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How to Defend Against Hackers—now!

Cyberspace appears to represent a playing field for so-called hackers whose sole intent is to infect or negatively affect your computer system and cause a myriad of problems. It is rare to find an Internet user who has not at one time or another fallen prey to their malicious attacks or damaging softwarein the form of Trojans, worms and viruses. But there are techniques and mechanisms designed to prevent these hackers from carrying out their evil schemes against you. In fact, you have the power to foil their harmful, illegal plots and avoid becoming their next, unsuspecting victim.

Know your OS

Every operating system (from Windows to Linux to Apple) has built-in security features that most users do not always take advantage of. From making personal folders private when in a workgroup to enabling strong passwords or disabling unnecessary services, users often simply lack the understanding or know-how for implementing such procedures.

Familiarizing yourself with your own computer and its operating system is fundamental but crucial on the road to protection against potential attackers. This does not imply having to become some brainy security guru; it does not require forcing yourself to delve into the technical intricacies of the registry hives. Using common sense is more like it. Start with the basics. Go through the virtual system tours or formal guides included by the OS. Search for keywords such as protection and security under the Help section. There are a myriad of OS support sites online that can also enhance your understanding of how your computer and operating system work. It would not hurt either taking a computer class at a local community college. Your aim should be to grasp as much about its inner workings as possible.

Secure your system

Once you have a foundation and understanding of the OS, it is time to fully utilize all existing technologies that will keep your system secure. Start by performing a good backup of all important data. Then, enable your firewall immediately if you havent done so and configure it to optimal (medium to high) security levels. Install anti-virus software and dont forget to apply the latest definition files daily. Download (often, it is free!) anti-spyware that provides real-time monitoring capabilities. Most OSes have some type of automatic system update feature that you will also want to configure. Critical system updates can help to block security holes in the OS originally unforeseen by system developers and programmers. Using these technologies provides wide-ranging system protection and does not have to consist of a long, drawn-out process.

Employ Online defensive techniques & develop safe surfing habits

Risks and threats abound as you surf online, access websites or merely read your email. For increased protection, you will want to go on the defensive rather than waiting by idly before being victimized. When you defend your ground, when you become less vulnerable, chances are hackers will experience greater difficulties preying on you and may choose to pass you over altogether.
To this extent, there are several useful defensive techniques. An important one is trust. Many trusting people open email from unknown sources only to discover the true malicious motives of those sending them. Others innocently follow the destructive orders dictated by hoaxes because they seem to trust the authority of the source. You, on the other hand, now know better. Be cautious when dealing with email from unknown sourcesespecially, when opening attachments or clicking on links from within an email. Carefully read license agreements and privacy statements and never agree to pop-up windows unless you absolutely understand the implications thereof. Dont let paranoia suffocate you. Simply, limit your trust.

Another way to minimize exposure to attacks is by developing good online surfing habits. If you use an administrator account to surf the web, change to a typical or limited user account. Limited user accounts cannot install applications so it makes virus execution less likely. If you enjoy those free-for-download, wonderfully captivating screen savers and backgrounds, consider using the ones already included with the OS. Malicious software is sometimes embedded with such freebies. If you shop online, ensure that you type the exact name of the website correctly. Hackers masquerade using variations of legitimate sites. And, when doing business using credit cards and other personal facts, the information on the Address Bar should start with https (the s makes the transaction more secure). You may be less prone to attacks when you stick with a more practical online routine.

Keep abreast of current happenings

Knowing what the newest method of cyber attacks not only makes for a good conversation piece but it can help you to better prepare for potential trouble. Some news reports about viruses and malware quite often provide preventative measures. At minimum, you may, for example, learn what actions to take or not take to avoid getting your browser hijacked.

You can stay informed about current hacking happenings through a myriad of channels and resources. Some websites are explicitly dedicated to giving details on the latest malicious softwarefrom worms to rootkits to spyware and spam. There are many blogs and discussion forums that cover the subject exceptionally well. The search engines even have tech-related sections where up-to-the-minute information about hackers and their on-going wicked games and ploys can be easily found. Educating yourself and learning about computer-related security issues and problems will doubly benefit you in combating hackers.

Learn what to dojust in case

Obviously, awareness doesnt necessarily guarantee safety. Nor does being proactive exempt you from becoming a target. Sometimes, the most secure computer networks tend to experience a high number of attacks and are likely to get hacked. But, if your system gets infested with malware or viruses, here are some things you can do.

First, pinpoint exactly what the problem is. There can be several signs to look for during your initial investigation. If your computer suddenly seems unusually slow, you may have a worm; if applications are not starting up properly or your system restarts abruptly for no reason, you may have a virus. Strange hard disk activity that you hear may indicate a Trojan, port scanner or dialer program executing in the background. Perhaps you are simply getting pop-ups revealing the symptoms of a damaged or corrupted file. Do realize, too, that not all attacks are easily detectable and thats why multiple monitoring tools (such as AV and anti-spyware) should be used regularly to determine whether or not your system is, in fact, infected.

Once the problem is discovered or identified, your next step consists of the purging process. There are many tools and utilities designed for the removal of malicious software. Some can be downloaded for free and are relatively easy to use. Others may be run directly from a website. (Do a search for HijackThis, Adaware and Housecall, just to mention several). Many problems can be resolved by using these quick-fix tools.

You can also attempt to repair your computer by exploring or implementing various integrated system mechanisms. For instance, on Windows XP, you can disable some questionable startup programs by typing msconfig on the Run command. In the Startup tab, simply, uncheck the culprit component. To repair a damaged computer, you may use System Restorealthough its effects against worms and viruses are limited. Using Windows Task Manager to end memory and CPU-intensive processes is limited, too, but can occasionally help. So is running Disk Cleanup, since you may rid yourself of possibly damaging ActiveX controls.

If the problem(s) persists, it is recommended that you further research your particular issue online. As mentioned earlier, there are hundreds of security-related websites where you can post computer questions and problems. Someone there who has experienced similar problems may provide a solution. Additionally, most anti-virus vendors offer tricks and tips on cleaning an infested system within their help and support sections. Even if after taking all these steps, you still end up having to reinstall the OS (because all efforts have proven futile) your knowledge base would have increased substantially and youd be better equipped for battling any similar cyber attacks in the future.

Its up to you.

Just like the typical street criminal, hackers prefer to prey on the vulnerable, inexperienced and predictable user who leaves himself open for attacks. They use malicious software to make a victims system unstable or render it useless. But you dont have to be yet another mark on their scoreboard. By arming yourself with the right kind of information and by taking the best corrective measures, you can establish a strong defense against any potential hacker. Start doing so today!





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Data Loss and data recovery- file recovery tool to HDD repair tools- how to prevent data loss

File recovery and HDD repair tools the most flourishing filed in the modern IT business world because data loss happens every day. Data loss is inescapable and can be reported everywhere whether due to human error, software corruption, hard drive failure or other data loss causes. Data loss has serious implications for business. Data loss can lead to costly downtime for sales and marketing and reduced customer service while customer databases are restored or rebuilt. Lost financial data can lead to lost contracts and stock value, or worse. File recovery and HDD repair tools is common because 6% of all PCs will suffer an episode of data loss in any given year, 31% of PC users suffer data loss of all their files due to events beyond their control. From the statistical analysis of DataLossDB(see picture ), It is accepted that data lose prosper the whole data recovery and file recovery industry.

Why data loss is so common in the modern life? And how does data lose? First it should mention the growth of data storage is that the cost per megabyte has plummeted over the past twenty years, hard drive capacity was increased 200-fold in ten year (see picture).Companies are relying more and more on data in a distributed environment and "paper files" is less used than a computer. Most important files are store on a small disk, if the hard driver is corrupt; you have to resort to file recovery.

Data loss can due to any reasons, but file Recovery engineers classify hard drive data loss in two main categories:

Logical failure - the hard drive is in working order but some files or data cannot be accessed for logical reasons such as a lost partition or accidental reformatting, the logical file recovery software can solve those problems.

Physical failure - the hard drive is not functioning. The most common causes are head crashes and motor failures so both file recovery and data recovery are needed.

To start a file recovery business, firstly should understand the reasons cause data loss. There are two types of Data Loss in data recovery.

Logical Data Loss: Hard drive that is physically functioning, recognized by the system BIOS, and where critical data is not accessible, this is likely to be experiencing a logical failure. Logical Data Loss is the most common damage in file recovery. Logical data Loss is caused due to:

Human error, including accidental deletion of files;

Virus attack;

Software malfunction;

Power surge.

