Friday, November 19, 2010

Windows 7 Private Vs.Public Network Security Problem

For some time now I have been struggling with an annoying problem with my Laptop computer. I am confident my home network has adequate security for wireless use, and I want to be able to share resources on my computer with other computers on my home network. However, when I take the computer to a coffee shop, I don't want those services to be available. The simple answer was to set up very strict security rules for "public" networks, and to leave them relaxed for my home network.

Last May or so, Windows 7 security decided that my home network is a public network, apparently because I connect to it wirelessly. It did not provide me with any means to change that setting. I tried uninstalling and reinstalling my wireless drivers several times. Eventually, I started relaxing my public security settings so I could use my computer at home.

Finally I decided to research the problem. Apparently Microsoft decided that since the most common private network address range is used almost universally in coffee shops, that the default address range commonly used by home wireless routers is public by definition. (viper1ab, 2010)

Fortunately, I found instructions to override this setting. These instructions are my adaptation of Bill Grant's solution to a similar problem reported on Microsoft's TechNet support forum: (The first four items were copied directly from Bill Grant's post. I removed some details that did not apply to my situation, and I added the fifth instruction.)

1. Start --> run --> MMC --> press enter
2. In MMC console , from menu file select Add/Remove Snap-in
3. Select Group Policy Object editor --> Press Add --> select Local computer --> press OK -->press OK
4. Open Computer configration -->Windows Settings -->Security Settings -->select Network list manger policies on the right side you will see options for your home network.
5. Double-click your home network, and change the status of the network to private in the properties form.

(Grant, B., 2010)

Now I can re-assert my strict security rules for public networks, and enjoy relaxed rules on my home wireless network!


viper1ab. (2010, February 1). Home Network changes to Public when enabling ICS for Wireless Broadband connection [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Grant, B. (2010, February 2). Home Network changes to Public when enabling ICS for Wireless Broadband connection [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Saturday, November 6, 2010

How I disabled in-text advertising from Infolinks

I frequently do internet research. A frequent annoyance that costs me time and has even caused me to loose important articles has been the in-text "pop-up" advertising scripts from Today the problem happened again, and I decided to do something about it. First, I right-clicked on the web page (using Chrome) and I selected "view source." Then I looked for the name of advertiser "infolinks" in the code. I found the hard-coded address in a javascript link.

I tried adding the address to my hosts file, linking it to the loopback address of my own computer, <>. In previous versions of Windows, that addition would have been sufficient to block an address. (Don't edit the hosts file without researching the topic first. You can disable web access entirely if you do it wrong.) I have used the hosts file in Windows 7 to enable my computer to find addresses on my own home network, but I had never used it to block an address. In Windows 7, it appears this method does not seem to work as a way to bock addresses.

I had to add the address to my firewall. In this case, I added the address only to my local computer's firewall, but I may choose to block it from my router as well.

To add the address to my firewall, I needed the actual IP address. To get the IP address, I "pinged" the URL . I typed "cmd" in the search/run text box from the start button form, using this command to open a console window (DOS emulator). In the console window, I typed "ping" I wrote down the address. Then I typed "ping," and I wrote down that address also.

I opened my firewall program, selected "advanced," added a new outbound rule, and accepted all the default values. Then, under the "Scope" tab on the firewall "properties" window. I added the two numeric addresses I had pinged.

Previously an article I could not read because it was littered with advertising "land mines," is now readable!

I support internet advertising. I especially like Google's unobtrusive ads like the ones on this page that don't get in the way of reading, and help pay to provide a free internet experience for all of us, but ads must never impede access to information.

Popup ads should be illegal. They never serve consumers. They impede or sometimes even prevent access to information. Sometimes they masquerade as the information they prevent users from accessing. By causing users to legitimately attempt to block their unwanted intrusions, popup ads cause legitimate popup response forms to be blocked as well.

I want to encourage my fellow internet users to avoid accessing sites or purchasing products that make use of popup advertising. Please pass this information along to others. Together, we can make the internet the productive and useful tool for education, communication (and business) that it was designed to be.