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Browser Malware Protection Test – Thought Provoking Results

NSS Labs issued results of its second test of web browser protection against socially engineered malware. Social engineering is a technique of deceiving Web users to receive their personal information and get profit out of it. As an example, this can be an email supposedly sent by your bank with the request to confirm your credit card details. Or it may be sent supposedly by your social network support staff and contain a link to the fake page where you should enter your username and password to verify your profile or get access to the new interface. Both credit card details and your profile details will be used by violators to get material or immaterial profit. Even the most experienced Web user can be hooked by “social engineers”. It’s needless to say that newbie can be hooked by them easily. That’s why we need protection against this way too widespread web evil.

12 days’ testing of the most popular web browsers conducted by NSS Labs showed which browsers protect users from visiting malicious web sites best of all. NSS Labs tested the latest generally available versions of web browsers and got the following results:

  • Internet Explorer 8 became a leader with almost 81% protection from malware. This great result proves that SmartScreen technology is really worthwhile. The result is even more overwhelming when compared to Internet Explorer 7‘s 4% protection – IE has made a great progress.

  • Firefox 3 achieved 27% catch rate against malware. This is the highest result among products based on Google SafeBrowsing API.

  • Safari 421%.

  • Chrome 27%.

  • Opera 10 Beta as well as Opera 9 provides almost no protection with 1% catch rate.

    Do you hate using Internet Explorer just like I do? Even if your answer is “yes”, this report gives cause to consider using it once again 🙂 . Meanwhile, you can download the full report here.

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    August 27, 2009 Posted by | Browsers, internet | 2 Comments

    Firefox add-ons for Facebook

    After switching to Firefox 3.5, it’s time to revise add-ons that makes your connecting with Facebook friends easier, faster and much more pleasant. Here is the list of Firefox add-ons for Facebook – Firefox 3.5 compatible only!

    facebook_icon1Facebook Toolbar is one of the most widespread Firefox add-ons for Facebook users. Still, it’s reported to not always work smoothly for Firefox 3.5.x, so maybe you’d better replace it with the following toolbar:

    friendbar Friendbar – integrates both Facebook and Twitter activities. It displays a running stream of text and photo updates from Facebook and Twitter, and allows you to post updates, retweet, direct messages, and replies.

    boost Boost for Facebook – add tons of Facebook features to Firefox – autopoke, auto-login, hundreds of skins, album options, rollover pics, etc. The best is that Boost options are selectable – you can use only what you need.

    pad FacePAD – Facebook Photo Album Downloader.  FacePAD allows you to download your friends’ facebook albums, Events albums, and Group Albums. It takes some time to get all the features working, but it does the job.

    facebook_video Facebook Video lets you download or convert Facebook videos, and embed videos outside of Facebook. The download, convert video, and customize code links are added to Facebook video pages in an unobtrusive way.

    user_search Facebook User Search – the name speaks for itself.  Search for Facebook users either using their names or email address.

    web_forum Facebook Web Forum – Chat on any web site you browse. This extension adds a sidebar from which you can start discussions and join top or latest discussions. It’s easy to show/hide, but one can’t adjust sidebar width.

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    August 19, 2009 Posted by | Browsers, Mozilla Firefox, Social Networks | , , | 3 Comments

    Firefox 3.5 New Features and Useful Tips

    In a year after the record braking Firefox 3.0, Mozilla releases Firefox 3.5 to make web surfing even faster and handier.

    Here are the new features of FF 3.5 and tips how to use them:

    Private Browsing: surf the Web without leaving a single trace. Start to browse privately by clicking  Tools > Start Private Browsing or Ctrl+Shift+P.

    Forget About This Site: the option to forget about a particular web site you have visited that means all entries related to that site will be removed from your browser history. To forget a site, go to History > Show all history (or press Ctrl+Shift+H) and in the Library window right-click the site you want Firefox to forget about and select Forget About This Site.

    Smooth Scrolling through Tabs: if you have a lot of tabs open, put your mouse on the row of tabs and scroll with the mouse wheel through tabs to easily find the one you need. Note that scrolling works only when you have so many tabs opened that the scrolling arrows appear on the right and on the left of tabs row.

    If you have not so many tabs opened, you can try this shortcut for fast moving to the tab you need: press Ctrl + the number of tab you want to view, for example, Ctrl+2 for the second tab.

    Location-Aware Browsing: Firefox 3.5 comes with a new location-aware browsing (geolocation) feature that is enabled by default. It identifies your location using your computer’s IP, Google’s random client identifier, etc. and share it with the websites that ask for location data. Don’t be scared, data isn’t shared without your permission. Any time a website asks for your location data, Firefox will show you a message so that you can choose whether you want to share or not to share geolocation data with this website. Settings you chose can be remembered for this site so that you shouldn’t click buttons every time you visit the website.

