Blackberry Contacts – Wireless Sync “Not Available”

Problem: User has a Blackberry. Is part of the company’s BES. Syncing wirelessly is the company’s default setting when deploying Blackberries. This particular user did not have the option. When I checked her Wireless Sync settings under the Contacts–> Options — >Desktop, it said “Not Available”.

I tried the following steps:

1. From your Blackberry, go to Options>Advanced Options>Enterprise Activation.

2. In the email field, press and hold the ALT key and type CNFG. Once you enter this a hidden menu should appear.

3. Change the “Wireless Sync” option to No and Save, then exit the menu.

4. Wait 30 seconds and repeat step 2.

5. Change the “Wireless Sync” option to Yes and Save, then exit the menu.

After trying the above steps, the option was available. I set the Wireless Sync to “Yes” however after a while the Enterprise Activation kicked in. After activating to 100% I checked the Wireless Sync option again and it was back to “Not Available”.

Solution: Had to check with the BES server folks. The user’s profile on the BES server did not have the Wireless Sync option enabled (guess they missed that option for her). Thus, every time I forced it, using the steps above, it was reset to “Not Available” after the Enterprise Activation sent down her Address Book Options from the server. After they enabled the option on the server, I waited about 10 minutes, and then noticed the Enterprise Activation process started again. After it completed, the Wireless Sync option was set to “Yes”

Computerworld – Microsoft Cloud Service Hit With Data Breach

Get used to it. Moving things to the “Cloud” is becoming more popular. So will the data breaches…

Company data belonging to customers of Microsoft’s hosted business suite BPOS has been accessed and downloaded by other users of the software.

Read more…Microsoft BPOS cloud service hit with data breach – Computerworld.

Spam Taking Advantage of Gawker Hack

We know that Gawker Media had it’s databases hacked, releasing millions of usernames and passwords.

Now spammers/hackers are taking advantage of that story to send out spam emails like this:


Beware of Wi-Fi Hotspots – Easy password stealing FF extension

From TechCrunch:

Developer Eric Butler has exposed the soft underbelly of the web with his new Firefox extension, Firesheep, which will let you essentially eavesdrop on any open Wi-Fi network and capture users’ cookies.

As Butler explains in his post, “As soon as anyone on the network visits an insecure website known to Firesheep, their name and photo will be displayed” in the window. All you have to do is double click on their name and open sesame, you will be able to log into that user’s site with their credentials.

Read more: Extension Lets You Hack Into Twitter, Facebook Accounts Easily.

Problem Connecting To Shared Network Drive

Problem: Mapped shared network folder would intermittently disconnect itself, and user could not remap it.  When trying to remap it, user would get one of the following errors messages:

“Local device name is already in use”

“The drive could not be mapped because no network was found”

“The [\\Server Name\Folder] is not accessible. You might not have permission to use this network resource.”

Rebooting would fix the issue temporarily, but the disconnect would reoccur within an hour or so.

His colleagues did not have this problem, nor did the user have problems getting to other servers, the Internet, email application. He could ping the server by name, but could not map to the shared folder, by name or IP.

Microsoft’s KB890413 says the following:

This issue may occur if you log on to the Windows XP-based client by using a different connection type than you use to connect to the file server. If you created the network drive through a local area network (LAN) with your current user credentials, the mapping information does not contain any user information. When you log on to the computer, the operating system establishes only a partial connection to the share, and the network drive is considered used. Later, when you access the network drive, the connection is fully restored.

If you use another connection type such as Remote Access Service (RAS) to connect to the file server, the logon credentials used are different from the credentials that you used to create the network mapping. When you try to access the network drive to restore the connection, the operating system tries to use the logon credentials of the RAS connection. If the file share server does not accept the logon credentials of the RAS connection, the operating system cannot access the share. Then, the operation system tries to re-create the mapping to the already-used network drive, and the error occurs.

And their solution to this problem is to remove the existing network mapping and to remap the network drive. This did not work in my case, instead resulting in the error messages mentioned above.

I thought it might be the Symantec Protection Agent that was installed, so I uninstalled that, but the problem persisted. Tried putting the user on another switch port and VLAN (thus different subnet/IP), but that did not help either. The Windows Firewall was not being used.

I tried mapping the drive with my credentials, but I had trouble as well. I tried mapping by IP, no worky. I deleted all temporary files, cookies, and made sure there were no saved passwords under his profile (check that in Control Panel –> User Accounts, Advanced tab –> Manage Passwords):

The problem persisted. I then remoted into my desktop from the user’s laptop, and had the user map to the network drive using his credentials. That worked! So the problem was definitely with his laptop, and not an authorization/account issue.

