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|Here's your "Security Alert News Reporter"
for November, 2004
is published to keep you up-to-date on the latest
gather for avoiding and surviving the hectic hacker attacks
on your computer
security and personal identity that take place constantly
internet. Many of our comments are based on personal experiences.
your safety, security, and privacy is not a simple task.
We are trying to make it a bit easier for you to accomplish.
Latest Virus Threats
November 28, 2004 by McAfee:
Full descriptions including virus characteristics, symptoms, aliases
and removal instructions are available by clicking on the
link. This virus alert is in addition to those posted in previous
month's News Reporter
In addition to the 70,000 some viruses on the internet, there are
presently over 10,000 spyware programs reported to be lurking there,
too. They can view your passwords, account numbers, instant messaging
logs, emails and more.
Don't let them destroy the pleasures of the Internet for you
and your Family during the coming holidays.
Sharing messages and holiday pictures will be one of the major fun
of the internet during, and after the coming season.
It's also a 'fun' time for the malcontents and malicious people who
an even greater opportunity to flood our email boxes with virus laden
messages, spoofing and phishing threats.
Why is this a greater opportunity for them?
Consider the increased use of the internet by family members who will
be testing their new digital cameras and new computers, scanners (if
they don't use a digital cameras), and a host of other new digital
toys and devices.
The hackers, crackers and internet thieves will be ecstatic, For
Sure! Many of their targeted computers will be unprotected,
subject to intrusion by viruses, trojan horses, spyware and malware.
Yes, nearly everyone is now aware that having
Firewalls and virus
protection is an
And Yes, their computers probably have these
tools because they are
often included with
the software that comes with new computers.
But, have they been updated regularly, even recently?
How about your protective programs? When did you update last?
Updating must be done for Operating Systems as well as firewalls,
programs and spyware scanning programs. It's general knowledge that
some browser services are targeted by the hackers (Internet Explorer
one). Actually, viruses and spyware can intrude into your system
others, as well.
Think of all of the unwary and inexperienced people who enjoy surfing
the internet and communicating with family and friends. Their
computers are among the prime targets.
How to help them, make them aware, and protect them from the
loss of private and personal information, files, important data, and
identity is the Goal of many organizations, software providers, and
some individual webmasters, is the theme of our publications.
You can be a part of our "Computer Virus Awareness Campaign"
and direct your family and friends to these helpful websites, such as
http://www.firewalls-and-virus-protection.com ,and suggest they
subscribe to this newsletter.
Our message for this holiday season is to
"Gift the people you
care about" by helping them learn how to protect themselves and
The Firewalls and Virus Protection website contains the information
really need, it's easy to read and understand, and it wont cost you a
Happy Holidays to all.
Late Breaking Virus Threat - Beware PC
Virus in an eMail Text Link
When you're reading your e-mail be careful about the
embedded links that may appear in those messages. CNN/Money
reports on a new version of the Mydoom virus that will infect
your computer if you click on the link in the text of the
e-mail. Typically, you must download and open the attachment to
be infected with a virus. Not with this one.
According to anti-virus software manufacturer McAfee Inc., this
virulent version of Mydoom instructs users to click on the link,
which takes them to an infected machine, which in turn places
the infection on the victim's computer.
The messages containing this virus vary, but some appear to be
from PayPal, eBay's online payment system.
The e-mail text reads:
"Congratulations! PayPal has successfully charged $175 to your
credit card. Your order tracking number is A866DEC0, and your
item will be shipped within three business days. To see details
please click this link."
If you click on that link, your computer will become infected with the
If you don't recognize the source on an
email, be extremely Cautious
Here's our usual reminder that you can download a free virus checking
and removal tool at the Firewalls and Virus Protection site.
STINGER checks and removes viruses already in your computer.
The program fits neatly on a floppy disc - a perfect way to clean up
your computer if a worm or other 'rogueware' has disabled your ability
to use your computer to get back on the Internet to update your
you don't have an online anti-virus program yet, I suggest you use
STINGER until you do....Richard
MyDoom, Bagel and Netsky variations
are becoming more difficult to avoid. Try
the FREE scanning and removal tools available on the Firewalls and
Virus Protection website at
STINGER. It finds and removes
about 45 other active viruses and worms. Download the November
Look for the STINGER Icon
More about Web Browsers.
