Troubleshooting Network Connectivity (5)

June 29th, 2008

Different applications have different troubles with connectivity.In the following I’mgoing to list some common causes. One top item in the field is LSP. LSP is provided by Winsock as a linked service provider. In Vista, this thing won’t be a seriousissueas beforesince Vista poses more limitation/restrictions which makes LSP not quite “useful” as their XP counterparts. One can use “netsh winsock show catalog” to inspect how many LSP providers are installed, and what protocols are they working on. You can google a bit and find a bunch of nice LSP fixers to deal with LSP problems if you have any. Newer security suites should all have the capability to deal with LSP layer infections.

The other common problem is the conflict among security softwares. Modern security softwares install kernel-level drivers and work directly inside network stack so that they can provide full protections. Unfortunately, none of them are designed to work with security software from their competitors. As a result, if you want to secure computer but not screw it, install one suite of security software. People tell you things like “hey, BLAHBLAHis a nice add-on forWALAWALA and can further secure the computer”. My translation for that is “I can make more money from you if you bought two instead of one”.

Most security software that did content scanning uses techniques named “proxy”, which means redirecting your network traffic to some program,holding the connection contents, and thenperforming scans. For example, anti-spam software monitors network connectionsbetween your computer andthe mail servers,holds your mails first, scans them, and decides which folders should these mails go to your Outlook. If the holding/scanning part is dead but redirecting part is still working, then you’ll have nothing displayed in your program. Typically a reboot can fix these issues.For anti-spam softwares, if a reboot does not fix the problem, that typically implies the software can not handlecertain e-mails in your mail box (either too large, failed to parse, or some other reason). You might want to temporarily disable it, pull down all your e-mails, and then turn it back on.

The last and most frustrating reason is malware. Malwareplays important roles incertain huge and profitable businesses. For example, on-line advertisement firms want to send out advertisement e-mails (yeah, spams for most people). However, they don’t want to pay for the internet bandwidth, at least not paying in full. How can they do that? Writing a malware, try to infect your computer, and use your internet connections to help them send out e-mails silently. Although most malwares today attempt to stay in your computer forever, they do not work well together with each other (fortunately). As a result, if your computer is heavily infected, it’s very likely these malwares are fighting each other to take over controls of your network, which renders your machine useless. So here are your options

  • Install a security suite to clean your machine up
  • Ghost back your whole machine and try not to get infected
  • Write your lawmakers to push for laws to put these malware authors in jail (Believe it or not, it is legal in most countries to write malwares and sell them to others if you’re not distributing them yourself.)

BTW, make sure the application that you use does not have serious bugs themselves, especially when you update to a newer version 🙂

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