Thursday, February 28, 2008

Increase security by disabling these Windows XPservices

Be smart and secure your system by shutting down unnecessary services. As long as Microsoft Windows has been a network-capable operating system, it has come with some services turned on by default, so it's a good idea for security-conscious users of Microsoft’s windows XP to shut down any of these services they aren't using.

Microsoft’s Internet Information Services provide the capabilities of a Web server for your computer.
NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing
NetMeeting is primarily a VoIP and videoconferencing client for Microsoft Windows, but this service in particular is necessary to remote desktop access.
Remote Desktop Help Session Manager
This service is used by the Remote Assistance feature that allows others remote access to the system to help you troubleshoot problems.
Remote Registry
The capabilities provided by the Remote Registry service are frightening to consider from a security perspective. They allow remote users (in theory, and only under controlled circumstances) to edit the Windows Registry.
Routing and Remote Access
This service bundles a number of capabilities, which most system administrators would probably agree should be provided separately. It is rare that any of them should be necessary for a typical desktop system such as Microsoft Windows XP, however, so they can all conveniently be turned off as a single service. Routing and Remote Access provides the ability to use the system as a router and NAT device, as a dialup access gateway, and as a VPN server.
Simple File Sharing
When a computer isn't part of a Microsoft Windows domain, it's assumed by the default settings that all filesystem shares are meant to be universally accessible. In the real world, however, we should want to provide shares only to specific, authorized users. Simple File Sharing, which provides blanket access to shares without exceptions, is not what we want to use for sharing filesystem resources. It is active by default on both Windows XP Professional and Windows XP Home editions. Unfortunately, this can't be disabled for Windows XP Home. For Windows XP Professional, you can disable it by opening My Computer | Tools | Folder Options, clicking the View tab, and deselecting the Use Simple File Sharing (Recommended) check box in the Advanced settings: pane.
SSDP Discovery Service
This service is used to discover UPnP devices on your network and is required for the Universal Plug and Play Device Host service (see below) to operate.
The Telnet service is an old mechanism for providing remote access to a computer, most commonly known from its use in the bad ol’ days of security for remote command shell access on UNIX servers. These days, using Telnet to remotely manage a UNIX system may be grounds for firing, and an encrypted protocol such as SSH should be used instead.
Universal Plug and Play Device Host
Once you have your Plug and Play devices installed on your system, it is often the case that you will not need this service again.
Windows Messenger Service
Listed in the Services window under the name Messenger, the Windows Messenger Service provides “net send” and “Alerter” functionality. It is unrelated to the Windows Messenger instant messaging client and is not necessary for using the Windows Messenger IM network.
On your system, these services may not all be turned on, or even installed. Whether a given service is installed and running may depend on whether you installed the system yourself, whether you are using XP Home or XP Professional, and from which vendor you got your computer (if Windows XP was preinstalled).
With the exception of Simple File Sharing, all of the above listed services can be disabled from the same place. Simply click on the Start button, then navigate to Settings | Control Panel, open Administrative Tools, and from there open the Services window. To disable any service in the list, double-click on its entry in that window and change the Startup Type setting. In general, you should change services you are turning off for security purposes to a Disabled state. When in doubt about whether a given service is necessary for other services, check the Dependencies tab in the service’s settings dialog.
Obviously, this is not a comprehensive list of everything running on your computer that you may want to turn off. It is merely a list of items you most likely do not need and that constitute a security vulnerability if left running. Most users will never need any of the services in this list once the computer is up and running. Other services may be disabled without ill effect as well, though you should research each item in the complete services list before you disable it to ensure that you really don't need it. Some of them, such as the Remote Procedure Call (RPC) service, are critical to the normal operation of your system.

Every running—but unused—service on your machine is an unnecessary security vulnerability. If a service is not important at all for authorized users and basic system functionality, turn it off.

Don't forget to have good perimeter defense. Not all security occurs on the desktop. It’s a good idea to use an external firewall/router to help protect your computer.
At the low end, you can purchase a retail router device, such as the commercial Linksys, D-Link, and Netgear routers.
Higher up the scale, you can get managed switches, routers, and firewalls from “Enterprise” class vendors such as Cisco. Proxy servers, antivirus gateways, and spam filtering gateways can all contribute to stronger perimeter security as well.
Remember that in general switches are better for security than hubs, routers with NAT are better than switches, and firewalls are a definite necessity.

