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Here's your "Security Alert News Reporter"
for July, 2004
The "NewsReporter" is published
periodically to keep you up-to-date
on the latest information we
gather for avoiding and surviving the
hectic hacker attacks on your computer
security and personal identity
that take place constantly on the
Latest Virus Threats
reported July 30, 2004 by McAfee:
Full descriptions including virus characteristics, symptoms, aliases
and removal instructions are available by clicking on each of these
A new and potentially dangerous trend of virus writers is to
use one infection to open a door for others. MyDoom.M, for example,
can generate a list of infected systems, which provides the worm's
creators with addresses where they can upload new pests and keep other attackers
from taking over the infected PCs.
By directing virus attacks at known vulnerable PCs, new virus strains
spread faster and are more damaging. At any given time, the number of
these infected and highly vulnerable machines on the internet is
The problem is that many of the owners of the infected PCs are not
aware of the severity of the threat to them and the people with whom
they share email, pictures, chats, etc.
The big question, then, is how to reach the people who own these
and let them know what's going on. They're vulnerable to any virus,
not just MyDoom varients, that the attackers care to inject them with.
We can all help by spreading the word that the internet is not getting
safer -- that the virus creators are becoming
more vicious -- and that our personal security and survival
is becoming more endangered every time a new virus is released.
As individuals, we must be vigilant, adhere to all of the safe
practices, and above all, we must have firewalls, anti-virus and
malware detection software on our computers that is always kept
If you use MS Windows and Internet Explorer, be certain to take
advantage of the free Microsoft Update Service available for your operating
system (Win95, Win98,
Win 2000, WinXP, etc).
And to help your family, friends and associates avoid the rampant
spread of 'virus grief' -- direct them to newsletters and websites
like this, where the primary goal is to help our readers and visitors
maintain safe and secure computer systems without the threat of
identity theft, loss of valuable data, and personal compromises.
With that said, have you checked your computer for viruses over the past few days?
Do you have an up-to-date anti-virus scanner?
If you haven't updated and haven't
been infected by any of the MyDoom variations or Sasser yet, you're lucky. Update now. Try
the FREE scanning and removal tool available on the Firewalls and
Virus Protection website at
STINGER. It also checks for
40 or more other active viruses and worms
Look for the STINGER Icon
If you surfed the Internet recently using Microsoft's Internet
Explorer, you may be one of the hundreds of thousands of people whose
PCs were compromised with the potentially dangerous "Scob" virus. It
was possible to get this Trojan Horse virus just by clicking on a
favorite Web page. The good news is that Internet engineers shut down
the Russian server from which the malicious code had been launched to
thousands of Web sites where it attempted to steal users' credit card
numbers and Social Security numbers.
|To find out if your
computer has the Scob virus, Microsoft recommends you do this:
--On the taskbar at the bottom of your screen, click Start, and
--Under "What do you want to search for?" click "All files and
--Under "All or part of the file name," enter the following text
to search for
these files: Kk32.dll and Surf.dat
--If either file is present, your computer may be infected.
Most antivirus software companies have updated their signature
files to include this worm. This will stop the infection upon
contact and in some cases will remove an active infection from
your system. For more information, visit the websites of
Computer Associates, F-Secure, Kaspersky, McAfee, Panda,
Sophos, Symantec, and Trend Micro.
There are links to most of these on our Firewalls and Virus
Alternately, you can search Google and Yahoo for their website
About a month ago, after clicking on a link for a special report
offered in one of the more recent newsletters to which we subscribed,
a new browser window popped open with a very explicit
pornographic site that would not delete. Each attempt to remove it
opened more and more of these XXX pages, until finally, shutting down
the computer was the only way to get rid of them.
Much to our dismay, these unwanted pages contained some trojan horses
which planted the most insidious virus we have ever experienced.
And, until a couple of ISP's advised that our emails were being
bounced by their filters, we weren't even aware of the infection. That
is, until suddenly our Internet Explorer stopped operating properly,
the computer locked up time and time again and crashed for no
apparent reason, browser links were either disappearing or new ones
were showing up, and many other programs became unstable.
Our up-to-date virus scanning programs could not find the worm. AdAware, Spybot
Search and Destroy, SpyCop,
X-Cleaner and Spyware Sweeper did
find various bugs, but removing them did not cure the problem with the
A search of the forums led us to the SpywareInfo.com site at <http://www.spywareinfo.com/>
where we learned that the worm that Hijacked our computer and was
wreaking havoc on the internet was one of the variants of the "CoolWebSearch" Hijacker.
There are tools that will eventually clean CWS out of the machine:
'Hijack This' and 'CWSShredder' are the ones we tried,
and now we have
learned that the creators of the CWS worm have reprogrammed it so that
it disables even these tools and blocks access to updating them. These
virus writers certainly aren't playing fair!
Reminds us of when we were little kids and had our share of fights
with our playmates. Fighting fair meant "no biting, no hair pulling,
no gouging, and no hitting below the belt". For whatever reasons the
irresponsible virus writers are spreading their malicious ware, they are certainly
"Hitting below the Belt".
But don't let this keep you from visiting SpywareInfo.com/ It's loaded with
powerful information and helpful advice that zeros in on the hijacking
problem. If you are experiencing any similar problems, be sure to
follow the link to their forum. There are literally thousands
of postings from which you will learn and possibly find the advice
that will help you resolve your own issues.
