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|Here's your "Security Alert News Reporter"
for February, 2005
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
February 25, 2005 by McAfee
and US-CERT. (US-CERT is the
operational arm of the National Cyber Security Division (NCSD) at the
Department of Homeland Security)
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
issues. You can review previous Virus Alerts in the Archive files.
US-CERT Current Activity includes this information as of Feb
added July 26 | updated November 22, reviewed Feb 25, 2005 US-CERT
continues to see new variants appearing and many variants (new and
old) continuing to spread. Many variants of W32/MyDoom are known to
open a backdoor and use their own SMTP engine to spread through email.
This virus has also been identified as W32/Bofra by some vendors. Read
how to remove MyDoom
The theme of our publications is "How to help everyday internet users become aware, and protect them from the
loss of private and personal information, files, important data, and
With many hundreds of virus
threats, just about everyone can use help to keep the Hackers from
loading their PCs with viruses, worms and other
This is also the Goal of many organizations, software providers,
and even some individual webmasters, like us.
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.
The Firewalls and Virus Protection website contains the information
really need, it's easy to read and understand, and it wont cost you a
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 and update your
you don't have an online anti-virus program yet, I suggest you use
STINGER until you do....Richard
Download this FREE scanning and
removal tool from the Firewalls and Virus Protection
STINGER. It finds and removes
about 46 other active viruses and worms.
February 13, 2005 update
Look for the STINGER Icon
If you have
ever wondered how you can
really Keep Hackers, Worms and Germs out of your PC, here's a
powerful answer: We feel
that we discovered the Mother LODE of information on protecting
ourselves from continuing attacks by Hackers. It's an eBook by
the 20 plus year veteran of internet security consulting ...Mr Bill
| We found "The Hacker's Nightmare"
There's so much
valuable information and just plain common sense contained in this
eBook, that we could fill this and future issues of our News
Reporter for the next few months just talking about it. Here are
a few more things we found:
In addition to the Free Anti-Virus
program by GRISOFT,
we mentioned in last month's News Reporter, we learned that
having just these three anti-spyware programs will build a
strong fortress against Trojan Horses:
Spybot-Search & Destroy, AdAware and
Spybot S&D and AdAware scan and remove spyware from your
computer. SpywareBlaster keeps spyware from being
And how about building your own Rock Solid Firewall from an old
PC? Learn the difference between Hardware and Software
Firewalls by reading the "Firewalls-Defined" article by Mr.
Hely. Jump to
the Articles and Reports page of the Firewalls-and-Virus-Protection.com
web site and read article No. 23...
Bill Hely has designed a webpage that describes many of the
security tricks and tools that will help keep that nasty stuff
out of your computer.
Review The Hacker's Nightmare Story HERE. Some sample (Free)
chapters are available to early visitors.
Don't think that this is is
just for Professionals and Small Business Operators. Much of
Bill Hely's information can easily be applied to keeping even
the less experienced internet user out of the deep and murky
depths of despair resulting from Hacker attacks, virus grief and
and Learn the Truths About Computer & Internet Security
I'm confident that this will be a rewarding experience for you.
- - Some
Alarming facts to consider
(Feb 2005) According to the Identity Theft Resource Center,
(ITRC), identity theft is the fastest growing crime in our nation
today. Criminals are stealing information by eavesdropping on calls
placed on cell phones, by
intercepting emails, by launching phishing attacks, by hacking into
computers, by using telephone and email scams, and by
exploiting weaknesses in
online shopping and banking sites. In fact, the FTC
estimates that more than 20% of all identity theft cases involve
telecommunications and the
Internet, a number that experts predict will grow over the
course of the next year.
Credit card numbers, Social
Security numbers, and other personal data are commonly traded and sold
by hackers, a trend that concerns authorities and consumers
alike. A recent eWeek article reported that "The primary drivers
behind the increase in attacks and malware lately are
more people writing viruses
and attacking systems,
PCs that have been compromised
and loaded with a Trojan or IRC bot are hot commodities in the
security underground, and crackers often trade or sell access to these
machines to each other.
According to J. Howard Beales, Director of the FTC's Bureau of
Consumer Protection, identity theft has been the #1 complaint to
the FTC for the last 3 years in a row -- by far. Last year, identity
theft represented 43% of all the complaints placed with the FTC.
estimates that by 2006, 25% of all identity theft will be committed
with information found online.
The ITRC reports "Trojan
horses have become more sophisticated in recent years, as hackers use
them to scan your system for vital information (credit card
numbers, SSNs, bank account numbers), and use the retrieved
information to open accounts, run up huge credit card debt, or drain
the bank accounts of unsuspecting victims."
Recent worm attacks,
including MyDoom, Blaster, SoBig, and Fizzer, contained back-door
Trojan capabilities that enable hackers to eavesdrop on PCs.
*Statistics quoted from the
ITRC are for informational purposes only and do not represent a
product endorsement from the ITRC.
comments are those instances of Identity Theft where Online
Activities are involved)
How can you tell if your Computer has
If your browser suddenly has a new Start page and even a new Search
page, neither of which you selected, if your computer seems to crash
more often, if it slows to a crawl, if it acts sick, it probably is
with a virus or worm, and even by a hijacker.
What could you do to get it back from the browser hijackers?
Find and remove the Browser Hijackers that entered in Trojan Horses. Our
experience when one of our computers was hijacked was to try various spyware
removal tools Spyware Search and Destroy,
SpySweeper, and AdAware, all of which found and removed
lots of bugs, but didn't find the real hijacking culprit, which turned out to be
one of the CWS variants.