Physical data Loss is a hard drive cannot accessible by software such as the system BIOS, Windows' Disk Management, or other disk utilities it can be considered as truly dead and in need of data recovery, Physical data Loss happens due to various reasons such as:

Hardware failure (electrical, mechanical component), including damage by power surge and drive failure.

Natural disasters like floods, fire, lightning.

Accidental dropping of disk to the floor also may cause hard disk getting damaged physically.

Statistical investigate from file recovery companies can give us a clear understand of data loss reasons.

Statistical investigate from file recovery and data recovery services companies show that data Loss could be concluded as following reasons: Hard drive failure is the most common cause of data loss, accounting for 38 percent of data loss. Drive read instability includes occasions where media corruption or degradation is about 30%. Software corruption, which might include damages, caused by system software or other program (e.g., virus attack), accounts for 13 percent of data loss incidents. Human error accounts for 12 percent of data loss episodes. This includes the accidental deletion of data as well as incorrectly partitioning the hard drive.

In file recovery filed, there are some distinguishes on broad sense file recovery and general file recovery, as well as file recovery, data loss is also have the broad sense data loss and general data loss, broad sense data lose including stolen laptop, stolen document, web and hack(see picture )

What we usually mentioned is general data loss which can find back the lost data by file recovery and data recovery.

Thus data loss is so common in daily life, which industry is the worst industry that the recoverable data loss? Data from file recovery and data recovery services companies show that customs form the Government, Healthcare and Education are the most valuable client. The Statistical picture from file recovery companies can give us a clear understand of the structure proportion (see picture )

Here need a clear mind on recoverable date loss and unrecoverable data loss. File recovery engineer point out that data loss will result in one of two outcomes: either the data loss are recoverable with the assistance of file recovery technician, or the data are permanently lost cannot find back. Each data loss incident must take into account both possibilities. The ability to recover data depends on the cause of the data loss. The permanent loss or theft of a laptop whose data have no backup will result in permanently lost data. In addition, fire or flood damage can also make the possibility of data recovery very remote. For other causes of data loss, file recovery technicians are becoming more adept at restoring inaccessible data. Taking into account all causes of data loss, evidence suggests that in 83 percent of the cases, data may be recovered.

To start a file recovery process, firstly should understand how data is stored on a hard drive. When information is written to a drive, the location of the information is stored in a file that resembles a table of contents for a book, on computers running DOS and Windows operating systems, the File Allocation Table (FAT) or the Master File Table (MFT) holds this information. When a file is deleted, the FAT or MFT table is updated to tell the computer the space on the hard drive is available, however the actual data is not deleted until it is overwritten with new data. This is why you read about computer forensic teams, the FBI, and other law enforcement being able to recover data to solve crimes or incriminate individuals. Using file recovery tools and HDD repair tools, you can restore files that were accidentally or otherwise deleted. In more severe case, services such as Drive Savers are used to recover data that has been physically or electronically destroyed.

Hard drive failure is the largest single explanation for data loss. Hard drive failure may be related to mechanical, electronic, or firmware failures. Hard disk failure occurs when a hard disk drive malfunctions and the stored information cannot be accessed with a properly configured computer. A disk failure may occur in the course of normal operation or due to an external factor such as exposure to fire or water or high magnetic waves, or suffering a sharp impact, which can lead to a head crash. Mechanical failures occur when physical components of the device itself begin to wear or malfunction. Electronic failures occur when the printed circuit board begins to produce errors. Finally, many hard drive failures are related to out-of-date, corrupt or buggy firmware. Firmware is the controlling software that is built into the hardware device itself stored on disk platters of the drive. Like most software in use today, firmware may become damaged or corrupt over time. This is a very common failure for modern drives because of the complexity of firmware design.

As same as data loss type, there are 2 types of hard drive failure: logical and physical.

Logical Hard Drive Failure

In case of logical failure, data cannot be accessed because data structure on the disk is damaged. It happen as a result of an accidental deletion of important system files, partitions/volumes, accidental hard drive formatting or deletion of hard drive, application conflicts, operating system corruption or virus attack) But the mechanically the hard drive is intact and working properly. Often, the drive still gets recognized by the BIOS, but would not boot. In this case, some problems can be solved by file recovery software, but other problems only resort to quality HDD repair tools or data recovery hardware.

Physical Hard Drive Failure

If the hard driver had a mechanical or electrical hard drive failure, file recovery software won't help. Only data / file recovery experts with HDD repair tools can retrieve back the information and even repair the hard drive. However, for all cases of data loss there are certain actions you should avoid to maximize chances of data file recovery. Physical hard drive failure is unavoidable, sooner or later. As a rule, hard drives either crash at the beginning of their life or may last for years.

Most instances of hard drive failure do not destroy all of the data on the disk and much of the data on failed drives is often recoverable. Both consumer applications and professional file recovery tool and data recovery tools are available to recover lost data. Which alternative to choose depends upon the value of the lost data? The more valuable the data on the failed drive the fewer non-professional recovery attempts should be made. Non-professional file recovery tools and system software often fix errors by overwriting the file system on the drive. Though this may repair the file system, it permanently destroys the data. Disks with highly valuable data should be sent to a professional file recovery service. File recovery firms found that 15% of all non-recoverable data loss situations were created by prior non-professional file recovery attempt.

The most thorough professional file recovery services are able to retrieve data from drives with mechanical, electronic, and firmware failures. Broad sense data recovery includes drive restoration, disk imaging, and data retrieval. First, during the drive restoration phase any existing damage on the hard drive is repaired. This includes mechanical problems such as failed heads, electronic problems such as failed PCBs, and firmware issues. These repairs are made by replacing individual drive components with donor parts and fixing firmware. A second phase is disk imaging where the contents of the drive are retrieved, e.g. retrieving bad sectors or handling other read instability issues, and copied to a healthy drive to reduce the probability of further data loss on the original drive. Finally, the data is retrieved from the new healthy drive. During this phase the drive file system is restored, all files are verified for integrity and repaired. It should be noted that many p rofessional file recovery services focus almost exclusively on data retrieval. However, without adequate attention to drive restoration and disk imaging any data retrieval effort will likely encounter serious challenges and may lead to further drive degradation and data loss.

What are the common Reasons of Hard Disk Drive failures?

1. Electronic Component Failure

2. Motor Failure

3. Read / Write Head Failure

4. Media Damage

5. Firmware Corruption

6. Logical Failure

7. Age and Usage

8. Faulty air filter:

Electronic components may fail due to voltage transients, heat or poor handling. Substitution, repair and re-programming is generally required in order to recover data stored on the hard disk. PCB assemblies are however hyper tuned at the manufacture stage and specialist re-programming and calibration is subsequently required to restore the hard disk to a working condition.

Hard disk motor spindles have fluid bearings; sometimes this fluid leaks or becomes overheated and in-effective. The motor will then seize and the hard disk platters fail to rotate. Platter and component re-location to another hard disk assembly is required to affect a repair and restore data.

Read / write heads are aerodynamically designed to "fly" at nanometer distances above the surface of the platters. Ceramic thin film sensors at their tip detect magnetic information (data) stored on the surface of the platter. Occasionally the atmosphere in the hard disk enclosure will become contaminated or vibration will cause the dynamic of the head to be disturbed. This disturbance will cause the read /write process to malfunction resulting in bad data read write cycles and eventual failure.

This type of failure usually manifests itself as a distinct clicking noise as the head actuator makes failed repeat attempts to locate data at the same platter track location.

Media Damage

Amazingly all computer hard disk magnetic storage media is manufactured imperfect but to acceptable and controllable levels. During normal operations imperfections will sometimes increase above the predefined acceptable level. This can be due to heat, vibration, head crash, shock or other factors. The operating system will flag errors or fail to boot and data files will then become in-accessible. Read/.Write head replacement and file repair will allow data file structures to be examined and assessed as to their validity.

Hard disk firmware holds precise parameters relevant to the configuration of the assembly at the time of manufacture. Occasionally the firmware becomes corrupt or will "roll back" to an incorrect set of parameters. Under these conditions the location of the stored data as reported to the operating system will be lost. Simple restoration of the correct parameters will allow the hard disk to function correctly. What causes this corruption? Operating system to drive software bugs, control bus protocol failure, it is difficult to determine but failures do occur.

