Archive for September, 2016

Expensive Anti-Virus. Worth it?

Do You Get What You Pay For? Maybe Not.

A recent article form PC Mag had this to say about a Software Product:

In testing, eliminated active malware and malware that launches at startup, as promised. Integrated HelpDesk remote remediation tool. Installs and runs in Safe Mode. Bootable recovery environment available. Free scan available. Certified by one testing lab.

Missed many malware samples in tests. Failed to remove executable traces of detected samples. No significant real-time protection. Expensive.

Bottom Line
Enigma SpyHunter 4 does what it promises, eliminating active malware and killing malware that launches at startup. But competitors deliver much more.
Hey!, I didn’t say that! They dis. Bear in mind that PC Mag makes money off advertisers and it looks like that are not helping a growing company. Why wold they do that? Judge for yourself.

Read the whole story here:,2817,1523245,00.asp

Of course, you need a good anti-virus program to protect your computer. Some of the good ones have special coffers. You can find them by doing a search for ‘Free AV Software‘ and find at least five or six good ones. Each offers a better version for a nominal price.

Yahoo Lost 500 million E-mail Passwords.

Up to 500 million e-mail passwords have been stolen from Yahoo and is the biggest ever snafu.

If you have e-mail with yahoo, read this article from USA Today.

Yahoo user, what you need to know.

More details are still to come. For more information, search for keywords Yahoo Data Breach on Google or Bing.

How to Repair or Install Windows 10 again.

The recovery and repair for Windows 10 is not the same as before.

Before you need it, you should already have made a cupboard recovery for your Windows 10 system. A Google or Bing search will find information  you need. Of course, you will need a working computer with working Internet. Even a tablet PC will find the information for you.

Here is a  search for How to Repair Windows 10 using results from the Bing search tool.

Repair Windows 10 search on Bing.

You will find lots of helpful articles.



Row Hammer Virus is Worst Threat.

RowHanner is not just another virus attack on your Computer. It bleeds DRAM. It is unlike anything.

Unlike a typical computer malware, the Row Hammer takes advantage of a weakness in every DRAM memory chip in any computer.

Here is a simple explanation of what this threat means.

Let’s talk about Row Hammer. In this document I will refer to this item by the name Row Hammer. By  spelling it with capital letters it gets your attention.
This is not a new issue,  it was some time ago. But the issue was raised by the manufacturers of dynamic RAM. There are concerns that a known weakness in the design might possibly present some kind of security threat in the future. So they hired experts to analyze the theoretical and hypothetical possibilities of a security flaw in the dynamic RAM design.
So it would be correct to say this is a hardware problem and not really a software problem. Basically, that is true. For the purpose of simplification, I would like to call it a mechanical problem. Let me illustrate.
Suppose you or somebody else wanted to build a porch on the back of your house. But the back of your house is a bit higher than the rest of the house, so the question of stability of the porch would be an issue. One way of resolving the issue would be to just use bigger boards and redundant construction. But to save money, it is decided to try a novel design that uses the minimum out of would but yet provides a very steady and safe structure. After the porch has been built some and suggests that you should try getting some heavy people on the porch and see what happens perhaps to 300 pound men and see if the porch starts to sag or wobble. That would be a reasonable test. But now somebody says that if someone really wanted to give you a bad time they could put maybe three overweight man on the porch and have them start jumping up and down. Now that’s not quite fair. If they jump up and down they will put more stress upon the economical structure you have created.
In a nutshell, that is what has happened to dynamic RAM chips. I here’s a picture of I dynamic RAM module made up of many chips. Inside the chip there is an arrangement of memory cells that is of course not visible to the human eye. If you could look inside you would see something that looks like a structure of cells arranged by rows and columns. Like I said, this is a simplification of what really is inside. But the idea of a grid of rows and columns conveys the basic idea of some sort of mechanical design.
The makers of dynamic RAM chips realized that there could be a weakness in this type of design. Certain patterns of data might continually access the same row several times and this could cause the dynamic RAM cells to leak or bleed. The leaking or bleeding would cause adjacent cells to become corrupt and lose data. Is that really possible? Yes, it is and it was proven to be true. However, it takes extreme effort to come up with a sequence of binary zeros and ones that will put stress upon the memory chip. It every day use that would probably never, ever happen. But if somebody were to deliberately come up with a spatial sequence and repeat that sequence over and over again, it could cause the memory chip to bleed and spill data into adjacent cells.
Without going into the actual details of how memory cells work, that is a simplified explanation of what happens and it helps you to understand why they call the threat the Row Hammer. Yes, a malicious piece of software could constantly use a special pattern that will hit all the cells in the same row and do it over and over again like a hammer hitting a nail.
But how do we know this is true? Because the big chip makers themselves analyze the problem and publicize the problem in order to get to some recognition in the industry as to the importance of a clever design in the fabrication of memory chips. So the big famous chip makers could claim they had a better design that would resist a hostile software attack that might potentially come sometime in the future.

Well, there has been no mass use of a Row Hammer attack on the computers of the world. At least not yet. The manufacturers are so confident about this that the subject sort of died. Until this year. Specifically, last month in July. Somebody said something in July and then there’s some additional research done in August and on about August 30 a report was released saying that the Row Hammer threat was still an evil possibility.

Now one would think that with that announcement there would be a rebuttal by the big memory companies claiming they had already figured out. Well guess what? No, they don’t have it figured out. There are only a few people in the world that dabble in this sort of hypothetical threat to computer systems. They make their money by publishing articles about threats that don’t yet exist. This is a tricky business for them. If that turns out to be non-existent, they lose their credibility. But if the threat suddenly overwhelms a large number of computers over the Internet then these individuals will be criticized for not speaking up earlier. A  tough job.
So what does this mean you? Well, there’s no bottom whole lot you can do about it. Just just pay attention to some of the things that people say when they use the term Row Hammer. According to the experts it is a real possibility.
You want to learn more about how Row Hammer works, you’re going to have to read a lot of technical stuff that becomes very, very boring very quickly. I’ve tried reading over and it appears to be authentic, but I have no way of verifying this for myself. If you Google it, you may find some place where they claim that Google has a website that will offer you some different things that can test your computer to see if it would be subject to a Row Hammer attack. I haven’t tried it. The fact that it’s out there would indicate that a number of people think the threat is real.
In this document I have tried to explain what the Row Hammer threat is without getting into the deep technical stuff and boring you to death. I think my analogy of calling it a mechanical problem well represents what is going on. What happens is that two different manufacturers could be manufacturing the same memory chip by specification, yet internally there would be a mechanical difference in the layout or design. The idea is to get the memory cells as small as possible and close together as possible but to avoid bleeding of one cell to another. Exactly how they do this might remain  a secret.  Or maybe not. But the big manufacturers do believe it is a potential problem. Time will tell.