Sunday, August 03, 2008

Firefox and Internet Explorer off-line toolboxes

Sometimes you need to do some “research” work and putting a web-browser on line to look at internal information might not be the best method. 

I won’t describe this work as “forensics” but maybe you need to extract some data from your browsing session, or maybe you forgot a password for a website that was saved in Firefox.  Maybe you are just curious as to what information is left behind in your Internet Explorer sessions.  Possibly you are a system administrator and need to get some facts down about an employee’s web-activity.

Nir Sofer has one of the best collection of portable, and free utility sets out there. 

Consider adding these to your USB stick and/or system just in case the need ever arises.

The Firefox / Internet Explorer Toolbox

  • PasswordFox and IE PassView and Protected Storage PassView and AsterWin IE - (freeware) – These utilities let you view user-names/passwords as stored by the browser.  It picks up the default profile, but other profiles can be manually selected and scanned as well.  Handy when migrating between systems, or recovering data from a damaged system. Or maybe by parents checking up on their kid’s on-line activities… PasswordFox was just released by Nir Sofer this past week. Hurrah!

  • MozillaCookiesView and IECookiesView - (freeware) – Handy utility to view, manage, and delete cookies stored by the browser.  Results may be saved in multiple formats.

  • MozillaHistoryView and IEHistoryView - (freeware) – Tool to view the history file for browsers. Lots of information and data including first/last visit dates, visit counts, referrer, title page, host name.  All information can be exported.

  • MozillaCacheView and IECacheView - (freeware) – Utility that lets you inspect the cache folder of browser and shows all the contents (files) in there.  Along with the file/type, information on the URL, size, last modified time, last fetched time, fetch-count, server name and a few others.  Files can be copied to another location, url copied, and report generated.  Items can be sorted by any column viewed.

  • MyLastSearch - (freeware) – Wonderful tool that lets you pull up a list of all the search queries ran on a system (Firefox/IE) using the most popular (and likely) search engines.  Results displayed in a table. Great for finding out just what you search on, or doing analysis of a target pc.

  • VideoCacheView – (freeware) – Use this tool to scan through web-browser cache files if present and locate any video files. These can be useful for “review” purposes, or maybe you just want to save that favorite YouTube video for posterity for off-line viewing.

--Claus

5 comments:

Ren said...

Hey Claus, I haven't lately posted comments in your blogs .. but I've been actively following your articles whenever my time permits. The last time I commented I think was in this article http://grandstreamdreams.blogspot.com/2008/06/manually-update-avg-free-75.html under the screenname *Ren*. Actually this comment is not related to this article of yours, but is more of a request. And this request is based on your amazing software investigative abilities, which you displayed when you had these series of articles about AVG 8, and the problems it caused. I don't know whether you run Spybot for your AntiSpyware needs, but lots of people loove Spybot. And I mean lots. Spybot S&D has an amazing following like AVG 7.5 had. But recently Spybot, with the upgrade to version 1.6 from version 1.5.2, the software upgrade is driving people nuts and insane. And it's driving me mad too. The whole incident is reminding me of the time when AVG did an upgrade from 7.5 to 8.0. And you know the furor that ensured by the loyal users. And exactly the same thing is happening now with Spybot. And it started just this week when an automatic upgrade to version 1.6 was forced to users via the updates process. The main piece of software culprit I think is the SDHelper.dll or something which is causing extraordinary delay in openeing browser pages and Explorer windows.
If you are interested to investigate it and post your thoughts about it in an article, the main place to start would be the Spybot forums. http://forums.spybot.info/forumdisplay.php?f=4

These are the main threads you want to look out for http://forums.spybot.info/showthread.php?t=30943
and http://forums.spybot.info/showthread.php?t=32246
and http://forums.spybot.info/showthread.php?t=32241
and there are many others if you want to take a look. It'd work better if you install the best stable previous working version of Spybot, which was Spybot 1.5.2 (you can go to filehippo and do a search for previous versions there, or you can download directly from the Spybot server http://www.spybotupdates.biz/files/spybotsd152.exe ) And after installing the previous version, and checking it out ..then you might want to upgrade to version 1.6 and see for yourself the nightmare it causes.

Claus, I have with great interest, pursued your saga about the AVG fiasco, and I'd really appreciate if you take the time to investigate this Spybot thing and provide your viewers with some info and solutions.
Since this post has nothing to do with the article where I am commenting, I'd request you to delete this comment, once you're done reading it. But since, this is your blog, and you're the owner of it, probably I am overstepping my bounds by making that suggestion. Anyway, if you do happen to do some investigative blogging about the Spybot stuff, I'll check back around frequently.

I simply don't understand that why, lately, these great free pieces of perfectly working software, are being deliberately damaged by their creators, just in the name of advancing and upgrading them. It just frustrates me to no end.

/End of Rant.

Ren

Claus Valca said...