Data files are stored at logical locations that relate to a number of physical locations on the surface of the hard disk platters. These logical locations are held in tables by the operating system and indexed when running specific software applications. Operating system errors, reloads or incorrect upgrade applications will sometimes corrupt these tables and data will become in-accessible. This is generally referred to as a logical failure. Logical errors can be repaired with file recovery software available from the internet. Be cautious however if you are intending to run a fix utility on your disk you can inadvertently damage these tables irreparably and your data will be unrecoverable. This is especially true when running Scan Disk and Chick disk on a damaged hard drive.

Age and Usage:

As with all mechanical devices, after a certain amount of normal use, they wear out. The motor and bearings don't last forever. The time for a hard drive to wear out could be much longer than your computer's lifespan or you can accelerate the process by running your computer constantly without spinning down the disk. This happens often in desktops that are left to run overnight as well as in servers which run constantly by design.

Faulty air filter:

The air filters on today's hard drives equalize the atmospheric pressure and moisture between the hard drive enclosure and its outside environment. If the filter fails to capture a dust particle, the particle can land on the platter, causing a head crash if the head happens to sweep over it. After a hard drive crash, each particle from the damaged platter and head media can cause a bad sector.

What to Do When you Experience Hard Drive Failure

http://www.disk-recover-data.in/index.htm

Evidenced, hard drive failure is the most common source of data loss which can lead to negative consequences for any business. Unfortunately, hard drive failure is inevitable. It is not a question of if a firm's hard drives will fail, but when. However, with proper planning and a strategic response hard drive failure does not have to lead to data loss. Below we offer seven recommended strategies for dealing with hard drive failure.

If the failed drive is the system boot disk, immediately unplug the computer and remove the drive. Do not attempt to reboot from this drive. Depending on the nature of the data stored on this drive, one may wish to make an initial attempt at data recovery before sending the drive to a professional data recovery service. However, if the data on the drive is mission critical, we recommend immediately contacting a professional data recovery service.

If the disk does not contain mission-critical information, one may attempt to retrieve the data without the assistance of a professional data recovery service. However, do not execute any system software, such as chkdsk' to repair the file system unless you can afford to lose the data completely. System software is intended to repair a disk's file system, not to recover data. These tools will most likely overwrite lost data.

If the failure is definitely related to the file system (e.g., deleted files, OS failure, or virus attack...), and not physical, electronic, or firmware failure, data retrieval software may be able to recover the disk's data. We recommend first installing the drive into an external USB enclosure for this process to reduce the disk utilization during boot up. Once the drive is recognized by the Operating System, immediately begin the data retrieval. Do not save any files to the target disk or install programs as this would likely overwrite lost data. Though this strategy is often successful, there is a chance the OS will overwrite some lost data while updating or writing system files to the drive thus resulting in data loss. Therefore we do not recommend applying this recovery method on drives containing mission-critical information. If this strategy does not recover your data you should contact a professional data recovery service for assistance.

Never open a drive case. It may only be opened in a clean-room environment. Any other exposure will eventually result in the physical destruction of the disk's magnetic layer and the complete loss of data.

Never attempt to swap PCBs from a healthy drive to a failed drive. Modern hard drives are manufactured with unique configuration parameters based on the tolerances of the individual components at the disk's manufacture. Applying PCB/ROM to a disk for which it was not manufactured may destroy the drive and make it non-repairable. This is true even if the two drives share a common manufacturer, model, and manufacturing date.

Do not attempt to "repair" bad sectors or to read data from bad sectors by using data retrieval software on a failing disk. Doing so will either overwrite the underlying data or result in data loss. Note: as described above professional imaging tools retrieve bad sectors to a healthy disk rather than repairing or skipping bad sectors from a failing disk.

In cases of water, fire, or vandalism damage, do not attempt to power up a system that contains critical data. Doing so may destroy the disk's magnetic layer and cause the data to be non-recoverable.

While data loss affects everyone who uses a computer, it is especially problematic for those who use word processing software. There is nothing more frustrating than losing the important documents that you've spent so much time creating -- especially if you're like most users who create documents directly on the computer and don't have the benefit of a handwritten copy. If you'd like to reduce your chances of requiring data recovery, consider giving some of these free or low-cost tips a try.

The way to prevent data loss

1. Never store your documents on the same drive as your operating system

While most word processors will save your files in the My Documents folder, this is the worst place for them. Whether it is a virus or software failure, the majority of computer problems affect the operating system, and oftentimes the only solution is to reformat the drive and reinstall the operating system. In such an instance, everything on the drive will be lost.

Installing a second hard-drive in your computer is a relatively low cost way to take care of this problem. A second internal hard-drive will not be affected if the operating system is corrupted, and it can even be installed in another computer if you need to buy a new one; further, you'll be surprised at how easy they are to set up.

If you're skeptical about installing a second internal drive, an excellent alternative is to buy an external hard-drive. An external drive can be attached to any computer at any time simply by plugging it into a USB or firmware port.

Many external drives also have the added benefit of one-touch and/or scheduled back ups -- you simply specify the folders and the software will take care of the rest. I use Maxtor's external 200GB hard drive, which not only has ample room, but is easy to use (compare prices).

If another hard-drive is not an option for you, then save your files to clearly labeled floppy disks, but beware: computer manufacturers are moving away from including floppy drives with new computers, so you might have problems in the future retrieving data from floppies.

2. Back-up your critical files.

Back-up your critical files. With the ability to store data on CDs on a weekly or monthly basis, a small investment in a stack of CDs will save you from loosing your critical documents, files, priceless images and MP3s. Back-up your do it regularly and always verify your back-up by restoring the data to your computer.

Just storing your files in a different location than your operating system isn't enough; you need to create regular backups of your files, and let's face it, even your back up is subject to failure: cds get scratched, hard drives break, and floppies get erased.

It makes sense to increase your odds of being able to retrieve a file by having a second back up of it; if the data is truly important, you might even want to think about storing a backup in a fireproof vault.

3. Install Anti-Virus program.

Run some sort of Anti-Virus Program. Viruses get into your computer a variety of ways; by reading an infected attachment in your e-mail, by sharing files (which are already infected), and by visiting websites that take advantage of security flaws to compromise and destroy your data.

4. Beware of email attachments

Even if you're certain they don't contain viruses, email attachments can cause you to lose data. Think about it: if you receive a document with the same name as one on your drive, and your email software is set to save attachments in the same location, you run the risk of overwriting the file that's already there. This often happens when you're collaborating on a document and send it via email.

So make sure you set your email program to save attachments in a unique location, or, barring that, make sure you think twice before saving an email attachment on your hard drive.

5. Beware of user error

We don't like to admit it, but we often engineer our own problems. Take advantage of safeguards included in your word processor, such as versioning features and tracked changes. Common ways users lose data are when they're editing a document and accidentally delete portions -- after the document is saved; the portions that are changed or deleted are lost unless you've enabled features that will store changes for you.

If you don't want to mess with the advanced features, use the F12 key before you start working to save the file under a different name. It isn't as organized as some of the other methods, but it is a useful trick nonetheless.

6. Quit all programs before shut down.

Shut down your computer. Always quit your programs before shutting down your computer. When you quit a program, it saves vital data and then exits the program. If you just turn off your computer without properly exiting your applications and closing your files, you run the risk of loosing your data.

7. Never shake or remove the covers on hard drives or tapes.

Please don't disassemble your hard drive. In nearly all examples of this, data is usually not recoverable once an inexperienced person attempts to 'investigate' where that 'strange clicking noise' is coming from. Leave the diagnostics to a data recovery specialist who has experience with all types of hard drives and knows how to perform a successful data recovery.

8. Beware of diagnostic programs.

While it is a good idea to check the health of your computer running diagnostics software, be careful with allowing such programs to repair data files it may find. Check Disk can be your friend, but also may make it more difficult to recover data from a hard drive which has had such diagnostic programs run on it.

9. Be aware of your surroundings.

Keep your computers and servers in safe and secure locations from accidentally getting knocked over, dropped, or spilled on. Laptops, while convenient to use, are often dropped and require hard drive data recovery. Just because it is a nice day and you are casually working by the pool with your laptop, don't assume that the guy jumping into the pool realizes his tidal splash will not only soak you...but ruin your laptop and require data recovery for your critical data.





