26 Jun 2009

Goodbye Mikaeel...

Thank You for the MUSIC
Al-Fatihah to you....

19 Jun 2009

Internet Banking

With all the attention online banking has received in the last couple of years, it seems there are new online banks popping up everywhere. Users are choosing online banking for its ease and convenience. And while issues of identity theft are important factors to consider with online banking, it has not stopped people from utilizing the Web to streamline their finances.

Even more importantly, recent studies suggest that Internet banking doesn't just make life easier, customers who choose it seem to be more satisfied with their bank. The two areas of greatest satisfaction fall in the categories of the convenience online banking provides and the ability to pay bills online. The report also shows that users who pay their bills online experience not only satisfaction with the ability to bank online, but with their specific banking institution, suggesting users have strong confidence in their bank's ability to secure identity. In fact, similar reports have also shown that those who pay bills online retain their business longer at a particular bank than those who do not use a bank's online service.

Many first-time users come to online banking to access their account information such as account balances and check activity. That is followed by the ability to transfer funds between accounts. And finally, many users then move into online bill payment.

Perhaps they start with paying a few utilities online at the utility's website. They may then look into the online bill payment service offered by their bank. Now, banks are seeing more and more users receiving bills electronically.

Yet for some bank customers, concerns about identity theft keep them from trying online banking. Interestingly, their counterparts who do use the Internet to conduct banking do not seem to hold those same perceptions. Most are satisfied with the level of online security offered by their banks. The challenge then for banks lies in the continued education of their customers to try online banking and discover for themselves the high level of security in place at most banks. Once those customers give online banking a try, perceptions of risk seem to decrease, reports indicate. Surprisingly, these same reports discovered that today's security measures put in place by PC users and banks have many ID thieves targeting potential victims offline.

The following are a few tips to consider when choosing an Internet bank account:

  • The Annual Percentage Yield (APR) may be higher with Internet bank accounts, and therefore one of the most important attractions for those looking for a high yield. Conducting transactions online may save the bank money, and those savings may then be passed on to the online customer, most often in the form of higher savings rates.
  • Ability to access money. Online users need to consider what steps are involved in accessing their money in an online account.
  • Ability to link accounts. Users want the ability to link various accounts to one another, making it easy to move money seamlessly between online bank accounts.
  • What types of additional services are available? Potential users should be interested in not only banking online, but purchasing CDs, applying for a mortgage, and paying bills online.
  • Security. Users must confirm that their online bank is FDIC insured and that the security system can be trusted.
  • Ability to set up automatic savings account. There's no reason not to save today with an online account that electronically deposits money into a savings or money market account.

11 Jun 2009

Dell XPS and Inspiron Laptops: a Balance of Features, Performance, and Price...

Choosing personal computers today is influenced by a user centric criteria. These include size, power and graphics, convenience, price, and style. People are opting to buy computers that save on space and can be lugged around for long trips. They want desktop replacements (which perform just as well as PCs, but consumes less space and is portable), and sub notebooks (the new name for the small and ultraportable version of laptops). Among the brands that try to balance features, style, user convenience, and price is Dell.

Shining among Dell XPS laptops is the Dell XPS M1730, one you could say was designed for the gaming masses. With strong SLI graphic, an integrated game panel LCD, a convenient backlit keyboard, this laptop can even let you play media files even without booting to the installed operating system. With its massive hard drive and top of the line video graphics, it's a gaming laptop that's more than a replacement desktop. Dell also offers the new Alienware M17X a superb notebook for gamers with Alienware’s BinaryGFX technology, where users have the ability to switch between discrete or integrated graphics. Also Stealth Mode — While in Stealth Mode, discrete graphics cards are turned off and other components throttle down to achieve a 65W power limit.

If you're going for thin and light and hardly a compromise, go for the Dell XPS Notebooks. The Dell XPS M1530, for example, is a fine one. At 5.7 pounds, it's no Mac Air, but it doesn't compromise of features. It's got an NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics and 256MB of video memory, more than what you need for YouTube and just enough for the artist's image tweaking and high resolution DVD playback. It's 4 GB of memory is certainly more than what most of the current no compromise notebooks offer. This thin notebook is good enough as a desktop replacement for most people. But not for the hard core gamers.

Dell Inspiron notebooks are a mix of entry level features and pricing. The Dell Inspiron 15, for example, has been released with improvements after consumers provided feedback on the earlier models. This one sports a thinner and lighter frame, and a 2GB RAM along with Intel Core 2 Duo engine. Not bad, except for the plastic feel.

On the cutting edge of newness are the Dell Inspiron Mini 10v Netbooks. The name itself gives away what people on the move would use this for: Internet surfing. Weighing only a little above two pounds, and at just ten inches, it looks perfect for pulling out on Starbucks to catch up on a friend's blog, or check out maps, and do some Twitter'ing. It's got editions that run Ubuntu Linux and Windows XP. Dell Inspiron Laptops are just amazing.

So, let's recap. When you're buying a laptop, here's the criteria:-

  • Space (you don't want one that consumes your desk, power and graphics (you want to be able to have fun surfing and yet open multiple spreadsheets and applications).
  • Convenience (you don't want to spend more time tweaking and fixing your PC than actually using it).
  • Price (you don't want to loan a lot or save up for months for it).
  • Style (gone are the days when awkward and squarish corners looked futuristic).

Dell does a very good job of offering a line of notebooks and laptops that meet these needs, your needs.

6 Jun 2009

Gumblar Still At Large...

What is it?
is another multi-faceted, ninja-quiet website attack.
Gumblar is named after the Gumblar.cn exploit, which so far targets users of Internet Explorer and Google search, delivering malware through compromised sites that infects a user's PC and subsequently intercepts traffic between the user and the visited sites. This means that once infected, anything the victim types could be monitored and used to commit identity theft, such as stealing credit card numbers, Web passwords or other sensitive data. Visitors encountering the compromised website also risk having their subsequent search results replaced with links that point to other malicious websites. The malware can also steal FTP credentials from the victim's computer and use them to infect more sites, thus increasing the spread of this threat. So far, more than 3,000 websites have been attacked including Tennis.com, Variety.com and Coldwellbanker.com.

Who is at risk?
Users of Internet Explorer and Google's search engine.

How do I know if I've been infected?
(as reported by Elinor Mills with data from ScanSafe):-

1. Locate sqlsodbc.chm in the Windows system folder (by default under Windows XP, the location is C:\Windows\System32\).
2. Obtain the SHA1 of the installed sqlsodbc.chm. FileAlyzer is a free tool that can be used to obtain the SHA1 of a file.
3. Compare the obtained SHA1 to the list located on the ScanSafe STAT Blog.
4. If the SHA1 and corresponding file size do not match with a pair on the reference list, it could be an indication of a Gumblar infection.

More info about Gumblar

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