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                                                                .... Richard Rossbauer
                        ____________________________
  August 31, 2005             Warning for Children - The hidden dangers of Dust Off !
 
If you have children or grandchildren, PLEASE read this police officer's story
carefully. It's about the tragic misuse of a compressed air product available everywhere there's a computer.

 
I just became aware of this article, and as a concerned parent and grandparent, I believe it's so important that every caring parent should have access to it.

The heart breaking account was forwarded to me by a special friend who is also a very caring Grandparent. She has spent most of her career as a Nurse and she, too, had never heard of the dangers from such a common product. By sharing this article, I  join her in alerting other unaware or unsuspecting Parents and Grandparents to the potential dangers our children and grandchildren face from compressed air products.

Please Read it HERE. It's short, to the point and compelling... and I urge you to share it
with your children, family, friends and peers. I'm certain they'll appreciate your thoughtfulness and concern.
                                                                                                         ... Richard
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  August 29, 2005       Colleges Lead Charge for Secure, open Networks (Aug 26, 2005)

Did you read this article in eW
EEK? I found it fascinating.
 
It certainly points out the importance of all of the stuff that's been discussed in the Firewalls and Virus Protection website, newsletter and Blog about serious security threats to home computers.
 
We concern ourselves with keeping a home computer or small home network clean and clear of viruses, worms, and spyware. Maybe as many as two or three computers in one home, maybe a few more.
 
If we are sending family members off to college - with their computers in tow, and probably with some sort of bugs buried in them - we're adding to the major security challenges faced by those institutions.
 
Literally thousands of challenges as thousands of student descend upon their schools. How would You handle such a task?
 
Read how some college administrations are handling this in the
eWEEK article HERE
You'll gain a greater appreciation for the importance, and relative ease of securing your home computers.
                                                                                        ...Richard
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  August 27, 2005       Law enforcement officials arrested two young men suspected 
                               of being responsible for the Zotob computer worm.

Farid Essebar, age 18, a Moroccan national born in Russia, was arrested in Morocco, and 21-year-old Atilla Ekici, a Turkish resident, was arrested in Turkey, Paul Bresson, a spokesman for the FBI, said Friday.
 
Both suspects have been  detained  and will be prosecuted in the countries in which they were arrested, Bresson said.
 
In the past, people released viruses and worms to show off among their peers, (the  fellow degenerates doing the same nasty deeds). To show how good they were at their mischief,  they would infect millions of computers, just for the thrill. Today, the computers they infect are valuable commodities that they offer for sale.

Spammers,  international terrorists, and organized crime rings pay a lot of money for control of large networks of infected computers often referred to as 'bot farms' or zombie armies. These computers can be used for many illegitimate purposes. Much of the Spam and phishing stuff that arrives in your email box could be coming from an infected computer controlled by the owner of a bot farm.

A 'gang warfare' atmosphere now exists among the owners of bot farms who control the infected computers. The bot farms and infected computers belong to whoever can take and keep them. Competitors may battle for these properties, with losers being disposed of.
 
Having ''always up-to-date Safe-ware" on your computer will help you avoid being hurt in the crossfire in these gangland style battles.
(You know what Safe-ware is - anti-virus, anti-spyware, and a strong firewall, right?)
 
You also need to make sure you install Windows security updates as soon as they come out. Turn on automatic updates or visit http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com at least once a week.
 

Don't allow your computer to be a part of one of these Zombie armies.
                                                                                                        ... Richard
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  August 20, 2005                         Stinger updated as of August 18, 2005

STINGER, the Free virus checking and removal  tool (compliments of McAfee's Anti-virus and Vulnerability Emergency Response Team - AVERT) was updated on August 18, 2005 to detect and remove more than 50 current viruses including the W32/Zotob. worm.
 

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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  August 19, 2005                   If you're not infected yet, use the Microsoft
                                           Malicious Software Removal Tool to protect
                                           yourself from the ZOTOB worms.
 
 If you're reading this post on a computer running the Windows 2000 Operating System and haven't yet acted on the most recent Update Alert, you really should do it now.

You can quickly download the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool . JUST CLICK HERE


Why is this so important?
 
The Zotob worm has been one of the hot topics in newspapers, radio and TV ever since it was first detected around August 14 (2005).