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Resume

How to Make a Resume

Because of the volume of resumes employers receive; most of them now use some kind of resume tracking or applicant tracking system. This automates many of the tasks necessary for tracking candidates, and also makes it possible for an employer to find a resume they received months or years later. As a result of the technologies used, its important to keep your resume in a certain format that will be correctly read and interpreted by the systems. This used to be referred to as a "scannable" resume because of the hardware that used to scan paper resumes into the computer. Now, career websites and resumes received via email are "parsed" and stored in a database.
Once your resume is stored electronically, employers use keywords to match the stored resumes with their open positions. In order to find the resumes, employers (and recruiters) use keyword searches, usually a boolean search.
Because of the technologies involved in parsin g the resume, it is important to keep the format of your resume very simple and somewhat plain. This means that you should generally avoid fancy fonts, graphics and and other "special effects" that dont always make it through the technologies correctly, at least for your electronic resume (you might want a more elaborate version to hand out at job fairs, but it really isn't necessary). A resume that is not formatted correctly wont appear in a search for matching keywords, which greatly reduces your chances of landing interviews. I have seen some resumes come through with "gibberish" as a result of the writer trying to use charts or pictures on their resume.

Resume Format >>>
Here are some practical tips for formatting your resume:
Use a simple font. Do not use a decorate font. Times New Roman and Arial parse most accurately and are the "standard" fonts for business communication, which your resume is.
Use a standard font size. For business communications, fonts of 10 and 12 points are the norm.
Avoid using charts, pictures, tables or graphs in your resume. These rarely make it through. If you have information that needs to be in that format, consider an addendum to your resume or, perhaps, a web page that you have created that stores the information, with a link to the web page from your resume.
If you are applying for a job where it's important to show off your formatting or creative skills to land a job, such as a Web Designer or Graphic Artist position, distribute copies of your fancy paper resume at interviews. Better yet, send both a fancy and plain resume format, or create a fancy Web resume and portfolio, and include the URL in your emailed resume or cover letter
Technical Resumes - Tips, Samples, Examples and Templates

Your resume remains one of the most important components of your job search. A well written resume that gives the employer an accurate vi ew of your skills will help you stand out from the crowd. Here are links to some of my favorite resume tips, resume samples and free resume templates. I have also included links to some actual resumes of employees I have hired in the past for various technical companies.

Resume Writing Tips - How Not To Write a Resume
A recent poll of technical recruiters and hiring managers asked for the top "pet peeves" - things they see on resumes and cover letters that make them less interested in speaking with a candidate. These make great examples of how not to write your resume.
Use of the current "tense" in all jobs on the resume.
Writing the resume or cover letter in the third person.
Too many grammar and spelling mistakes.
Use of tiny, tiny fonts (10 pt or less) so as to cram as much information into the resume as possible.
Photos on resumes (this is a cultural preference).
A listing of their personal interests and activitie s.
Sending a resume attachment named 41808res.doc - use your name or descriptive label.
Writing the resume using table formats (columns).
Using a resume that is password protected (without sending the password).
Including references - but not professional ones - just friends and co-workers.
Having no contact information on the resume or including a phone number that is no longer valid.
When a candidate's email address is not appropriate for the work environment. Example: BigFoxyMama@.com
Resumes that are too long. Most seem to feel that general descriptions pertaining to work history for the last 10 years is sufficient.
Resume stuffing, for example, listing of every software application you've ever touched as a "skill".
Education written so its not clear if the degree was obtained.
Job hopping, which could be contract positions but it's not explained. (If you have been on short term contracts, make sure yo u clarify that they are contract jobs).


Top 7 Tips for Effective Resumes
Ever hear the saying "you never get a second chance to make a first impression?" Your resume gives a potential employer a powerful message about what kind of employee you would be. With only a few seconds to capture the attention of the reader and showcase your extensive skills, you need to make the most of your resume. Read on for resume tips and tricks.
1. Resume Tip 1: Spell Check and "Reality Check"
Before you submit your resume, make sure you give it a spell check using your word processing software. After you spell check it, have someone else give it a quick "reality check" to make sure that the spell checker didn't miss anything and to make sure that you didn't make a mistake that your computer can't catch. It is important that you get a second set of eyes to look over the document that could be responsible for your next job.
2. Resume Tip 2: Not Too Long, But Not Too Short
How long should your resume be? This is always a tough call. Some experts believe a one page resume is the perfect length. I would disagree, unless you really have few skills and experiences to share. Go into enough detail to give an accurate view of your skills, but not so long that the reader falls asleep. You do not need to list every project you have ever worked on. Summarize, but be inclusive.
3. Resume Tip 3: Formatting Counts
Have 2 versions of your resume available. One to be viewed online, and one to be handed out at in-person interviews and job fairs. Fancy formatting with pretty fonts, lines, boxes and bullet points just does not make it through on most computers. Anything you send or submit online should have very basic formatting (spacing and paragraph breaks, for example).
4. Resume Tip 4: Keywords are Key
When an employer searches a database, they use keywords. In general, they expect the results to be r epresentative of what they are searching for. This should mean a couple of things to the resume writer:
Include relevant keywords in your resume, because this is how you will be found.
Don't stuff your resume with keywords that are not relevant of your experience. A list of keywords that do not represent your expertise should be avoided.

Check out How to Make a Resume for more on keywords.
5. Resume Tip 5: Include the Basics
A technical resume should include the following information sections.
An objective: 1-2 sentences describing what you want, customize this for the job you are applying for.
Education: Any degrees you have completed or are working on, as well as relevant classes or certifications. Only include your GPA if it is very high.
Experience: List your past employers and/or major projects you have worked on. Start with the most recent.
Technology Summary: List only the technologies you know well.
6 . Resume Tip 6: Have Multiple Versions
If you are in more than one role (or have skills that may fit more than one role) you should have multiple versions of your resume available that highlight those skills. For example, if you have years of experience as a software engineer, and also have project management expertise, have two resumes: one highlighting your software engineer experience and another highlighting your project management experience.
7. Resume Tip 7: Make Your Resume Viewable
Recruiters and hiring managers like to search and "source" for candidates. If your resume (or bio) is not someplace where an employer can find it, then they don't know you exist. In addition to the regular job boards.

Resume Writing - Guidelines for New Grads

Resume Writing A Guide for New Grads

Purpose of Resume Writing
When you are writing your resume, it is important to keep in mind the purpose of the resume. The resume is meant to spark interest in you as a candidate. Your resume writing should be with the intent to get an interview, not a job offer. It is not meant to list every single course, skill or accomplishment you have. Remember, resumes get interviews, not jobs.
The resume should do the following:
Create a positive first impression. This is done by showcasing your communication skills and making the resume easy to read. The resume should be succinct and easy to follow.
Tell who you are. When you are writing your resume, you are telling the reader who you are and why they should consider you for a position.
Describe what you have learned. Especially for a new grad, your resume should highlight the courses and projects that are applicable for the job you hope to be hired for.
List your accomplishments. Your resume should highlight any special accomplishments you have achieved. If you made a 4.0 while working full time, were awarded a special scholarsh ip, or received special recognition of some kind, it should be listed under your accomplishments.
In order to make your resume pleasant and easy to read, you will want to follow some resume format guidelines. The resume format is important because you want to make sure to keep the readers interest and, ultimately, be called for the interview. A poorly formatted resume, one that is hard to read, contains many errors, or doesnt flow well, is not likely to accomplish your goal.
Resume Format General Guidelines
The following guidelines follow typical resume format and business letter writing standards. These a general resume format rules:
Font size of 10 or 12
Perfectly typed with about a 1 inch margin (even if sending via email, since it will likely be printed out)
Use only one font. You may vary size for emphasis, if necessary.
Do not use different font styles. If you need to call attention to something, you can bold it, but use this sparingly.
Avoid all-capital letters and italics as they are difficult to read.
Resume Format - Section Titles
Begin your resume with a heading which includes your name, address, phone number and email address. This is usually centered at the top or left justified.
Omit personal information such as age, sex, or marital status.
The resume objective states the position type you are seeking. It looks very professional if you tailor the objective to the position you are applying for. Other than that, don't make this section too narrow.
A well organized technical skills or career skills section can be placed after the objective. This should include skills in which you are at least proficient.
The education section should identify your training by listing the university(s) attended with degree(s) conferred, major, and grade point average.
The work experience section comes next and details the most recent positions or areas of ex pertise first and continues in reverse chronological order. Project experience can be listed here if you don't have any formal work experience. I also see many graduates add internships and their larger projects in this section.
The accomplishments section comes last and highlights specific areas in which you have excelled, including leadership activities, memberships, and honors or awards.
Before Writing Your Resume
Before you sit down to write your resume, it is helpful to think through a couple of points. The first is to think in keyword terms, because employers will use them to search for resumes.
Some general keyword examples:
Ability to ... (delegate, supervise, etc.), analytical ability, detail oriented, problem solving, results oriented, communication skills, team leader, lead
Some technology industry examples:
Software, systems, UNIX, Linux, SQL, Oracle, java, .NET, Operating System, CAD, Mechanical systems, Design, OO Programm ing, SDLC, coded, programmed, administered, engineer, programmer, developer, network, Cisco, Microsoft
Tips for Resume Design
The following tips for resume design will help ensure that your resume is easy to read and can be parsed to a resume database properly.
Keep the resume design simple. Using a standard resume template will help with this.
Use standard font styles (Times New Roman and Arial are standard.
Use a font size from 10 to 14. Font sizes of 10 and 12 are standard, with some titles and headings in a larger font.
Avoid 'fancy' styles (italics, underline, bold, fancy fonts etc.).
Do not use horizontal or vertical lines, graphics, charts, tables or boxes. They don't parse well to resume databases and they often print out looking funky.
Use bold fonts for section headings.
Use common names for section headings (i.e., Education, Experience, Technical Sills, etc.)
Put your name at the beginning of the res ume, with contact information on separate lines, immediately following the name. I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to have to read through the entire resume to find an email or phone number.
Avoid abbreviations, except for popular acronyms.
Be concise in your descriptions of projects and work experience. Longer is not necessarily better!
After the Resume
After the resume is written, make sure to proofread. See these Resume Tips for more ideas that will help ensure your resume gives the best first impression possible!
Print the resume out, to see how it looks for a manager that might prefer hard copies. Adjust any spacing as necessary. You will want printed resume copies to take with you to job fairs and interviews.
Sample Resume - Experienced New Grad Resume Sample
Resume Sample - New Grad
This resume sample is from an experienced new grad. Use this resume sample as a guide for writing your own resume.

