How to fix the Avast Google Chrome “hijack” issue

While Avast has been rated as among the best if not the best antivirus apps available, a while back after setting it up I noticed that it “hijacked” the Google Chrome browser by overriding the startup preferences.

I always choose to load tabs from last time. Instead, whenever Chrome would start it would always go to www.yahoo.com/?fr=hp-avast&type=avastbcl Needless to say this upset me and a lot of people. Furthermore, there appeared no way to fix the issue. There was no extension installed to remove. Even HijackThis could not fix it.

Today I found the above forum and the info in it to deal with the issue, which is also provided in an Avast FAQ:

Search Provider:

Click the menu button (icon showing three horizontal lines) in the top right of your Google Chrome browser bar.

Then click ‘Settings’.

Under the ‘Search’ section, click the triangular arrow to expand the drop-down menu and select a new search provider.

Homepage:

Click the menu button (icon showing three horizontal lines) and select ‘Settings’.

Under the heading ‘On startup’ set the radio button to ‘Open a specific page or set of pages’.

Then click the link ‘Set pages’. Now type a new homepage into the field ‘Add a new page’ – e.g. ‘www.google.com’ – and click ‘OK’.

Even though I was initially upset, I still feel that Avast is an excellent product and their intentions are good. Perhaps with the Chrome “hijack” they were just being a little overly zealous. Even though I don’t use or install all the features of Avast in my experience over the years helping various users I think there are cases where each of them is useful.

For example, I don’t particularly need or want the browser cleanup feature. I already know exactly what addons are in my browser and I choose to enable/disable them very carefully. But then I’ve also seen people who don’t really understand and who visit all kinds of sites that offer to install browser addons. Then their browser is massively overloaded with all this stuff. For people like that this feature would be very useful.

I also run my own VPN so I don’t need the one they offer. I also don’t need the web shielf feature which filters web traffic. I don’t even use this feature which is available in web browsers. But there are cases where I would want this protection for people.

There are also new features like NG which helps with deep screening, and the new home network security feature which can check for things like infected systems on a home network and poorly configured home routers.

In general I like the things Avast does and the way it does them. I think its cool that it will run a scan and use a voice to tell me it is doing so while I continue to work.

As another example I like the software updater feature and think this is the direction that things need to go to help end-users maintain secure computers. A lot of things Avast does are things that a good system should do and it does them in the right ways.

Here are screenshots of my recent Avast installation and the options I selected during install:

avast install 1

avast install 2

Today is the last day to request vote by mail

Tuesday Last Day To Request A Vote By Mail Ballot For Nov. 4 Election

Today is the last day to request a vote-by-mail ballot for the state’s Nov. 4 general election, election officials said.

Voters should visit their local registrar of voters’ office or website to find out how to request the vote-by-mail ballot.

In most counties, applications can be made in writing, by fax or online, although each county may have different options available, said Neal Kelley, president of the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials.

Elections officials must receive vote-by-mail ballots by 8 p.m. on Nov. 4. Postmarks will not be counted, so voters who wish to vote by mail are encouraged to mail their ballots in early to allow for postal transit times, elections officials said.

source: http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/10/28/tuesday-last-day-to-vote-by-mail-for-nov-4-election-ballot-measure-california/

I don’t get the opposition to voter id

Anyone but a stupid moron should realize the importance of requiring valid identification for the purpose of voting. Valid identification is required to open a bank account. It is required to log on to your bank’s website. Its required to purchase anything online. How much more so should it be required then to vote for political representatives and officials? How the fuck could it not be important to want to verify that a person voting is doing so legitimately?

I’m really blown away at all the opposition to voter id requirements. If anything, the requirements should be as strong as absolutely possible so that, in addition to voting in person, people can also be able to vote online. We need stronger voter identification, not less, and absolutely not none.

The opposition to it just shows the inanity of people and/or hypocrisy. I’m sure some political groups are willing to bash those trying to eliminate fraud and ensure that elections have integrity all for the sake of scoring some cheap points.

In the article linked above, they make it sound like a big deal that the guy can’t be bothered to get some form of valid state identification. California has a state ID that anyone can go to a Dept. of Motor Vehicles office and just get. It sounds like Texas didn’t have this but they did create another form of ID just to help people meet the requirements of the new law.

If some fuck off can’t be bothered to minimally get some kind of basic ID, do we even want such people voting?

