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Advanced Mac users who are interested in the world of Information Security (InfoSec) can easily test out ParrotSec Linux in live boot mode by using a virtual machine.

In this particular walkthrough, we’ll show you how to quickly get ParrotSec running in live mode within the free Parallels Desktop Lite app, but if you want to try this with VirtualBox, VMware, or Parallels, you could do that just as easily too.

For some quick background; ParrotSec, or Parrot Security OS, is an increasingly popular infosec / security centric Linux distribution based on Debian, and it comes ready-made with a variety of security features and forensic tools. With a full suite of utilities for penetration testing, security research, digital forensics, vulnerability assessment, cryptography, software development, and anonymizing web browsers and privacy protection, ParrotSec can offer a simple to setup look into the world of tools and resources used by information security professionals.

How to Run ParrotSec Live on Mac with Parallels Desktop Lite

Parallels Desktop Lite is free to download, as is ParrotSec. Getting the live mode to boot within Parallels is quite easy, here’s all you need to do:

Get Parallels Desktop Lite free from the Mac App Store

Now get ParrotSec free from chúng tôi for the tutorial here we’re using the free Home Edition 64bit ISO, which is 1.8 GB. You can download the security centric build or other builds if you want

Run Parallels Desktop Lite and under “Create New” select the option to ‘Install Windows or another OS from a DVD or image file’

At the Parrot home boot menu, choose “Live Mode” to boot into the ParrotSec desktop experience (or select another boot option if desired)

In a few moments you’ll be at the ParrotSec desktop in a live boot mode, where you can explore and play around with some of the tools available, as of this writing, the ParrotSec live username is “live” and the live password is “toor”

When finished, shut down the Parallels virtual machine or quit the app to leave ParrotSec

Remember this is a virtual machine, so the performance is not going to be anywhere close to what you’d expect if running system software natively on actual hardware. But for the curious, it should still be fun to explore and experiment with.

If you toyed around with ParrotSec and decided you have no use for it, you can just delete the ISO file you downloaded and that’ll be that. You could also remove Parallels Desktop Lite if you’d like, but it’s a handy app to have around for virtualizing various Linux and MacOS releases.

You can also use VirtualBox (free), VMware (paid), or Parallels (paid), but for our purposes here we are using Parallels Desktop Lite because it’s extremely simple. Parallels Lite is also cool because the free version also allows you to run MacOS Mojave in Parallels Desktop Lite, or MacOS High Sierra and Sierra in Parallels Desktop Lite too, as well as various other Linux distributions. You will have to pay to use Windows with Parallels, but if you’re committed to virtualizing Windows and want to use free software you can get preconfigured Windows 10 with Microsoft Edge virtual machines or simply install Windows 10 into VirtualBox too, whichever works for your needs.

If the topic of virtual machines interests you, you might enjoy reading and exploring our other virtual machine articles which cover virtualizing Mac OS, Windows, Linux, Android, and much more. And likewise if the topic of tech security fascinates you, then browse through our security related articles where you’ll find some interesting security tips and information for Mac and iOS.


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Top Challenges For Desktop Linux

I have been using various Linux distros for many years now. One of the benefits is that I’ve seen many things improve and have been there to celebrate each success as it happened. Unfortunately, like any modern operating system, even the most modern Linux distributions are not without their challenges.

In this article, I’m going to share the biggest issues I’ve experienced over the years. At no time am I disparaging Linux on the desktop. Rather, I hope to start a dialog so that some of these issues can be addressed.

With the rise of mobile devices taking the spotlight from desktop platforms, getting Linux adopted by the masses feels more challenging than ever. Why does this matter? Because I think having Linux as an alternative desktop option adds value for a lot of potential newcomers.

The next biggest issue besides mobile devices flooding the market is the missed opportunity disenfranchised Windows users never hear about – Linux! Setting aside technical barriers for a moment, the fact is most people only know of OS X and Windows. This is largely because no one is spending big ad dollars on Linux promotion. Most people that are introduced to Linux on the desktop are doing so by chance.

Solution: I can’t in good conscience suggest that there is a solution to this. Even if we could magically zap computers with Linux goodness, when it comes time to get a PC repaired, folks are left with Windows-biased technicians. The best course of action is to accept that this will be a grassroots effort that won’t shatter any adoption records.

To be fair, software projects are abandoned on Windows and OS X too. But it does seem to hurt more when it happens to a Linux project. I’ve seen this happen with Twitter clients, Webcam software and other non-critical applications. This may not seem like a big deal on the surface, but there have been abandoned projects that really bugged me for a long time.

