.NET, Security, Tech, Humor, Gaming

For all the benefits that the internet has brought with it, it’s also opened the door for scammers in a way never imagined before. The anonymity that the internet allows means that people who might not otherwise have considered doing unscrupulous things to make money find it an easy temptation.

The best way to avoid falling victim to such scams is knowing what the biggest threats are and how you can avoid them. Below are some of the most common threats to your computer.

1. Viruses 

Viruses have been a problem since the early days of the internet and the amount of anti-virus software that’s on the market just shows what a significant threat they still are. Viruses are most commonly transmitted via the internet although they can also get into your computer through physical media such as CDs and USB sticks.

Any decent anti-virus software will detect most of the common viruses and remove them before they’re able to affect your computer. In cases where a virus is causing widespread damage such as deleting files and taking up memory, then the best solution is usually to reinstall the operating system.

Broadband from Virgin Media comes with 12 months free internet security for new customers to help prevent viruses infecting your PC.

2. Spam

Spam email is something that everyone who uses the internet has come across. Whilst most email services will block out the vast majority of spam email, there are still messages that get through. However the real danger with spam isn’t necessarily receiving the messages yourself but unknowingly becoming a distributor of it.

It’s very common for spammers to take control of other people’s email accounts to distribute spam. Once your email account has been compromised then it’s very possible that your personal information will be compromised too.

GreenNet have a very comprehensive guide on spam if you want further information.

3. Phishing

Phishing is an extremely common threat these days and people who are not internet savvy are at particular risk of falling victim to it. Phishing usually starts in the form of an email that appears to be from a legitimate source such as eBay, PayPal or your bank.

The email will usually say something along the lines of “your order has been approved, please log into your account if you did not make this order”. There’ll be a link in the email that takes you to a phony website that’s been set up to look like the website of the company that’s being imitated and hosted on the scammer’s server.

You’ll then be asked to provide sensitive information such as your name, address and credit card details. People who fall victim to phishing usually don’t know about it until they see money disappearing from their bank or are informed by someone else that it was a scam.

This YouTube video clearly demonstrates how phishing works

4. Spyware

Spyware is what most people commonly mistake as a virus. It usually gets onto a computer by being hidden in another download. Spyware can collect any personal information thats on your computer as well as causing it to act in unexpected ways such as redirecting you to websites selling software, changing computer settings and causing crashes.

Most good anti-virus software will also come with spyware protection that removes the threat before it’s able to infect your machine.


Chrome: The latest stable build of Google Chrome can lock your browser when you step away, to protect your data and privacy. All you have to do is change a setting to enable the new profile management system—no extensions needed.

You might want to lock your browser if you share gadgets in your house, or if someone else has to use your personal laptop for a bit. The new user manager comes with this feature built-in. I Love Free Software has a quick tutorial on how to enable it:


  1. Go to chrome://flags


  • Search for “Enable new profile management system”



  • Click the blue “Enable” link.



  • Click the “Relaunch Now” button at the bottom of your browser to apply changes.



You will see a drop-down button with your Google account name, next to your Minimize button. Click this and click the lock icon when you want to password-protect your Chrome browser. The password is the same one used for your Google account. The protection stays active even after restarting Chrome as well as after rebooting Windows.

Lock Google Chrome with Built-in Password Protection


37b8tlrgwtdmvey73i34t2bd Atom, the Text Editor from GitHub, Is Available for Windows

Windows: Atom, the free text editor from the folks at Github, now has an official Windows version. It’s an alpha release, but it brings all of Atom’s features to Windows, including support for the packages that make the tool so extendable.


To use Atom on Windows, you can either download a zip directly (linked below) or install chocolatey (a utility for Windows that’s a lot like Homebrew for OS X or apt-get for Ubuntu) and install it from the command line. The latter approach also makes it easy to install packages and third-party utilities (and Atom updates) as they become available, so it’s the Atom’s team preferred solution.



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Atom, the Text Editor from GitHub, Is Available for Windows


073d775444364296740784 Remove Shellbag Entries in Windows for More Privacy

Windows’ shellbag entries are capable of showing you how and when specific files and folders were accessed. For maximum discretion, Ghacks shows you how you can remove these entries to ensure privacy.

Shellbag entries are the Windows operating system’s way of recording information about window viewing preferences. It records the size, view mode, icon, position of the folder, and the access time and date. Because of that, digital forensics can use the information to track which folders users have accessed, when they were last visited, and last modified. Shellbag entries can also display the contents of removable storage devices that were connected to your computer in the past, including encrypted volumes.

The process of removing these entries is pretty in-depth and requires the deletion and recreation of Windows registry keys. If you’re interested in maximum privacy on your Windows machine, and think you’re up to the task, check the link below for a thorough guide to removing Shellbag entries in Windows.

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Remove Shellbag Entries in Windows for More Privacy

Let’s face it, the Xbox One console was designed first and foremost for American gamers.

The USA is Microsoft’s home territory and the 360′s biggest stronghold, after all, so you can see the logic in getting the basics right with a core audience before branching out.

