Clean malware from a router

Clean malware from a router

I see a few misleading articles out there promising to tell you how to scan your router for malware or viruses. Unfortunately they don’t really explain the problem. They also don’t explain the alternative way to solve the problem you want to solve. What you really want to do is clean malware from a router–and viruses too. And that’s something you can do pretty easily. For free.

Yes, that’s right. You won’t have to pay 50 bucks a year for a subscription to keep your router clean.

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How hard-coding your DNS can improve your security

I’ve long recommended hard-coding your DNS settings as a performance and reliability enhancement–here’s my guide for that–but it turns out it can be a security enhancement too.

Botnets targetting routers aren’t new at all, but there’s a particularly nasty one named Moose running around right now. Among other things, it changes routers’ DNS settings to point to rogue DNS servers that allow the attackers to steal your social media credentials, furthering the bot. Read more

The Internet is at war. Please read this if you run a DNS server.

A Dutch ISP that acts as a spam haven is DDOSing Spamhaus, and they’re using DNS to do it. The attack is using spoofed DNS queries to create, basically, a smurf-like attack. And the sheer volume of traffic is likely to affect the Internet as a whole.

That might explain why my recruiters were complaining that it was taking forever to look up job postings today. (Yes, I can publicly admit that I’m talking to recruiters. That’s another story.)

But basically, if you run a DNS server, you need to check your configuration to keep lowlives from using your DNS as a weapon. Here is a useful page for those of you running BIND, the one of the most popular DNS servers.

This was the most common type of attack in 2012; it looks like some people are trying to up the ante in 2013. We can make it stop, but every sysadmin running a DNS server is going to have to pitch in to help.

Toggle between two registry settings with another simple script

On the heels of yesterday, the same technique that swapped hosts files can be adapted to toggle registry settings too. The registry, if you’re not familiar, is a central database that stores Windows configuration settings.

Perhaps you want to be able to toggle your screen saver timeout from the default of 1500 to a value of 9999. That way, you can easily choose between the screen saver interrupting you or not. I run into a problem when running certain emulators with the screen saver timing out on me; this would solve the problem.

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DNS and iTunes and other streaming media

There are reports floating about regarding third-party DNS affecting downloads of movies and other media, particularly from iTunes.

So, if tweaking DNS settings used to be what all the cool kids are doing, maybe it’s about to become less trendy, thanks to advice circulating to ditch third-party, centralized DNS providers like Google and OpenDNS, because they “defeat the distributed nature of DNS itself.”

The answer of what DNS to use and why is more complex than that.
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Fixing my b0rken WordPress installation

A little over a week ago, WordPress started acting weird. First, it just got dog slow. Then my site stats page started freezing until I scrolled down and then back up again. Then I started seeing a WordPress.com logon screen on my site stats page. I had to look that account up. Thank goodness for Gmail. Then my Akismet spam filter quit working. Then my stats page stopped working entirely.

I lived with it for a couple of days. I figured maybe WordPress and Akismet had changed something. Or maybe my Linux distribution had. And maybe some update messed things up, and some other update would come along and fix it. No such luck. Read more

Best public DNS – finding the best for you

Best public DNS – finding the best for you

If your Internet connection is slow, it almost always helps if you optimize your DNS. But there’s more to the best public DNS than just speed. I’ll tell you how to find the fastest DNS, but using a DNS that offers improved security gives your computer protection beyond what your antivirus and firewall provide.

Sometimes it’s enough, and it’s definitely cheaper than buying a new router. Even if you do get a new router, using fast DNS helps. Here’s how to find the best public DNS to use, to improve your speed and your security.

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