Adobe Hacked (again)

Yay another security hack. 🙁

If you have an Adobe Account Please login to their site and change your Password. You may have already received notice to reset them, if so please do!

I’d suggest if you have any payment information associated with any Adobe account/login you remove it! You can read from Adobe about it here.  And some more (and scarier) details from some other tech sites like this one  or this one.

Critical February Security Patches

Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday is next week. And it’s going to be VERY important

Microsoft’s security patches are due to be released at 1:00pm EST on Tuesday 12th February. [Read more here from MS  ]

The longer you take to update the security patches on your computer, the greater potential risk you could find yourself in!!

In all, 57 separate security flaws are waiting to be fixed.

According to Microsoft, every single version of Internet Explorer – from version 6 to version 10 – needs to be patched, as they are vulnerable to exploitation by drive-by attacks.

That means that simply visiting a booby-trapped webpage could silently infect your computer with malware – hijacking your PC for a hacker’s own ends.

According to an advisory from the software giant, five of the 12 security updates have been given Microsoft’s highest severity rating of “critical”.

Also note that Adobe has again released critical security patches to it’s Flash Player software. [read here]

Even if you are not on a Windows/Microsoft Operating System you should still make sure your Adobe Flash, Adobe Shockwave  and Oracle’s Java software  and Browser Plug-ins are up to date!

Be safe out there! MMm K.

Fix hyperlink issues in Outlook Word and other documents and files.

If you are experiencing an issue “Can’t follow links in email “this operation has been cancelled due to restrictions in effect on this computer” error. Or getting the same error in other Office documents, then this should resolve it.

I’ve had a few clients who have had the same problem recently. Two small offices and a larger organization.

It seems they all had one thing in common. The users had recently installed and Chrome recently. And then finding this Browser was unintentionally (or secretively) installed they proceeded to uninstall/remove it. For the small office/home user this problems occurs very often. Most users have to be able to install applications. For the larger organizations this is a failure of the IT department (or their companies SOP and Policies) to properly restrict usage rights in their Active Directory GPOs

This ‘unintended’ install comes from one of my MAJOR pet peeves – software installing other non-essential and unwanted software. I believe this practice of getting unsuspecting or unaware users to install something they did not want or need by tricking them in to ‘just clicking through’ and installation of a needed or required application, plug-in or extension is downright fraudulent. Adobe is one of the worst offenders. When you update your ‘Flash Player or Shockwave Player’ they will usually try and slip in Google Chrome, McAfee or Norton Antivirus applications. And when they install those they are then set as ‘default programs’! All of which can lead to problems of usability and stability. I could go on this rant for a while but just please be warned read carefully what you are agreeing to install when you choose to update your programs/plug-ins. Make sure you ‘un-check’ any other crapware other than the actual application you are actually looking for. Okay, enough about that.

Fix for hyperlinks in email and documents:
You will need to open the registry (Go to Start type in regedit then on the found file right-click and choose ‘run as administrator) then navicate to and change the following keys from “Chromehtml” to “htmlfile”.


Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.htm]
@=”htmlfile”

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.html]
@=”htmlfile”

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.shtml]
@=”htmlfile”

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.xhtml]
@=”htmlfile”

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.xht]
@=”htmlfile”

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\ftp\shell\open\command]
@=”\”C:\\Program Files\\Internet Explorer\\IEXPLORE.EXE\” %1″

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\http\shell\open\command]
@=”\”C:\\Program Files\\Internet Explorer\\IEXPLORE.EXE\” %1″

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\https\shell\open\command]
@=”\”C:\\Program Files\\Internet Explorer\\IEXPLORE.EXE\” %1″

Note you can also take the above and create a registry batch file.
Just copy the registry information (between the –) and save as a .reg file. That can then be launched and added to your registry.

