://ask-leo.com/C4738

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What do these options mean when I connect my phone to my computer?

I have a new smartphone - the HTC T-Mobile My Touch 4G Android. Somehow, while attempting to download an app, I received the following screen, "Choose a Connection Type." 1. Charge only. Charge phone over USB. 2. Disk Drive. Mount as a disk drive. 3. USB Tethering. Share phone's mobile network with PC. I don't understand the ramifications of each choice. Can you give a more detailed explanation of the choices and maybe an example of when each choice would be preferred?

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I, too, have an Android right now - an HTC Incredible. I'm quite pleased with it.

When you or I connect our phone to the computer, we're seeing the message for one reason - we need to tell the phone what to do. We might be connecting the phone to the computer for one of several reasons.

Let's look at each.

Continue reading: What do these options mean when I connect my phone to my computer?
http://ask-leo.com/C4737

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*** Comments

Why don't anti-malware tools work better?

NewDimTech writes:

I remember the day when a virus was a virus. Avoiding email attachments from unknown senders was your best defense. As the internet has successfully ingrained itself into our everyday lives, and especially with the advent of broadband, there are so many new ways to get into trouble. As a twelve year bench tech, the majority of "infections" that I see now are self inflicted, many by our customers who still believe that you can get something for nothing. We carry a laundry list of utilities, all freely available, to perform our cleanup and repair, but the most important tool in our arsenal is still education. No anti-virus/malware tool out there can defend against bad judgment.

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Why don't anti-malware tools work better?

Bob K. writes:

I worked 7 years for a major AV company. All AV firms rely on customers sending them samples of malware/infected programs. And ALL the major players first develop the 'fix' for that item - then within a day or two, swap their sample malware/infected sample with each other. So there is minimal delay for adding detection to their products. A month or more is far out of line, and I don't believe it for a second.

Major firm's anti-virus 'hunters' meet yearly for conferences and exchange information and papers. Though their companies are competitors, the better ones encourage their AV people to cooperate with each other. So going with a minor 'freeware' program where the developer isn't involved with this group is not a 'cheap' solution, but an 'iffy' one.

Some of the sneakiest malware being devolped today is web pages with Java script allowing that web page to 'steal' all sorts of information from your computer. I.E. cookies (containing useful information), your Contact list, to annoy your contacts with apparent requests from your ID, and who knows what else can easily be lifted off your computer.

You've seen those "Click here to send your friends a request to join XXXXXX". I was stung myself by LinkedIn due to an accidental click on their 'tiny' "click me" box!!

As so many of the comments state, YOU are the best defense. In addition to the inane action of downloading an unexpected attachement from anyone. - DO NOT go to 'suggested' websites from 'strangers' (and be cynical about those from your friends, they could've had their contact list stolen too)

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Posted via a question:

Not a question, comment on your last point about backups. I recently saw a "rule" posted by Steve Gibson. It is the "3-2-1 Backup Rule"

For a "good" backup, you should always have:
- At least 3 copies of every file
- At least 2 different media
- At least 1 copy stored Off-site

It very neatly sums up the best practice backup principles I have seen in the best shops I've worked in.

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Why can't I delete this file?

Joe writes:

Being a Realtor, I'm used to typing abbreviations for things like St., Dr., Rd., etc. Well, after two years of trying to delete a file I noticed the "." at the end. This was the reason it would not delete as windows was looking for something like "com or exe" after the "." and never found it. Went into DOS, renamed the file, and it deleted just fine after that. Be careful of the evil "."!

*** Leo Recommends

Security Now

"TechTV's Leo Laporte and [Steve Gibson] take 30 to 60 minutes near the end of each week to discuss important issues of personal computer security. Sometimes we'll discuss something that just happened. Sometimes we'll talk about long-standing problems, concerns, or solutions. Either way, every week we endeavor to produce something interesting and important for every personal computer user. "

I subscribe to a number of podcasts, as you might imagine. There are few - very few - that get my attention nearly 100% of the time.

Security Now with Steve Gibson and Leo Laporte is one of those podcasts.

And it's not because the co-host's name is also "Leo".

Continue reading...

Security Now
http://ask-leo.com/C2742

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Each week I recommend a specific product or resource that I've found valuable and that I think you may as well. What does my recommendation mean?

*** Popular Articles

Travel much? You might want to be aware of this issue that most people never consider:

Can hotels sniff my internet traffic?

My friend's husband has been getting into her email even though she's not given him her password. He has confronted his sister about an email and when asked how he got into the email he says that where he works (A large hotel chain) they have a program that searches emails for keywords and brings info up. Could that be true?

Yes.

Hotel network security is one of the most overlooked risks travelers face. And I'm not just talking wireless, I'm talking any internet connection provided by your hotel.

In fact, I'm actually writing this in a hotel room, and yes, I have taken a few precautions.

Continue reading...
Can hotels sniff my internet traffic?
http://ask-leo.com/C3291

*** Thoughts and Comments

Oh. My. Word.

It's done.

My long over due, took-longer-than-I'd-planned ebook is finally out.

Maintaining Windows XP - A Practical Approach

It's a tad shy of 300 pages dedicated to getting more life out of your Windows XP based machine.

I mean - why buy a new machine (or a new operating system) if you don't need to?

Windows XP's days are numbered, there's no doubt - but there's no need to rush to the grave.

One of the most fascinating statistics I discovered while researching that book is that today - February 15, 2011 - there are more machines running Windows XP than any other operating system.

Actually, that's not the wording that really blew me away. This one is: with over 50% market share, Windows XP is on more machines than all other operating systems combined.

I had no idea.

Anyway, I don't mean to get into some long sale-pitch here. If you run Windows XP and are interested in perhaps making it last longer you might want to check it out.

Maintaining Windows XP - A Practical Approach

It's on sale until the end of the month, and if you're a newsletter subscriber you can use the discount code listed below (in the emailed newsletter only) to get an additional 20% off that.

'till next week...

Leo
Leo A. Notenboom

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