James Shah
1255 University Avenue
Sacramento, CA -95825
(916) 555-1111
jshah@email dot com

Objective
To obtain a challenging internship/full time position in the field of Computer Science and Software Engineering.

Education
M.S. in Computer Science, California State University, Sacramento, CA, USA GPA- 3.7/4.0
B.E in Computer Engineering, C.U.Shah Engineering College, India GPA-3.8/4.0
Skills Inventory
Programming Languages: BASIC, C, C++, VB6.0, PROLOG, COBOL, VC++, HTML, DHTML, J2EE, JSP, JAVA, ASP, ASP.NET, C#.NET, PHP, XML,JCL
Communication/Network Protocols : TCP/IP, Mobile IP, VoIP, 802.11
Operating Systems: UNIX, Linux, SUN Solaris, Windows NT, Windows 2000 server, HP-UX ,Mainframe
Database: Oracle 8i, SQL, MS Access 2000, FoxPro, Microsoft SQL server 2000, MySql server 5.0, DB2

Experience:
Intern Data Analyst, May 06-sep 06, Vision Service Plan (VSP):
Migration of Metadata web site:
Phase 1: Move the Old Web Site to new IIS server: Since the Metadata web site was running on old IIS box, we were facing the speed and crashing issues everyday. So the first phase of this project was to move the current structure of Metadata web site which is ASP pages and MS Access Database to new server.
Phase 2: Migrate the Database from Access to DB2: Due to the business need and reliability issues, Data base of Metadata was migrated from Access Data base to DB2 Database. I was responsible for designing the new database schema, conversion of all the queries into the DB2 compatible format, as well as change the ASP code to fetch correct data using DB2 database.

Phase 3: Change the Front end: To make the Metadata web site more user friendly, I have re design all the ASP pages and added some extra facilities which can help the user to find information easily. The new front end is more organized and meets all the standards of VSP intranet.
Projects

Data mart design and implementation for Engineering Dept of CSUS (M.S. Project): To maintain the quality education of CSUS, design the web site and accept the feed back from the users i.e. faculty, students and workers about the quality of education, current majors offered by CSUS, Courses offered, Lab facilities as well as the education level of faculty members using ASP.NET and store that data into data mart using OLAP facilities of Analysis Manager of Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and generate useful reports using Pivot tables of MS Excel. The current statistics are on MS Access 2000.

Data link layer: Designed and implemented a data link layer services using UNIX and C Socket utilities. The Project provides all the functionalities of the data link layer like flow control, error control using CRC-16 protocol, piggybacking, and compression using algorithm at client and server.
Executi on of the Instruction Using Pipelining: Using Hardware Language, Verilog, implement the 5 stages of the pipeline with nop as a detection and correction of the data hazard between multiple instructions, which are executing simultaneously in the pipelining and also generate the corresponding control signal using hardwired and microcode logic.

Voice Recognition: Software that can recognize the voice identifies the pitch of the tone and makes a graph of the comparison, and telephony application to record your messages. Online Hotel Booking: Developing a 3-tier application for hotel booking using J2EE, JSP, JDBC, My SQL Server 4.1 and HTML, Tomcat Server.
Design basic Compiler Utilities Using SML: For a given source code and grals grammar definition, provide parsing which can convert the given source code into abstract syntax, provide static semantic to validate the given code, provide dynamic semantic to generate the desirable result for given source code.
Solv e problem definition using various Algorithms: Develop various Algorithms such as Divide and Conquer, Backtracking, Dynamic Programming, Branch and Bound to solve given problem.

Design SRS for Iguana Vision Inc.: As a part of SDLC, Design the SRS document to specify the functional and non-functional requirements as they pertain to the intended product to be designed by Iguana Vision, Inc for Single Medical Provider Franchise. The scope of this document is to describe the proposed inputs, outputs, problems, proposed logical & technical solutions to those problems and project management aspects which can help to take design, development and validation related decisions. Here Client wishes to expand their medical practice by providing a single provider franchise license with turn key software to manage the business. One key portion of business management is the scheduling and management of client appointments for different types of services using Use case diagram, ER D, Data Dictionary, Class Diagram and UML modeling.
Relevant Courses:
Mobile Computing
Programming Language Principles
Advanced Computer Networks
Database Design
Data Model &Data Management System
Data warehousing and Data Mining
Software Engineering
Telecommunication Network Management
Algorithm and Paradigms
Computer Architecture
Data Mining and Data warehouse
Honors & Activities
Presented a National Level Paper on "Hacking" at C. U. Shah College of Engineering and Technology, Surendranagar, India.
Lead the Technical Committee in and organized Technophile State level symposium.
PROFILE: Sincere, Hardworking, Self Motivated, excellent written & oral communications skills, quick-learner, Team-Player, Able to adapt to new work environments & situations, possesses responsible leadership qualities.

Example of a Software Engineer Resume

oe Employee
555 Main Street
Sacramento, CA 95628
myname@myemail dot com
(555)555-1111


SUMMARY
A results-driven, customer-focused, articulate and analytical Senior Software Engineer who can think "out of the box". Strong in design and integration problem solving skills. Expert in Java, C#, .NET, and T-SQL with database analysis and design. Skilled in developing business plans, requirements specifications, user documentation, and architectural systems research. Strong written and verbal communications. Interested in a challenging technical track career in an application development environment.
Experienced in:
Engineering web development, all layers, from database to services to user interfaces
Supporting legacy systems with backups of all cases to/from parallel systems
Analysis and design of databases and user interfaces
Managing requirements
Implementing software development life cycle policies and procedures
Managing and supporting multiple projects
Highly adaptable in quickly changing technical environments with very strong organizational and analytical skills


