Editorials and informational articles Linux distributions

Two advantages of open-source software: code sharing and community involvement

In this article I will provide you a bunch of advantages of FOSS (free and open-source software). Often, when an open-source project adds useful features, they get adopted by other similar projects.

Also, the community has a big impact on the development of software and often adopt projects that are dropped by their creators.

Code sharing:

As you may know, Ubuntu and Debian use deb packages, while Red Hat, CentOS, Fedora and other derivative systems use rpm packages, which are not compatible on DEB-based systems and vice versa. Until now, if you wanted to install a piece of software that does not had pre-compiled packages for a certain distro, you had to compile it from sources, which is an operation for power users.

Recently, Canonical has created the snap packages, a package format that comes with all the required dependencies built-in, so they are not distro-dependent like the deb or rpm formats.

Due to the fact that these packages are distro-independent, they have been adopted by other Linux distributions as well. If the snap package format was not open-source, it could not have been adopted by other systems.

Another good example is Wayland, a display compositor developed by the Red Hat team that will be adopted by Canonical, starting with Ubuntu 18.04. The Ubuntu coders have ditched Mir and Unity, their own display compositor, to adopt Fedora’s Wayland and GNOME.

Community involvement:

A lot of projects that are abandoned by their own developers get adopted by third party developers which work for free in many cases, donations being the only means of getting money.

Canonical has decided to drop the development of Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, so the Meizu and Bq phones that shipped with Ubuntu Touch as default do not receive official system updates.

Fortunately, UBports, a group of independent devs and community members, have decided to adopt and maintain the project. The same developers released Anbox, a framework that permits installing Android apps on Linux systems.

If you ask me, open-source projects will always get traction due to the community involvement, but from the lack of money, they will not compete with proprietary and expensive specific software.


Tutorials and how to guides

How to enable Dark Mode on YouTube

In this article I will show you how to enable the Dark Mode on YouTube, so that it would provide you a better experience when you are watching videos at night. For now, the below hack works only on Google Chrome, but it might become available for other browsers at well.

If you want to enable Dark Mode for YouTube, do the following:

Open Google Chrome and sign in with your YouTube account.

Press Ctrl + Shift + I to open Developer Tools. Another way to open Developer Tools is to go to Chrome’s menu and press More > Developer Tools.

How to enable Dark Mode on YouTube

Next, switch to the Console tab, paste the below code and hit enter: document.cookie=”VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE=fPQ4jCL6EiE”

How to enable Dark Mode on YouTube

Next, close Developer Tools and refresh the browser page. On the YouTube front page, click on your profile photo and click the Dark Mode option to enable it.

How to enable Dark Mode on YouTube

How to enable Dark Mode on YouTube

How to enable Dark Mode on YouTube

Next you are good to go. You can now use your YouTube in Dark Mode.


The ATM vendors have started to upgrade Windows XP to Windows 10

While Windows XP has reached end of life, it still has about 8% market share, more than Vista and Windows 8 combined. Released in 2001, Windows XP has reached EOL in 2014, but the Embedded Service Pack 3 has lost the support on the 12th of January 2016.

Despite not receiving updates, millions of ATMs are still using the embedded version of Windows XP and this is a security issue. But recently, the ATMs have started upgrading to Windows 10, Diebold Nixdorf being the first company to do that.

The company has shipped ATMs with Windows 10-compatible processors, so the upgrade can be successfully done, without having to replace the hardware components.

The other ATM vendors did not announce when they will switch to Windows 10, but it’s expected this to happen, due to the fact that Microsoft is struggling to make all the users adopt their newest operating system.

If you ask me, it is a very big step forward to upgrade to Windows 10, because it brings a lot of security fixes and closes many exploits discovered in Windows XP. Some antivirus vendors, like Immunet or Avast! still provide support for older systems, but Windows 10 is built with security in mind.


Anbox permits the users to run Android apps on Linux systems

Marius Gripsgård has released Anbox, a project that permits the users to install and use Android applications on Linux systems.

Due to the fact that the Anbox packages are available as snaps, the universal package format created by Canonical, the application can be installed on a lot of GNU/Linux operating systems. The application uses the LXC containers to permit the installation of Android apps, isolating the mobile software by using Linux namespaces. Inside the containers, all the needed Android relevant parts are installed, but they cannot access the hardware or the user data. For the applications that need OpenGL, the project borrows some parts of the official Android emulator implementation.

