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History Of Human Computer Interaction

The first computers in the public domain where in place and used on the high street in the early 70’s in the shape of ATM machines “Automated Teller Machine”. People don’t really see this machines as computers because the interaction with them is restricted to one function, however this was truly the introduction of computers into our daily lives.

First Automated Teller MachineComputers only really existed in the work place until the late 70’s early 80’s with the introduction of home computers. The type of people that used computers in the workplace included big business and executives in the information technology professional sectors of the city. Some dedicated hobbyists owned their own PC’s or personal computers, this was really the birth of the saying “PC”. It was in the 1970’s when the patent for the first computer mouse was submitted. See picture of the actual mouse that was granted the patent. (Below)

The first computer mouse The First Computer Mouse

 First patented in 1970

There were a number of home computers in the late 1970’s to the early 1980’s, because this was the time when the inventors could see past the valve technology. Now microprocessors and Integrated circuit boards where starting to be mass produced. One of the first truly home computers for the mass market was the ZX81 this system was more a toy and had no really application in the workplace.

ZX81

ZX81 System Specification

CPU: NEC P1X108-144 D780C-1
ZX81 running at 3.33Mhz.
Video: 32×24 Characters (256×192 pixels), 64×48 Dots Block Graphics
Memory 8 Kbytes ROM, 1 KByte RAM built-in
Expanision RAM: 16KBytes (most popular) up to 56KBytes

The ZX81 run with a DOS like operating system that used code called Sinclair Basic, One of the most important breakthroughs that we all know about today was when the code DOS was invented by the newly founded Microsoft who’s CEO was and is Bill Gates. One of the best business moves in the computer technology market was when Bill Gates understood that his new operating system was right for the hardware IBM where producing. With this knowledge Microsoft done a deal with IBM thus forming the partnership we all know today. This put the world on a true course for the technical revolution as we all know it.

Then came the arrival of the home computer as we know it today this was a computer that you could now do word processing on as well as allowing basic games. The GUI “graphic user interface” was on a still basic level without images, the output on the screen was just in the form of text

First IBM Computer

The Birth Of Home Computers as we know it

A Guide to Avoiding Computer Viruses

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Avoiding Computer Viruses

This guide on avoiding computer viruses will show you how to stay alert and how to avoid getting infections on your computer. Having an updated virus scanner is only a small part of this, there are many ways that you can prevent having viruses other than a virus scanner, as it will not always save you.

Types of viruses

There are many type of viruses. Typical viruses are simply programs or scripts that will do various damage to your computer, such as corrupting files, copying itself into files, slowly deleting all your hard drive etc. This depends on the virus. Most viruses also mail themselves to other people in the address book. This way they spread really fast and appear at others’ inboxes as too many people still fall for these. Most viruses will try to convince you to open the attachment, but I have never got one that tricked me. In fact, I found myself emailing people just to make sure they really did send me something. It does not hurt to be safe.

Worms

Worms are different type of viruses, but the same idea, but they are usually designed to copy themselves a lot over a network and usually try to eat up as much bandwidth as possible by sending commands to servers to try to get in. The code red worm is a good example of this. This worm breaks in a security hole in Microsoft IIS (Internet Information Server) in which is a badly coded http server that, despite the security risks, a lot of people use it. When the worm successfully gets in, it will try to go into other servers from there. When IceTeks was run on a dedicated server at my house, there was about 10 or so attempts per day, but because we ran Apache, the attempts did not do anything but waste bandwidth and not much as I had it fixed a special way. Some worms such as the SQL slammer will simply send themselves over and over so many times that they will clog up networks, and sometimes all of the internet. Worms usually affect servers more than home users, but again, this depends on what worm it is. It is suspected that most worms are efforts from the RIAA to try to stop piracy, so they try to clog up networks that could contain files. Unfortunately, the RIAA have the authority to do these damages and even if caught, nothing can be done.

Trojans

Trojans are another type of virus. They are simply like a server in which enables hackers to get into and control the computer. A trojan such as Subseven can enable a hacker to do various things such as control the mouse, eject the cd-rom drive, delete/download/upload files and much more.

MBR virues

Boot sector viruses are another type, they are similar to file viruses, but instead they go in the boot sector and can cause serious damage when the computer is booted, some can easily format your drive simply by booting your computer. These are hard to remove.

Most viruses have various characteristics.

For example, a worm can also be a trojan and also infect the boot sector. It all depends on how the virus is written and what it is designed to do. That’s why there are not really strong structured categories, as they can easily mix one in the other.

Know the potentially dangerous files

Like any other files, computer viruses must be opened in order to do something. Most computer viruses come through email as an attachment so try to avoid files in emails. Some will make it look like it’s someone you know, and it will try to convince you to open an attachment. Never open attachments at any cost! Some viruses will infect files in programs, so opening a program will actually open the virus, maybe the same one, or another part of it.