That's generally the case: the spyware sweepers usually don't find the
We learned from
of two very helpful programs, HiJackThis and CWSShredder.
Even if you have only a few of these 'hijacked
browser' symptoms, scanning your computer for hidden CWS variants is a good
move. Let CWSShredder (it's included with
SpySubtract PRO where
Download a free trial) find and remove these potential browser
We have found at least one anti-spyware program that will find and remove
some of the CWS
variants. XoftSpy actually found and removed CWS.mrhop
from our computer.
Download XoftSpy Free trial and scan your computer for bugs.
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 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.
We've added another Kid Safe site to our list
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.
We added the Code Amber Scrolling Alert to the "News Reporter" in
November, 2004, because, like it's founder, we are acutely aware of the
dangers our grandchildren face.
provided as a free public service by BigHits.com, Inc. If you would
like to help support the Code Amber project, please
Please note the 'AMBER ALERT" scrolling at the bottom of this
Family Safe Sites
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
Kid Safe Site from
A really cool Index to the Web for
net Surfers ages 8 - 14. Parents will love this one, too.
Check out the
Kid Friendly pages HERE
Parent Friendly Links
Click to visit Site
Your Site Support
Supporting your Play Time with Kids
for Kid approved
activities that grownups love
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.
WARNING: This isn't
earth-shattering news that you can't live without, but as a
parent or grand parent caring for small children, it could make your
life a little easier. No hype...Click
check it out.
Discover "Real" Kid Tested Crafts That Parents and Grand Parents
Love, too!!! Ground breaking new ebook adjusts to your child's
skill-level. The Ultimate Craft Book For Little Kids!
This is a very
inexpensive ebook. Early shoppers will get two ebooks, with the
second one included at no extra cost. The 2nd book is almost 200
Pages of Paper Plate Know How Guaranteed to Show You How To
Create an Infinite Number of Paper Plate Projects -- From the
Very Simple To the Most Complex.
Click here to get both eBooks for the price of one
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. Our Bookshelf will
will be filled with online security topics.
Because it isn't always convenient to share your computer
with family and friends, we have 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
If you take your laptop computer with you on your travels, this
interview with the Author of "Travel Cheap-Travel Well" contains
tips and advice to help maintain your
Online Security while Traveling in the United
States and Abroad.
The author, Victor K Pryles, discusses computer security and
offers first hand advice on maintaining personal safety while on
the road, high seas and in the air.
Click to read it
here or Down Load it from this link and share this 10 page
report with the travelers you care about. (It's in eBook format
and takes less than a minute to download and zip open)
Firewalls and Virus Protection
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
You can easily have the latest Firewall, anti-virus, spam blocking, and spyware removal software installed on
your computers. 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. (You did check out
last month's free download of the AVG virus protection program,
Didn't you?). It would be a
good idea to bookmark and check back regularly so that you don't miss
newly added items.
(some encouraging news
about controlling SPAM and pornography)
Adult Web Site Settles FTC
Federal Trade Commission Successes
Released by the FTC on February 3, 2005
Adult Web Site Settles FTC Charges
Tens of Thousands of Affiliates Spam Ads Ended Up in
FTCs Spam Database
An adult Web site operation that used illegal spam to drive customers
to its site has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that
the spam was deceptive and unfair and violates federal law.
The settlement with Sobonito Investments, Ltd. bars it and its agents,
including affiliates, from using misleading subject lines in e-mail
messages, bars the use of false or misleading headers, and bars them
from violating or assisting others to violate the CAN-SPAM Act,
including its provision that requires sexually oriented spam to carry
the words SEXUALLY-EXPLICIT: in the subject line. The settlement
also contains standard reporting and record keeping provisions to
allow the FTC to monitor compliance.
Sobonito is incorporated in Cyprus.
(Sounds to us like
another win for the Good Guys)
√ √ √ √ √
"User Education" is the
focus of our Firewalls and Virus Protection website, the "Security
Alert News Reporter"
and our new "Security Alert Blog". Our recent Blog entries
include these helpful and timely posts:
February Entries included:
Which Browser Should You Have?
Microsoft's IE7 Browser to the Rescue?
Oh No. Not another Warning about Online Security?
The frustration of being a minute too late
January Entries included:
PC Security and Housekeeping Basics
Students used keylogger to steal test answers from Teacher
How often should Passwords be Changed?
Help your Children practice safe surfing habits
How not to be a part of the Internet Problems
Making the most of your new PC
Another dozen or more are available in the December 2004 Blog
Blog Posts HERE. I urge you to Comment, Challenge and
add your own opinions to ours.
Are you campaigning
(Computer Virus Awareness Campaign)
Please help us help your family, friends, and associates enjoy a
safer and less frustrating internet experience. We encourage you
to share this information with them or suggest they subscribe to
the news letter below.
It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that
no man can sincerely try to help another without helping
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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
Keep in mind that these programs are only as good as their latest
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
If they are hesitant or uncertain
about the benefits of visiting with us,
suggest that they review the help that's readily available at
this one page summary of the Online Security Consideration and
Protective Tactics that are designed to keep them be safe on the
They Can Check out these Considerations and Tactics HERE.
And finally for this issue,
we hope you can take our one minute
mini- survey and visit our new
Blog Pages, read our postings and contact us with your comments
and opinions. Everything you have to offer will help us do a better
job of helping you. Thank you. ...Richard
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 "email@example.com"
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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