This registry batch file can also be used to change the HKCU registry entries via Logon Script in Group Policy.
Create Registry.bat file with text:
systemroot%\regedit /s Registry.reg

Open Group Policy object, go to User Configuration > Windows Settings > Scripts > Logon
Click on Show Files (this opens a folder in \\domain-name\SysVol\domain-name\Policies\… ) and copy both files you created to that folder.
Click on Add and select Registry.bat
Deploy Group Policy object where required.

Well I hope that helps some.

Flash update kills Firefox causing hanging and crashing

Starting with the latest Adobe Flash version, some browsers, particularly Firefox, will hang or crash.

After the last Adobe Flash update my Firefox Browser became completely unusable. Chrome and Internet Explorer (IE) still worked but they too were markedly slower.

I am a huge fan of Firefox and use it as my primary browser because it enables me to use a plethora of extensions that greatly increase my productivity and the usefulness of the pages and sites I visit. [I’ll list my plug-ins at the end]

To get Firefox to even work at all I had to started it in Safe Mode –
in the ‘Run’ dialog type “Firefox -safe-mode” (minus quotes) – Then choose to continue in safe mode. Then go to ‘Tools>Add-ons>Plug-ins and then disable Shockwave Flash. That would then allow Firefox to work but obviously that is not a solution.  Without Flash you can hardly view some websites and of course could not watch most videos or multi-media files.

So I set off on a solution like an angry rhino.

I tried uninstalling Adobe Flash (using Windows Uninstall AND Adobe’s own ‘Flash Removal Tool) and re-installing it several times; that didn’t work.
You can get the official Adobe Flash ‘uninstaller’ here. [download/save and then ‘run as administrator’ to use it.]

For all of Adobe’s Flash Player downloads (the FULL Offline installers) you can go here
Make sure you download all the players you will need – if on Windows download the one for Internet Explorer AND the ‘Plugin-based browsers’ versions.

I tried using older versions of Firefox; that didn’t work.
Re-installed the latest version of Firefox, with Flash Player 11.3.300.257,
I tried the latest Beta/Developer versions of Firefox ; that didn’t work.
I tried reverting to older versions of Flash; that too didn’t work.

I finally found the reason for this behavior AND a solution after MUCH searching and LOADS of aggravation.

According to Adobe, “Starting with Flash Player 11.3, a protected mode was added as a new security enhancement for Firefox 4.0 and greater on Windows Vista and higher.  This security enhancement is designed to limit the impact of attacks launched from malicious Flash content (SWF files).”

They are trying to ‘sandbox’ Flash files to limit their susceptibility to being used as vectors for more serious virus/Trojan attacks.
Problem is I believe their developers FAILED. While the idea of sandboxing is sound (Chrome and the latest IE browsers use it extensively) this implementation is obviously poorly written and implemented in Flash for Firefox.
You would think that Adobe, with it’s truckloads of cash, could hire decent security coders and engineers and then thoroughly test their software. But judging by that fact that Adobe’s products have been the primary vector for serious security wholes over the last 7 years I guess not. But I digress.

Ok so now to the solution
To disable this newer ‘protected mode’:
add the following line to your ‘mms.cfg’ file located in:

On Windows 32bit: C:\windows\system32\macromed\flash
Or
On Windows 64bit: C:\windows\syswow64\macromed\flash

“ProtectedMode = 0”  (without the quotes)

If the mms.cfg file does not exist, create one using any standard text editor (e.g.. notepad).

Make sure if you create the file that the file ‘extension – is NOT a .txt but is the .cfg.
If you don’t see or know how to see the file name extensions you can read how to do that here. Depending on your operating system, you might need to first create and or save the mms.cfg file to a writable location (such as your documents or desktop folder) and then copy the file into the destination folder using Windows Explorer.

Here is a link to a zipped mms.cfg file version with Protected Mode disabled (directly from Adobe).

Download, unzip the file and copy it to the needed location.
One note:
I did not find the mms.cfg file in my “C:\windows\system32\macromed\flash” so I copied that file to there.

I did however also find an mms.cfg file in my “C:\windows\syswow64\macromed\flash” directory.

There I simply opened the mms.cfg file (with notepad) and just added the line ProtectedMode = 0

below the last line there.