Since then, the worm, its variants, and other worms that take advantage of the same security flaw have hit Windows computers, especially those running Windows 2000. Computer systems at many of the major media giants - ABC, CNN and The New York Times - were among those infected.
 
Microsoft has made available a free software tool to help clean the systems of the victims whose Windows computers were hit recently.
 

The cleaning program, released a few days ago is an updated version of Microsoft's Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool.

This Removal Tool checks computers running Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows Server 2003 for infections by specific, prevalent malicious software –including Blaster, Sasser, and Mydoom – and helps remove any infection found. When the detection and removal process is complete, the tool displays a report describing the outcome, including which, if any, malicious software was detected and removed.
 
Microsoft releases an updated version of this tool on the second Tuesday of each month, and as needed, to respond to security incidents. The tool can be run from their Web page anytime or downloaded to your computer.
 
Microsoft's update cycle for this free utility is usually once a month, but with so many "Zotob" variants attacking un-patched Windows 2000 systems, the company added detections for 10 mutants to help with the cleanup process.

The new version of the Malicious Software Removal Tool will now remove the following worms: Zotob.A, Zotob.B, Zotob.C, Zotob.D, Zotob.E, Bobax.O, Esbot.A, Rbot.MA, Rbot.MB and Rbot.MC.

Here's the link again (Download it to your desktop and open it from there - makes it easier to use)         http://www.microsoft.com/security/malwareremove/default.mspx

All of this raises the Question: "Why are so many computers being infected when Microsoft released a patch that totally protected against Zotob BEFORE ZOTOB WAS RELEASED?"

It has to be because hundreds of thousands of computer users help the malicious hackers and thieves spread this stuff into their computers! They ignore the Important Update Alerts, become infected and unintentionally permit their computers to be used to spread the pests to their families and friends, and you.

(A perfect time to re-read my article "How Not To Be A part Of The Problem")
http://www.firewalls-and-virus-protection.com/hackers-target.html

My hope is that the broad media coverage of the current worm attack will inspire more and more ordinary Internet users and web surfers to acquire the habit of responding
Quickly to the threat alerts, and keep their security software and operating systems up to date.
                                                                                                           ..
. Richard
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  August 17, 2005             It's not me! I didn't put that virus in the computer.
                                    
Commonly referred to as the "Other Person Syndrome", or OPS, researchers who encounter severely infested machines find that infections may not necessarily come from the primary user. Instead, they come from a boyfriend, the babysitter, kids or a friend who "just used the computer for a bit". 
 
Alex Eckleberry, President of Sunbelt Software recently posted an intriguing discussion on the ways your computer could become infected when other people use it.
 
I constantly remind my family members, friends and readers of my News Letter that they must be vigilant when they – and the people they allow to use their computers – are surfing the Internet.
 
Alex makes this point in a very interesting manner. You can read his Blog post
HERE.
There are a couple of links to additional info in the post. I followed them and I suggest you do, too, especially the one for
setting up accounts with Restricted Access.
                                                                                     ... Richard
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  August 15, 2005                    Understanding Viruses and Worms - the
                                            Problems and Solutions
 
In an article we just published, Mr. Soroush King, a certified programmer from Australia, shares his knowledge and expertise to help us better understand viruses and worms.

The virus was one of the first ever threats to computer security. It brought a whole new fear upon computer users. The author offers some historical background and Security Measures based on his personal experiences. Read the article HERE.
                                                                                     ...Richard

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  August 13, 2005       Expert Help and Direct Links for Removing the
                               Srv.SSA-KeyLogger - You should check it now
 
Sunbelt Software has posted their removal software download link and
expert James Healan of SpywareInfo has published an extraordinarily good step-by-step guide for those of us who can't use Sunbelt's fix.

Sunbelt Software reports that the SSA-KeyLogger spyware remover cannot be installed on the following platforms:
 
 Windows 95   Windows 98    Windows 98SE   Windows ME  Windows NT4
 

The SSA-KeyLogger spyware should only be installed on Windows XP, Windows 2000/2003.  CLICK ON >>
http://research.sunbelt-software.com/ssaclean.cfm
It was a real fast down load and install process for my Win2000 and XP computers. Fortunately, none of them were infected.