In the last issue, we commented on our experience with a variety
of web browsers. After our IE hijacking experience, we
looked at a few other browsers that might be less targeted by
hackers and crackers.
Many of the Internet Editorialists and Pundits were
promoting a switch over to FireFox from Internet
Explorer, so we tried the Beta version. We just upgraded that earlier
version to Firefox1 and are still exploring the many
features available, some of which were not a part of the IE
We also upgraded the AOL Service on another of our
computers with the new AOL
9.0 Security Edition. If you upgrade an existing AOL setup
on your computers, you should expect a big surprise.
The program works great and has a bunch of new features. Primary
among them is the anti-virus feature. You'll still need a
You'll also need to spend some time reading how to make the best
use of this version, and locating and resetting many of the
things that are changed to AOL's new default settings.
We're still 'personalizing' both the Firefox1 and AOL 9.0
Security Editions to suit our preferences.
Our experience to date with these two upgrades is quite
But, we have to admit that after years of using, and becoming
very familiar with Microsoft's Internet Explorer and the
Netscape browsers, we are spending a lot of time just making the
new ones work the way we expect they should.
We are still being very cautious
about making a
complete, no return change from IE and suggest the same approach
for our friends. That choice will be made after we gain more
experience with the other upgrades.
Be on the alert for
even more major phishing expeditions!
There is a continuing increase in the
activity of online thieves to use
the practice of phishing and spoofing to steal the identity,
passwords, credit card and banking information of internet users.
During the month of November, we were 'phished' at least once or twice a week
for our bank account information, as well as our earthlink.net account details, including credit card numbers,
banking details, and personal information like birthdates.
The frightening part of all of this is that the requests were so well
done that it was nearly impossible to tell them from official
Refresh your knowledge
on Phishing and Spoofing at the Articles and Reports
pages of our website; Firewalls and Virus Protection
Help for the Hijacked !
In our last few issues, we reported on the
we had with the CWS (Cool Web Search) hijacking worm. It
hijacked our Internet Explorer browser and planted unwanted pages
with some trojan horses containing the most insidious virus we have
ever experienced -- the CWS worm. (You can read more of the details
and our efforts in removing the CWS.mrhop worm in the archived Issues).
If you are experiencing any of these nasty problems, you computer
could have one of the CWS hijacking variants hidden in it.
See Issue 6 of the
for symptoms of hijacking.
Even if you have only a few of these
symptoms, scanning your computer for hidden CWS variants is a good
move. Let CWSShredder find and remove these potential browser
hijacking parasites, and check out the Xsoftpy program. It's one of the few virus
scanners that actually finds and removes CWS.mrhop.
Download XoftSpy and Scan Your PC for Free!
REPEATED from last issue, because it's so important
it here for Free
CWShredder Version 2.0
Released: October 2004
What's New With CWShredder?
Originally developed by Merijn
Bellekom of the Netherlands, CWShredder is now owned and maintained
CWShredder has been updated to find and remove new CoolWebSearch
CWShredder Version 2.0 is the latest defense against the new
CoolWebSearch variants, and it is included in
Download a free trial and enjoy the best spyware protection
We learned about this program from the extraordinary website and
forums built and maintained by James Healan, webmaster of SpywareInfo.com.
We encourage you to visit
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
us. If you have occasion to use it, would you consider doing the same?
We post these links to help parents, grandparents and guardians
guide today's young internet surfers to safe sites. There are many
other website creators who feel the same concerns and responsibility.
These are just a few of their sites that we have
personally reviewed and tested as safe for our Grandchildren. Check them out and share them with the
young people you care about.
Please note the 'AMBER ALERT" scrolling at the bottom of this
Family Safe Sites
The Crayola website goes
beyond being just for Kids with its sections for Parents
and Educators, too. We wouldn't hesitate to send our children
and grandchildren here for entertainment and education. Here's
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 their children's
welfare. Jump to it from
website has been Certified 'Family Safe' by the
Institute of Family Safe Businesses.
Ask Jeeves for Kids
Ask Jeeves is a
trademark of Ask Jeeves, Inc., Copyright 1996-2000 Ask Jeeves,
Ask Jeeves for Kids has great Study Tools, Fun and Games and
News Resources, all Safe.