Ideally in the Open Source world, this problem is addressed by someone choosing to fork the project. Sadly this doesn’t always happen (I’m looking at you, GNOME Nanny). Where this rubs me the wrong way is when we’re trying to get something done, locate the perfect application…only to find that it’s no longer being developed.

Solution: Figuring out a way to make adopting existing code a bit more transparent would be a good start. Jono Bacon has some interesting ideas, but I think it’s something that really needs to be looked at for the long haul.

One area that I have gone back and forth on is the level of fragmentation within Linux distributions. On the one hand, I love being able to jump from distro to distro for new experiences. Unfortunately software developers for Windows and OS X do not like this.

Acknowledging that there are exceptions ranging from Steam games to Skype, overall most Windows and OS X software tends to avoid Linux altogether. Why, you might ask? Because according to the developers, fragmentation within the Linux community makes it pretty unattractive. Is this unfair? Perhaps, but at the end of the day the result is the same – no Photoshop, no MS Office, and no (insert software title here).

Solution: I have to admit that I’m on the fence with this issue. On the one hand, I don’t rely on any of the “missing” software titles Linux newcomers might expect. But I’d be a fool if I tried to pretend like this isn’t a deal breaker for some people. There are a lot of people that need certain legacy software titles. According to the developers of these apps, fragmentation is a big reason why they don’t try to port their software titles to Linux.

Personally, I’m in the camp that believes that developers could do it if they simply chose a distro and stuck with it, but alas, that would again point straight back to the fragmentation issue. Even if they chose the most popular distro, they’d be missing out on users from others Linux distributions.

This easily fits in nicely with my above point. The difference between reported market share and fragmentation is that one is accurate while the other is perceived nonsense. Say it with me folks: The reported market share myth is higher than the “stats” have indicated in the past. The truth is no one actually knows. The Linux community don’t issue licenses or sell traceable pre-installed PCs with Linux. Notice I said traceable, there are a number of vendors that sell Linux pre-installed.

Regardless of this fact, the consensus of a tiny market share remains. And like with the issue of fragmentation, this doesn’t help matters much when Linux users are trying to convince a developer to port a game or software over to Linux.

Solution: I believe asking for a cited link when someone spouts off Linux adoption numbers is a good start. But in the end, there isn’t anything we can really do about it. For now, we’re left with making sure we reward developers that support us. This means participating in crowd funding opportunities, along with promoting our favorite distribution at ever opportunity. This doesn’t do much for reported market share, but it does let others know that we Linux users are a passionate bunch.

If you use Arch or another related distribution, this doesn’t apply to you. However, if you use a release-based distribution, getting the latest software version usually requires some extra work. For Ubuntu, this could mean looking for a PPA (personal package archive) that contains a later version of your desired software. For other distributions, it might make more sense to simply put a package together yourself. However you slice it, the situation sucks for release based distributions.

How To Test A Motherboard

In my 30 years of experience as a computer technician, a motherboard is one of the most challenging components to diagnose due to the number of components connected to it.

If a motherboard fails, you could have blue screens, freezing, beeps, inability to detect USB drives and other hardware, and more.  This guide will teach you how to test a motherboard with a multi-meter before installing other PC parts.

You will need the following tools to complete your motherboard diagnostics testing.

A Phillips screwdriver or power switch jumper

A multimeter to check voltages

A working PSU (Power Supply Unit)

A new CMOS battery if necessary

CPU thermal paste

Set the motherboard on a flat, non-conductive surface such as a wooden table.

Install the processor and apply thermal paste.

Attach the CPU cooler and connect it to the motherboard.

Place at least one RAM module into the slot labeled (DIMM 1). 

Attach the GPU to the motherboard and connect the necessary power connector if necessary. Read your GPU manual to verify.

Plug the ATX 24-pin connector from the PSU (Power Supply) into the motherboard.

Connect the monitor to the HDMI connection on the side of the board for onboard graphics or into the GPU if it’s your primary display.

Plug the PSU power cable into a surge protector or wall outlet.

To turn on the computer, use a power switch jumper, or if you do not have one available, you can even use a screwdriver to complete the power circuit shown above.

After verifying a successful POST, turn the PC off by flipping the switch located on the power supply back to the off position.

If the computer boots to the BIOS, you are good to go. Unplug everything, and install the motherboard into your case and install everything as usual. If your motherboard did not POST, retry the steps again, and if it still fails, contact the motherboard manufacturer and request an RMA to get a new motherboard.

