Samsung Magician 5.0 SSD software released!

I don’t know, either Samsung actually listened to my complaint on 19th November or it’s all just a pure coincidence🙂 Because here it is, a major overhaul of the Samsung Magician software. This time in version 5.0 which comes with fixed SATA and AHCI detection as well as entirely new interface (which looks absolutely amazing I have to add) and new tray icon.

Samsung_Magician_5.0.png
New Samsung Magician 5.0 interface

This has to be by far the best interface design I’ve seen in years. It’s super minimalistic, looks really nice and is very responsive. And as you can see, very informative as well. But not too cluttered. Asian companies used to be famous for their botched interface designs, but this thing, this defies old stereotypes and puts many western designs to shame. Really nice job Samsung!

Download

Download latest Samsung Magician

Download Samsung Magician 5.0 (Mirror)

SecureAgePlus Multi-Engine Antivirus Review

SecureAgePlus Introduction

This antivirus has actually been around for quite a while, but it hasn’t really interested me because the old interface was a bit clumsy and the scanning reliability was rather poor.

But that has changed quite dramatically with version 4.4 (I’m reviewing 4.4.1). The interface is now incredibly pleasant to use, has a logical layout and most importantly, they seem to have resolved scanning reliability as well. Universal AV is fast and reliable now and they have also replaced VirusTotal multi-engine online scanning service with Jotti, which is an older service with a bit less scanners, but it seems to be a lot faster and reliable. I do hope VirusTotal will one day return to assist Jotti scanner, but it’s still very good as it is right now.

SecureAgePlus_GUI.png
Main SecureAgePlus Interface
SecureAgePlus_GUI_Settings.png
SecureAgePlus Settings panel with few of Universal AV engines listed

Universal AV

This antivirus is a bit special. It uses local antivirus of your choice or you can also use integrated one (ClamAV, very basic, but it works), but its special sauce lays or shall I say floats in the cloud in form of two services. One is Universal AV which depends on several antivirus engines running on SecureAPlus servers, placing ZERO load on your system. All is done through intelligent fingerprinting, you only have to submit whole EXE to their server for analysis if no fingerprint is found on their server to match the potential malware on your system. After few seconds, results are returned to you and you can decide what to do if found to be potentially malicious.

SecureAgePlus_GUI_Detection.png

Second line of defense from the cloud is Jotti’s service, again with multi-engine scan service which at the moment boasts 19 different antivirus scan engines.

SecureAgePlus_GUI_Detection2.png

In theory, not even two such services can deliver absolute 100% protection, but with so many engines, chances of malware evading all of them becomes very slim. And given you don’t experience any slowdowns on your system, the more engines there is, the better.

Multi-layered Protection

Another good thing about it is that you can use it along with your favorite existing antivirus. I personally don’t trust ClamAV all that much, so I’m using avast! instead of ClamAV. They can run both together without problems. I had to exclude avast! main folder in SecureAgePlus because it was asking about one avast! file, but after I’ve done that, it seems to work fine.

Whitelisting

To even further extend the security, SecureAgePlus also relies on whitelisting and certificates to lower false positives as well as give you more clues whether you should trust a file or not. Unfortunately it is not possible to disable whitelist, which makes it tiny bit annoying if one wants to only use it as a pure second opinion antivirus and nothing else.

SecureAgePlus_GUI_Whitelisting.png
SecureAgePlus Whitelisting Panel

Licensing model

SecureAge is using an interesting Freemium licensing model. In a nutshell, it’s free for initial 1 year and it can be free beyond that if you’re willing to invest some time into promoting it. Either by posting about it on social media, writing testimony, review (like this one) and simply spread a word about it. If you’re not willing to do all this, you can also decide to support it directly with a Premium license. If you want to give it a try, make sure to use my referral link below and help me out receiving points so I can extend my Freemium license.

My referral link: Download here and receive 15 months free license

Like I’ve said, on install you get 1 year free and fully functional antivirus, so you don’t have anything to lose really and you help me out at the same time. Give it a try and see for yourself how it works and how effective it is.