Who the fuck would think that defending the “rights” of someone like that is anything but a bad idea?

You have got to be kidding me. Absolute inanity. I like the Guardian, but it seems like whenever they wade into American political issues they often have no clue.

Installing the OpenVAS vulnerability scanner on Debian

OpenVAS scan details page

OpenVAS scan details page

OpenVAS describes itself as “The world’s most advanced Open Source vulnerability scanner and manager”.

Installing the OpenVAS vulnerability scanner on Debian (as of this writing the current stable release of Debian is version 7 “Wheezy”) is fairly straightforward.

You can just follow the directions here:
openvas.org: Quick-Setup and Quick-Start OpenVAS-6 Packages: OpenVAS for Debian via OBS

By following these instructions you will install and run the administrative web interface called Greenbone Security Assistant which is accessible via https at port 9392.

When you log in to the interface there are various tabs available for tasks and options for scanning, configuration, and administration of OpenVAS. Under the SecInfo (i.e. Security Info) tab there is an option NVTs which stands for Network Vulnerability Tests. Your installation of OpenVAS should periodically sync itself with feed.openvas.org:/nvt-feed using the rsync protocol to maintain the latest updated vulnerability tests. This is also what the command openvas-nvt-sync does.

However, when selecting the NVTs option under the SecInfo tab, I was getting an error that said “warning: secinfo database missing” and could not find any information on how to fix the issue until I saw this post.

Using that information, my solution was to do the following. This requires the command-line browser links to be installed:

(apt-get install links)
mkdir /usr/local/src/openvas
cd /usr/local/src/openvas
links https://it-nuggets.net/2014/08/23/openvas-installation-debian-wheezy

Now in links press the down arrow to highlight each of the three files he mentions, cert_db_init.sql, dfn_cert_getbyname.xsl, and dfn_cert_update.xsl. With each one highlighted in links press the “d” key to download the file. Do this for all three files. (Note: these three files are linked from the SVN trunk page for the OpenVAS project at https://scm.wald.intevation.org/svn/openvas/trunk/openvas-manager/tools/)

Then create the directory /usr/share/openvas/cert and move the files there then run the openvas-certdata-sync command.

Now when you browse to the NVTs link under the SecInfo tab in Greenbone Security Assistant you’ll be able to view all the vulnerability tests that are available (as of this writing there are 32,762 available!). You can use the Filter: box to search for particular filters or change the default “sort-reverse=created rows=10 first=1” to something like “sort-reverse=created rows=200 first=1” to list the first 200.

After running a quick scan of a host you will see the scan listed under “Immediate scan of IP ….” under the Name column. If you click on that, or click on the little purple magnifying glass icon under the Actions column, it will take you to a page with information about that Task. A task is not just a one-time thing, its something that can (and usually should at periodic intervals) be run again.

At the bottom of the Task page is the Reports section. Under the Actions column in the Reports section click the little purple magnifying glass icon to see the Details of that scan. Here you will see the actual scan report which includes highly valuable security information and usually recommendations on how to alleviate any vulnerabilities that are found. This is what OpenVAS is all about: getting detailed information about security threats so that they can be mitigated.

According to the Wikipedia page “All OpenVAS products are Free Software.”

Amazing USB flash drive site & test utility

If you have USB flash drives and are curious to know what their performance is http://usbspeed.nirsoft.net/ is a site which lists the results of speed tests for hundreds of different USB flash drives. It also offers a utility, available in both 32- and 64-bit versions, called USBDeview which reports detailed information about USB devices and has a speed test function which has the ability to upload the test results to their site.

Gautemala’s president’s threat to the US

The United States should provide billions of dollars to help Central American nations curb the flow of illegal migrants, Guatemalan President Otto Perez said, and his government warns the problem will get worse if Washington fails to help.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/14/us-usa-immigration-guatemala-idUSKCN0I325W20141014

A shakedown by a bunch of thugs.

Why is the U.S. responsible for their shit?

The border should be sealed off and all illegals deported immediately regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, familial or other status.

Ketamine being studied as fast-acting depression treatment

The popular drug ketamine – also known as “special k” – has been found in studies to provide a fast-acting reversal of symptoms of depression. The latest study is about its reversal of anhedonia which is a loss of interest in pleasurable activities which accompanies bipolar disorder.

nimh.nih.gov: “Rapid Agent Restores Pleasure-seeking Ahead of Other Antidepressant Action

Someone once gave me some ketamine at a club years ago. It was a club that was open all day and I think I took it in the afternoon when there weren’t that many people there other than a few die-hards.

