Welcome to my blog. In here I hope to share with you tips, tricks, hacks and code that will make your life easier as a network administrator or general computer user. I come with a background in computer engineering and have worked for the past 12 years in the Library world as Manager of Library Systems. Even though some of my posts may be Library specific, most will be of use to all computer users.

If you have a tip that you wish to share with the group, please feel free send me your tip via email at my address rkisch@kischtech.com and I will include it here and give credit where credit is do.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Windows Explorer crashes when you right click on a drive.

I just suddenly started to have an issue with Windows 7 in that when I right clicked in Windows Explorer (see picture) Explorer would crash and need to be restarted. 

I checked for an online solution but couldn't find one so I dug out a shell viewing program called ShellExView. This program will show you all the details on every shell extensions that are installed on your computer. To find that one shell extension that was causing my issue, I ran ShellExView.exe and then went to OPTIONS and selected Filter by extension.

and then selected only Context Menu. 

Now all of the shell extensions that were related to the Context Menu will be shown. I then disabled each extension one at a time and then tested to see if I could right click on the drive in Windows Explorer to see if it would not crash. After trying several extensions I finally found the one that was causing the problem. It ended up be the Nvidia control panel extension that was causing this issue. This is apparently a common issue with the latest version of drivers for Nvidia graphics cards and can be fixed by following the procedure that I have explained above by disabling the Nvidia CPL Context Menu Extention (see picture below) or you can simply download this registry edit file for Windows 7 that will fix this issue (DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK). The only problem with disabling the Nvidia control panel is that it will no longer show up when you right click on the desktop, but you can still find the Nvidia control panel in Windows Control Panel so it is not a loss. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

BlackShades and how to protect yourself from it

Everyone has heard of the new threat from the BlackShades hacking tool that has been causing issues with computers for the past while. Some of ways that you can get infected with BlackShades are:

  • Fake torrent downloads on Person to Person (P2P) sites
  • Malicious links spread on social media sites (Facebook, twitter, etc)
  • Malicious links spread in chat rooms
  • Drive-by attacks
  • Java exploits
  • Spreading via hacked social media/chat accounts
  • Phishing e-mails

So what are some of the things that can happen when your computer is infected with BlackShades? Well in the worst case scenario, a hacker could take control of your computer and hold it for ransom.  What the hacker will do is to encrypt all of your important documents and ask for a ransom to unlock the files or computer. Users of a hacked computer would be shown a page that looks similar to this page:

If you didn't pay the ransom your files would be deleted, left encrypted so that you can't access them or they could be posted openly on the internet which would not be good if your files contained private information such as yearly tax forms.

What are the other things that a hacker could do with BlackShades? Well these are just a few of the many things that they could also do once your computer has been infected:

  • Webcam Control (yes they can secretly take pictures of you and then ransom the pictures)
  • Screenshot/Remote Desktop Control
  • Keylogger (which could steal import passwords to banking and other sites)
  • Proxy manager
  • Download and Execute Files (or more malware)
  • Visit a website numerous times
  • Redirect (to fake banking sites) or Block URLs to online antivirus sites
  • Use victim as a reverse relay, meaning that the attacker can set their browser to connect to the internet through the victim system.
  • Control MSN messenger, including add/remove/msg contacts.
  • Set an alarm for when a certain window title or keyword is present on the victim system
  • Ability to setup a web interface for remote use!
  • And much more!

  • So how can you defend against BlackShades or other hacking software? First and foremost you need to have a really good antivirus program such as Norton Antivirus or BitDefender installed on your computer. Also I would highly recommend that you install MalwareBytes anti-malware software for full protection of your computer system. You can download the free version and scan your computer to make sure that it is free from malware but I would recommend buying the full Pro version to ensure that your computer stays malware free. With the combination of MalwareBytes and a really good antivirus program you should be well protected. 

    Thursday, February 6, 2014

    Adobe Flash Vulnerability

    If anyone is running Adobe Flash (and most people are), Please upgrade it to the latest version as Adobe has warned that there is a vulnerability in their flash player that could allow an attacker to take control of your computer. Adobe's security bulletin can be found here. You can download the latest version of the flash player here: http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/