Few minor dislikes…

After all the praising, there always comes that “but”. Luckily, it’s nothing major really. Only things that are a bit annoying is that you can’t install ClamAV directly from within SecureAgePlus interface if you’ve deselected it during initial installation. You have to run installer again and check it there. Would be a lot more convenient if there was an option for that already inside interface. Next thing I don’t like it a bit is the fact that you can’t disable Application Whitelisting service entirely and use SecureAgePlus only as a second opinion scanner, you can only adjust it to be more permissive. You always have to deal with whitelisting dialogs if some new app isn’t yet whitelisted. Can be a bit annoying sometimes. there is also no On-Demand scan option within main interface, other than Full System scan. You have to use Explorer context menu to scan individual folders. And lastly, initial scan takes VERY long even on top of the line system with very fast SSD as it’s main and only drive. I’m guessing it has to hash all files on the drive for Whitelisting to work, so be prepared to leave system on for SecureAgePlus to finish this first scan. After that is done, all consecutive Full System scans are done in few seconds.

Pros:

  • multi-engine scanning
  • very high detection rate
  • very small performance footprint despite multiple engines
  • very nice and logical interface
  • functional with other security software with minimal effort
  • Free for 1 year plus option for free extension

Cons:

  • very long initial scan even on top end system
  • a bit clumsy later installation of optional local ClamAV scan engine
  • no On-Demand scan options other than context menu scan and Full System scan
  • cannot disable Whitelisting part entirely and only use it as second opinion AV only
  • still giving user a final word whether to trust or block a file despite scan verdicts (may be risky with some users who don’t understand scan results)

Verdict

All in all, it’s a very interesting and effective security software. It’s not flawless, but the flaws it has are very minor despite making a “Cons” list rather long. I’m pretty sure they’ll fix or improve most of these in the future. And even if they don’t, I can safely assume most people wouldn’t mind if these remain as they are just things I personally disliked a bit. They probably won’t even bother most users. Give it a try and decide for yourself. I really like it now and I think I’ll keep it as second line of defense next to avast!.🙂

Links

SecureAge Official webpage

Download (with referral link)

Samsung, fix broken Magician SSD software SATA detection!

BrokenSamsungMagician.png

I don’t know when it happened, I’ve spotted it few days ago when I made a Windows 10 refresh and had to reinstall software, including Samsung Magician. And spotted this nonsense where it fails to detect SATA interface as well as its mode (AHCI). I have no clue if this affects anything (like RAPID Mode), but it sure is silly. And from the looks of it, it has been around for a while after Googling about it. Apparently since Anniversary update, I just somehow haven’t noticed this.

Seriously Samsung, if it’s really since Anniversary update for Windows 10, that’s several months already. Don’t be lazy and fix this crap!

Killing Floor 2 officially released on PC & PS4!

KF2

That day has finally arrived! Killing Floor 2 was released minutes ago on PC and PS4 platforms. I’ve been playing it on PC since its inception through Early Access on Steam and it has been an exciting experience since day one. You can read more about my impressions back then here. And I can assure you, despite quite a lot of changes that happened since then, they are majorly for the better. The game looks amazing, can run well even on more basic systems and most of all, it’s so exciting and fun, servers are well populated through entire day and things will get even better now that it’s officially released. During release time, there is also a 25% launch discount, so grab it while it’s still hot😀

I’ve also created a tweak tool called Killing Floor 2 Tweaker for this game that allows you to fiddle with few otherwise hidden settings and parameters like adjusting amount of permanent gore (how much corpses and gibs are hanging around as you lay death upon Zeds), adjust sound settings, texture streaming, mouse behavior like mouse acceleration and scaling etc.

What are you still waiting? Grab the game and see you on the battlefield! Lets show those Zeds what’s what!

Killing Floor 2

Official Killing Floor 2 webpage

Killing Floor 2 on Steam

Killing Floor 2 Tweaker

Download Killing Floor 2 Tweaker

Windows Update Cache Cleaner

I had my laptop running in circles re-downloading same update over and over again and failing at 95% every single time. Restarting Windows Update only caused download to start at 95% every time and again, failing as well. The solution was easy, cleaning the Windows Update download cache. Update was re-downloaded and installed successfully. But since casual users aren’t in the mood of messing up with files inside Windows folder, I’ve made this simple tool that does that for you, 100% risk free.

