Archive for September, 2010

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Amarok 2.3.2 “Moonshine” released, many improvements

Amarok 2.3.2 “Moonshine” is slowly but surely becoming a great media player.  The latest release is a big leap forward in that.

From amarok.kde.org:

The Amarok Team is happy to announce the release of Amarok 2.3.2.

This release brings with it much requested bugfixes for some long-standing bugs. Specifically, Dynamic Collection has received fixes and should now work better with external hard drives and USB mass storage devices (Collection directories on these media will need to be rescanned for the changes to take effect). The Collection Browser now refreshes properly after a full rescan, fixing a bug where it would show incorrectly cached entries until Amarok was restarted.

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How gamers are seen by the real world…

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

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How to replace the crappy pre-installed software on a new Windows 7 PC

So you picked up a new Windows 7 laptop (or desktop) or you’re planning on buying one in the very near future?

If you took a look at display models in stores like Best Buy or Frye’s, you no doubt noticed that new systems come with a lot of programs pre-installed. Lots of software is a good thing, right? Not always.

Trouble is, what you get is often a) not really useful software or b) a time-limited trial. Office 2007 and the antivirus protection the salesperson told you about? They’re 60 day trials. After that, they’re going to ask you to pay up…But you don’t have to.

No, you can tell those apps to keep their hands off your credit card! With all the great, free software Download Squad has covered over the years, there’s really no need to burden your new system with that kind of software timebomb.
With just two simple apps you can quickly strip away all the bloatware (that’s what us techy types call the excess crud preinstalled on your new system) and get yourself a nice selection of totally free software that will never expire!

Step 1: Remove the preinstalled crap!
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Windows 7 Trick: Get a power efficiency report

Have a laptop and want to get more battery life out of it? Windows 7 includes a hidden built-in tool that will examine your laptop’s energy use and make recommendations on how to improve it.

To use it:

1. Run a command prompt as an administrator. To do this, type cmd in the search box, and when the cmd icon appears, right-click it and choose “Run as administrator.”

2. At the command line, type in the following:

powercfg -energy -output \Folder\Energy_Report.html

where \Folder represents the folder where you want the report to be placed.

3. For about a minute, Windows 7 will examine the behavior of your laptop. It will then analyze it and create a report in HTML format in the folder you specified. Double-click the file, and you’ll get a report — follow its recommendations for ways to improve power performance.

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Dump hashes from SAM files remotely with NMAP and pwdump

While on a penetration test it is sometimes necessary to pull hash files from windows systems to crack weak passwords.  You could easily do this with a Metasploit meterpreter session, but sometimes I like to do it without exploiting the box.  Also doing it remotely over the network without a user’s knowledge is always a big plus.  This method isn’t always usable and available, but in the right situation we can use an NMAP script called pw-dump.nse to do this.  The downside is that it requires an account on the box, and right now it needs to be a Windows Server 2000 or Server 2003 OS to be able to pull the local accounts.

First, we obviously need NMAP installed.  For this tutorial I’ll be using Backtrack4-R1, which currently has NMAP 5.35DC1 installed.  If you look in the directory /usr/share/nmap/scripts you’ll see all sorts of scripts that do some really helpful things on a test.

What we’re going to use is the one called smb-pwdump.nse.  If you don’t have that script you’ll need to download it and put it into the scripts directory.  The only place I could find the script was in a slightly older version of NMAP, version 5.00.

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Xmarks service ends January 2011

Sadly it looks like Xmarks is pulling the plug on their bookmarks and password sync software.  I’ve really enjoyed their service over the past few years, and I’m sure it will be difficult to find something to replace it.  Here was the email that they sent out:

Dear Xmarks User,

We’ve always said we won’t email you unless it’s important; this is one of those occasions:

Xmarks will be shutting down our free browser synchronization services on January 10, 2011. For details on how to transition to recommended alternatives, consult this page.

For the full story behind the Xmarks shutdown, please read our blog post.

Thank you for being a part of the Xmarks community; we apologize for any inconvenience this step may cause you. We believe we have the best users in the world, and we hope your bookmarks find a new and happy home soon.

Asynchronously,

— The Xmarks Team

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Reasons why people who work with computers seem to have a lot of spare time…

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Nessus plug-in now available in Metasploit

Dark Operator announced a plug-in for Nessus that’s available in the dev branch of metasploit.  This is something I’ve personally been waiting for for quite a while.

