Support Alert Newsletter
Premium SE Edition
$10.00 a year subscription. So usually as I have been getting these I have been only posting maybe 5 out of 40 new items that are listed every month.
You can register for the free subscription, see if you like it, then get the paid one.
I am posting the whole write up on this one, if you surf, don't do it without this. It is easier than making a Virtual Desktop to search the web, etc...
1. Sandboxie: Free for non-commercial use, Windows 2000 and later,
Last month's editorial on safe surfing drew a big response from
subscribers. In particular, folks just raved about Sandboxie,
the free utility that allows you to safely surf the net in a
virtual layer on your PC.
Colin Drew's email was typical: "Gizmo, it's just like you said.
This Sandboxie thing has changed my whole attitude to surfing.
I'm no longer afraid where I go on the web or paranoid about
downloading and trying out new stuff."
For those who missed last month's issue, Sandboxie is a freeware
utility for users of Windows 2000 and later that creates a
special contained "sandbox" environment on your PC. While
browsing within the virtual sandbox provided by Sandboxie you
are totally corralled off from other parts of your PC. Any files
you download are isolated to the sandbox. Similarly, any
programs that are executed only do so within the sandbox and
have no access to your normal files, the Windows operating
system or any other part of your PC.
A number of products offer similar capabilities to Sandboxie but
the feature that distinguishes it from most of these is that it
can be launched right from your desktop with no re-booting.
That's a really big plus.
Usage is remarkably simple. To start a sandboxed browsing
session you just click the Sandboxie icon in from the Quick
Launch tray and this will launch your default browser in the
sandbox. You can then use it in the normal way to browse to
sites or download files.
If you run a downloaded file it will install normally but again
will be corralled off from your real PC. Any files it writes to
your hard drive, any changes to the Windows Registry or changes
to the Windows startup will be held in a separate area within
the sandbox. Similarly, any new processes running in your
computer memory will be sandboxed.
After you have finished browsing you can right click the
Sandboxie icon and delete all sandboxed files and processes and
your PC will be returned to the exact same state it was in
before the browsing session.
The advantage is clear: any spyware, trojans, keyloggers or
other malware products that infected your PC while browsing will
It's an attractive idea and I can see why so many subscribers
have been so enthusiastic about Sandboxie.
Now, with all you folks putting such faith in the product I feel
I need to say a little more about Sandboxie and to answer a few
First, how safe is Sandboxie?
I've done some more testing with Sandboxie to see how well it
isolates your "real" PC from infection. These were tough tests
involving visits to drive-by download sites that utilized
Windows flaws to install up to 50MB of particularly nasty
malware. Additionally, I installed a number of rootkit-disguised
spyware programs, two keyloggers and a RAT trojan as well.
I'm happy to say Sandboxie provided full protection. Once I
stopped all sandboxed processes and erased all sandboxed files,
there were no active malware products left on my PC.
I'm not saying that Sandboxie provides 100% total protection; no
single security product can provide that. What I can say from my
testing is that Sandboxie provides a level of protection so high
that you can use it with full confidence.
Even if you use Sandboxie for all your browsing you still need
other security software installed on your PC: an antivirus
scanner, an anti spyware scanner, a firewall and more. As I
said, no security product is perfect, Sandboxie included. That's
why you need several layers of defense just in case Sandboxie
A second question I need to clarify about Sandboxie is its
Because Sandboxie erases all traces of a browsing session, it's
clearly a good way of enhancing your privacy. Any record of the
sites you visited and any files you downloaded will be erased.
Well, not quite. While all sandboxed files may have been deleted
they could be undeleted by a skilled operator in the same way
any deleted file on your PC may be recovered.
This may not be likely but it's quite possible. If you want to
truly erase deleted Sandboxie material then you should clean
your hard drive "unused" space after browsing using a forensic
level file deleter such as the open source program "Eraser."
But even that won't guarantee complete privacy. There may be
records of your browsing session at your ISP, your company's
server and at the sites you visited.
This privacy risk is very small but can be reduced by using a
free anonymizing service like Tor or Jap while browsing with
Sandboxie. Reduced yes, but eliminated, no. Nothing you do on
the Internet should ever be considered absolutely 100% private
and confidential. Yes, the risk of disclosure is minute, but
never engage in any internet activity based on the assumption
that they can never be found out by a law enforcement authority
or other agency with privileged access.
See you next month.
2. Advanced Google
Google can do much more than search. For example to convert 150
Euros to US dollars just type in "150 Euros in USD." To see
some of Google's other amazing capabilities check out this cheat
3. Video How-To Site
This is a very
extensive site with sections on guides, tools, hardware, media
4. Lots of Clever Free Utilities
The Donation Coder site is offering hundreds of free utilities
all full-featured with no nag screens. They use a novel
licensing system: you have to register to get a free license key
which allows you to download any number of programs on the site.
This key lasts six months after which you must return to the
site to download another free license key. After a year you are
given a permanent license. Alternatively, you can make a once-up
donation of any size and get a permanent key straight away.
5. The Best Free Audio Editing Utility
To start with, Kristal has an ASIO driver while Audacity
doesn't. That means that you can monitor your pre-recorded
tracks in real-time while you're overdubbing new ones, mandatory
when multi-track recording.
6. Useless Waste of Time Department
7. Free Computer Games Galore
This site claims, "The Definitive Guide to the Best New Games on
the Web." A strong statement indeed but at least they are
nicely sorted by game category. I downloaded three and they were
spyware-free but I can't vouch for the other 98.