In his Spyware Weekly Newsletter of August 12, 2005, Jim Healan presents one of his usual outstanding guides for removing trojans and other nasty stuff. His HijackThis software tool (a must have for every Safeware library) will take you step- by-step through the removal process if you can't use the Sunbelt fix.
 
CLICK HERE to visit the Spyware Weekly Newsletter and read the article
ID Theft Keylogger Examined.
 
Now's a good time to visit these sites and find out if your computer has been broadcasting your personal or financial information.
                                                                                 ... Richard    
P.S. I believe the free Spyware Weekly Newsletter is so valuable, and such an extraordinary resource, that I donate to Mr. Healan's publication whenever I can.

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  August 11, 2005                     Fix for the Srv.SSA-KeyLogger
                                             (the "Keylogger from Hell")


Continuing with Alex Eckelberry's daily Blog postings on the Keylogger spy used by the Massive Theft Ring uncovered in his investigations,  the crucial part of his message is quoted here....

"We have issued an immediate security fix to thwart the newly identified spyware keylogger uncovered by Sunbelt’s Research Team. This is the keylogger that is behind the identity theft ring.

The spyware keylogger, named Srv.SSA-KeyLogger, is a backdoor program that, among other things, secretly steals data from users’s internet sessions, including logins and passwords from online banking sessions, eBay, PayPal, and other programs that use html forms to collect personal information.
 
Anyway, to protect users from this harmful keylogger, new definitions are being added for both the CounterSpy home and CounterSpy Enterprise antispyware products".
 
Read the full blog
where Alex explains how to protect your privacy from this  insidious keylogger threat or CLICK HERE to jump directly to the SunbeltSoftware home page.
 
Sunbelt reports it is sharing data on the keylogger with other major security companies to insure the industry has the information necessary to react rapidly to this threat.

Updates to the consumer edition of
CounterSpy,
which they report will remove this keylogger, are available immediately,

                                                                         ... Richard

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  August 10, 2005                    "The keylogger from hell"

...from Alex Eckelberry's daily Blog postings on the Keylogger spy used by the Massive Theft Ring uncovered in his investigations

He wrote: "Ok, we have the latest on this identity theft ring. And it’s pretty interesting.

Remember that all we found was the cache of data from the thieves — we didn’t have the actual keylogger that was responsible for it. We had a keylogger we had found that was similar and provided us some clues, but not this specific one that was reporting all this data back.
 
So we had to find the keylogger. That entailed trying to actually get a hold of a machine.
 
Last night, we finally got an infected machine and were able to figure out what’s going on". (Read The rest of Alex's Blog Report)

                                                                                       ... Richard
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  August 9, 2005         Massive Criminal Theft Ring Discovered by
                               anti-spyware software developer uses Keyloggers
                               to steal private data and affects up to 50 banks

If you're reading about Internet safety information like this, I'd be surprised if you haven't already installed firewalls, anti-virus, anti-spyware, and spam blocker personal security software.

If you don't have this type of protection on your computer yet, Get It Now and keep it up to date!
 
Based on the late breaking news story in Alex Eckelberry's SunbeltBlog (Sunbelt Software Company of Clearwater Florida), secret keyloggers hiding in your computer could be feeding your personal information to a ring of criminals intent upon stealing your identity and money.

    
Here is a quick idea of what happened: Patrick Jordan, Sunbelt Software Company's most senior CoolWebSearch (CWS) expert, was doing research on a CWS exploit. During the course of infecting a machine, he discovered that a) the machine he was testing became a spam zombie and b) he noticed a call back to a remote server. He traced back the remote server and found an incredibly sophisticated criminal identity theft ring. (Jordon, previous to being employed by Sunbelt, was known to the security community as WebHelper)
 
The scale is unimaginable. There are thousands of machines pinging back daily. There is a keylogger file that grows and grows, and then is zipped off and .....
Read the rest Alex's blog postings HERE
                                                                                   ... Richard
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  August 6, 2005     I'm going to stop trying to keep track of progress on
                             Microsoft's IE7 Browser
 

There are so many articles, blog posts and newsletters announcing opinions and results from testing and reviewing Internet Explorer 7, that I've decided to just wait until final release and stop tracking every little item that's published.
 