Then I started Firefox normally. Went to Tools>Add-Ons>Plugins and made sure Shockwave Flash was ‘Enabled’

Now all is working very well. And since I’m using version 14 (beta) of Firefox things are even faster.

That ends two days of aggravation.
I hope that helps some of you.

For those that care here are the Firefox Extensions/Add-ons I use:

Adblock Plus
http://adblockplus.org/en/

After the Deadline
http://atdfirefox.wordpress.com/

Better Gmail 2
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/better-gmail-2/?src=userprofile

Video Download Helper
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/video-downloadhelper/

Downloads Context Menu
http://www.bm-productions.tk/

https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/downloads/file/128500/downloads_context_menu-1.5-fx-windows.xpi

Ghostery
http://www.ghostery.com/

Google Redesigned
http://www.globexdesigns.com/#!products/gr
https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/downloads/latest/8434/addon-8434-latest.xpi?src=addondetail

FireFTP
http://fireftp.mozdev.org/

IE Tab V2
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/ie-tab-2-ff-36/

PDF Download
http://www.pdfdownload.org/

Redirect Remover
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/downloads/latest/537/addon-537-latest.xpi

RightToClick
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/righttoclick/

Social Fixer for Facebook
http://socialfixer.com/

Stop Autoplay
http://neticat.ath.cx/forum/index.php

TinEye Reverse Image Search
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tineye-reverse-image-search/

Vacuum Places Improved
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/vacuum-places-improved/?src=api

Greasemonkey
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/greasemonkey/

Greasemonkey Scripts:
Search here http://userscripts.org/
Google Maps Zoom
http://jeffpalm.com/gzoom/

YouTube Enhancer
http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/33042

How to create a VPN Connection on MAC OS X 10.5 Leopard

How to create a VPN Connection on MAC OS X 10.5 Leopard

This is a step-by-step guide on how to create a VPN Connection on a MAC OS X 10.5 Leopard System.

I recently had to do this again for some of our remote staff, so I thought I’d post it as a reminder to me and maybe help others who have asked in the past.

1. Go to ‘Apple’ –> ‘System Preferences’

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2. Select ‘Network‘ from system preferences

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3. In ‘Network‘ system preferences, click the ‘+‘ icon on the bottom left cover of window to make a new VPN Conection.

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4. As shown in the image below, a new window appears. Click on the ‘Interface’ menu and see the list of choices and select ‘VPN’.

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5. Next, Change the ‘VPN type‘ from ‘L2TP over IPSec’ to  ‘PPTP‘. And then In the ‘Service Name’ field, type in ‘VPN Office’ or ‘Company Name VPN’ or make one up. Once you have done, Click on ‘Create’

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6. Next, we need to make a configuration. Select the ‘Confguration’ drop menu and select ‘Add Configuration’

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7. A window will pop up, asking to name your new configuration. Type you ‘Company Name VPN’ here and then click ‘create’

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8. Next, enter in your company’s ‘Server Address’ example; ‘server.domain.com’ or ‘72.14.213.x’ and ‘Username’, for example ‘administrator’ or ‘LarryHolmes’ or what ever

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9. Next, Select the ‘Authentication settings’ button

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10. Enter in Your ‘password’ and click ‘OK’

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11. Next, Click on the ‘Advanced’ Button

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12. Make sure that ‘Send all traffic over VPN Connection’ is unticked. Then Click ‘OK’

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14. Once you have done that, click ‘Apply’. And connect to your New Vpn Connection by clicking on ‘Connect’.

There you go…

Learning Photoshop and tips

Photoshop left you confused?

Start at the Beginning!

Check out the How-To Geek’s Guide to Learning Photoshop.

I’ve been in and around Graphic Arts, printing pre-press and service bureaus for over two decades and this is one of the simplest and well thought out basic how to’s for Photoshop I’ve seen in a long time.  I hope it helps some of you. I’m sure it will if you take the time.

 Part 8: Filters