Alert News Reporter"
for March, 2005
is sent out periodically to those people who have registered for the
Security Alert and Report Alert Services from one or more of the websites
published and maintained by
If you are no longer interested in up-to-date Security Alerts -
use the link at
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Thanks for being a
is published 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
internet. Many of our comments are based on personal experiences. Protecting
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
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.
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.
March 1, 2005 update
Look for the STINGER Icon
- - Some
Alarming facts to consider
Instant Messaging is fast becoming a
major target for
Hackers, Virus Writers and
Instant messaging and Chat rooms have long carried
the potential for viruses and malware. Recently, the threat seems to
be increasing at an alarmingly fast rate. Hackers are targeting the
three main IM sites -
Yahoo, MSN and AOL.
These Hackers are broadening their use of instant-messaging
applications to fool users into installing malicious code and
revealing personal information. According to security company Websense,
the number of combined IM- and Web-based attacks increased by 300
percent in the first quarter of 2005, compared with the last quarter
Since January, antivirus researchers have identified more than a dozen of
the threats, which typically are Trojan horses rather than
Some recent attacks :
Date: March 8
Method: Worm sent via URL in message.
Affects: MSN Messenger
Bropia.F, Date: February 3
Method: Worm in picture of a roast
chicken with tan lines. Releases a second more dangerous worm, called
Affects: MSN Messenger
Date: March 8
Method: Attachment carries worm. IM reads: "????omg click this!"
Affects: MSN Messenger
Bropia.A, Date: January 20
Method: Worm sent via URL in message. Installs bot software.
Affects: MSN Messenger
Many IM users are unprepared for these
IM attacks. Market research company IDC estimates that by 2008, about
450 million people will be using an IM product. Hackers are already
exploiting problems with today's IM systems: People not familiar
with these new threats can easily open a new, seemingly harmless IM
message that pops up on their screen. With that one errant click of
their mouse, they can get infected.
How to protect yourself on IM
recommends that you take the same protective measures you now use
in opening e-mail and adopt them into your IM habits.
√ Use a secure browser
√ Know your merchant
√ Never open a link or attachment sent
to you via IM until first
making sure it is legitimate.
√ Double-check sender
√ Protect your PC Use firewall
software to limit the kinds of data
that can be sent to you over IM.
√ Don't talk to strangers
√ Stay alert Check with IM software
providers to ensure that your
applications are patched and up to date.
Yahoo recently confirmed that its service, Yahoo Messenger, was
being targeted by a scam. According to reports, attackers send members
a message containing a link to a fake Web site. The fake site looks
like an official Yahoo site and asks the user to log in by entering a
Yahoo ID and password.
The scam is convincing because the original message seems to arrive
from someone on the victim's friends list. Should the recipient of the
phishing message enter his details on the Web site, the attackers can
gain access to any personal information stored in the victim's profile
and, more important, access to the victim's contact list and IM
Yahoo said it has already put preventative measures in place to help
protect its IM users from attacks
America Online reports that it is working to add new protections to
its (IM) applications
Microsoft is employing technological measures to help fight the
problem in the next version of Messenger.
PLEASE - when you use Instant Messaging,
BE EXTREMELY CAUTIOUS and practice Safe
Messaging Habits. Ask your Chat Room and
IM Buddies to do the same so they don't infect your computer.
We post these Kid Safe Sites, because like you, we care about
the safety and security of our children and grandchildren
...and 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. CodeAmber.org is
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
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Very Simple To the Most Complex.
Click here to get both eBooks for the price of one
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'.
To Be Released
Mid April, 2005
Watch your email for availability date
Special Report Alerts
You Should Consider
Your Computer Security and Protecting
Your Personal Safety"
FREE Downloadable eReport for ALL Subscribers
to the Security Alert News Reporter
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
Firewalls-and-Virus-Protection website pages.
They're there for the taking. If you need to
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.
One of the outstanding
sources for information about browser hijackers and tools
to remove these predators is available on the
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 learned about this program from the extraordinary website and
forums built and maintained by James Healan, webmaster of SpywareInfo.com.
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.
Ever since I found the
eBook, "The Hacker's Nightmare" that tells how to
really Keep Hackers, Worms and Germs out of my PCs, it has
received my highest recommendation to family and friends.
This is an eBook by
the 20 plus year veteran of internet security consulting ...Mr Bill
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
In addition to the Free Anti-Virus program by
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,
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.
Nightmare eBook isn't 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 spyware
now and Learn the Truths About Computer & Internet
I'm confident that this will be a rewarding experience for
you. ... Richard
P.S. here's the link to
Grisoft's AVG anti virus software, in case you
missed it last month
of the News (some encouraging news
about controlling SPAM, pornography, and Consumer Personal
Internet Service Provider
Settles FTC Charges
Federal Trade Commission Successes
Released by the FTC on March 10, 2005
Company Disclosed Personal Information of Nearly One Million
An Internet company(*) that provides shopping cart software to online
merchants has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that
it rented personal information about merchants customers to
marketers, knowing that such disclosure contradicted merchant privacy
policies. The settlement will bar use of the personal data the company
has already collected, as well as future misrepresentations about the
collection, use, or disclosure of personally identifiable information.
(*)Vision I Properties, LLC, doing business as CartManager
International, provides shopping cart software and related services to
thousands of online merchants.
(Sounds to us like
another win for the Good Guys)
√ √ √ √ √ √
...and a few more Heartening Headline briefs
Microsoft has filed 117 lawsuits against people with charges they
created Phishing Web sites designed to look
like actual Microsoft
U.S. Senator Diannne Feinstein
just recently called for more government
protection against identity theft
after a laptop computer storing
nearly 100,000 Social Security
numbers was stolen from
UCLA, Berkley, CA.
Dept of Justice announced convictions against three men who
pleaded guilty to distributing pirated
copies of computer and video
games. The offenders each face from 5 to 10
years in prison.
"User Education" is the
focus of our Firewalls and Virus Protection website and the "Security
Alert News Reporter". This
month's important focus is on the increasing Hacker attacks
on Instant Messaging.
Interestingly, the major players in the
Instant Messaging field all feel that getting the word out to "IM'ers"
about the threats could have the biggest effect in alleviating the
Microsoft believes that educating IM users could have a bigger impact
than building better safeguards into IM applications.
How many of your IM and Chat Room Buddies are alert to these
growing threats? How about being a participant in spreading the
word to them.
Share the brief
article at the beginning of this
newsletter. In the long run, it'll help you, too.
As a P.S. to the above comment,
encourage your friends to check out our new "Security Alert Blog".
most recent Blog entries
include these helpful and timely posts:
▪ Computer Security Apathy and Spyware Hysteria
▪ Avoiding the False sense of Security
▪ Are anti-spyware programs staying ahead of the spys?
Which Browser should you have?
There are dozens more posts available in the Blog
Blog Posts HERE. I urge you to Comment, Challenge and
add your own opinions to ours.
Are you campaigning with
(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
future 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
- Get a FREE report
"23 Critical Security Alerts"
from the subscription
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 "firstname.lastname@example.org"
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