All files have what is called an extension;

This is the 3 last letters after the last period. For example, setup.exe has a file extension of .exe.Extensions to watch out for are .exe .com .bat .scr .pif .vbs and others, but these are the most seen. .exe .com .bat .pif and .scr are valid extensions for executables. A virus writer will simply rename it to one of these and it will work the same way. .pif is a shortcut to an ms-dos program and will have the ms dos icon, but will still execute whatever code is in it, so an .exe can be renamed to .pif and be run the same way. .bat is a batch file, which can contain instructions to do various file activities, but again, a .exe can be renamed to .bat and it will execute it! .vbs is a visual basic script. For some reason, Microsoft provides this scripting language along with the scripting host to make it more convenient to design and write viruses quickly and easily, I’ve never seen another use for this scripting language other than for writing viruses. There are programs that are written with that language, but it is compiled into an exe. Exe is the usual extension for programs, you would not have a software CD install a bunch of vbs files all over!

Bottom line is,

In avoiding computer viruses you don’t know what a file is just don’t open it. Some viruses will sometimes be named a way as to mask the real file extension to make it look like a harmless file such as a image file. This is easily noticed, but can still be missed. Simply don’t open unexpected files. If you get something that appears like something legit, just ask the person it came from if they sent it. Most viruses use a friend’s address to make it look like it comes from them. The virus does this by using the person’s address when sending itself to the address book contacts.

Downloads

Email is not the only way of avoiding computer viruses; P2P (file sharing programs such as kazaa, winmx, direct connect torrents etc) is also another way to get viruses.

When downloading programs,

the main thing to watch out for is the file size. If you are downloading a program that you expect to be rather large such as a game, don’t grab a file that is 10KB, since it’s most likely a virus. However, I’ve been caught with a virus even with large files, so file size is not the only thing to watch, as an exe is still valid even if junk is added at the end, so a 64KB virus will still function even if it is turned into 650MB.

Icons are something to look for too,

fortunately, virus writers don’t take time to put icons. If your download should be a setup file, you should see the icon of a setup file. If it’s just the blank icon that typical plain or corrupted exes have, don’t open it.

Another thing to do,

which should be obvious, is to scan the file for viruses using updated virus definitions. But don’t rely on only your virus scanner, as they are not perfect, and if the virus has not been reported to them yet, they won’t know to create a definition for it!

Server worms

Some viruses, mostly worms, can exploit through servers and affect other servers from servers that have been infected. A good example is the SQL slammer. This was a worm that affected SQL servers run by Microsoft IIS and Microsoft SQL Server. Once the worm gets in, that particular server starts trying to find more exploitable driving internet connections to a halt in the process. Servers running Apache were unaffected by that, except for the many hits to try to get in. IceTeks received about 100 hits per day when it was run on a dedicated home server. Most hits came from major ISPs and other big websites that had no clue they were still affected.

Removing a virus

If you get a boot sector virus, this marks some of the boot sectors as bad preventing the computer from booting up. You will need to use a special tool for the regeneration of your hard drive. You have no need to format you hard drive now and should always be able to repair your computer with the use of safe mode and backup files of your registry and system restore and image files

Viruses are out there,

don’t be one of the many infected ones! Stay alert and stay safe! Don’t open unexpected files, regularly update your virus definitions and scan downloaded files! good luck in avoiding computer viruses

I hope this article on avoiding computer viruses was useful for you!

What is Ransomware?

What is Ransomware?

What is Ransomware?

What is Ransomware a new twist on the old forms of spyware, and like the old spyware the code writers are looking to extort money from you. The way that the ransomware sets out the achieve this is by scare tactics, the writers typically make you think they have sensitive information on you that would be damaging if people where to find out. Like the old spyware would make you think you have critical errors in your registry or bombard you with pop-ups and then offer you the solution by trying to sell you fake software. Ransomware will lock your computer or laptop and prevent you from performing basic functions while the screen is taken over with an official looking poster.

See Below:

Screenshot of UK ransomware

Above are some screenshot as examples of some of the ransomware that’s doing the rounds at the moment. They say things like you have been downloading music or looking at some illegal porno sites, then say you need a code to unlock your computer.  Some of the ramsomware can include pictures or video of you and some can have pornographic images as an example of your illegal activity.

Data Protection Act

One thing that it’s important to remember about malicious code is that it is illegal for anyone to damage your computer remotely, so putting Trojans onto a computer is an illegal activity. This means that no law enforcement organisation in the world has the right to lock your computer by any means; this is because it’s an illegal activity under the data protection act.

How to Remove Ransomware

Like spyware it is a common belief that entering a number will remove the ransomware or the spyware. This way of approaching the removal of ransomware or spyware is the wrong way because the ransomware is in form of a Trojan that has been added to your boot log and your start up programs. This means even if the code did work and it stopped the Trojan from functioning, you would still have malware on your computer and that would compromise your security. The way you should remove ransomware is to remove the Trojan, there are lots of programs that remove Trojans and different techniques. It is also possible to use dedicated spyware programs to remove ransomware, the way you install programs after your computer has been hijacked is by using safemode with networking f8.

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