It gave me a weird feeling of dissociation, unlike any other drug I had ever tried before. It felt really weird dancing on it and I remember the dissociation feeling was kind of funny and made me laugh.

Its kind of funny that this drug might have some therapeutic benefit for depression. I can only speculate but perhaps its therapeutic benefit is due to its turning down some aspect of the brain’s normal operation similar to the way that adaptogenic herbs can benefit people with chronic immune disorders but actually turning down the immune system.

With respect to chronic immune disorders like chronic fatigue, it is thought that the immune system wears itself out by over-responding all the time until it wipes the person out.

There is now a much better understanding that the mechanism of depression in the brain is very similar: it results from chronic over reaction of the brain until it causes a kind of collapse from over-fatigue of stress-response mechanisms, leading to shut down.

So it may be that ketamine is somehow temporarily toning-down or blocking something in the brains of depressed patients leading to a significant short-term improvement.

For me, depression is almost a political issue. The real cause of depression is living in a society with what I have been referring to lately as “cancer people”.

In life there are people who emanations bring light and betterment to the world. Similarly, there are people who only bring disease and sickness. For example, people who never ride a bicycle, who think they are entitled to constantly drive around in motor vehicles polluting the air, congesting the roads, contributing cancer-causing chemicals and stress into the environment, are cancer people.

Cancer people run America. They run the city I live in as they do most places. This is the time of the cancer people. They destroy open spaces which would be natural places of healing and refuge. It is the time of the cancer people.

Therefore one has to e careful just how far one goes with thinking that they may have a disease or disorder such as depression, when in fact the world around them does actually suck shit to use a vernacular phrase.

Its not just sad when people propose “treating” depression under such circumstances, it is in fact one of the most destructive acts that can be done because it destroys everything that a person of light lives for. It destroys the truth.

Truth is sometimes hard to bear and true healing always means a recognition of and a holding to truth, not abandoning it wholesale in the name of “healing”.

For example, I love to meditate outdoors. But in my city the cancer people have ruined all outdoor places that are suitable for meditation. All.

Similarly they have destroyed all outdoor places suitable for the practice of yoga. It is my view that any responsible practitioner of yoga and/or meditation would consider this issue to be the forefront of a true practice of wanting to heal others.

But, as it is, no yoga instructors nor meditation teachers are getting involved in restoring outdoor places of healing from the cancer people and therefore the practices they espouse are lies.

And yes, I’m sure if one wants to burn fossil fuels, there are meditation and yoga centers that people can drive to. But that just means collapse. That is not a cure.

The real cure is when the cancer people are stopped and healing places exist right here, places where one can walk, run, or ride a bicycle to, not burn fossil fuels to get to.

really cool find argument

Was sorting through some old directories of books and wanted to see which files were not actual text documents (or some related files such as images). The GNU find command is simply amazing:

find . -regextype posix-egrep -type f ! -iregex '.*\.(txt|pdf|mobi|epub|htm|jpg|djvu|doc|rtf|gif|html|docx)' 

GNU find is part of the findutils package in Cygwin, Debian, and most other Linux distros.

Easily run a Linux app remotely under Windows with Cygwin

Make sure xorg is install on the Linux system.

In Cygwin install:
xorg-server xinit font-adobe-dpi-100

In a Cygwin shell run:
startxwin
export DISPLAY=:0.0
ssh -XC remotehost

Then in the ssh shell you can launch commands, e.g.:
xcalc &

References & info:
Cygwin/X User’s Guide; Chapter 4. Using Cygwin/X; Displaying remote clients

Cygwin/X User’s Guide; Chapter 2. Setting Up Cygwin/X

Ubuntu/Linux Blog | Up Ubuntu; How To Configure The X Server To Accept All Users – Ubuntu

Server Fault: start dummy X server for user logged remotely

Finally got it!

US 80 E

Photo taken with a cheapo LG Optimus L9 phone and enhanced with Topaz Clarity.

 

Had seen this sign a few times before and wanted to take a photo of it. This last time I passed it I remembered to.

You don’t usually see signs like this. In fact its the only one like it I know of around here.

There are days when I almost feel like I could just keep going…

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