It isn't that I'm not interested -- I am, and I honestly believe that most of the comments and reviews are doing what they're supposed to do. They're helping Microsoft develop a better, easier to use, and more secure and sound browser.
 
It's just that the everyday Internet user or web surfer doesn't really have to know all the pre-release details. Like nearly all commodities, a TV set for example, don't waste our time telling us how it was made, just give us a product that meets our personal needs and desires, is trouble free, will last a long time, and isn't over priced.
 
That said, I do want to know a little bit about what benefits to expect from IE7, when I can get it, and how much it will cost.
 
Tony Bradley of About.com wrote a short article that answers most of these questions.  I believe it's a fine starting point for the those of us who might have no more than a casual interest in IE7's development phase. Here's what he wrote:

"Microsoft did not intend to release a new version of Internet Explorer (IE) until the release of Longhorn, a major upgrade to the Windows operating system due out in late 2006 (Microsoft recently announced that the official name will be Windows Vista). But, with security concerns and competing browsers eating away at Microsoft's web browser market share, they decided to separate out IE from the Windows upgrade and release it on its own. This is a first look at IE7 based on the Beta (test) version"

You can Read the rest at Tony's About.com Net Security Portal -- and I will
occasionally post news of any major announcement regarding IE7.
                                                                              ... Richard
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   August 4, 2005       How Should everyday home users plan for a computer
                            disaster?


The data recovery pages on our "Firewalls' website outline some very important advice for coping with the potential losses from a computer disaster.

What's a computer disaster and why is protecting ourselves against such an event so difficult? (Actually, because of continuing improvements in our ability to store increasingly larger amounts of data on our computers, it's becoming more and more difficult).

Larry Seltzer's recent article in the online "eWeek" magazine, shed a lot of light on that very problem. He wrote "Home Users Need to Plan for the Worst" and explained why.
 
"Businesses, or at least the larger ones, have an easy time spending the time and money to implement some sort disaster recovery scheme. Consumers are a completely different matter.
 
So what is a disaster? It could be a fire, it could be a hard disk crash, the computer could fall off the table, or it could be a massive virus infection or some other software disaster.
 
We like to think that security software can repair malware damage and infections, but often it's easier and more effective to restore a backup that is recent but prior to the attack.
 
The heart of a disaster recovery plan is a backup and restore plan. Unfortunately, in recent years the trend is for hard disk size and utilization to increase to the point where backing it up becomes impractical."

Read Mr. Seltzers full article in eWeek magazine HERE
and on our Firewalls website, the Data Recovery pages are HERE

If you've ever tried to recover all of your files after a disaster, you'll know how important it is to have both a "Before" and "After" plan.
                                                            ... Richard

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  July 8, 2005   (REPEATED)  A Little More Experience with RSS Readers for
                                          adding current Web Feeds to your daily reading lists
 
The more I use I use them, the more I like them, but having too many RSS readers was beginning to be a problem.
 
It was all a bit intimidating a few months back when deciding to add a RSS reader to my Desktop. There were quite a few choices available. Some seemed very complex while others sounded as if they'd be easy to set up. Some even required downloading software in addition to the Reader ...so I tried 3 or 4 products and selected some feeds to follow.

Before too long, keeping track of which feeds I put 'where', became nearly as challenging as trying to manage and use my 'bookmark' selections.

More and more of my favorite websites, newsletters and blogs were displaying
|XML|RSS| buttons. When I added these to my  RSS Readers, I didn't have to go on a search for the latest information they published -- every new bit of information, post, or announcement appeared in my RSS Readers. (The new IE7 is expected to refer to these as "Web Feeds.")
 
A big time saver, true, but not perfect because now it was necessary to check each of those 4 RSS Readers for updates. I had to find one or two easy to use Readers.
 
Many of my favorite blogs also displayed this button 
Add to My Yahoo! .
When I did a trial click, my existing 'My Yahoo' page  automatically opened with a dialog box listing the latest posts for that Blog.  All I needed to do was click on one more button and the Feed was added to my 'My Yahoo' page.
 
Now I have just two Readers - - 'My Yahoo' and ' Quikonnex' which I use with my Mozilla Firefox browser.

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 'My Yahoo' page, it's very easy to get one from the Yahoo site. The same is true for 
   

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

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