Archive for the 'Denial of Service' Category

Mobiion MagiCall

I’ve just started using this application today and it is a must have App for your Windows Smartphone.

Take a look at the sales pitch: here

I’m currently using it to block 08080000144 .. a phone number that constantly calls me during the day. It is supposed to be linked to vodafone in some way, but I don’t really know why they’d want to call me since I haven’t got any association with them in any way.

Still… I don’t care, they can call all they like as it is now set to block them :-)


Internet Explorer - Critical Security Update

I guess I’m only posting this due to the mass hysteria in the media at the moment.

I know lots of people are using IE in corporate environments, I would like to hope that the guys in charge of your work machine will roll this patch out for you ASAP.

For those of you like me, who use IE in a development environment and/or a Virtual Machine, you’ll be pleased to know that Microsoft have released a ‘quick’ fix for the issue.

You can get the patch from Microsoft: here

Read the mass hysteria (from the BBC): here

I think that it is obvious to the average user, that the Internet can never be 100% safe, even if you are running other browsers.

My advice (for what it’s worth) is:

  • If possible (and I can’t believe I’m about to say this!) run a *nix based Operating System (e.g. Linux, MacOS, Solaris). (Read this Whitepaper - registration required)
  • Keep anti virus software up-to-date - remember some of the best packages are free, such as Avast! and AVG
  • Ensure your browser security settings are set to ‘High’ in the ‘Internet Zone’ (Shown in Figure 1 below)

Figure 1: High setting for the Internet zone

  • Run the protected mode in IE provided if running Windows Vista
  • Browse the internet as a non-admin user (i.e. a user that is not classed as an administrator!)
  • Use Windows Defender (if running Windows)
  • Don’t store passwords and personal information on your hard drive in an unencrypted form - if you must store it, ENCRYPT it!
  • Delete all those emails you get from various companies that contains your username and the password you forgot but needed reminding about!
  • Sign out of your online banking as soon as you’ve finished using it
  • Use a spy ware detective, such as SpyBot - Search and Destroy

Even doing all above, and by being ultra paranoid, you can never be 100% safe. Just remember, ALL of the technologies that are out there to protect you are written by people, not super humans, they can make mistakes, and source code can be released into the community for devious individuals to take advantage of.

You are in control of which sites you visit, what emails you open and what software you install!

There’s lots of great advice out there, just look for information on how to remain safe online :-) DON’T PANIC!

Remember, that you might not be able to install and/or do many of the things I’ve suggested here at your place of work due to restrictions on what you are allowed to do. Don’t give your engineers a headache!


Dead SQL Server 2005 box… could it be down to a cursor?

Today was an odd one… a colleague and I were doing some eXtreme Programming (XP)…. i.e. we needed to solve an issue with one of our many ASP.NET applications quickly!!

We were looking at a stored procedure that contained a cursor. We then fiddled a bit and commented out lots of it out to aid our debug… In our excitement to solve the problem we made the schoolboy error of not un-commenting the CLOSE and DEALLOCATE steps in the cursor when we reinstated it.

The web page linked to the stored procedure was loading in the browser… it took an age to appear… alarm bells were ringing! What had we done… was there an infinite loop cursor in progress?

I logged into SQL Server Management Studio to run a diagnostic query. The diagnostic query I was running was very similar to the excellent one Glenn Berry has published. It checked for obvious issues such as

  1. High CPU load operations
  2. Blocking queries
  3. Transaction log size
  4. Network and I/O issues

I was not unsurprised to see that the transaction log on tempdb was full. Not being a SQL expert in the slightest, I called the Operations Manager over for assistance. Remote Desktop to the machine was also non functioning… what had we done! Could a messed up cursor really cause all these issues?

Well, the investigations continue. If you experience similar issues to this, definitely look at Glen Berry’s SQL script and the following Microsoft support articles

  1. Causes of Transaction log expansion
  2. Unexpected transaction log growth



Open Source Blogging…. many upsides… but also plenty of downsides

You may have wondered why my site hasn’t been visible for a few days…. well, I got "Wordpressed"… It seems some security vulnerabilities were discovered, and lots of blogs were attacked.

Nothing was harmed, except my Google and other search engine listing… i.e. they all refuse to list my site now, as all it did was report silly spam and other rubbish that the hackers placed on the front page.

A little worrying this… perhaps I need to switch to ASP.NET and rid myself of open source….


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