Visit Ask Jeeves
for Kids Home page Here
Check out the
Kid Friendly pages HERE
Parent Friendly Links HERE
We receive no compensation for
displaying these links and you will be under No Obligation when
you visit them. They are here because we care about the safety
of everyone who uses the internet, especially our Kids.
See more family related links on the
Personal Privacy and
page at the Firewalls-and-virus-protection website if you are at all
concerned for your own security
and that of your family.
Join The GetNetWise Initiative
GetNetWise is a
public service brought to you by Internet industry corporations and
public interest organizations to help ensure that Internet users have
safe, constructive, and educational or entertaining online
experiences. The GetNetWise coalition wants Internet users to be just
"one click away" from the resources they need to make informed
decisions about their and their family's use of the Internet. More
information is available.
GetNetWise is a project of the Internet
are A few more helpful resources
Your Private Information PRIVATE"
Lock away all of your Passwords, Images,
Video and Audio into one Encrypted database for your eyes only.
Enigma enables you to Encrypt and store almost anything so that only
you can access the files through a master password chosen by you. Of
course, all or any of your Encrypted files can be restored to their
original state any time you choose.
You can even backup and restore the entire database to and from CDs to
ensure that you lose nothing even if your hard disk dies.
Use these Free Reports to help your
family and friends:
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 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 FREE 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
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 FREE report in a new webpage by clicking
Spying On You?
(No downloading necessary, and you can print it right from your
How Much Money would it cost you to
regain the use of your computer after a serious virus infection?
It cost one of our friends a whole lot of money, much aggravation
and lost time, lost records, and a major inconvenience to recover
from the havoc caused by the worms and viruses that had infiltrated
their computer over a period of many months.
In case you missed this FREE report on the
you can read
it here. Our friends have recovered full use of their
computer and now encourage everyone to learn from their
experiences. Please print the report and share it with your
family, friends and associates.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
website with its many publications relating to protecting the security
of your family, both on the internet and off. They are FREE. You can go to their pages covering
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.
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.
about controlling SPAM and Spyware ).
|In October of this
year, The Federal Trade Commission announced an aggressive new
strategy in taking on alleged purveyors of "spyware".
November 4, 2004 Headline
Spammer Jeremy Jaynes Convicted in Spam Case
A jury in Virginia recommended a nine-year prison term for the
first U.S. felony conviction of a spammer. Jeremy Jaynes of Raleigh,
N.C., was convicted on three counts of using deceptive routing
information in sending bulk commercial e-mail.
According to the evidence presented at the trial, Jaynes, 30, and his
sister, Jessica DeGroot, grossed more than $24 million in various
The volume of the mailings triggered the criminal provisions of the
Virginia law. The indictment, which covers a 30-day period in the
summer of 2003, charged that Jaynes and his associates sent more than
10,000 pieces of spam a day and more than 100,000 for the period.
They are expected to appeal the convictions (duh?)
"User Education" is the
focus of our Firewalls and Virus Protection website and this "Security
Alert News Reporter".
Please help us to help your family, friends, and associates enjoy a
safer and less frustrating internet experience. We encourage you to
share this information with them.
All of us, too, need to act, by educating ourselves and by making
sure we obtain the necessary programs to protect our computers.
Those programs include installing a firewall; installing and updating
anti-virus software; using anti-spyware software that can identify and
delete programs that have migrated to our computers; using spam
filters to protect e-mail; and downloading patches that update
Our Children and Grandchildren have been
the joys of our lives. We have been fortunate to be able to provide
for their needs, their education, their mentoring and the little
niceties, like gifts, that are a part of a child's growing up
There are many kids who have not been so fortunate, so
we have partnered
with the Official U.S. Marines Toys
for Tots Program
again this year, to make sure every child has at least one present
(and hopefully) more from SANTA under their tree..
Will you join us in helping make their
holiday memorable ?
Just CLICK on the image above to find out how easily you can put a
BIG smile on the face of a needy child in your community this
Christmas. Thank you for your generosity...
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
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 whenever. When there's important news about the
topics we've noted, we'll let you know, usually monthly.
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
in our Computer Virus Awareness Campaign by Sharing this with a friend
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