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  August 14, 2006         Spyware Concerns -- Prevention and Removal
    This is our sixth weekly 'Security Review-Day’ 

In previous weeks we reviewed how spyware can get into our computers and  what it can do when it's in there - now lets review some methods to prevent it

There are some very effective things you can, and must do to prevent spyware from infecting your computer system. Obviously, you need anti-spyware software protection.
Anti-spyware programs combat spyware by providing real-time protection, scanning, and removal of any found spyware software.
Both Free and paid programs are avaiable for immediate download from the Internet. The CNET Download website is an outstanding source for both.
Among the most popular anti-spyware programs listed there recently are:
         Lavasoft Ad-Aware.( 5 of 5 star ranking) free and purchased available - $29.95
         Webroot Spy Sweeper.( 3 of 5 stars) - free demo, purchase for $29.95
         PC Tools Spyware Doctor. ( 3 of 5 stars) - free demo, purchase $29.95
My recommendation is to install two (2) anti-spyware programs. Ad-Aware's free version will find and remove most of the pests, but since no single anti-spyware program seems to find all of the pests, investing in the paid version of either of the other two is an investment in your security and peace of mind.
Other options provide anti-spyware software as part of an anti-virus package. These include various combinations of protective programs, ie, firewalls, anti-virus, spam blockers, etc., and are more expensive that anti-spyware software alone. Often, individually installed components are more effective than some that are included in the  packages.
Also consider the impact your browser can have on your computer safety and security. Internet Explorer (IE) is often a contributor to the spyware problem because spyware programs like to attach themselves to its functionality. Spyware writers enjoy penetrating the IE’s weaknesses. Because of this, many users have switched to non-IE browsers. (These are also under attack as they grow in popularity)
However, if you prefer to stick with Internet Explorer, be sure to update the security patches regularly, and only download programs from reputable sources. This will help reduce your chances of a spyware infiltration.
Regardless of your choice of browser, be sure to have an up-to-date firewall and keep your anti-virus program updates current.
And, when all else fails?
Finally, if your computer has been infected with a large number of spyware programs, the only solution you may have is backing up your data, and performing a complete reinstall of the operating system.

                                                                                    ... Richard
Visit the CNET  Download site HERE

tags:, Remove Spyware


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  August 9, 2006         Spyware Concerns, our fifth weekly 'Security Review-Day’ 

Now that we know how spyware gets into our computers, we'll take a look at what these pests do while they are in there.

Spyware does a lot of really nasty stuff. Some of the things they do are simply annoying; others can become downright aggressive. For example, spyware can
Monitor your keystrokes for reporting purposes.
Scan files located on your hard drive
Install other spyware programs into your computer
Change the default settings on your home page web browser
Snoop through applications on your desktop
Steal credit card numbers, passwords, and other personal information.
Read your cookies.
Deliver annoying pop up advertisements
Provide no uninstall option and hide in unexpected or hidden
places within your computer making it difficult to remove.
Mutate into a second generation of spyware thus making it
more difficult to eradicate.
Cause your computer to run slower
Add advertising links to web pages for which the author does not
get paid. Instead, payment is directed to the spyware programmer
that changed the original affiliate’s settings

Here are a few examples of commonly seen spyware programs. Please note that while researchers will often give names to spyware programs, they may not match the names the spyware-writers use.

CoolWebSearch, a group of programs that install through “holes” found in Internet Explorer. These programs direct traffic to advertisements on Web sites including This spyware nuisance displays pop-up ads, rewrites search engine  results, and alters the computer host file to direct the Domain Name System (DNS) to lookup preselected sites.

Internet Optimizer  (a/k/a DyFuCa), redirects Internet Explorer error pages to advertisements.

180 Solutions  reports extensive information to advertisers about the Web sites which you visit.

HuntBar  (a/k/a WinTools) or Adware.Websearch  is distributed by Traffic Syndicate  and is installed by ActiveX drive-by downloading at affiliate websites or by advertisements displayed by other spyware programs. It’s a prime example of how spyware can install more spyware. These programs will add toolbars to Internet Explorer, track Web browsing behavior, and display advertisements.

