MVPS HOSTS File Update February 28-2015

The MVPS HOSTS file was recently updated [February 28-2015]

Download: (135 kb)

How To: Download and Extract the HOSTS file

HOSTS File – Frequently Asked Questions

Note: the “text” version (511 kb) makes a great resource for determining possible unwanted connections …

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Surface Pro, Pro 2 volume button stops working after installing Wacom 721-21 Driver


Microsoft customers with Surface Pro (original) and Surface Pro 2 have reported that the hardware button that controls the volume level on their tablet stops working after installing the latest Wacom Feel-It driver.

If you have a Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2 (not the Pro 3) and your volume button no longer works, and you’ve recently installed the 721.21 Wacom driver, this could be the cause of the problem. If you’ve upgraded over an older version of the Wacom driver, you can roll back the driver in device manager, reboot, and this should resolve the problem. If you didn’t install a previous Wacom driver, head over to and install the 720-10 driver.



Select Tablet PC and download the 7.2.0-10 driver, restart, and you should be good to go.

wacom legacy

Removal instructions for BrowseFox

What is BrowseFox?

The Malwarebytes research team has determined that BrowseFox is a browser hijacker. These so-called “hijackers” manipulate your browser(s), for example to change your startpage or searchscopes, so that the affected browser visits their site or one of their choice. This one also displays advertisements.

Facebook – Bug Bounty Hunters paid $1.3 Million in 2014

Paying security researchers to privately identify areas of vulnerability helps strengthen security overtime and this is a good investment process for Facebook given its huge user base

There’s no doubt that Facebook has a problem with malware, spam and cybercrime on its pages. However, it has gone to great lengths to combat these issues with its bug bounty program, which pays individual security researchers and experts who uncover problems with the site. And according to a recent report on the program from Facebook, it’s only getting bigger and better. Facebook has paid out $3 million to researchers around the world since the site started its bug bounty program in 2011. However, $1.3 million of that came in 2014 alone. That total was paid to 321 researchers in 123 countries for an average prize of $1,788. Overall, submissions increased by 16 percent from 2013 to 2014. India reported the most issues, followed by Egypt and the United States.  “Report volume is at its highest levels, and researchers are finding better bugs than ever before,” Facebook wrote in its post announcing the 2014 results. “We’ve already received more than 100 valid reports since the start of the new year.”

Weekend reading

EMAIL – Cloudmark highlights dangerous attachment extentions

This PC magazine article shares dangerous file extension in addition to EXE that users should avoid

Most of us now know that if you see a file with the .exe extension as an email attachment, then that file is up to no good and you shouldn’t click on it. But .exe files aren’t the only ones to watch out for. Cloudmark points out other file extensions the bad guys can use.

“We see spammers trying various other executable file names in an attempt to trick unsuspecting users into installing malware,” Cloudmark said in the latest Tasty Spam report. The .exe can be compressed into a .zip or .rar archive to bypass some antispam and antivirus programs. Cloudmark researchers have also seen the .arj archive, an obsolete format, recently. The .zip file may contain a .scr file, which stands for Windows screen saver. It is considered a special type of Windows executable.

Spammers are also using files with the .com extension. It’s unusual to see .com files in use nowadays because the executable is limited in size to 64k. However, it is just big enough to load malware. For many victims, the .com file extension may look like the .com in a URL. “A user tricked into double clicking on a file called may actually be installing a Trojan rather than following a link,” Cloudmark said.

EMAIL – Fraudulent 419 scams include Ebola theme

This PC magazine article warns on 419 scams now include Ebola information to make more realistic. The vast majority of users avoid these scams, but there are enough victims to be profitable, even when odds are less than 1 out of 1,000

Many users are familiar with the 419 scam, named for the section of Nigeria’s criminal code covering this particular form of fraud. The 419 scam comes in two flavors and is popular among spammers. Advanced fee scams promise gold bullion, lottery winnings, or unclaimed inheritances—provided someone pays a small fee to release those funds. The benefactor—actually the victim who received the spam—will never see the promised items. The above letter represents the second type, where the scammer is in a dire situation and needs help. In this case, the scammer says he or she wishes to escape Liberia because of the Ebola epidemic.

Removal instructions for CinemaDigitalPro1.4V10

What is CinemaDigitalPro1.4V10?

The Malwarebytes research team has determined that CinemaDigitalPro1.4V10 is a browser hijacker. These so-called “hijackers” manipulate your browser(s), for example to change your startpage or searchscopes, so that the affected browser visits their site or one of their choice. This one also displays advertisements.