Ren,

Thanks for dropping the comment. I was not aware of all the "drama" going on over at the SB S&D lodge.

Let's see...

First, no worry's dropping a comment wherever you think is best. I don't provide an email-address so this works just fine. I like your comment and others might also find it helpful so I'll keep it here.

I do still keep SpyBot in my tool-box. I have moved on to several other anti-malware tools as my primary scan/remove/protect tools but I still use SpyBot for backup-scans/cookie-culling and at work as well as the license is very generous.

I don't run it "real-time" with TeaTimer protection or browser integration on any of my systems. I only use it for on-demand scans of a system and/or file. I also like quite a few of the "advanced" tools as well that it offers.

I've been dropping a post update from time to time here on the progress of the beta and RC releases of SpyBot's march to 1.6 and have been pleased with what I personally have seen and experienced in 1.6. So I'm very interested in these new problems.

I haven't personally seen any of the issues that seem to be reported. Scans run fast and it launches much faster under 1.6 than it was doing under 1.5 versions. My gut feeling based on review of a few threads is that something is going on with the integration/real-time protections.

If time allows this week, I'll try downloading a full installation of Spybot 1.6 into a virtual machine and taking a look at things as it runs.

I'm curious (and maybe you can answer this) is this bad-behavior going on with XP or Vista systems; or both? I read several forum threads and that part wasn't clear to me. That might help narrow down the focus quite a bit, especially if it turns out to be platform-specific (ie. Vista and not XP).

I'm also betting that the developers at Safer-Networking are pretty chagrined that this is happening. They have always seemed to work harder-than-most to ensure that their software is friendly; both from a user and system perspective. Given the wide range of systems, resources, and software/utilities that SpyBot is bound to be installed on, it is only natural to expect some/many conflicts to come up.

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. If I can replicate the problem, indeed it would be a great "detective-story" worth pursuing.

I'll post a follow-up as soon as time allows!

--Cheers!

Ren said...

Hello Again Claus,
I'm so sorry I couldn't get back to you earlier. I got a little busy. I mean, I get busy sometimes, but rarely this type of so totally time-consuming *busy-ness* happens to me. I guess, it was one of those rare times.

To answer your query about the system I was using with Spybot 1.6, was a Windows XP Pro SP3 with IE6.
If you happen to visit this thread on Spybot Forums:
http://forums.spybot.info/showthread.php?t=30943

and this one:
http://forums.spybot.info/showthread.php?t=30975

You'd see that the problems with Spybot SDHelper(dll) is causing massive slowdowns with both IE6 and IE7, and under all kind of System Configurations like Win XP Home, Win XP Pro, Vista (mainly 32 bit). And it's happening not only with IE (both versions) but also with opening Windows Explorer Folders. There's a Spybot forum user with the screen name *DougCuk*, who has been very active in prodding senior Spybot Developers to find a solution to this problem. He/Person can be found in this thread I mentioned earlier:
http://forums.spybot.info/showthread.php?t=30943
And I have seen that an user with similar User ID *DougCuk* has also commented quite frequently in your AVG Report Blogs.
Most of the active threads are in this sub-forum:
http://forums.spybot.info/forumdisplay.php?f=4

If you have any more questions, I'd be happy to answer them for you. And if you need to reach me, you can drop a line to ren_nac at mail provided by yahoo.
I hope you get the time to cover the topic, in the way of a blog or something.. but if not, it's fine too. I just thought that more people should be aware of what's going on, being Spybot a major free AntiSpyware solution used by millions. But certainly, it'd be a time consuming affair, that's for sure.
And Claus, Thank You for your prompt personal attention to the comment I left earlier. It was much appreciated. I just wish that I could have gotten back to you earlier. Sorry about that, and Have a Great Day!
Ren

DougCuk said...

Indeed it is me again over on the Spybot Forum!

I have just isolated one of the two problems with Spybot's resident SDHelper module. This is the IE Resident BHO download blocker as opposed to the Teatimer module - and is normally active by default on a new install.

It can cause a delay of several seconds when opening folders in Windows Explorer/My Computer. It turns out that this new version of Spybot is very sensitive to excessive numbers of cookies and this is the root cause of this problem. See this post http://forums.spybot.info/showthread.php?t=32763

The slowdown of IE7 due to SDHelper remains unsolved at this time.

DougCuk said...

Re the IE7 slowdown problem caused by Spybot.
This problem MAY be restricted to Vista and seems to affect only a small percetage of users. Suspicion has fallen on the size of the Restricted Sites list that Spybot adds to the IE7 security zone. This has caused problems in the past both with IE7 and with Windows Mail - the Vista replacement for Outlook Express.

See these two sources
http://billjr.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!28CBD6442F406227!618.entry

http://www.oregoncoast.com/configuration/windowsmail/help.htm

At present it is unclear if this is behind the current problems some users are experiencing - or why most users do not see a problem.