Motherboards can be one of the most stubborn components to diagnose due to the sheer number of tiny parts embedded in them. In my experience, when motherboards fail, they typically will not boot, power on, or anything. The following steps can help narrow down your symptoms.

The Power-On-Self-Test or (POST) happens each time you turn on your computer. If your computer is operating normally, you should continue the startup. If you are unable to complete the POST, then proceed to the next step.

Verify that your motherboard is not shorting out on your case. Verify that you have correctly installed stand-off screws in all the correct screw locations inside the case.

Check your system for possible overheating. Open the case and ensure that there is not dust covering the fans, components, and motherboard. If so, use a can of compressed air found at your local hardware store to clean it.

Listen for beep codes when booting your PC. These beep codes will help you identify the faulty component or issue. For a list of beep codes and what they mean, go here.

Use the BIOS to check for updates, download and install them. If no updates are available, restore or reset your BIOS to reverse all settings to default and restart the computer.

If you still cannot access the BIOS because your computer keeps restarting, Replace the CMOS Battery. If your PC continues into BIOS after battery replacement, your motherboard issues should end. But if they do not, continue diagnosis.

Finally, remove all components other than the CPU, the CPU Cooling Fan, and the RAM. If your motherboard boots and POSTs, you will need to add one piece of hardware at a time until you find the faulty component.

If you cannot diagnose your motherboard with the steps listed above, it is time to use a multimeter. You can purchase one at your local hardware store or on Amazon. This one at Amazon sells for less than $13 and works great.

If you have a multimeter, then you will be able to detect issues with the motherboard easily. Even if you have never used a multimeter in the past, I will walk you step-by-step on how to test your motherboard for component failure.

The first thing you want to look for with the multimeter is a short circuit. These are common issues and can happen when there might be a surge in electricity. Below we will be verifying the AC voltage of the motherboard.

Standard 24pin ATX pin layout

Next, remove the motherboard from the case and refer to the layout picture or this ATX 24-pin chart to find the PINs. Using the red lead, test each of the following: (3,5,7,15,17,18, and 19) must have a 0 reading. Anything else indicates a bad PSU connector.

The last test will require you to remove the ATX power adapter and the CPU from the motherboard. Test the same ATX pins located on the motherboard. Any reading other than 0 means there is a problem with the motherboard connector.


To check DC voltages, follow the steps below. The steps here are slightly different than AC voltages.

If you have found that the motherboard has failed, don’t try repairing it on your own. Even if a repair is successful, improper voltage regulation could destroy everything in your computer. It is always better to have an experienced electronic technician repair the motherboard or replace it than venturing to fix it yourself.

With the computer turned off, carefully probe the back of the connector using the black lead.  It should be in contact with one of the negative pins 15,17,18 or 19, registering a 0 voltage.

Use the red lead to probe and verify the following pins:  Pin 16 (green in color) reading between 3-5 volts and Pin 9 (purple color) reading 5 volts.

Now, start the PC.  Pin 16 (green color) should drop down to 0 volts.  If it doesn’t, this is indicative of a faulty switch.  (Turn off the PC)

Finally, use the red lead on Pin 8 (gray color) should read 5 volts.  Start the computer and press the reset button; now, the voltage will drop down to 0 volts, then go back up to 5 volts.  If not, this is a good indicator that you have a defective RAM slot, and you will need a new motherboard.


You don’t have to have a CPU to verify that the motherboard is working and powering connected components like case fans and RGB lighting. I know because I have done this on numerous occasions.

How to test a capacitor on a motherboard?

Unfortunately, there is no way to test the capacitor on a motherboard without removing the capacitor itself. However, you can visually inspect each capacitor for rust, cracks, leaks, or bulges, and this will give you a good idea that the capacitor is damaged.

Can a motherboard be repaired?

A motherboard can be repaired by an experienced electronics technician in many cases and may still be less expensive than a replacement if it is an older PC. If you have to purchase a new motherboard, you may also have to replace the CPU and RAM. 

Is replacing a motherboard worth it?

The fact that the motherboard is responsible for distributing controlled amounts of current throughout the computer and its peripherals makes it very worth it. A failing motherboard could cause surges of current that could potentially destroy your RAM, GPU, CPU, etc. 

What happens if my motherboard is damaged?

If you just purchased your motherboard and it was damaged when you opened it or during installation, it should be under the manufactures warranty. You will need to call the manufacture and request an RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization).

If you have had the motherboard for a long time and it is out of the warranty period, you will need to purchase a new one.