New TeslaCrypt Ransomware sets its scope on video gamers

A new ransomware called TeslaCrypt was discovered by Fabian Wosar of Emsisoft that encrypts your files using AES encryption and then demands a ransom payment in order to decrypt your files. What makes TeslaCrypt different than other ransomware is its attempt to cash in on the $81 billion game market by placing a strong emphasis on encrypting video game related files. Unlike other ransomware that typically target images, documents, videos, and applications databases, TeslaCrypt also targets over 40 different video game related files. The game files being targeted belong to games such as RPG Maker, Call of Duty, Dragon Age, StarCraft, MineCraft, World of Warcraft, World of Tanks, and Steam.

WinPatrol 33.1.2015.0 Now Available

Version 33.1.2015.0 is now available.

  • Improved History processing now includes history of any items restored. For example, when a file is removed from the Startup tab it displays “START_Remove”. If the file is restored, an entry is added “START_Restored” to give confirmation and so you can track what has been done.
  • Fixed bug in History Restore functionality that cause restore to fail on many occasions.
  • Improved automatic clean-up and removal of files no longer on your computer from the WinPatrol database.
  • Updated alert processing to help eliminate repeat alerts.
  • Added code so that users of BitDefender 2015 should be able to use AutoPilot without receiving repeated alerts.
  • Fixed upgrade bug that results in two versions of WinPatrol running for some customers.
  • Added “First Detected” column to the Delayed Start Tab.
  • Added “Status” column to the Startup Programs Tab. Currently we do not recognize when 64-bit programs are running, we will have a full 64-bit version of WinPatrol available later this year.
  • Program description now displays in WinPatrol Explorer footer when highlighting a program.
  • Fixed sorting on date columns.
  • Fixed a bug Registry Monitoring that resulted in some keys not being monitored as they should have been.
  • Added note to Cookies tab that recommends closing any open browsers prior to editing cookies. We also added improved processing to handle if a browser is open so that you do not lose your changes. But we still recommend closing a browser before editing it’s associated cookies because the major browsers all keep a cache of their cookies and will automatically restore anything they have not themselves removed.

Removal instructions for Shopperz

What is Shopperz?

The Malwarebytes research team has determined that Shopperz is a browser hijacker. These so-called “hijackers” manipulate your browser(s), for example to change your startpage or searchscopes, so that the affected browser visits their site or one of their choice. This one also displays advertisements.

Windows 10 start menus.. updated


When I saw reference to Stardock Start10, I quickly found my way to the Stardock home page here, only to find that one has to be a subscriber to Stardock’s ‘Object Desktop’ which only costs $49.99.

What a deal that is, in my case a complete and utter deal breaker. So no, I won’t be trying it out anytime soon, maybe even never as there is just enough of a classic Windows 10 start menu to make it palatable.

I can’t say that I am impressed by Stardock’s decision to make it available only to Object Desktop subscribers. I was more than willing to use Start10 and pay a bit for it because I was so grateful for what Stardock did for Windows 8, but I am not $50 grateful. Sorry boys and girls at Stardock..  Sad smile

Classic Shell..

Hmmm. It worked on the initial versions of the Windows 10 preview but doesn’t on 9879 and 9926 builds. It appears that Microsoft hard blocked the installation, but I have heard that renaming the ‘installer’ gets around the problem to some degree.

There is a beta 4.2.0 version here which takes you straight to the download..

.. and it does seem to work ok..

I have to admit that I do prefer using the Windows 7 style menu. It suits what I do better because my PC is used to store all types of data which is used to fix other PCs, and I get much quicker access to all of it that can be had through the Windows 8 default or slightly improved Windows 10 offering.


The update..

I will say this. I think that the new Windows 10 menu is probably better suited to small screens than a Windows 7 style menu is. I may not leave Classic Shell on the Toshiba Netbook for this reason..

Internet Security – Browser Tracking Techniques

This informative article from Internet Storm Center shares browser tracking techniques

There are a number of different use cases to track users as they use a particular web site. Some of them are more “sinister” then others. For most web applications, some form of session tracking is required to maintain the user’s state. This is typically easily done using well configured cookies (and not the scope of this article). Session are meant to be ephemeral and will not persist for long.  Over the years, browsers and plugins have provided a number of ways to restrict this tracking. Here are some of the more common techniques how tracking is done and how the user can prevent (some of) it:

1 – Cookies
2 – Flash Cookies (Local Shared Objects)
3 – IP Address
4 – User Agent
5 – Browser Fingerprinting
6 – Local Storage
7 – Cached Content
8 – Canvas Fingerprinting
9 – Carrier Injected Headers
10 – Redirects
11 – Cookie Respawning / Syncing

Antivirus – AV-Test product of year awards for 2014

Several AV companies won product of year awards from independent testing firm AV-Test recently

The Best of 2014 –  The award for best protection goes to Trend Micro. Not only did Trend consistently take high marks for protection, it also did well in the other two categories. For least impact on performance, Kaspersky took the prize. It demonstrated “no negative impact on the speed of the computer” and again scored well in the other two tests.

