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Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

How To Use The Internet

Another virus made the news yesterday. This one is targeted at the very specific World of Warcraft audience. The reason this one is worth mentioning has to do with how it infects a computer.

In the old days an advertisement would just be some image that a site put along a side of their page. Double-Click and other ad agencies took it a step further. Instead of including an image, the site would include a dynamic page. This way the ad could change for every page visit.

Google has made this dynamic content inclusion even more advanced with page relevant content and customizable lists of advertisers. Basically, you aren’t downloading an image from advertisers anymore. You're pulling JavaScript and DHTML that makes decisions based off of where and who you are.

The WoW virus launches an attack through some weaknesses in IE based off of a mouseover event. That means all you have to do is pass your cursor over the ad to trigger the attack. You don't have to click it, just pass over it on the way to your bookmarks.

Of course you have to be vulnerable to attack, which is the point of today's post. If you use the internet correctly, you can greatly reduce your chance of infection. Think of this as washing your hands. Learn it and do it.

1) Windows Update - The good folks at Microsoft have fixes for a whole host of these problems. Make sure you get your flu shot from them often.

2) Firefox - IE is a fine browser, but it's not as nice as Firefox. Apple's Safari isn't even as nice as Firefox. If you are still using IE, stop. For added fun with browsing learn to use the middle mouse button on links within Firefox. The scroll wheel isn't just for scrolling anymore.

3) Adblock Plus - One of the great things about Firefox is its add-ons. Adblock Plus is an add-on that hides advertisements. Install it and subscribe to EasyList. 90% of pages will suddenly load faster, and contain a lot less clutter. You might run into a page that is now broken, just disable Adblock for that page. (A better method is to enter an exception in the Adblock preferences, but get comfortable with Adblock before you start changing things)

4) NoScript - This is a new add-on for me. It prevents all JavaScript from running on a page. You would be surprised at how much scripting goes into making a webpage, so expect some pages to break. It is very easy to use, so don't be afraid of it. Basically after install you get an 'S' in the lower right hand corner of your browser. When you visit a site you trust, just click on the 'S' and allow that site. Most people only visit a handful of trustworthy sites regularly, so this shouldn't take long. As an added bonus you'll get to see how many third parties are involved in displaying your favorite pages. You don't need those fools so leave them blocked.

Try this at home and the internet will be all cotton candy and rainbows once again.

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GameInterestRelease Date
Civilization IV1
C&C 31
Company of Heroes1
Half Life 21
Half Life 2: Episode One1
Supreme Commander1
Call of Duty 22
Darwinia2
Dungeon Runners2
Dungeon Siege II2
Far Cry2
Galactic Civilization II2
Hitman: Blood Money2
Jade Empire2
Neverwinter Nights 22
Prey2
Psychonauts2
Sam & Max: Episode 12
Titan Quest2
Dark Messiah Might and Magic3
Defcon3
Heroes of Might and Magic V3
Indigo Prophecy3
KOTOR II3
LEGO Star Wars3
Marvel Ultimate Alliance3
Space Rangers 2: The Rise of the Dominators3
STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl3
Stubbs the Zombie3
War Front3
Warhammer: Mark of Chaos3
Infernal35/8/2007
Shadowrun25/9/07
Pirates of the Burning SeaM6/1/2007
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars?6/5/2007
Two Worlds?6/26/07
Sins of A Solar Empire?8/1/2007
BioShock18/21/2007
Mass Effect19/7/07
Age of ConanM10/30/07
Crysis1Fall 2007
Elveon?Fall 2007
Half-Life 2: Episode Two1Fall 2007
Portals1Fall 2007
Spore1Fall 2007
Stranglehold?Fall 2007
Tabula RasaMFall 2007
Team Fortress 22Fall 2007
Dragon Age?Winter 2007
Fable 2?Winter 2007
Field Ops?Winter 2007
Halo Wars?Winter 2007
Gods & Heroes: Rome RisingMWinter 2007
Haze?Winter 2007
Hellgate: London1Winter 2007
HuxleyMWinter 2007
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men?Winter 2007
Left 4 Dead?Winter 2007
The AgencyMSpring 2008
Empire Earth III?Spring 2008
Guild Wars 2 MSpring 2008
Jericho?Spring 2008
Sacred 2?Spring 2008
Savage 2?Spring 2008
Time Shift2Spring 2008
Universe at War: Earth Assault3Spring 2008
The Witcher?Spring 2008
CellFactor?2008
Darkest of Days?2008
On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkeness: Episode 122008
Warhammer OnlineM2008
Alliance: The Silent War??
Alone in the Dark??
Assassin's Creed??
BioWare MMO??
The Crossing??
Dungeon Hero??
Fallout 3??
Lego Batman??
Mythos??
Overloard??
Space Seige??
Culdcept SagaPC??
Gears of WarPC??
God of WarPC??
Beautiful KatamariPC??
OkamiPC??
Resistance: Fall of ManPC??
Odin's SpherePC??
Castle CrashersPC??

1 - I will buy it
2 - I'll buy it at discount
3 - Other people think it's good, but I wasn't interested when I first heard about it
M - Mainly Multiplayer. See if friends get interested.
? - Find out more about this game
PC? - Will it be released on the PC?