I was about to rebuild a laptop for the user when I thought I should check one more thing.

Solution: I checked the local host file (C:\Windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts) on the user’s laptop and he had an entry for the server name pointing to an old IP address. Even though the IP address listed was alive (it was being used by another server), which is why I was able to ping it, as soon as I removed the entry and pinged the server by name, it came back with a totally different IP address. Tried mapping to the shared folder again, and it worked!

I don’t know why the user had entries in his host file, but he’s an application developer, so that partially answers the question 🙂 .

Note: User’s machine running Windows XP Professional w/ Service Pack 3

Gizmodo: Undercover Report From Foxconn’s Hell Factory

Too bad we can’t get his kind of info on ALL the products we buy:

Chinese newspaper Southern Weekly sent 20-year-old reporter Liu Zhi Yi undercover in Foxconn’s factory in Shenzhen, China. For 28 days, he experienced dreadful conditions that the factory’s 400,000 employees endure, churning out iPods, iPads, and iPhones for Apple nonstop.

Read more – Undercover Report From Foxconn’s Hell Factory.

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EFF – Facebook Tries to Make Violations of Terms of Use Into Criminal Violations

I used to be afraid of Google. Now, I’m more afraid of Facebook.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is urging a federal judge to dismiss Facebook’s claims that criminal law is violated when its users opt for an add-on service that helps them aggregate their information from a variety of social networking sites.

In a lawsuit against Power Ventures, Facebook claims that Power’s tool violates criminal law because Facebook’s terms of service ban users from accessing their information through “automatic means.”

Accessing information through automatic means is nothing new. Google Reader aggregates feeds from different sites. Seesmic can aggregate your social information from Twitter and Facebook and put it all in one place. Using Facebook’s argument, using something like Seesmic would constitute a criminal violation.

Read more at EFF Seeks to Protect Innovation for Social Network Users | Electronic Frontier Foundation.

PDF Malware Using New Attack Technique | threatpost

Even PDF attachments aren’t safe. If you receive an email from an unknown sender with a PDF attachment, be aware that trying to open it might launch an executable that can inject malware into your system.

The attack produces a warning dialogue box, but users are accustomed to seeing, and ignoring, those in many situations. In this particular new malware campaign, the attackers have used that tactic, along with adding some extra white space to the dialogue box to make it look less suspicious.

Read more at PDF Malware Using New Attack Technique | threatpost.

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Facebook – How To Opt Out Of Instant Personalization

Facebook is getting bigger and sharing more info. It’s time to revisit your privacy settings and make sure you’re not opting into anything automatically.

First stop is “Instant Personalization“, which basically allows FB partner sites to gather your info. Opt out by going to your Account –> Privacy Settings, then click on the Edit Settings under Instant Personalization:

Instant Personalization

Once there, you need to uncheck the setting that allows partners to personalize their site based on your public info:

Uncheck Instant Personalization

Secondly, you’ll need to block each application (partner website) individually. This was harder to find.  Currently, there are only three partner sites. I was able to block them by doing the following:

Click on the following FB FAQ:!/help/?faq=17105

This will open up the How Do I Opt-Out of Instant Personalization faq. From there, click on the partner links individually, and select “Block Application” from the left column. Remember, you have to do this for each partner:

Block Applications

Once done, you can confirm these sites are blocked by visiting the Blocked Applications section of the Privacy Settings –> Applications and Websites:

Blocked Applications

Finally, block what info your friends can share about you to partner websites by editing the settings in the What your friends can share about you page under Privacy Settings –> Applications and Websites:

Here you can edit what can be shared and what cannot. I unchecked everything so that nothing can be shared about me.

Call me paranoid, but in an age when identity theft is rampant, you shouldn’t be automatically opted into sharing your personal info.

Facebook’s New Features and Your Privacy: Everything You Need To Know – PCWorld

This is getting SCARY. So basically, unless you opt out, when you’re logged into FB, and visit a partner site (Currently Yelp,, Pandora – but I’m sure the list will grow), the partner site will know you’re a FB user and will ask you if you want to “personalize” the site. By that they mean, they will custom tailor the site based on your “Likes” and “Recommendations” listed in FB. So they will have access to your FB “Public” data. If that’s not creepy enough, how about knowing that they will not have to delete the info they gather about you, from their servers, ever! Also, they will have access to your friend’s data, unless you’re friends specifically block the partner site.

Read more…Facebook’s New Features and Your Privacy: Everything You Need To Know – PCWorld.