Avira earned Best of 2014 for usability, because it “always achieved outstanding results in all the test units.” Of course, low false positives aren’t meaningful unless coupled with good detection of actual malware. Avira accomplished that in AV-Test’s evaluation, though it didn’t do so well in our own testing.

Other Awards –  AV-Test rates both consumer and corporate security products. The full report also includes a corporate winner in each category.  Of course, malware isn’t just a Windows problem. Android, in particular, is becoming a very popular target. In the Android realm, two vendors shared top honors, Qihoo and Cheetah Mobile. The report also honored Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool as the best utility to make repairs after a malware attack

Leadership – Turning losses into victories

Another excellent monthly article related to management and leadership skills

It’s hard to learn when we’re feeling down, because then we have to do things that aren’t natural. It’s hard to smile when we are not happy. It is difficult to respond with a good attitude when we’re numb with defeat. How will we face others when we are humiliated? How do we get back up when we are continually knocked down?

If you really want to become a learner, you need to change the way you look at your losses or mistakes and develop some important qualities that will help you respond to them. I hope this book will be of value to you, teaching you how to learn from your losses. Most of us need someone to help us figure out how to do that.

Malware – Hard Drive Firmware risk discovered

Researchers have discovered a new low-level machine language attack that can be hidden in the firmware that controls disk operations.

Someone out there figured out how to hide persistent, invisible espionage malware inside the firmware of your hard drives. Now it’s been discovered that they’ve been using it to spy on targets for nearly 20 years. This particular piece of malware is delivered via modified hard drive firmware, and Kaspersky says that it’s compatible with nearly all major hard drive brands: Seagate, Western Digital, Samsung, you name it. Once it’s there, it’s nearly impossible to get rid of or even detect. Since it’s not taking up space on the hard drive’s platters, it can easily re-infect a system even after a drive has been fully formatted.

Hardware issues..

My Microsoft Wireless Mouse 5000 has finally been pensioned off.

Yesterday, the scroll function, very important when using a 19” widescreen when surfing, totally gave up the ghost. The rechargeable batteries are getting a recharge and the mouse is sitting very disconsolately on the edge of the desk.

The mouse was the star of this Microsoft desktop set. It was a nice shape, good feel, very smooth, very responsive, but Microsoft does NOT supply the mouse as a separate item anymore.

So I am back to using the slightly quirky Logitech M600 touch mouse for the time being. Will I get another Microsoft mouse? Probably not because the scroll wheels don’t seem to have any lasting qualities..

The Goldcrest WPEA-113N wireless PCIe card as originally fitted in my HP Elite M9500Y will be getting a proper antenna quite soon, and hopefully will perform well enough to go back into the HP. Currently, it is running on a TP-Link WN881ND, but the WPEA-113N is a special version which has no external antenna connections, and is enabled via BIOS. When enabled, it  shows as working on the HP’s front panel. It’s no big deal really except that I want to put the TP-Link card back into my production machine and don’t want trailing antenna wires floating around in it.


Microphone detection in Arduino / Galileo (IoT) using VC++

After setting up Intel Galileo in our last post, let’s get going with the first sensor – Microphone. I had to refresh some of the basics that I had learnt during my bachelor studies – yes I did my undergraduate engineering studies in Automation and I’ve played with different microprocessors, controllers and sensors. So this post is going to be about voice detection using Microphone detector and pulsating LED when voice crosses few decibels.

Basics first, the wiring


You need a Galileo board and an Arduino compatible shield that can help you wire your sensors in a clean way. So with the shield, your board will look like

Now you need 2 different Grove sensors for this. Ideally, you can use sensors of any brand with any IoT device. All you need to remember is that all sensors will have minimum 2 pins

  • Voltage – Often abbreviated as V or VCC
  • Ground – Often abbreviated as GND
  • Data Pins – Often abbreviated as Dx (where x is a number)
  • Not connected Pins – Often abbreviated as NC

A point to remember is that you always have to connect V/VCC with another V/VCC and GND with another GND on any board. If you connect otherwise, your circuit will not be complete (and current will not flow).

When you are using an “Analog” sensor that will provide you some data, you will have a pin that says OUT. This OUT pin will have a voltage signal that will represent the signal captured by your sensor. This may not make perfect sense at first go. So let us go a bit deeper. There are 2 types of sensors – Analog ones that provide signals back in Voltage form and Digital ones that provide signals in bit/byte form. A weighing scale uses a sensor that can be analog or digital.