WindowsUpdateCacheCleaner.png

The instructions are pretty self explanatory. Just follow them and Windows Update should work again.

Works on Windows XP/Vista/7/8.x/10 and probably future Windows versions since Windows Update cache has the same folder location for years.

DOWNLOAD

Web of Trust (WOT) privacy scandal

I’m a bit surprised there is nearly no news surrounding this in English news, especially on tech sites, considering the scale and amount of users of WOT that aren’t limited to German market only.

Researchers of German NDR (Norddeutscher Rundfunk or Northern German Broadcasting) found out that WOT browser add-on was (and as things stand now, still is) gathering user data beyond what they were promising, ranging beyond only visited websites, they are gathering entire user history from browser, usernames, e-mails and more and selling it to 3rd parties. And they are doing this in such sloppy way external researchers were able to identify individuals by accessing open resources from WOT without even illegally (via hack) accessing their servers. You can apparently do it without any of that!

What’s even worse, after researchers asked developers of WOT about these things, all they got back was… silence, pretty much. Just a very vague reply that you can read here. When someone, instead of being open about the issue veils in silence, that’s a sign that something is going on. And nothing good will come from that.

I liked WOT a lot, because it was good resource to identify unknown websites and what experience others had with it. I’m not aware of any other service that has such level of user involvement in user rating and commenting of webpages. But as things stand now, I recommend users to at least block all public views of their ratings in WOT profile. What they’ve transferred to the 3rd party has already been done, but I think blocking will prevent cross-linking of users to the data. Also make sure to delete all cookies in browser under name “mywot” and quite frankly, deleting your WOT profile at this point wouldn’t be a bad idea either considering all the weird things going on around this service.

I now prefer avast! rating add-on (avast! Online Security) which comes with avast! Antivirus which I already use. Chrome users can even install it separately via Chrome Store even without avast! Antivirus. There is no commenting, but it has extra features like tracking blocking and the fact that avast! as company is very open about their product. When there were privacy concerns about it, they instantly provided answers to any questions by users. They also in detail explained how their rating and resource sharing system works and you can even opt out sharing of properly anonymized data with 3rd parties.

More links, mostly in German with greater details. Use Google Translate to read them.

In depth information from the researcher who uncovered all this:

https://www.kuketz-blog.de/wot-addon-wie-ein-browser-addon-seine-nutzer-ausspaeht/

Think whatever you want, but something fishy is going on and I’m not going to stand around as the smell spreads. Until developers come clean, this thing should not be on any computer.

I’ll keep you posted how things develop in the following days or weeks…

SnailDriver, super fast driver updater

Yeah yeah, I know that is a general belief that these driver updaters are garbage and that they always break stuff. Well, sometimes you have an unrecognized device listed and you can’t figure out which one it is. For such situations, these tools are excellent. Or you’re just one of those freaks like me who just wants all drivers fully updated.

I’ve posted Iobit Driver Booster in the past, but I think this one is even better, easier to use and with less clutter in the interface. Found it today by pure coincidence while I was browsing for some other tools.

It’s called SnailDriver and it’s a small, but very fast and minimalistic driver updater.

SnailDriver.png

I’ve tested it on 3 systems, 1x AMD based and 2x Intel based and it worked pretty damn well. Updated all drivers super fast and with ease and while there were minor issues with the app, they weren’t show stopping problems. It’s a new app, it’ll get fixed soon for sure.

Few minor issues:

  • Intel SST Audio Device driver causes audio device on Windows tablets (HP X2, ACER Iconia W4) inoperable. Had to rollback the driver manually (not an issue with SnailDriver as I’ve experienced it before).
  • System Restore points don’t get created reliably despite this setting being enabled in SnailDriver. I recommend making it manually just to be sure.
  • Sometimes you have to repeat scans to find new drivers that require updating. Not a huge issue, but should be checked.

Give it a try, it’s pretty good and can come in handy quite often🙂

Official webpage:

http://snailsuite.com