Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Task Catcher 2.0 Surprising New Features

For many years I made a name for myself as the developer of the unique WinPatrol program. To protect running programs I created an App designed to restart failed tasks called Task Catcher. Until now, I never put the same attention into other programs like I did WinPatrol.

mainscreenI started with cosmetic changes but the more time I had, the more improvements were added.  I discovered I wanted more features that weren’t available in other software. The result is now a program I can be proud. All our long time users will be confident recommending this program to family and friends.

Features include:

Block Programs with wildcard text blocked
In previous versions you could specify a particular program based on its full path name.  TC2 allows you to block programs that have any bits of suspicious text in their filename. This allows you to specify text like “conduit”, “Ask” or “avg”. When a program or Windows Service is detected with this text in its name, Task Catcher can automatically block it or let’s you decide if it can run.

Detect and Block Crypto-Ransom programs

Using newly discovered algorithm to decrypt what appears to be a randomly created filename Task Catcher detects possible Ransomware programs. These programs encrypt files and use extortion requiring a payment to decrypt valuable files. These programs can cause a disaster if it happens to a business or an individual losing their tax data or family photos. Our algorithm won’t retrieve encrypted files but it can help detect possible threats and continues to improve.

Track Program Usage track
Microsoft Windows has been evolving and like many new mobile operating systems may keep programs running in the background even when you exit. While this trend shouldn’t hurt your overall performance many of us want to know which programs are running. You’ll be able to pick those apps you’re most interested in and Task Catcher will keep track of how often it runs. This feature is one I expect will be expanded to create more elaborate reports

Restart Programs that Fail or are Closed restart
One of the most popular features of the previous Task Catcher launching a program meant to always run is an important function. Malware often shuts down popular Anti-Virus software but Task Catcher will re-launch your protection and/or will let you know what’s going on. Sometimes, you may have a program that is just buggy and shutdown when you don’t expect it.

Windows Servicesservices
Most of you reading this, like me,  want to know what programs automatically run when you start your computer. Traditional registry startup locations no longer tell the whole story. Many programs running in the background at Windows Services.  This kind of program can register to launch immediately, may be delayed or will start based on a particular trigger event.  Task Catcher helps you keep track of Services that are running allowing you to start and stop them as you would normal applications.


Today is the release of the final beta both to public and to our long time Task Catcher users.

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Friday, February 06, 2015

CEO’s Expose Their Personal Data

You'll be hearing more about the exposure of 80 million customers and employees of Anthem Inc. This time the blame was quickly directed towards mainland China although the exact method of attack is unknown.fbi
Our friend Brian Krebs has details on the China connection and a recent FBI alert.

I raised a lot of eyebrows when I disclosed that Target was successfully compromised using social engineering based on personal information published for former CEO Gregg Steinhafel.  The information found in his company biography was enough to create a complete false identify. 

I couldn't help but see parallels with information published about Anthem CEO, Joseph R. Swedish.

joeswedishHe’s proud of his accomplishments and his company bio includes a lifetime of his work, education and personal history.

Chairman of the Public Education and Business Coalition he's also on the board of the Metro Denver Boy Scouts. You’ll find him supporting his alma mater, Duke University where he obtained a masters in Health Administration. He received his bachelor's from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Mr. Swedish didn’t need 30 days to notify the public which is currently the industry proposed timeline. His apology can be found at

Ironically, Mr. Swedish is an advisor for the China Health Care Corporation. This unique company helps VIPs in China find premium maternity and gynecological services. I’m no expert on China’s population control laws and their family planning policy but this is obviously a big deal.

Like most health care companies Anthem Inc,  (formerly WellPoint), donates large sums to members of both political parties in the U.S..  In 2013, they gave $10,000 to New York’s Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo.  In Texas, $15,000 went to Republican candidate, Attorney General Greg Abbott.

Click for

WELLPAC 2013 donations

Based on current details, the danger from the Anthem exposure may be insignificant for most of us. If you're an officer in a large company, a government employee, contractor or elected official it's time to reduce your online foot print. It’s time to review your online BIO so it only has information needed for public disclosure.

I expect this attack will generate more press than previous data exposures. I’m already reading details of the attack which are complete fabrications meant to match dramatic headlines. The only winners will be credit monitoring sites when companies should be investing in services like our BlueHat research.


BillP Studios  Sample BlueHat Report Page                 

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Thursday, February 05, 2015

Grateful & Motivated by Donations

I recently posted an unusual plea with what some compared to a KickStarter request for donations. I shared some of the difficulties experienced by independent developers especially when faced with increasing health and interruptions.

I want to express my thanks and share some of the results that helped cover the cost of life saving medications.

Thirty individuals responded to my January 2015 plea for help. Many expressed gratitude for my policy never include toolbars and other unwanted software. Some had similar events in their life and wanted to pay forward. Quite a few understood that it must have been serious for me to share such desperation publically.

The donations ranged from $5 to a generous $250. Most were in the $10-$20 range although the average for all thirty donations calculated to $27.67 USD.
Over 20% of the donations were from supporters outside the United States.

As I mentioned, the gift of donations has been very motivating. During a recent fever caused by a case of pneumonia I may have come up with a way to protect users from variations of Crypto-Ransomware. This trend in malware has been very destructive and I’d love to announce a solution soon.

Thanks again,

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