Any signal measured in analog format will require some calibration i.e. a conversion mechanism to digital or the other way.

Microphone Sensor and LED kit


A microphone sensor has 4 pins – VCC, GND, NC and OUT. You will get the voltage as sensor signal in the OUT pin

A LED sensor kit has 4 pins as well – VCC, GND, NC, SIG. You can set 5V on the SIG pin to light up the LED and can set 0V to SIG pin to light it off

So essentially what we are planning to do is to get the OUT signal of microphone into the SIG pin of LED kit. Ideally, you do not need a powerful processor like Galileo for such a trivial work. You can do this with few electronics fundamentals. But considering that you want to build something more sophisticated and this is the first step, we can go through the rest of the tutorial.

Setting up the sensor and the kit


I’ve setup Microphone sensor on A0 (as INPUT) and LED sensor kit on D3 (as OUTPUT) of the shield. You can use any other ports of your choice. Next is opening up VS 2013 and creating a new project of type Visual C++ > Windows for IoT

And in the main.cpp, you can paste the below code

#include "stdafx.h"
#include "arduino.h"

#define LED D3

void pins_init()
	pinMode(LED, OUTPUT);
void turnOnLED()
	digitalWrite(LED, HIGH);
void turnOffLED()
	digitalWrite(LED, LOW);

int _tmain(int argc, _TCHAR* argv[])
	return RunArduinoSketch();

void setup()

void loop()
	int sensorValue = analogRead(MICROPHONE);

	if (sensorValue > THRESHOLD_VALUE)
		Log("OK, got something worth listeningn");


Understanding the Code



The above statement is a digital value for the sound threshold. A microphone captures analog signal (0-5V) which is provided to your Galileo in form of a digital signal (0-1024). This means 0v = 0 in digital and 5v = 1024 in digital. To eliminate the environmental sounds, I prefer a threshold to be at least 33% i.e. 2v. So a digital value of 450, converts to 2.19v (= 450* 5 / 1024). At my place, I found that environmental sounds where contributing to a value of 291 (i.e. 1.42v)

The next important bits are the port definitions,

pinMode(LED, OUTPUT);

Here, we have directed that we will take input from A0 and output the data to D3. Now let’s understand the core of our program – the loop function

We are reading the analog value of microphone sensor using below code which converts the analog value into digital number

int sensorValue = analogRead(MICROPHONE);

When this value goes beyond the defined threshold, you want to send a 5v to LED (by sending a HIGH bit) using code

digitalWrite(LED, HIGH);

When you play some loud music you will see that the LED light will lighten-up for 2 seconds (delay=2000ms) and will turn off.

When you run/execute this project from Visual Studio using Remote Debugger, VS will deploy this code to your Galileo device. You will be prompted for your Galileo user name and password.

You can say something aloud or play some video on YouTube to test this functionality.

This code is also available on GitHub at:



¿Eres capaz de imaginar una batería de aplicaciones capaces de medir los cambios cognitivos de los tripulantes asociados a la navegación oceánica en condiciones extremas?
Queremos explicaros de primera mano el making-of en el desarrollo de una solución compuesta con Visual Studio y que dará soporte a un posterior trabajo de investigación sobre la cronobiología y que acompañará a los dos tripulantes del One Planet One Ocean en su vuelta al mundo durante tres meses.

Sabado 28 : De 11:45 a 13:00 (01h 15min) en Sala NA4

Universidad de Alcalá.
Campus Universitario.
Ctra. Madrid-Barcelona, Km. 33,600.
Alcalá de Henares (Madrid)

Gadgeteer Open Lab

¿Te gustaría desarrollar un “Tunes” “Clicker” “Stop Watch” “Traffic Lights” “ Binary Counter” “Burglar Alarm” “Morse Code” o “Reaction Game”? ¿o quizás prefieres un salva obstáculos o un segway? ¿O incluso algo más atrevido? … ¡Entonces sólo depende de ti!
Todo lo que necesitas es traer tu portátil con Visual Studio Express o superior, MicroFramework y Gadgeteer instalado, y algo de paciencia :-)
Traeremos todos los gadgets que necesitas para ayudarte durante unas horas a conseguir armar por ti mismo el invento que tengas en mente. Sólo tienes que saber programar un poquito en C# o VB, y seguro que entre todos conseguiremos trastear con divertidos e increíbles cacharros construidos por nosotros mismos.

Universidad de Alcalá.
Campus Universitario.
Ctra. Madrid-Barcelona, Km. 33,600.
Alcalá de Henares (Madrid)

De 12:00 a 14:00 (02h 00min) en Sala NA7

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