How To Blur Images On A Mac

Posting a picture online comes with risks. Your photo may contain sensitive info or a depiction of someone you don’t want others to see. The good news is that you can easily blur these images before posting them online. There are dozens of available Mac apps to accomplish this. Here, we take you through how you can easily and quickly blur images on your Mac using Skitch or the built-in Photos app.

Blur Images With Skitch

Part of the popular Evernote family of products, Skitch is a fantastic product that everyone should have on their computer.

Launch Skitch if you already have it downloaded or grab it from the Mac App Store.

Look on the left side of the app in the vertical toolbar for “Pixelate,” the second-to-last option. You can also identify it by its icon, which is blurry or pixelated.

Use your mouse to drag the cursor around the area you wish to blur out. This works as a square or rectangle, and you can go back over each blurred area a few times just to be 100 percent sure nothing is visible.

Both ways work the same, so the image doesn’t appear differently if you use one method over the other.

With Skitch, it is really easy to blur images on the Mac. However, if downloading a separate app isn’t for you, there is another method that works with the Photos app, which is pre-installed on Macs.

Blur Images Using the Photos App

Editing a photo using the Photos app won’t “blur” an image in the same way the Skitch method will. Instead, using the edit features available through the Photos app, you can “Retouch” an image and remove any sensitive or unwanted info.

Open the preinstalled Photos app on your Mac. The app should be in your deck or available through Mission Control by pressing F4 on your keyboard.

When the edit screen pops up, look for the “Retouch” option about halfway down on the right side of the app.

With the Retouch tool engaged, drag the mouse icon across any part of an image that you wish to hide. You can increase or decrease the size of the pointer to help cover more or less of an image. Whereas Skitch actually blurs using its feature, the Retouch option is more of a smudge.

If you really need to remove something from an image, Skitch is likely the more preferred option. However, Photos is also free and immediately available on your Mac computer, making it an easy choice to get the job done.

Blur Images Using SnagIt

If Skitch isn’t your app of choice and the Photos app isn’t something you want to use, apps like SnagIt can do a similar job. Apart from just blurring images, SnagIt is jam-packed with a bunch of features, like taking screenshots, recording your screen, and editing photos and videos.

Press and hold your left mouse button and drag your cursor across the part of the image you want to blur.

Frequently Asked Questions Does blurring images affect image size?

In some cases, blurring images can increase or decrease the image size depending on the software you use to edit your image. It can also happen if your exported image is saved in a different file format than its original one.

How to blur parts of images online?

Here are some websites that are free of charge that allow you to blur images or parts of images. To use some of these options, however, you may have to create an account.

What are some additional Mac screen capture software that can blur images?

Here are a few more screen capture software options for Mac that can also edit and blur images.




All screenshots by Ojash Yadav & David Joz

Ojash Yadav

Ojash has been writing about tech back since Symbian-based Nokia was the closest thing to a smartphone. He spends most of his time writing, researching, or ranting about Bitcoin. Ojash also contributes to other popular sites like MakeUseOf, SlashGear, and MacBookJournal.

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A Linux Meltdown (With A Happy Ending)

My monitor gave up the ghost in the middle of the workday, naturally when I had deadlines and a half-dozens things to do right now. It turned out to be a fried video card, and I took the long way to figure it out, but I was able to keep working until I had time to troubleshoot and fix it, thanks to Linux’s easy remote networking.

I came back from a break to find it in a hard lockup. Well OK, this is inconvenient, but at least with Linux a hard crash usually doesn’t have bad side effects like mangled system files, unlike a certain other inexplicably popular but frail operating system.

Ctrl+Alt+Delete didn’t work, so I hit the power button. When it came back up it looked like this:

It is true that my vision isn’t getting any better with age, but it’s not that bad. So I says to myself oh dear, I have a problem. I couldn’t take time out of work to deal with it, so I moved to another computer– my house is loaded with computers, as it should be– and used ssh to log into the broken computer:

This accomplished two things. Since I was able to log in and cruise the filesystem, it told me that whatever was broken was probably limited to the video subsystem, and the -Y switch let me use the remote PC as a graphical terminal to the sick computer. So I had easy access to all of my documents and email the easy way.

My video card is an EVGA Nvidia GeForce 7600, and I have a nice 22″ Viewsonic LCD monitor. I would have cried if the monitor had failed because it is only a couple of years old, and I love it. It is crisp and easy to read, it has nice colors, and it has real contrast, brightness, and color controls, instead of those incredibly moronic profile presets that newer monitors have, like “Text” and “Images” and so on. I hate those and they must die.