EMPLOYMENT

E*Trade Financial, Sacramento, CA July 2002 Present

Software Engineer (Customer Service Systems)
Re-engineered customer account software systems used by brokerage teams. Web developer for user interfaces to trading inquiries, support parallel systems.
Developed and implemented new feedback system for users concerns, bugs, and defect tracking regarding use and functionality of new interfaces.
Coded web designed interfaces using Java, XML, XSL, AJAX, and JWS.
Support system for existing intranet for employees, including designing and developing the Advantage@Work system company wide.
Code and support provided through ASP.NET, T-SQL, Microsoft SQL Server, and Oracle 9i.
C ollaborated in the development of in-house development of new banking software interfaces. Supported existing legacy system to provide newly created cases and insured they were available in the systems in parallel until legacy systems were retired.
Intel Corporation, Folsom, CA Jan 2000 Jul 2002
Systems Programmer (Remote Servers and SSL Product Analyst)
Deployed and tested Remote Installation Services(RIS)-Server Installs on Windows XP.
Focused deployment of Server builds and handled some client builds.
Modified Visual Basic applications for use in post-server builds for customizing builds.
Researched RIS and Active Directory for future deployment world-wide. Presented findings to both the Networking Operating System Network Technology Integration team and the Microsoft Joint Development Team (JDP) at Intel. Produced a document binder for RIS and Active Directory to follow the project to the next team representative.
Wrote bi-m onthly progress reports, participated in weekly staff meetings and JDP team meetings designed to develop white paper processing.
Provide technical support to the SSL team, managing inventory.
Participated in testing and use of new SAP system as it was integrated into Intel.
Managed Chipset products for IO Business Units.
CSU Chico, Chico, CA 2000 2002
Business Department (Visual Basic Teaching Assistant)
Computer Science Department (Supervisor MS Office Suite Teaching Assistant)
Supervised all lab assistants, guiding them with student project development.
Provided one-to-one guidance with Visual Basic programming instruction techniques.
Wrote small program projects for assignments.
Presented structured learning labs where students could ask questions regarding Visual Basic Programming construct and syntax.
Prepared structured teaching guides pertaining to chapter material that complimented the lectures by the professor.
Provided customized software for tracking student progress throughout the semester. It included reporting for the professor on assessments, projects, homework, lab work, attendance, and overall grades.


SOFTWARE SKILLS
Experience with:
Databases: MySQL, Oracle, Access, SAP
Software: Microsoft Office, Remedy, Microsoft SQL Server, DB Artisan, Eclipse, Visual Studio.NET, FrontPage
Languages: C#, Java, Visual Basic, ASP, XML, XSL, JWS, SQL, and T-SQL
EDUCATION

CALIFORINA STATE UNIVERSITY, Chico, CA
BS Computer Science/ Business Minor
4.0/4.0 GPA
COLLEGE OF THE SISKIYOUS, Weed, CA
AS Computer Science

3 sample of General resume

Sample: Resume


FirstName LastName
87 Washington Street
Hopedale, NY 11233
Phone: 555-555-5555
Email: xxxxx@xyz.edu

EDUCATION

XY Z UNIVERSITY
Hopedale, NY: BA, American Studies
Cumulative GPA: 3.93

GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY STUDY ABROAD
University of Trier, Germany (Summer 2005)

AMERICAN UNIVERSITY
Washington, DC: Washington Semester in American Politics (Spring 2004)

RESEARCH AND ANALYTICAL EXPERIENCE

U.S. Department of Education
Intern, Office of the Deputy Secretary (Spring 2005)
Generated concise written synopses of current legislative action for use by the Department, Congress members, and the general public through the ED website.
Researched and presented to policymakers several successful school design and construction projects to support the Administration Schools as Centers of Community proposal.
Washington Semester Independent Research Project
American University (Spring 2004)
Examined how the increasing dependence of needy students on federal loans instead of grants for higher education has affected college access and enrollment; culminating in 65-page paper
Historical Society of Saratoga Springs
Research Assistant (Spring 2003)
Researched archival materials, wrote text panels and selected objects for a historical exhibit on Saratoga in the 1930s

LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE

Vice President/Academic Affairs
Student Government Association, XYZ University (2003-2004)
Chaired 60-member body representing each academic department and student perspectives on curricular issues
Participated in college-wide policy decisions concerning such ethical issues as the sale of cigarettes on campus
Made detailed oral and written presentations of curricular reform actions in public student fora
Presidential Search Committee
XYZ University (2002-2004)
Served as one of two students on a college-wide committee to nominate the sixth President of XYZ University, through all stages including:

o A detailed self-study of institutional needs and goals to determine selection criteria
o Search for, and hire of, a higher-education specialty consultant
o Written evaluation of each applicant, interviews and final recommendation to the Board of Trustees
Honors Forum Council
Student Body Representative, XYZ University (2001-2002)
Set goals and guidelines for the first two years of Skidmore?019s innovative, comprehensive honors program whose mission is to increase intellectual engagement and academic rigor in students?019 freshman and sophomore years

ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES

Student Alumni Society: Founding Member (2002-present)
Committee on Academic Freedoms: Student Representative (2002-present)
Skidmore Orchestra: French Horn (2001-present)
American Studies Club: Secretary (2001-present)

COMPUTER/LANGUAGE SKILLS

Prof icient in written and spoken German
Extensive experience with Internet Explorer, HTML, Lexis-Nexis and Microsoft Office

Sample 2: Resume


FIRSTNAME LASTNAME
67-61 75th Street
Any town, NY 00000
(555) 555-5555 xxxxxxxxxx@aol.com 87 Washington Street
Hopedale, NY 11233
(555) 555-5555
xxxxxxx@xyz.edu

________________________________________

EDUCATION

XYZ University
Bachelor of Arts, May 2000
Major: Psychology. Minor: Studio Art
Hopedale, NY

BRITISH AMERICAN COLLEGE OF LONDON
Student during the semester of Spring 1999 London, ENGLAND


EXPERIENCE

Fall 1999 AMERICA READS PROJECT
Tutor
Assisted children ages 6-7 with the fundamentals of reading
Aided with capitalization, punctuation and printing
Read stories aloud, entreating children to addr ess content
Helped with other activities, from math assignments to art projects
Eased frustration by providing support and encouragement Hopedale, NY
1997-1999 XXX CAREER SERVICES

Office Assistant

Gathered alumni career surveys and updated hundreds of data files utilizing Microsoft Access
Maintained employer literature and credential, counseling and recruiting information files
Compiled materials needed for mailing of credential requests
Performed various administrative duties Hopedale, NY
Summer 1999 CITYARTS, INC.
Intern
Researched corporate and foundation funding sources, using resources at the Foundation Center
Drafted preliminary correspondence with possible philanthropists
Prepared grant applications and supporting materials
Helped with fundraising events such as benefit auction
Provided general office support New York, NY
Summer 1999 MUSEUM OF AFRICAN ART< /p>

Artist Assistant

Supervised young participants in painting workshop
Aided children in the creative process by providing support with painting
Assisted the lead artist in all phases of project implementation, from hanging canvases to cleaning workspace New York, NY
Fall 1995 NEW YORK PUBLIC INTEREST RESEARCH GROUP
Volunteer
Collaborated with others to rebuild a brownstone in Brooklyn under the auspices of Habitat for Humanity
Recruited others to participate in NYPIRG meetings and events
Posted material around the Queens College campus which advocated public awareness of issues Flushing, NY


SPECIAL SKILLS/TRAVEL

Microsoft Word, Microsoft Access, Netscape, and research databases, including PsychInfo. Travel throughout Europe.

Resume Sample 3: Resume/Student


FirstName LastName
email: xxxxxxx@xyz.edu

PRESENT AD DRESS:
XYZ University
Hopedale, NY 11233
(555) 555-5555 PERMANENT ADDRESS
155 Essex Street
Anytown, CT 00000
(555) 555-5555
________________________________________
EDUCATION

XYZ University, Hopedale, NY
Candidate for Bachelor of Arts, May 2000
Major: Government 3.83 GPA Minor: Business 3.87 GPA

The Williams School, New London, CT
High School Degree, June 1995

WORK EXPERIENCE

Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., New Haven CT, Summer 1999
Completed a rigorous internship working closely with retail and institutional brokers examining US markets and industries. Researched and analyzed equities, derivatives, and bonds utilizing Merrill Lynch computer systems.

Hartford Superior Court, Hartford CT, Summer 1998
Conducted in-depth project studying daily flow within the courthouse including data collection and analysis utilizin g Microsoft Excel. Participated in data correction and filing in both criminal and civil case flow offices.

ACTIVITIES/SERVICE

Social Integrity Board Chairman, XYZ University, Fall 1999 Present
Appointed by Student Government Association Executive Committee and confirmed by Student Senate as member of Social Integrity Board. Adjudicate and sanction students in violation of the XXX Student Codes of Conduct. Lead board members in delivering opinions and sanctions to students in hearings and written form. Conduct cases in close collaboration with Head of Residential Life and examine XXX's social policies and honor code.

Student Speakers Bureau Member, XYZ University, Fall 1998 Present
Allocate funds to various organizations throughout the XXX community to bring speakers to campus.