    If you don’t like the idea to share your geolocation data at all, try more advanced way to solve the problem. Type about:config in the Firefox address bar, enter geo.enabled into the filter form. Double-click geo.enabled entry so that its value become “false”. Geolocation feature is now disabled for you.

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    July 1, 2009 Posted by | Browsers, internet, Mozilla Firefox | 2 Comments

    Firefox add-ons for Twitter

    My favorite Firefox extensions for Twitter:

    TwitterFoxTwitterFox – maybe, the most popular of Firefox plugins for Twitter. This extension adds a tiny icon on the status bar which notifies you when your friends update their tweets. Also it has a small text input field to update your tweets.

    TwitterBarTwitterBar – allows you to post to Twitter from Firefox’s address bar. A small Twitter icon sits to the right of your address bar; clicking on it will post your tweet, and you can hover your mouse over it to see how many characters you have left.

    TwitzerTwitzer -a Firefox extension which lets you post text longer than 140 characters on Twitter.com.  It also shows you the true adresses of TinyURLs so that you are sure you are clicking on safe links.

    TwitThatTwitThat – post current page to Twitter via twitthat.com. The simple button sits in Firefox toolbar and enables you to twit current page in one click.

    SocialWhaleSocial Whale – create short URLs for use with Twitter or any other service with just one click. Additionally you can upload images using the twitpic.com service.

    TwittyTunesTwittyTunes – allows to post your currently playing songs to Twitter with a click. You can also post the websites you’re visiting, videos you’re watching and regular updates.

    SearchCloudlet Search Cloudlet – tag clouds inserted into  Twitter home-page, search page, profile page, favorites and even into public timeline. Also, on top of traditional simple tag clouds, Cloudlet adds various context-sensitive clouds, such as Author Clouds, Recipient Clouds and Hashtag Clouds. Also works with Google and Yahoo.

    Twitter sidebars for Firefox:

    TwitbinTwitbin – allows you to keep up with all of your Twitter conversations right from your browser sidebar. Send messages, receive messages, share links, and more from Twitbin.

    TwitKitTwitKit – has a 6-section interface, using tabs to separate content. You can view the Twitter public timeline, your user timeline, a list of your friends and their latest tweets, a list of your followers and their latest tweets, @replies made to you, and stats about your account.

    Enjoy your twits!

    Coming soon: Firefox extensions for Digg, Reddit, Facebook, StumbleUpon etc. Stay tuned!

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    May 18, 2009 Posted by | Browsers, internet, Mozilla Firefox, Social Networks | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

    Firefox addons for sharing and social interaction

    Social networks are on the peak of their popularity. How to make sharing in social media easier and faster? Use the best Firefox extensions for sharing and bookmarking content within social networks:

    addthisAddThis – one of the most popular sharing tools is now presented as Firefox plugin. By adding AddThis to your browser, you have all your social bookmarking and sharing tools at your fingertips. Share any page, anytime, with anyone.

    shareaholicShareaholic – enables you to quickly, and very easily share, e-mail, bookmark, and blog links via a wide array of your favorite web 2.0 social networking, bookmarking, blogging, and e-mail services. Shareaholic supports over 40 services including Twitter, Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Facebook, Delicious, MySpace, Sphinn, etc.

    share-thisShare This – makes sharing any online content quick and easy. The ShareThis plugin allows you to share text, pictures and video to any contact via email, IM, text message, Facebook, MySpace, Digg, Twitter and many more services. You can also store your shares for later or re-share them with the ShareThis ShareBox.

    social-mediaSocial Media for Firefox – status bar that shows the number of Diggs, Reddit Votes, Stumble Thumbs and or Reviews, and Del.icio.us tags, Tweets, Sphinns, Mixx, and Tip’d votes so you can quickly see how popular certain content is. Also scans said social sites to show you what content hasn’t been submitted to other social news sites so you can be the first to add it.

    yoono1Yoono – simplifies your social life on the web by centralizing all your social networks and instant messaging in one easy to use browser sidebar. Get all your friend updates automatically wherever you are on the web and update your status instantly across Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and more. Easily share these discoveries with your friends via your social networks.

    mingglMinggl – a social interaction manager. The Minggl toolbar makes it easy to manage information, communication, and navigation across (and independent of) social networks. Minggl works with Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, LinkedIn, Digg and… more soon.

    synergyshareSynergyShare – allows you to share any web page with over 50 social networking sites through the right-click menu. The only shortcoming is that SynergyShare is only compatible with Firefox 1.5 – 2.0.0.

    Coming soon: Firefox addons for Twitter, Digg, Reddit, Facebook, StumbleUpon, etc. Don’t miss the next posts!