Also, This site is a must and...a most useful scan on the site is the All Service Ports scan, which provides the result of a scan to determine the status of network port numbers from 0 to 1055. In other words, it tells you how big a target you are to malicious security crackers.

Aurora Borealis: Nature Lights Up the Skies

All it takes is for the earth to have an atmosphere and the sun to eject ions at speeds up to 1200 km/second then BAM! You’ve got some unbelievable mother nature action
Aurora happens in both the southern and northern hemispheres, particularly in the polar zone. It is called Aurora Borealis (also known as Northern Lights) in the Artic region and Aurora Australis in the Antartic region. Streaming plasma clouds, composed of fast moving charged particles, form a solar wind.
interaction of the solar wind with the earth’s magnetic field that traps some of these charged particles. These trapped particles then flow along the magnetic field lines of the earth into the upper most regions of our planet’s atmosphere. That’s when the lights become manifest and their dance begins
Aurora australis as seen from a Space Shuttle
Red and green Aurora in Fairbanks, Alaska
Aurora sightings in Oklahoma City
Northern Lights over a house in Iceland
Unknown location
Northern Lights - Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
Aurora over Arena, Wisconsin
Northern Lights shine above
Aurora australis captured
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Spectacular Aerial View of Space Shuttle Columbia

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14. Spectacular Aerial View of Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-2) Roaring Into Space From Launch Pad 39A on November 12, 1981 at 10:09:59 a.m. EST, As Seen From NASA's Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA), NASA Kennedy Space Center, State of Florida, USA. Photo Credit: NASA Astronaut John Watts Young; Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-2), Launch Complex 39, Pad A, John F. Kennedy Space Center, November 12, 1981, GRIN ( Database Number: GPN-2000-001358, National Aeronautics and Space Adm
Spectacular Aerial View of Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-2) Roaring Into Space on November 12, 1981
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Spectacular Green Aurora Borealis

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1. Spectacular Green Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) Above Bear Lake on January 18, 2005, Eielson Air Force Base, State of Alaska, USA. Photo Credit: Senior Airman Joshua Strang, Air Force Link - Photos (, 050118-F-3488S-003,
Spectacular Green Aurora Borealis Above Bear Lake, January 18, 2005
Eielson Air Force Base, State of Alaska, USA
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Beautiful Crescent Earth

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16. Beautiful Crescent Earth, November 9, 1967, As Seen By NASA's Unmanned Apollo 4 (20) Mission (Spacecraft 017/Saturn-V AS-501). Photo Credit: NASA Apollo IV Mission: Unmanned Apollo 4 (Spacecraft 017/Saturn 501); AS04-1-500, Crescent Earth; Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA-Johnson Space Center. 'Astronaut Photography of Earth - Display Record.' <>; National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA, http:/
16. Beautiful Crescent Earth, November 9, 1967
As Seen By NASA's Unmanned Apollo 4 (20) Mission (Spacecraft 017/Saturn-V AS-501)
Seen By NASA's Unmanned Apollo 4 (20) Mission
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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Great free education list

Enjoy some free education...check out this massive free education list.

List of great free computer software

This is the biggest and best list of computer related free and non-free software for
various tasks.

Scientists can tell date of birth by looking into eyes

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Proteins called lens crystallines form in the eye in our early years  and remain essentially unchanged
The age measurement method comes as an unusual byproduct of atomic weapons tests that took place in the atmosphere half a century ago. The carbon isotope that the explosions produced has declined year by year, providing a kind of watch to determine a victim's birth dates by looking into the lens of the eye
by measuring the amount of the carbon isotope C-14 trapped in the eye lens
when a person was born
The reason that the isotope level can be used this way is that it is incorporated into the body in the first two years of life to build tiny transparent proteins
known as lens crystallines, remain essentially unchanged for the rest of our lives and is the only tissue in the human body apart from dental enamel to remain unchanged throughout life
By comparing the yearly record of the content of the C-14 in the atmosphere with the content of C-14 in the lens crystallines of the eye, scientists can accurately date a person's year of birth - providing they are born after 1950
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Giant Queens cross in Sydney Harbour #2

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The Queen Elizabeth 2 and the Queen Victoria pass each other. Photo: Ben Rushton

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Giant Queens cross in Sydney Harbour

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Giant Queens cross in Sydney Harbour
The Queen Elizabeth 2 and the Queen Victoria pass each other.
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10 Best Places to Get Free Books

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Lightning burst captured in photo

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Trees: magnificient photos
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