COMPUTER SKILLS

Microsoft Office 2000
Microsoft Excel
Microsoft Access Po werPoint
WordPerfect
Lotus 1-2-3 I.E. 4.0 and Netscape 4.6
Adobe PhotoShop 5.0
HTML/Web Publishing





iAutoblog the premier autoblogger software

Computer Hacking & Virus / Malware

When a fortune-teller stares into her crystal ball she claims to see through to the misty future and offers guidance to those willing to hand over the required fee. However, she might be stumped when faced with questions about the state of tomorrow's computer viruses, or whether or not there will be a global outbreak of cyber warfare. She ought not to be because, although the internet threat landscape is continually evolving, there are some basic principles that help us predict what's coming next.

Perhaps surprisingly, these hold the human condition at their core. A 21st century Mystic Meg should have no problems foretelling the digital future and we'll explain how you too can look into the future at internet threats. Anti Virus Companies like Symantec, GRISOFT etc have researchers that investigate current threats and new technologies with a view to discovering what the next big security problems are going to be, and they don't use crystal balls.

ITS ALL ABOUT THE MONEY, In the old days the original computer viruses were born of pride or misplaced curiosity. Anonymous individuals wrote computer code to show how clever they were, viewing security software as a challenge. If they could beat anti-virus programs produced by big names such as Symantec, McAfee etc then they would have outsmarted the experts. In some cases their motivation was increased as anti-virus (AV) programs improved over time.

Today things have moved up a few gears and every reputable security company acknowledges that money is the motivation behind the vast majority of online threats. Viruses, compromised websites hosting malicious exploits, fraudulent emails and phishing websites have all been designed to steal or generate money.

As we ponder the future of malware and other threats, we need to look at the matter in the context of criminal endeavour, rather than seeing online threats as a result of vandalism and other types of low- level dysfunctional behaviour.

Over the years it has became clear that a new underground economy has evolved in which our personal details are traded for cash on the internet. This situation not only continues today, but the illegal information gathering and trading systems have grown even more sophisticated. Criminal organisations provide services to others much like legitimate business. They sell hacking tools in a web-based arms market and operate escrow systems to ensure that the thieves don't rip each other off. Much of the criminal activity is based around malware, which forms the front line in the criminals' activity.

Some people create malware, others sell it, while underground services offer to check the latest viruses to ensure that they aren't detected by the software produced by anti-virus companies. It's a sophisticated arrangement, both in terms of business and technology. AV companies, spend a lot of time monitoring and interacting with c riminals as they go about their online business. They have something like an underground version of VirusTotal ( a website that scans URL's for bugs ), to check that their malware can avoid detection, as well as services to monitor botnets. Botnets are potentially vast networks of compromised computers - PCs owned by regular internet users. They are part of the cybercriminal's IT infrastructure and are the equivalent of a traditional gangsters Muscle. Botnets provide masses of computing power as well as the ability to bring down the websites and internet connections of large companies. They can be used to send out billions of spam emails, infect websites on masse and even host transient infected websites that come and go, making them very hard to take down.

In the worst cases (for the individual visitor), it might try to load malware on to their computer. Once malware is loaded on a system, the computer can be used as a tool to spy on its user. This means that usernames, passwords, bank account details and other sensitive data can be siphoned off and sent to the attacker.

Although you might think that this is the end of the story, the criminals who install the malware may not have a direct use for your data. I have read Symantec's latest internet threat report. In it the company discloses that criminals compile lists of credit card numbers and bank details, which they sell off in huge lists. However, the availability of cards has dropped since last year, while demand remains high. This has increased the cost of buying the information. The report also notes a disturbing new development whereby criminals are trading dump tracks' - the whole information found in the magnetic stripe on a credit card. This data can not only be sold for a higher price than basic information, but it's also more usable as it can be used to create a physical replica of the card. Criminals are now advertising personal services and, in a perverse version of online business networking, researchers have found recommendations for people involved in money laundering and even for mules'. According to Symantec: "Mules are unsuspecting members of the public who have been duped into accepting funds into their accounts, or accepting stolen goods.

Like any other commodity, these people are traded on net forums by cybercriminals." At some stage a criminal will end up using these details to commit a fraudulent act, but it's likely that the data will pass through a number of hands first. lf and when your personal data is stolen online, it will often be passed from criminal to criminal before being used. Once in possession of a card, criminals may try to use it to buy goods. Alternatively, a criminal may leverage t he services of a cash-out' criminal. These people may charge nothing for their services that is the service of emptying your bank account- but take a commission on the transaction instead. The online criminals have a large number of potential targets to consider. Although their primary objective is to make money, there are a number of ways to do so, some of which are more subtle than others. criminals put a value on personal details for the purposes of ID theft, selling the data to ID thieves and even pilfering online games login details for financial gain.
WHO ARE THE TOMORROWS VICTIMS? Tomorrow's victims will be the same as today's. The only difference is that the criminals need to stay ahead of the game in order to compete with each other and remain profitable. Criminals will always go for the easiest targets first, looking for low-risk, high-return opportunities. This means creating a widespread threat that has the potential to affect millions of people. The hackers aren't going to single out an individual, but instead hope to catch as many random people as possible, collect their data and use or sell it for financial gain.

These regular people will likely have bank accounts and credit cards that can be stolen. Gamers often have online accounts that carry a high value there has been a thriving market in hijacking or emptying games accounts for years. Criminals might also try a targeted approach, where a specific (very rich) individual, company or group of people are faced with a highly convincing, customise d attack.

In the past, criminals have sent infected CDs and USB keys to workers at banks and other large organisations. Hardware keyloggers can then be used to record usernames and passwords. There have been fears that last year's attack on the recruitment website Monster furnished criminals with lots of personal information that allowed them to target people with powerful employment roles, such as CEOs of global companies. Targeted attacks can also use information gleaned from social-networking sites - a technology that has only become very popular in the last few years. Businesses themselves are another big target, although the scale of the problem is hard to assess. We only see the tip of the iceberg, There are probably documents containing zero-day exploits being sent around and so on, but companies won't go public when they're attacked.

Social engineering has repeatedly proven to be a useful technique for fooling people into taking unwise actions. The criminals trick victims into visiting fake or infected websites, downloading and installing harmful software and even responding to near-blatant attempts at fraud. This last con trick involves sending emails requesting your help in some matter, with the promise of delivering millions of dollars for no work at all.

Security companies claim that infected websites constitute the largest single threat at the moment, The general assumption is that these are legitimate websites that have been infected without their owners' knowledge. The sites are hacked and a small piece of infected code, or a special type of (iframe) link to another infected site, is inserted. When a computer loads the web page, it becomes infected.

There is also a view that sites being operated by less moral individuals may host malware on purpose. Porn websites are hosted by those with a flexible ethical framework, They are more likely than some to host malicious iframes in order to gain a few dollars per installation of malware.

Viruses and infected websites that attack consumer electronics as well as computers are likely to be a feature of future cyber attacks. Currently computers are the main target for online criminals. The PC and, to a much lesser degree, the Mac are both attacked because lo ts of people use them for online banking and other tasks that involve handling valuable information.

Tomorrow's targets will be the devices that people use for similar activities. This means that the PC is going to stay at the top of the hacker's hit list for a long time to come. If a certain type of mobile phone became a popular way to access online banking, then you can guarantee that criminals would start to produce malware designed to target and compromise them. From a criminal's point of view, hardware is a much less important consideration than software when building an attack mechanism. For example, a modern Mac is exactly the same as a PC under the hood. The very same processors, RAM, graphics chips and hard disks are used in both computers these days. The difference is the operating system. Macs run OS X while PCs run completely incompatible variations of Windows or Linux.

As most computers in the world run Windows, criminals concentrate on bre aking into Windows PCs. The more popular Macs become, the more attractive they are as targets. Mobile phones don't share the same relationship as Macs and PCs. Even different models from the same company use different combinations of hardware and software.

This means that there's such a wide selection in use at any one time that a hacker would have to write many different viruses, worms or other threats to catch a significant number of victims. In this situation, variety is a defence. Once people settle on a specific mobile phone, however, it becomes worth hacking. ( could the iphone be a target ? ) Many of the best-known antivirus companies produce an anti-virus product for one or more types of mobile phone, yet they generally admit that the threat in this area is either very low or even non-existent. Mobile phone malware is in its infancy There are millions of viruses and Trojans that target PCs. Mobile phone viruses number in the few hundreds or maybe early tho usands. There is still such a disparity of environments: iPhones, Windows Mobile, Symbian, BlackBerry, Android and others. There is too much variety for malware to function.