Also, Anbox includes integration of all Android apps in the installed desktop environments, making them behave like regular system apps. The developer will implement Anbox on the Ubuntu Phones, to permit the installation of Android apps. The first Ubuntu phone to receive Anbox support will be the OnePlus One.

Unfortunately, Anbox is still in its early development stages so the apps may suddenly crash or become unresponsive.

As a reminder, Canonical has decided to drop the Ubuntu Touch and Unity support and to switch over to the GNOME desktop environment starting with Ubuntu 18.04. After that, the guys from UBports have adopted the development of Ubuntu Touch, in order to provide support for the phones that come with Ubuntu pre-installed.

For more information, see this article from Also, watch the below video to make a better opinion about it.

Hackers and hacks

Hackers can crack PIN codes by using the smartphone’s motion sensors

The researchers from Newcastle University have discovered that hackers can use the smartphone motion sensors to infer security PINs.

A regular smartphone has a lot of sensors, including: GPS, camera, microphone, fingerprint reader, accelerometer, gyroscope, light sensors, magnetometers, barometers, proximity sensors, thermometers and air humidity sensors, so a malicious software or website can collect a lot of personal data by reading the output of these sensors.

In this case, the motion and rotation sensors could be used to reveal touch actions, permitting skilled hackers to bypass PIN security.

The researchers used 10 smartphone users and asked them to enter 50 four-digit PINS five times on each website. In the first attempt, the network guessed 70% of the correct PINS, while in the fifth try they bypassed the PINs with 100% success rate.

The math tells us that there are 10.000 combinations that can be set with four-digit PINs, so there are 2% chances of guessing the PIN from the first attempt.

This being said, a hacker that installed a rogue app on the smartphone or lured the user to an infected website that runs JavaScript malicious code in the tab where the PIN is inserted. Many PIN codes are made of common sequences like 1234, 0000, 1000 or birth dates, so they can be bypassed by guessing.

The way the users holds the phone, scrolls and taps on it generates data that can used to crack PINs.

A security measure would be to add permissions on sensor actions, so that the users can manually deny infected apps or sites to use those sensors. It is a good habit to change the PINs regularly and study application permissions before installations.

For more information, see this post on one of the Sophos websites.

Hackers can crack PIN codes by using the smartphone's motion sensors

Hackers and hacks

Meet the rensenware ransomware – a ransomware that asks the users to play a game to unlock their data

The guys from the Malware Hunter Team have discovered the rensenware ransomware, a different type of malware, one that requires the victims to play a game and get a top score in order to get their files back.

It encrypts the documents, music files, pictures and personal user files but it does not ask the users to pay a bitcoin ransomware. Instead, the virus forces them to play a difficult game. The users have to reach the 0.2 billion score in LUNATIC level of TH12 – Undefined Fantastic Object and this may be a difficult mission for those who do not have gaming capabilities.

After the hacker (Tvple Eraser) created the rensenware ransomware he has also released an apology on Twitter, because he felt bad about it. The hacker has created an decryption tool and removed the rensenWare code from Github, in order to help the victims recover their data without having to win the game.

The hacker’s decrypting tool tricks the game’s memory directly, getting around the malware’s encryption without playing the game.

As a replacement for the initial ransomware, the hacker has uploaded the code without the encrypting part, as a joke.

For more information, see this article from If you want to be in touch with our other ransomware and related articles, follow the ransomware tag.


European tourists may be forced to reveal social media passwords if they want to access the US

The Trump administration is considering to request the tourists from United Kingdom, Germany, France and other allied countries to give them the social media passwords, in order to be permitted to entry the US.

Also, the users will be forced to reveal personal data, make proof of financial wellness and face detailed ideological questioning, if they want to visit the US.

This is what a US Customs guardian told the Guardian:

“All international travelers arriving to the US are subject to US Customs and Border Protection inspection. This inspection may include electronic devices such as computers, disks, drives, tapes, mobile phones and other communication devices, cameras, music and other media players and any other electronic or digital devices,”

While this is not a new idea, the US customs agents were already studying the user’s social media accounts, but it became more apparent under the Trump administration. Until now, the US customs agents did not pay so much attention to the users from allied countries but they will do so, despite the fact that it means violating the user’s privacy.

