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Posted on Aug 10, 2007 in Newsletter, Welcome | 0 comments

TWT Newsletter, Issue #003 –, more Windows security threats


Welcome to Issue 3 of the TWT newsletter. Here in England, it looks like we are finally getting some summer weather, just as we thought that we were all about to be washed away. If the weather is nice where you are in the world, we hope that you can take time out from enjoying the sunshine to enjoy our latest newsletter!

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In this months issue:-

1) A security threat from… The software store?

2) Tip of the Month – Social bookmarking helps you sort your bookmarks!

3) Free Utility of the Month –- 7-Zip

4) The funkiest new tiny USB devices!

A security threat from… The software store?

Poor Windows users, it seems like every newsletter and webpage I write about Windows, sooner or later the thorny issue of security rears its head. We are constantly told to keep our operating system, web browsers, firewalls and anti-virus packages up to date in order to avoid nasty software lurking on the internet. Now however, it seems we are not even safe buying software from the high street. Copy protection is nothing new in the world of PC software. Everyone loves a bargain and the temptation to take a copy of your friends newest game is just too much to resist for many users. Because of this, anti-copying software has become increasingly sophisticated, to the point where many users believe it has started to become intrusive. None of the anti-copy technologies has courted so much controversy as Starforce, the anti-copying technology developed by the Russian company of the same name. Starforce is one of the most sophisticated anti-copying technologies used in PC software. It can take hackers years to reverse engineer Starforce protected games, because of this Starforce has gained popularity with several games publishers. Unfortunately for the end user, Starforce opens up several security holes when it installs its low-level drivers on your system, compromising the security of your PC. The side effects of installing Starforce can include system instability, problems with optical drives and difficulty playing audio compact discs. Furthermore, many users believe that Starforce can actually cause physical damage to your PC. Although this has never been proven, an alarming number of users claim that software errors in the Starforce drivers have caused their CD or DVD drives to gradually degrade and then eventually fail altogether.

Windows Vista users are particularly likely to experience problems with Starforce protected games. Many older Starforce protected titles will not even install on the new operating system. Perhaps most worrying of all is that software protected with Starforce carries NO warning on its packaging. Our advice? Check out the list of Starforce protected games on
this page.
If a game you want to play is on that list, we recommend you find an alternative title. Better safe than sorry!

Tip of the Month –- Social bookmarking helps you sort your bookmarks!

Do you use the bookmark facility of your web browser? If you do, you probably find it frustrating when you get to the office, or a friends house, or perhaps the library, and you can’t remember the address of that really great site you just bookmarked. Social bookmarking sites solve this problem by allowing you to store your bookmarks in a central location. That means wherever you are, you can log into your account and retrieve your bookmarks. You can also easily share bookmarks with your friends (or keep them private if you choose to do so). Furthermore, you can easily find sites similar to the ones you have bookmarked by browsing bookmarks in the same interest category, or of users with similar interests to you. My favourite social bookmarking site is
I love how you can highlight and save clips from websites as well as post sticky notes.
has been around longer and because of this it attracts more traffic, so you may wish to consider an account here too, if you get hooked on nosing into which websites other users are visiting. Diigo even lets you save bookmarks to at the same time, so you can manage two accounts easily. If you sign up for one or both services, don’t forget to bookmark!

Free Utility of the Month – 7-Zip

Have you ever used zip files? Chances are you have opened a zip file before without even knowing it, since Windows XP and Vista automatically handle opening zip files. If you’re not sure what zip files are, take a look at our
guide to using files in Windows
7-Zip is great because not only will it open all popular types of compressed files (zip, rar, and 7zip) it also allows you to create your own zip files too, all for free! For more information, visit our
7-Zip tutorials.

The funkiest new tiny USB devices!

Technology is forever getting smaller, lighter and faster. This month, two great new USB sticks have been turning heads in the IT community. Firstly, for those of us who like to feel all James Bond, the
is an advanced USB key with lots of really cool sounding security features, such as military grade encryption, in built stealth web surfing and perhaps coolest of all, a self destruct feature that activates after 10 incorrect password entries or when anyone tries to physically tamper with the device. We’re assured that this process isn’t quite as dramatic as in the movies however.

Even more impressive is the tiny Yoggie Pico. A fully featured hardware firewall in the space of a small USB key. This incredible feat of engineering packs no less than 13 security applications into its tiny case, including antivirus, anti spyware and firewall technologies. The device is actually a fully featured mini computer running Linux, with a 520MHz CPU and 28MB of RAM, and 128MB of flash memory. That’s way faster than my first home PC! If you travel frequently and use networks in hotels or other locations, the Pico will give you extra piece of mind security against hackers lurking on a network you can’t fully trust. To learn more about this amazing little device,
click here!

That’s all for another month. We hope that you enjoyed our newsletter, if you didn’t then please let us know why, you can contact us by
visiting this page.
If you have enjoyed this newsletter, feel free to pass it on to all your friends and family, or better still encourage them to sign up for their own copy! Until next month, keep checking and enjoy happy and safe computing!

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