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How to Switch Off Autorun on Windows XP

Windows XP will automatically open or run the contents of CDs and USB sticks when loaded or inserted. Here's an easy way to prevent it.











To disable autorun [current user, all devices]: click here

To disable autorun [current user, removable devices]: click here


To disable autorun [all users, all devices]: click here

To disable autorun [all users, removable devices]: click here

The links above will download Windows .reg files which if allowed to execute will modify your Windows registry settings. Please note that these files have only been tested on Windows XP Home Edition, but they should work okay for Win XP Pro. Obviously, you proceed at your own risk etc. but quite a few people have already used these links (as provided in my earlier guide to Windows XP security and so far no-one's emailed or commented to accuse me of blowing up their computer. You should check the contents of the files with a text editor such as notepad to ensure they don't contain anything malicious, but if you've found this page by searching for information about disabling Windows' autorun feature, then I doubt I need to tell you that. If you're looking for information on how to disable autorun in other versions of Windows (or information on additional settings for these registry keys), then this Microsoft article should prove useful.

The .reg files I've provided above will add or modifiy the following registry keys:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\Explorer\NoDriveTypeAutoRun
- for the current user, or:-
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer\NoDriveTypeAutoRun
- for all users.

The NoDriveTypeAutoRun key will be set to the value of 04 (hex 04) or 255 (hex FF) depending on whether you want only USB sticks (04) or all removable devices (FF) prevented from auto-running.

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While wandering the BBC blogs, I came upon this article by Rory Cellan-Jones.

It reminded me of something that's been bothering me for some time. What a strange, backward step it is to have to write 'apps' (programs) for different devices just to use a website.

The great thing about the internet is that it has standardised a formatting language (HTML/CSS), a transmission protocol (TCP/IP) and various programming languages (but mainly Javascript) so that any computer-like device can download a webpage and display it in exactly the same way as any other computer-like device.

Yet the arrival of mobile internet has somehow caused the rise of the 'app'. Instead of concentrating on making webpages that function correctly on all devices, suddenly we have programmers writing native code for lots of different devices. You could argue that at least it's creating jobs for programmers. True, but I'd argue it's time and resources that could be better spent elsewhere.

The argument in favour of mobile apps goes, as far as I can tell, that the processors in mobile phones are still quite weak compared to proper computers, and therefore it helps to use native code to speed things up. That might be understandable when it comes to things that need a lot of computing power, like iplayer, but it really doesn't explain why every other website has to have a mobile app just to render some text and pictures.

From a security point of view, the last thing you should want to do is install programs willy-nilly, yet websites are increasingly pushing mobile users towards the idea that this is a normal state of affairs.

If your website is too slow on a mobile device, I can't help suspecting that the underlying HTML/CSS and code that powers your website has become far more complex than is actually required - or someone's mobile's web browser isn't very good.

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How Javascript and cookies can compromise your security and privacy on the web.

The main thing about a computer, the thing that really defines it and makes it a computer, is that it's programmable. Not programmable in the limited sense that it will remember which TV programs to record while you're out, but in the true sense of programmable – your computer is constantly following a list of instructions, and it will absolutely follow them.

This is the great strength of true computers. Unfortunately, in the modern interconnected world, it is sometimes their great weakness.

Javascript

The internet , as you know, is made up of websites and webpages. The pages you browse to are displayed on your screen by a web browser, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome or Safari. Generally speaking, the information sent to your browser from the web is quite simple – it's just text and pictures, and some simple instructions* on where to put them. That's basic HTML, the language the web is written in. Basic HTML can't do calculations, it can't run computer games in your browser, it can't really command your computer to do something in the way a programming language can. It just tells your browser what text and pictures to display, and where to put them, and nothing much more than that.

The nice thing about this way of doing things is that it's relatively safe from a security point of view*. If your web browser can only display things or play sounds, then it's not so likely that information sent from the internet can take over your computer.

As the internet evolved, it quickly became desirable to add a bit more cleverness to the way web pages worked. It's impossible to run a shopping or banking website without a program being run somewhere to keep track of things and provide the 'brains' needed for dynamic content. It's at this point that programming languages have to be used, because basic HTML can't do that sort of thing. So the web very quickly evolved to make use of programming languages.

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What do you mean it's been six months? I just rested my eyes on Reddit for five minutes...

Regular readers will notice I haven't written anything for a while. I've been a bit busy. With things... and stuff.

As a result, I haven't had time to write for the website or do the sort of research I like to do before I write anything. I've only had time to watch the news now and again, and a smattering of the BBC's political programmes - perhaps 5-10 hours per week of news and political analysis at most. So, from this blissful position of dangerous ignorance of what's really going on in the world, and without further ado, it's catch-up time!

UK News

Everyone's talking about the upcoming police elections! Full details are available in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet somewhere in a disused lavatory near you. Have fun battling to the polling station to vote on something you haven't heard much about on a freezing cold and dark evening in November.

In other words, you don't need to participate in democracy. This isn't the news you're looking for. Move along.

Economic News

The governments of the UK and EU continue to stand on the economic brakes, whilst making puzzled shrugging motions that seem to indicate, "It's bizarre, I just can't understand why our economy isn't going faster. Maybe if we continue to enact policies that damage market confidence? Nope, that didn't work. How about if we force banks to hold more capital and thus reduce lending? Weird, we seem to be going even slower now. What's that burning smell?"

Meanwhile, the US economy seems a bit odd to me. I freely admit I haven't looked into it in any great detail, but it seems vaguely gravity-defying compared to the UK's. Could it have something to do with all those Middle East economies whose currency exchange rates somehow magically stay fixed against the dollar?

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