Despite all these, the US citizens cannot be denied the change to return home from abroad, even if they refuse to provide the social media passwords.

Editorials and informational articles

Windows 10 Creators Update now permits installing Windows vocal commands

As you may know, Microsoft has worked a lot lately at Windows 10 Creators Update, an update patch that will bring a bunch of interesting new features to Microsoft’s latest operating system.

Among others, the Redmond developers will introduce Cortana in the Windows installer, in order to permit the users to install the operating system by using vocal commands.

If you perform a fresh install of Windows 10 Creators Update, you will get the chance to configure a lot of systems settings with vocal commands. After the first system boot, Cortana will permit you to connect to Wi-Fi, login using a Microsoft account and will also permit the users to change the default security settings.

The introduction of Cortana to the Windows installer may help some users that are too lazy to use a mouse and a keyboard to configure the system, but will most likely annoy the power users that want to tweak the system with their own hands. For more information about this features, read this article from Windows Central.

Other worth mentioning features that will be included in Windows 10 Creators Update:

  • Gamer mode, for better gaming experience
  • Automatic cleanup of temporary files
  • Windows updates can be postponed
  • Automatic system lock when you are away from keyboard
  • Blue color reduction for a better computer experience at night
  • A more colored interface

I don’t use Cortana, with or without its Windows installer integration, but I will benefit from the Blue color reduction feature, the possibility to postpone updates and the automatic cleanup of temporary files.

Hackers and hacks

Hacker drained $800.000 from two Russian banks by using fileless malware

As you may know, fileless malware uses legitimate tools on ATM machines, permitting hackers to install viruses on the RAM memory, which disappear after the first reboot. These non-malware attacks permit the users to gain access on existing software, initiate allowed protocols without downloading any malicious file.

Recently, Kaspersky’s Sergey Golavanov discovered that two Russian banks were targeted by such an attack, the hackers stealing $800.000 in a single night.

The ATMs did not have any malware installed on them and the CCTV cameras have recorded the hacker leaving with stacks of bills, as if it was normal. In less than 20 minutes, the hacker took $100.000 worth of cash. The only clue left behind was a log file, which included one line in English: “Take the money.”

This type of attack gets more and more frequent, according to Kaspersky, fileless attacks have targeted more than 140 backs in Europe, United States and elsewhere, but the full details of the technique are not yet known.

Security solutions and antivirus software Tops

Free (for personal use) antivirus software for the good old Windows XP – 2017 edition

Despite the fact that Windows 7 and Windows 10 are the most popular operating systems on the market, Windows XP is still installed on some computers, for a various number of reasons. A statistics about the Windows XP usage can be found in this article.

Today I’m going to list a few free (at least free for personal use) and lightweight antivirus software than can still run on Windows XP, without making it.


From my experience, the best antivirus for Windows XP is Avast, having a lot of features, including:

  • On access protection against viruses and malware
  • Heuristics engine to detect previously unknown threats
  • Silent mode which hides alerts during full-screen user activities
  • Easy installation wizard.


  • It requires yearly registration.
  • It suggests installing additional software

Download Avast! Free from here


Comodo Antivirus Free provides virus protection and on-access file protection, includes a Game Mode that does not display any notifications, updates virus definitions in the background and has both 32 bit and 64 bit installers.


  • Performs some system modifications that you might want to disable
  • Initial updates take a while to complete
  • The installer kit is very large
  • In creates a sandboxed environment for untrusted apps, not permitting them to infect the system

Download Comodo Antivirus Free from here

AVG Free:

AVG free is yet another antivirus system that can run on older computers that use Windows XP. It provides file anti-virus, anti-malware and anti-rootkit protection, web protection, email client protection, can be used in silent mode, can be controlled via a web portal and does not ask for registration before usage.


  • It slows down the computer
  • It installs third-party software by default
  • It recommends the acquisition of paid features
  • The Zen interface may be annoying

Download AVG Free from here

Immunet Free:

Last but not least on this list is Immunet, yet another free antivirus still compatible with Windows XP running on older computers.

Main features:

  • It is very light
  • Provides cloud-based anti-virus, anti-malware and anti keylogger protection
  • Can run along other antivirus system


  • Does not provide a very good protection

Download Immunet free from here