That’s especially so given the practically-beta nature of the Xbox One console on launch.

That’s not much consolation for keen Xbox gamers in the UK though, of course, who had to put up with an unpublicised lack of 50Hz/PAL support and the complete absence of one of the Xbox One’s unique selling points – the OneGuide.

That’s all over now, though, with PAL pass-through support well and truly added. And now that the OneGuide is up and running too, we’ve re-reviewed the Xbox One console and tested the UK OneGuide features.

So is the OneGuide all it’s cracked up to be in the UK? Does it work and is it worth having a play with? Well the short answer is that it’s probably not the killer feature you were hoping for. But as we’ll see, there’s potential there for Microsoft to create something quite special. Hold that thought.

3e6dXboxOneGuideEPG 580 100 Xbox OneGuide hits the UK: so should you plug in your cable/satellite box or not?

The OneGuide EPG is clean but limited in its abilities to use your box properly

OneGuide UK lowdown

The good news is that with the most recent update, your Xbox One console is now compatible with Sky HD, Virgin Media, BT Vision, and most Freeview and Freesat boxes. That means you can plug your set top box into your Xbox One ‘s HDMI-In port to finally make full use of its TV pass-through features.

It effectively allows you to watch TV without having to touch your set-top box or any remote control. In theory, you can now walk into your dark living room, turn your TV and Xbox One on and start watching TV all without touching a remote control, a gamepad or even without opening your eyes.

What it can’t do is use your TV’s built-in Freeview or Freesat tuner – you need a separate box.

The Xbox One uses the OneGuide to sort channels and programmes instead of your box and platform’s own EPG, a one-stop shop approach that immediately smells of disappointing compromise.

It means you won’t get your service’s full range of features – you won’t be able to set programmes to record, for instance, without entering the device’s own EPG and picking up its remote control.

If you’re rocking a Freeview or Freesat box with YouView or Freetime features, they’ll be gone too. That will be an immediate dealbreaker for some people.

Still though, what you are able to do is browse channels, add favourites and launch programmes very easily.

2ed5DSC 0206 580 90 Xbox OneGuide hits the UK: so should you plug in your cable/satellite box or not?

Kinect voice commands: don’t even bother trying

Kinect frustrations

It works best using the excellent Xbox One gamepad and/or your box’s own remote. Microsoft wants us to believe that you can talk Kinect through the whole process, turn your TV on and off and put the World Cup on without even reaching for a controller. But the first time you attempt this you’ll realise you’re asking for trouble.

Kinect is simply not good enough at understanding speech to be relied upon in this way. If you’ve tried using Kinect voice commands for anything at all you’ll know the frustration.

There’s only so many times you can repeat the same command without flipping out and hitting something. And all that for a task as simple as switching to BBC Two for Springwatch.


Smart watching

The OneGuide is, though, very good at learning your viewing habits, working out what you like to watch and providing you alternative viewing options.

For instance, if you tune into a half-elapsed episode of Star Trek: TNG it’ll tell you that you could instead catch the whole episode on your Netflix account, which it knows you have, so you don’t have to miss the start.

You’ll discover a lot of helpful features like this the more you use OneGuide, but are they enough to persuade you to put up with the various drawbacks?

Hardcore gamers only

The problem is that the OneGuide is very much set up for an Xbox-centric household. If a family member isn’t a gamer, they’re simply not going to like having to use the console to catch up with Storage Wars on Dave ja vu. And again, that will inevitably lead to these features going unused.

It’s for that reason that I can’t see the OneGuide being adopted on any grand scale in the UK. Whichever way you slice it, it’s an extra layer of complexity for what should be a very simple activity.

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Companion apps like Brazil Now could be a silver bullet in the future

A glimmer of hope

That said, don’t write the OneGuide off just yet. Microsoft is still tinkering and building improvements and there’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon that could make OneGuide worth sticking with. That comes in the form of apps.

Created for the FIFA World Cup, for example. Brazil Now is an app that makes use of the Xbox One’s Snap feature.

Call up the app while a live match is on and you can see the game unfolding via scores, highlight notifications and relevant tweets in the side bar while you either watch the match live, watch something else or play a game.

You can switch to the match instantly if the app tells you something’s just happened – that’s pretty damn cool if you ask me. You can also access further supplementary content such as group standings and the match line up.

The app is even worthwhile when there’s no match playing thanks to its regularly updated and nice-looking news feed, full tournament info, and the facility to find out more about and follow your favourite team.

“Even if you haven’t got the app actually open, it can pop up goal updates over whatever else you’re watching or playing on your Xbox One, ” says TV expert John Archer. “Brazil Now really is a worthwhile enhancement to the World Cup action, complementing it rather than distracting from it. So if Microsoft can develop similar partner apps for other types of content in the months to come, the hassle of porting your TV through your Xbox might just start to feel more worthwhile.”

Until then, OneGuide will be a novelty to tinker and play with rather than a bulletproof feature you can rely on.


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Xbox OneGuide hits the UK: so should you plug in your Sky HD box or not?