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                                  .... Richard Rossbauer


  February 22, 2006       Zombies, botnets, cyber criminals, and more - one of the best,
                                 and most interesting explanations of these cyber antics that
                                 you'll read anywhere!

The SANS(*) Organization highlighted this article in their Feb 21, 06 "NewsBites as providing "extraordinary detail about the motivation and techniques used by a young criminal who makes his living by installing spyware on thousands of computers."

 Brian Krebs, the Washington Post cyber security journalist who wrote this analysis, was able to get very close to this criminal. The article also covers other aspects of the adware and spyware scourge.

"The Agony of Spyware". (Invasion of the Computer Snatchers). Do take the time to read this one! It's outstanding!!

I bookmarked it for future reference; it's such a good documentary. Mr. Krebs' writing style is engrossing, entertaining and down to earth. You'll really like it -
and learn a lot about the seamy side of cyber space.

                                                                               ... Richard

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  February 14, 2006  ♥     Firefox Browser Update Available

A new update from Mozilla for its popular Firefox Internet browser patches a total of eight security vulnerabilities.

 Secunia, a major Computer Security vendot, has rated the update as critical for current and future Firefox users.

It doesn't pay to put off downloading these Free updates. Is you use Firefox, or IE, Netscape, Opera, whatever, the best time to update is when you first see update notifications.
                                                                                         ... Richard

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  February 9, 2006       Phishing Scam Pretends to Provide Information About
                               Tax Refunds.

A recently detected phishing scam purports to be a message from the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regarding a tax refund. (Reported by SANS* on Feb 6, 2006)

The email has a link to a web site that claims to be able to tell taxpayers the status of their refunds and asks for visitors' names, Social Security numbers and credit card data.

The subject line of the e-mail reads "Refund Notice!" and claims to be from ""

The email content includes this statement: "You filed your tax return and you're expecting a refund. You have just one question and you want the answer now -- Where's My Refund? Access this secure Web site to find out if the IRS received your return and whether your refund was processed and sent to you. New program enhancements allow you to begin a refund trace online if you have not received your check within 28 days from the original IRS mailing date."

The e-mail then requests your Social Security and credit-card information.
Do not respond to this eMail. It is a phishing Scam.

An IRS spokesperson provided this totally safe, legitimate, and free way to check on your refund. Go to the IRS Web site at [], navigate to the Resources pages, find and click on 'Where's My Refund?' Or place a toll free call to IRS at 1-800-829-1954.

(*)SANS is the most trusted and by far the largest source for information security training and certification in the world. It also develops, maintains, and makes available at no cost, the largest collection of research documents about various aspects of information security, and it operates the Internet's early warning system - Internet Storm Center.

                                                                                           ... Richard
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  February 4,  2006            BlackWorm Aftermath. Aren't you glad you prepared?

The  file-destroying computer worm set to activate Friday, February 3rd, 2006 caused relatively little trouble.

Don't put this down as a false alarm or over-hyped event, however. The worm is designed to inflict serious damage and it's still active.

Unlike other worms generally engineered to help spammers and hackers carry out attacks, this worm could inflict a lot more damage because it's designed to overwrite DOC, XLS, MDE, MDB, PPT, PPS, RAR, PDF, PSD, DMP, and ZIP files and disable security software.

It's been reported that one Italian city shut down computers as a precaution because they were aware of the BlackWorm infection in their systems. There was relatively little difficulty in other counties and the United States.

During the couple of weeks preceding the February 3rd trigger date, hundreds of thousands of computers were believed to be infected.

Because it was mentioned so often by security vendors and media outlets, many businesses and individuals had time to clean up their machines and avoid being infected.

Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer for the Finnish security company F-Secure
™ reported that "It's been pretty quiet. This virus is nowhere near as widespread as some of the [recent virus] cases," He said the reason it's talked about is because it's more destructive.

He said damage is high among those hit, but many businesses should already be protected by anti-virus software. Home users and smaller companies without the latest software updates may be more vulnerable, and
since the worm is designed to trigger on the 3rd day of each month, they might still experience some problems.

So make sure you continue to keep your anti-malware up-to-date!
  ... Richard
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  February 2, 2006              Stinger updated as of February 2, 2006 to include
                                                   protection against the Sober@MM!M681 worm.

Add this protection to your new computer — update your backup protection for your existing machines

, the Free virus checking and removal  tool (compliments of McAfee's Anti-virus and Vulnerability Emergency Response Team -
AVERT) was updated February 2, 2006.

It's a great little program that 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 get back on the Internet to update your security ware.  

Whenever updated versions becomes available, I'll post a notice here, on the Firewalls and Virus Protection website and in the Security Alert News Reporter.  Download the current version here at McAfee STINGER


                                                                                                      ... Richard

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     SQUASH the Bug

  February 1, 2006(UPDATED)   Use RSS Readers to add current Web Feeds to
                                             automatically update  your daily reading lists

For awhile I was using two RSS Readers, but after many months of experience, I found that using just one meets all of my needs, and it's very easy to set up. .

More and more of my favorite websites, newsletters and blogs display
|XML|RSS| buttons.
Now, even more display the 
Add to My Yahoo!  button. Clicking on it automatically adds that feed to my personal MyYahoo page. 

 Using  RSS feeds has saved a lot of time!, I don't have to go on a search for the latest information  published on my favorite sites -- every new bit of information, post, or announcement appears in my RSS Reader. (The new IE7 browser is expected to refer to these as "Web Feeds.")

Soon you'll find that many of your favorite sites display the little buttons. There will be more and more in the days ahead. If you don't have a Free 'MyYahoo' page, it's very easy to get one from the Yahoo site. The same is true for and  

After you put the first Web Feed into you RSS Feed Reader and have up-to-date notices delivered to you without having to worry about opening an email notice, you'll appreciate how great this RSS stuff really is. Try It. You'll enjoy it!.
                                                                            ......Richard Comment (0) | Trackback (0)

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