I did take the time to swap out the digital video cable and try the analog cable. That made no difference, and a few minutes later the display was even worse:

My troubleshooting was rather hasty and disorganized, though it did finally lead to a solution. What can I say, there are good days and there are twitterpated days. As so many readers of my blog suggested, the first thing I should have done was boot up a live Linux CD. That is a fast way to determine if the problem is hardware or software; if the live CD boots normally then the hardware is OK. It would have saved me some time.

But no, I had to take the long way. After work I spent some quality time with it. I connected the monitor to a different PC and it worked fine. OK, so it’s not the monitor. I put it back and rebooted one more time hoping it would magically heal itself, when something I should have noticed right away got my attention: the boot screen was just as mangled as when Kubuntu came up. So duh, that means the video card is at fault because no drivers are loaded yet, and I already know the monitor is fine.

I gave it some time to cool and connected the monitor again. Nope, Nvidia is fried.

How To Test Cookies With Techniques And Advantages

Introduction to Cookie Testing

Web development, programming languages, Software testing & others

Why do we need Cookie Testing?

Cookie testing is required to check if particular information is being sent back to the server. Each time the browser requests for a page from the server this information should be saved. It is needed and important to check the website functions. It is important to verify how the cookies are being written to files and are being stored in your hard drive. Cookies should be tested as they play an important role as they store very important information within it.

How to Test Cookies?

Below steps can be followed when cookies are to be tested.

Step 1: Disable cookies

To start testing the cookies should be first disabled. This can be done by going to browser settings. Once the cookies are disabled the different functionalities can be tested. The website pages and its different functionalities and monitoring of general functions can be done easily. These may behave in a weird manner when the cookies are disabled. The websites should proactively be able to recover from any failure and should be fine. Some websites also provide information to the user through help messages whenever the cookies are disabled. Testing should be in such a way that it should ensure that all such scenarios are handled upfront.

Step 2: Testing cookies by editing them

To test the application the cookie can be edited with its information. This scenario is valid when cookies store information like user names, passwords, etc. The testing can be done by going to the cookie file. This file can be easily edited by changing the current id with any other valid or invalid number. Once the change is done the website should not allow you to log in. This is because the username is changed and the proper error message should be sent as access denied.

Step 3: Remove the cookies for testing purpose Step 4: Corrupt the cookies

This is one of the important scenarios which should not be missed. It is very important from the security perspective as hackers use this information and will try to access unauthorized information about you and your application. This is usually done by either corrupting the cookie or by overwriting the cookie information with the motive of gaining access to your information through the cookie file. This test is important from the point of view of banking, financial and investment applications. Security for these applications is the utmost. The behavior of cookies should be monitored when they are destroyed. This monitoring can help in find bugs with the cookies if any.

Step 5: Cookie Encryption testing

For the sole purpose of security, it is important that all usernames, user id’s and other sensitive information which is stored in cookie files of websites should be encrypted. The encryption should be validated before being sent to the local computer.

Step 6: Testing behaviour of cookies across various browsers

A cookie when stored on one browser should not work on any other browser. It should be operated only on the browser where it was created. This cross-browser testing should be done appropriately.

Cookie Testing Techniques

Deactivating the cookies

Corrupting the cookies

Rejecting the cookies

Cross Browser testing

Encryption of Cookies

Testing with different browser settings

By using this technique, the functionality and working of cookies can be tested properly and all data can be validated.


The cookies are easy to implement and do not require any server. They are stored on the user’s computer.

Cookies can be configured in a way that they expire when a session expires. This makes them persistent only till the user is active. This also ensures security.

Cookies help in storing information and they work in a way where user work without being aware that the information is being stored.

They store less memory and as there is no server involved there is no need to send the data back to the server.

Cookies are persistent and if not restricted to a session the information in cookies can stay there for days, months and even years. It is easy for the user to check the information.

Cookies are stored on the client’s hard disk and even if the server crashes the information will still be available.

Cookies make browsing the internet faster and easier.

Loss of site traffic: Some functionalities will not work when cookies are disabled.

Overuse of cookies: Some browsers give pop-ups when cookies are being used. When testing is being done many cookies need to be enabled and disabled

Sensitive Information: Sometimes sensitive information is stored in cookies without encryption. This compromises security.


Cookies are very useful and lightweight objects which store user information on their system. It is important to test them as they store sensitive information. Cookies can be testing by editing, rejecting and even destroying them. This helps in checking all perspectives and validating if all data is being stored properly in the cookies.

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