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    May 7, 2009 Posted by | Browsers, internet, Mozilla Firefox, Social Networks, Web 2-0 | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

    April’s most interesting and important news

    calendar_april2What’s new this April?

    1. Winamp 5.552 was released. What’s new:

    • Improved iPod Sync Support
    • New iTunesLibrary Import
    • New Online Services Gallery
    • New OurStage Radio Online Services
    • New Spinner MP3 of the Day Online Service
    • New Turkish, Romanian, and Portuguese Language Packs

    2. Firefox 3.0.9 and 3.0.10 stability releases were delivered to fix some security and stability issues.

    3. Firefox 3.5 Beta 4 is available for download and testing. New features and changes in this milestone that require feedback include:

    * Beta is now available in 70 languages .

    * Private Browsing Mode.

    * Better performance and stability with the new TraceMonkey JavaScript engine.

    * The ability to provide Location Aware Browsing using web standards for geolocation.

    * Support for native JSON, and web worker threads.

    * Improvements to the Gecko layout engine, including speculative parsing for faster content rendering.

    * Support for new web technologies such as: HTML5 <video> and <audio> elements, downloadable fonts and other new CSS properties, JavaScript query selectors, HTML5 offline data storage for applications, and SVG transforms.

    4. Facebook opened up its developer API stream that gave third-party developers an opportuniny to  connect to their users’ streams and let their users read their streams wherever they want. Now with the Open Stream API developers are able to create new applications and services with new user interfaces for the stream. One of the first examples of using the Open Stream API is Xobni – an Outlook plug-in which enables you to keep track of your social network activity immediately from the mail client.

    5. Gmail presented two new features in Labs: suggesting new recipients while composing messages and easy inserting images into mails.

    6. Hitwise company published stunning data about Twitter growth.

    Twitter’s growth in Australia was 1,067 percent since the start of this year. The number of visitors to Twitter has more than tripled in New Zealand since the beginning of the year. Twitter’s share of online visits in the United States and Britain had increased by 570 percent and 621 percent respectively since the start of the year.

    April 28, 2009 Posted by | Browsers, e-mail, internet, Mozilla Firefox, Social Networks, Software | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

    Internet Explorer 8 Release Candidate Now Available

    Yesterday Microsoft issued the release candidate 1 for its Internet Explorer 8. So, the release is not far off and we can sum up what we’ll have with the new IE 8.

    ie8

    What’s new:

    • Accelerators. Great thing to get your usual things like e-mailing, translating words or looking for address in a mapping website done faster. Select the text on a web-page, right-click the selection and select the needed item from the Accelerators list. They are:

    blogWindows Live;

    bookmark and shareFacebook, Stumbleupon, Add to Any;

    emailGmail, Windows Live Hotmail;

    defineWikipedia, Encarta, Dictionary Reference;

    find people Facebook, LinkedIn;

    maps Google Maps, LiveMaps, Yahoo! Maps;

    translateWindows Live Translator, Google Translate;

    find producteBay;

    weatherWeather.com;

    search videoYouTube.

    • Web Slices. They let you easily and quickly access dynamic Web data like weather, eBay listings, digg’s top ten pages, stock quotes, etc. The full list of Web Slices to add to IE you can find here.
    • Suggested Sites. Click this item on the toolbar to see the list of sites you might like based on your browsing history. The feature can be turned on or off if needed.
    • Compatibility View. Make websites designed for older browsers look better in Internet Explorer 8. Compatibility View button is next to the Refresh button on the Address Bar.
    • InPrivate mode. The feature many people like about Safari and Chrome is Private browsing without saving browsing history. Now it’s also available in the Internet Explorer. Can be turned on from the Tools menu.
    • Security enhancements. SmartScreen Filter for better protection against deceptive and malicious websites is in the new Internet Explorer.

    Small yet great changes:

    • Better tabs. They’re not only colored but also logically structured. When the tab is launched from one of already opened tabs, it’ll take the color of its parent tabs. The tabs of the same color are grouped together. New tab opens just near the parent tab, not in the other end of the browser. Also, when you create a new tab, you see not just a blank page, but the question What do you want to do next. And you can reopen closed tab, start Private browsing or use an accelerator directly from here. Also, not new but redesigned Quick Tabs button allows to view all tabs thumbnails in one tab.
    • Better toolbars management. Toolbars can be closed by simply clicking X button in the left side without opening Toolbars menu. To open a toolbar again, right-click toolbars area and check the needed toolbar.
    • Better Address and Search Bar. The new toolbar both predicts what web page you want to open while you’re typing a URL and group predictions by URL, Autocomplete Suggestion, History, Favorites, and Feeds.