Software is much more important than hardware. Today's hackers concentrate on the underlying operating system (such as Windows XP) and common applications that they can access. At the moment, attractive applications include web browsers as well as software that web browsers use, such as Adobe Flash and Reader programs. In recent months security holes have been found in versions of these programs, as well as Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser. When we try to predict the future of internet threats, we can be sure that these types of programs will be targeted.

The only variations will be the hardware used to run the web browsers and necessary plugins. Do you believe that your TV could be hacked? Or your games console? The latest versions of these domestic home entertainment syst ems often include the ability to access the internet, so that they can use BBC iPlayer, YouTube and other popular services. If your TV has a web browser, then it would be foolish to assume that it was invulnerable to an attack. Before you ban TV from your household, remember what we said earlier about attractive targets. Once you and half the popular start banking online with your TV or PlayStation, only then will the hackers move in. And they will. I reckon we'll see anti-virus software being installed on TV sets within the next five years. The traditional view of a hacker attack involves a computer system being manipulated by an unauthorised and external force. So how could your TV could be hacked if it lacks a hard disk or any internal storage at all? Where would the viruses be stored, for example? Similarly a games console doesn't seem to provide a very rich environment for a criminal to exploit. This means that while your PC, TV or console may not be hacked, the data th at flows between it and the computers on the internet that power the services you use could be stolen or corrupted. This is known as data cloud hacking.

IS THERE NO ESCAPE ? The usual way to make money with TV broadcasts is with advertising. The advertising system itself could be subverted and used either to make money directly or as part of a blackmail scam. The internet-enabled TV initially has no financial value, What money can criminals make? They could show you a commercial that may be clickable. This way, people's identity data can be stolen. If you don't click the ad you may be threatened with the prospect that pornography will pop up on screen when your children are watching.

The term cloud-computing is quite vague. These days it tends to mean running applications directly on a server. This isn't a new concept for businesses used to dealing with email and web servers. However, the idea of running an application such as a word processor in the cl oud is novel for most people as we're used to such programs being software that runs on the computer sitting in front of us.

When you use Google Docs to create and edit word-processing or spreadsheet documents, you're experiencing what most people consider to be cloud computing. You should already be able to see some of the security issues surrounding cloud computing. First of all, your data is stored on a remote computer under someone else's control. Every time you access that data you have to authenticate with a remote system, which means that your username and password probably traverses the internet. After you log in, parts of any file that you access also moves through the internet.

This potentially exposes your account and its contents to wrong-doers far more than if you stored your photos, documents and email on your hard disk. However, it's convenient to work this way as you can access your data from any computer that you like (which is also ano ther potential security flaw) and, in some cases, you can use lowpowered computers to run demanding applications because they use the processing power and memory of the service provider's systems rather than the resources of your own IT setup.

The big challenge to companies that provide internet services is to ensure that customers' data remains safe. Services need to identify where data comes from and where it should go. They need to protect against man-in-themiddle attacks, where attackers intercept data as it passes by. Cloud services are not currently developed in this way and can be fooled. Tomorrow's internet attackers will be sophisticated and realistic. They won't spend hours trying to hack your mobile or TV while there are easier options available.

As long as we continue to use PCs to access online banks, buy from ecommerce sites and play complex subscription-based games, so the bad guys will continue to attack via the home computer. Recent his tory shows that social engineering, where victims are fooled into making poor decisions, is a very successful route to separating us from our cash and personal details. Technical solutions' such as internet worms and Trojans embedded in pirated software still exist, but it's those fake emails, infected websites and even infected email attachments that will continue to pose a real threat for the foreseeable future.

We also know that security software is not a cure-all solution. And few security companies would be brave enough to claim that they were winning the war against malware. Nevertheless, an anti-virus program will help protect your system. FREE ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE If you don't want to spend any money we recommend Microsoft's latest free anti-virus program, Security Essentials but for better protection you need to splash out, and currently any of the following are good choices: Norton Internet Security 2010, AVG Antivirus, AVG Internet Security.

It is also important to keep your system up to date with the latest security patches. This means updating Windows, your web browser and plug-ins such as Adobe Flash and Acrobat Reader. Fail to do this and you can't really blame your anti-virus software if your PC becomes infected. While the days of safe computing are probably a nostalgic fantasy (bugs have existed for as long as computers have), it's not scaremongering to say that today things are far worse than they ever have been, and the problem isn't going to disappear.

There is some good news. While the online criminals engage in a virtual arms war against security companies, sell our data for pennies and cost companies billions in lost or stolen revenue, the main security hole is our own gullibility. If you become more suspicious of email requests to change or confirm account details, popup warning messages on websites and too-good-to- be true offers, then you're way ahead of the herd. And hackers are only int erested in the herd.





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As mentioned above, by connecting to an extensive high-speed databases servers network we manage to cut download times to the minimum. You will be able to download a regular sized movie in a bit more than an hour using a standard broadband connection.

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How To Keep Your Computer Virus Free

As you are aware, vandals are at work creating new computer viruses all the time. We mostly hear about the big, awful, scary viruses on the news and we hurry to take the appropriate action, but the large majority of infections are quiet and anonymous. We should give these little termites no less attention as often time they are doing much damage before they are even detected. Their effects run from mostly benign to potentially fatal to their unwilling and unwitting hosts. There are two different approaches to dealing with them: Prevention and Cure.

Preventing virus infection begins with guarding the portals of contact. Do not open suspicious e-mails or attachments without scanning them first. Most anti-virus programs have a right-click option to scan a selected file for viruses, which makes scanning easy. When you download software, eBooks or other items, always save to a file, then scan the file before opening. If you bring in data or software by floppy disk, CD or other portable media, the same rule applies; always scan it first!

Getting a good firewall can help in keeping viruses at bay, but there are too many ways to hide them in regular data or software transfers for a firewall to catch them all. A firewall can help, but don't count on that alone. Sooner or later, viruses are going to get through your defenses somehow, and you will need to turn to cures.

When and if that day comes, you could lose most of your files before you know that there is a problem! So prepare well in advance by backing up your files for easy recovery. Set up your computer with a small hard drive (4-10giga) for your C: drive and a much larger hard drive for all your data. Use your C: drive for programs only. Keep copies of your software purchase receipts, registration and activation codes and setup info in a file on your data drive. You can always download them again, if you can give the seller your purchase info to show that you already bought. Almost all virus infections will be in the program section of the C: drive, so scan it daily. This won't take much time since you have arranged for it to be relatively small. Then scan your (larger)data drive once or twice a month.

Back up your data files frequently. If you cannot backup everything, at least backup the crucial information that would be difficult or impossible to replace. CD and DVD burners are a good way to do this backup, as are removable hard driv es. You require a good anti-virus programs to go after the viruses and either quarantine or (preferably) destroy them. There are many anti-virus solutions being touted and hyped out there. Some are good, most are not. Here is how to find the good ones:

1. Look for programs that offer both active and passive protection. Active protection means that part of the program remains memory-resident, actively watching for potential incoming viruses. When they detect a virus they can sound an alarm and give you a series of options for dealing with it. Passive or on-demand protection will let you ask for a scan of specified areas when you want it, but it waits for you to ask.

2. Select your anti-virus software based on the recommendations of independent testing agencies. Checkmark (by ), and PC World magazine are among the most respected independent testers of anti-virus software. For ratings of anti-trojan software, check with Anti-trojan - Forum. Use more than one anti-virus and anti-trojan program. Very few detect all problems, but what one program misses, another may seek and destroy.

3. Keep your anti-virus programs up to date. There is a running battle going on between virus writer-disseminators and virus catch-and-destroy experts. New viruses are found; new anti-virus program patches to find and destroy them are usually ready within hours or days. Until your software is updated, you are still vulnerable to the new viruses.

Consider using anti-virus software on your personal computer, consider using an Internet Service Provider or e-mail service that includes server-side anti-virus and spam e-mail filtering as a third layer of protection.

In summary, the urgency was best said by Eugene Kaspersky, Kaspersky Lab Virus Research, in a November 23, 2005 article posted in Security News, said, "The number of new viruses and Trojans is now increasing every day by a few hundred. (Our) virus lab receives between 200 and 300 new samples a day." That is not a misprint. He said 200-300 per day so we must be sure to keep ourselves aware and make the necessary changes in a timely manner to stay ahead of these viruses. Be assured, it is an ongoing battle!

So, get good software, run it often and update it often.. stay alert to new developments! The struggle between new viruses and better anti-virus software is ongoing, and developing steadily.





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