From: http://www.darkoperator.com/blog/2010/9/27/new-nessus-plug-in-for-metasploit.html

Zate Berg has contributed this week the a plug-in for controlling Nessus from inside msfconsole. I do have to say he has put a lot of work in a very small amount of time learning Ruby and coding this plugin in only a few weeks. The plug-in is now part of the Development Brach of the project and several patches have been summited by him and progress has been quick.

First thing is to get the new plugin is to “svn up” to the latest development version of the project and do make sure that your Nessus server is up and running. One note do you must have already created Policies in you server and have them available to the account you will use to login to the Nessus Server.

Lets load the plugin and get and output of the commands available:

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How To Move Installed Apps From One Drive To Another In Windows 7

There are times when your primary drive (read it as Windows and programs drive) starts running out of free space. Even though you can free up some space by cleaning all junk files and uninstalling unnecessary programs, moving installed programs from the primary drive to another drive is a good solution.

If your Windows drive is running out of free space, you can move all installed programs to some other drives to free up some space. As Windows doesn’t allow you move installed apps easily, we are going to use a small tool to move apps from one drive to another.

1. Download Steam Mover zip pack and extract the contents to a folder or desktop.

2. Run the Steam Mover utility with admin rights (right-click on the tool and select Run as administrator if you have UAC enabled).

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How To: Enable/Disable Startup Sound In Windows 7

Startup sound is really great to hear for the first few days but it’s really annoying to hear the same sound again and again. If you don’t like to change the startup sound then you can easily get rid of it by simply disabling the startup sound in the Control Panel.

To remove the start sound, follow the below instructions:

1. Type mmsys.cpl in Start menu search box and hit enter.  (Or, go to the control panel, click hardware and sound, then click Sound)

2. Switch to Sounds tab and uncheck the box named “Play Windows startup sound” to disable the sound and check the same to enable.

3. Click Apply to remove the sound.

You can also disable all the system sound schemes by selecting No Sounds from the “Sound Scheme” drop down box.

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Clipboard Manager for Windows 7

This gadget provides quick access to the clipboard history. You can retrieve images or text you copied previously from the history or create your favorite clips to use in the future. Simply right-click on the entry in the history and select your action.

Need to find a specific piece of information that you copied like an hour ago? Just filter the history for a keyword to find it.

You can manage the entire history and your favorite clips from the Clipboard Manager, by clicking on more. Here, you can also add tools and change the settings. Unfortunately, the manager window is very large, so on my netbook I had to use the [TAB] key to jump to the (for me) invisible OK button and save my changes.

You can get Clipboard Manager from here…

http://gallery.live.com/liveItemDetail.aspx?li=0f6a9526-97aa-4b6f-9b24-95b193c158d4

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How to install the Metasploit Framework 3.4.1 on Ubuntu 10.04

First, download the framework from http://www.metasploit.com/framework/download/.  I chose framework-3.4.1-linux-i686.run for a 32 bit install of Ubuntu 10.04.

From a command shell, cd to the location of the downloaded file and run the following command.

sudo sh ./framework-3.4.1-linux-i686.run

It will ask you where to install metasploit, the default being in /opt/metasploit3.  Just accept the default unless you want it somewhere else.

It will then ask you if you want to automatically update, which I highly recommend answering yes to this.

Then you can choose to update it now.

After it’s installed you can manually update it by running

sudo msfupdate

To start metasploit

sudo msfconsole

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Combine two video files into one with mencoder

I don’t really understand why folks are still breaking video files into separate parts, as if people still are still burning SVCDs.  It gets extremely annoying to have to switch to another file half way through the video.  I needed to find an easy way to combine them seamlessly into a single video file.  That’s where mencoder fixes this little problem.

Installing Mencoder on windows

You can get it as a part of the MPlayer package.
http://sourceforge.net/projects/mplayer-win32/files/

Installing Mencoder on Ubuntu

sudo apt-get install mencoder

Command Line Usage

mencoder -forceidx -oac copy -ovc copy -o “Combined Video File.avi” “video part 1.avi” “video part 2.avi”

Combined Video File.avi is obviously the target combined file that you’re going to create, followed by each of the parts.

Alternatively, there is a GUI option of mencoder in the works that appears promising.

http://sourceforge.net/projects/mewig/