    What I miss:

    • of course, a download manager, which IE developers still seem to be something unnecessary, while I need it very much.

    Resume:

    Everyone has its own opinion – that’s natural. Firefox fans can say that almost everything IE 8 offers can be done in Firefox with add-ons. And they’ll be right. Still, I think that the new Internet Explorer is worth trying and even using. At least to know what we’ll have with the new Windows 7. And I’m sure people who’re used to browse with IE 7 will welcome new features and abilities of this web browser.

    January 27, 2009 Posted by | Browsers | , | 1 Comment

    Firefox bets on Yandex

    Cooperation of Mozilla and Google is long and beneficial for both sides. So, why did Mozilla decide to prefer Yandex, the leading Russian search engine, as the default search engine and start page for Russian locale builds, starting with Firefox 3.1? For now, there is no official statement of Mozilla-Yandex business agreement at Mozilla official site, but we can learn details at bugzilla.mozilla.org.

    What’s the reason of dropping Google, one of the major revenue sources of Mozilla?

    The most obvious reason is that Yandex has the largest market share in Russia (≈45%), while Google is #2 with ≈35% (according to reports of liveinternet.ru). Nevertheless, market share is not the one and only parameter to measure the quality of search provided by search engine. Market share is a result of skilful marketing more than of quality search. There is a great resource to analyze search quality of different search engines for both Russian and English language queries – http://analyzethis.ru. Selecting Russian query language, we’ll see that Yandex leads in most parameters of quality search. For English language, Google has better results. Even without analytics, in practice we can see that while being great in Russian, Yandex gives rather poor results in English. Thus, we can assume that most of Yandex users still switch to Google to find something outside the ru domain. So, the difference in Yandex’s and Google’s popularity in Russian market is not so big to terminate a beneficial agreement with Google.

    That’s why I incline toward other reason. As it’s known, Google recently changed its software pack – Google Pack and Firefox isn’t a Google Pack default browser any more. The place of Google Pack default browser was given to… let me guess… maybe, Google Chrome?! Of course. Could there be other applicants? 😉 It’s hard to estimate Mozilla’s losses resulted from this change, but it’s easy to understand the prospect and Google’s plans for future. Chrome is and will be Google’s favorite, and this is natural – Google wants to promote its own product first.

    So, maybe that’s why Mozilla’s looking for new partners…

    January 12, 2009 Posted by | Browsers, Mozilla Firefox, search engines, Yandex | , | Leave a comment

    What was hot in IT world 2008

    This is a guest post from Helen Grigorieva. She is a tech writer, an author of Flash’y’mania – blog about everything concerning Flash, an assistant marketing director of international software development company, a person interested in tech and Web news and a very nice girl 🙂

    The last week of the year is the best time to resume everything that happened in the tech world during the year. So, let’s look at some statistics represented as flash charts to learn what was at the top this year.

    Top websites 2008
    What are the most popular places of the Web world? The most popular websites according to Alexa ranking and their daily reach (% of global internet users who visit the sites):

    popular_websites_20081

    Top search engines 2008
    Search is an integral part of the Web. Search engines are the integral parts of our life. What search engines were used the most this year?

    top_search_engines_2008

    Top web browsers 2008
    Thing which opens the Web for us is a web-browser. Which is the most popular this year?

    top_web_browsers_2008

    Top software 2008
    Top software of this year is evidently various anti-virus programs. What else was in greatest demand this year?

    top_software_2008

    Top PC games 2008
    Of course, computer world can’t be imagined without games. Leaders of this year among the PC games are below:

    top_games_2008

    That’s how computer world lived this year.

    Charts are created with Animated Chart software.

    Merry Christmas!


    December 25, 2008 Posted by | Browsers, Charts and Graphs, games, search engines, Software | 1 Comment

    Google’s Chrome is out of beta. What’s the hurry?

    google_chromeToday, Google announced that their Chrome leaves beta. This was really fast – about three month to make browser stable and fast enough to take off  ‘beta’ label. It is a little strange for me to see Chrome 1.0 because major release must introduce new features, and Chrome 1.0 doesn’t. Yes, Chrome is rather fast and stable, but it still doesn’t have such important features as add-ons and built-in RSS reader, although everyone expected them to be in a non-beta version. So, what’s the hurry? It’s easy to understand – beta version can’t be preinstalled on a new computers. So, now we can expect that Google will try to conclude contracts with OEM (original equipment manufacturers). Maybe, your next computer will be with preinstalled Chrome :).

    In spite of all unfinished tasks, let’s congratulate Chrome developers with the 1.0 version and wish them to make Chrome even better. Chrome 1.0 can be downloaded from here.

    google_chrome_screenshot

    December 12, 2008 Posted by | Browsers, Google, Software | , , , , | 5 Comments