You can download HijackThis from the Software link on the
SpywareInfo website. Be sure to read and follow their instructions to
the letter if you want good results.
We receive no compensation from SpywareInfo, but we do support their
completely Free website, newsletter and software with a small
financial contribution so that they can continue to provide this
outstanding service to their thousands of appreciative followers, like
Google and Yahoo searches will find all kinds of answers to your
questions, too, and provide information on specific viruses by
name, spyware removal and virus protection programs, and just about
any other related topic you can think of.
The Federal Trade Commission of the
United States Government has many publications relating to protecting
the security of your family, both on the internet and off. They are
FREE at their website. Check out their pages covering Consumer
Family Safe Sites
PBS Kids is a respected and trusted site.
We would not hesitate to send our children and grandchildren
very assuring. Families visiting the site can feel safe
regarding potential threats to family privacy and childrens'
welfare. Jump to it from
There are some interesting
discussions and helpful family related links on the 'Identity Theft'
pages at the
Firewalls-and-virus-protection website, including some very recent
If you are concerned for your own security and that of your family, visit
the 'Identity Theft' pages
Publications Here's a way you can help your
family and friends:
We are repeating this announcement because
of the interest it created after presenting it in the last
issue of the
because of its popularity, we will
continue to create similar reports that can be downloaded,
printed and shared.
Many people using the internet wonder
if their firewalls and virus protection are good enough to
keep them safe. For
those of you who have visited our Firewalls site, you
know that the information there is all directed toward
keeping you safe from hacker and cracker attacks.
Because it isn't always convenient to share your computer
with family and friends, we have excerpted some important chapters from our
Firewalls site and created small downloadable reports
that can easily be printed and distributed to the people you'd like to help
avoid 'virus grief'.
Special Report Alerts
| Is Your
Firewalls and Virus Protection Safe Enough?
This report will help you identify viruses, prepare for attacks
and infections and guide you in their removal. It's a 9 page,
easy reading guide that covers the threats we all face in our
daily use of the internet. It's a basic education in
understanding and Avoiding Virus Grief
Down load it from this link (it's in PDF format):
The download includes a ReadMe page with instructions for
unzipping and using your Acrobat Reader, and even a link to the
Adobe website where you can get your own free Acrobat Reader if
you don't already have one
NEW, this Issue
Is a Keystroke Logger Being Used To Spy
Many of the tools and tricks in use today to spy on
your internet activities are exposed in this 7 page report. This
look into spyware will alert you to the ease in which your
identity could be compromised, or stolen.
Open the report in a new webpage by clicking
HERE or here>
(No downloading necessary, and you can print it right from your
There is really no reason for
anyone not to have the latest Firewall, anti-virus, spam blocking, and
spyware removal software installed on their computers. You can
download all of these programs, and more, mostly for FREE, from our
They're there for the taking. If you need to block Spam,
check the links on the 'Spam and Spyware' page. Same thing for Cookie
Crumbling tools, Spyware protection, etc.
It seems as if many of these software designers and providers
are trying to out-do each other with their Free software offers.
Although these protective programs may be stripped down versions, they
do work and no one should hesitate to download their trial or short
Most of them have a purchasable Up Grade option, and by trying the
free versions, you can upgrade the ones that worked best for you.
Start at the
Firewalls page and check out each
page, downloading what you need as you go through the whole site.
The 'Articles and Reports' section has some recent
interesting and helpful additions. We encourage you to visit it, too.
Same thing for protective software. We add it whenever we
find tools that will benefit our site visitors. It would be a
good idea to bookmark and check back regularly so that you don't miss
newly added items.
Reviews (of the news).
According to its background paper on the subject of
SPAM, drawing from statistics from managed e-mail security
vendor MessageLabs, spam accounts for 76 percent of the world's
email and has an aggregate yearly cost of roughly $12 billion.
Suggestions from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU)
recent conference about how to fight spam raised the question in one
anti-spam expert's mind as to whether spam can really be wiped out.
Last month, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the United
Kingdom's Office of Fair Trade (OFT) and the Australian Competition
and Consumer Commission (ACCC) agreed on what could be a forerunner to
the ITU's goal of an international agreement on fighting spam. The
agreement among the three countries would permit sharing of evidence
and information on spamming activities and the spammers causing these
Efforts like these could minimize the scourge of SPAM, but in our
opinion, there will always be juvenile minded and malicious lowlifes
who will challenge what ever programs are set in place to return our
free, and safe use of the internet.
Send in your
questions. There is no such thing as a stupid question. Some people
are bashful about asking, but there are always many others who share
the same question, and will benefit from the answers to yours.
email your questions to us at
With your permission, we'll publish your questions and answers in
forthcoming issues of the NewsReporter.
If you had the opportunity to help
family members, associates, or friends by sharing any of the
information in this
please suggest that they subscribe for their own personal copy.
They can subscribe here and we'll never share their information with third
As promised in our first
issue, we aren't going to stuff your mail box with un-ending mailings every
day, week, or month. When there's some important news about the topics
we've noted, we'll let you know.
To avoid unwanted and unnecessary filtering of our messages, we will
send a very brief text email to you. It will have a link to this
News Reporter and an un-subscribe link
The email subject line will identify the contents as
"Latest Security Alert News Reporter - Issue ##" and the
email "FROM" address will be "firstname.lastname@example.org"
Thank you again, for your interest and trust. We'll do our best to
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