In next weeks'
'Security Review-Day’ we'll look at ways to prevent spyware and remove it from your computer.

Until then, you could make sure your operating systems are up to date with the latest downloads for Internet Explorer, Firefox, or whichever browser you use
                                                                                                ... Richard
More information: Adware and Spyware Removers
Tags:, adware
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  August 6, 2006   Scammers making increased use of telephones to steal from you

Among the latest Scams, one the Security experts call "vishing", instead of using phony email messages, the targeted person receives a telephoned warning about a problem with their PayPal account.
In one version of this trick, the message gives instructions to call a phone number to resolve the issues. That number connects the caller to a voice response system asking the consumer to enter their 16-digit credit card number.
In another version, a ConArtist calls and reports a problem with a credit card account and asks the card holder for the 3 digit security number on the back of the card. This Con artist trick is so well done and believable that many people fall for it because the caller already knows their credit card number and all they are asked to provide is the three-digit security code.
If you get a telephone call where someone asks you to provide or confirm any of your personal information, immediately hang up and call your financial institution at the number on the back of the card on on your printed account statement.
Be extra cautious of emails reporting account or credit card problems. Some of the latest official looking emails with PayPal logos don't include a link for replying. They provide a telephone number and direct you to call to straighten out a problem.

The call leads to an automatic telephone answering machine where you are asked to provide your private information.
The lesson - Never give anyone your credit card number or the three-digit security code on the back of the card unless you initiate the call.
                                                                                         ... Richard
tags: , Con Artist



  August 2, 2006     Spyware Concerns, our fourth weekly 'Security Review-Day’ 

One day each week devoted to a specific security issue - to remind all of us Internet and Computer users about keeping our defenses intact and current.

Here's how Spyware gets into your Computer
Spyware is one of the fastest-growing internet threats. According to the National Cyber Security Alliance, spyware infects more than 90% of all PCs today. These unobtrusive, malicious programs are designed to silently bypass firewalls and anti-virus software without your knowledge. Once embedded in a computer, yhry can wreak havoc on the system’s performance while gathering your personal information. Fortunately, unlike viruses and worms, spyware programs do not usually self-replicate.

Where does it come from?
Typically, spyware originates in three ways. The first and most common way is when you install it. In this situation, spyware is embedded, attached, or bundled with a freeware or shareware program without your knowledge. You download the program to your computer. Once downloaded, the spyware program starts to collect data for the spyware author’s personal use or to sell to a third-party. Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file-sharing programs are notorious for downloads that posses spyware programs.

When downloading a program, pay extra attention to the accompanying licensing agreement - commonly referred to as an EULA (End Users License Agreement).

Often the software publisher will bury a warning in the fine print that a  program will be installed along with the requested program. It probably won't be named spyware or adware.

Unfortunately, we do not always take the time to read the fine print. Some agreements may provide special “opt-out” boxes that you can click to stop the spyware from being included in the download. Be sure to review the document before clicking the download button/link.

Spyware can get into your computer by tricking you into changing the security features designed to prevent any unwanted installations. The Internet Explorer Web browser was designed not to allow websites to start any unwanted downloads. That’s why you have to initiate a download by clicking on a link. These links can prove deceptive. For example, a pop-up modeled after a standard Windows dialog box may appear on your screen. The message may ask if you would like to optimize your internet access. It provides yes or no answer buttons, but, no matter which button you push, a download containing the spyware program will commence. .

Finally, some spyware applications infect a system by attacking security holes in the Web browser or other software. When you navigate a webpage controlled by a spyware author, the page contains code designed to attack the browser, and force the installation of the spyware program.

In next week's Security Review, we'll discuss what Spyware actually does and how to start
building your defenses against it.
                                                                                   ... Richard
More information:
Adware and Spyware Removers
Tags:, adware
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  Aug 1, 2006 (Repeated)    A breach in your personal privacy protection could easily lead to  hackers, online, and offline thieves stealing your identity.

The threat of Identity Loss exists on more than the Internet. The potential for the theft of our identities is everywhere around us. Read on to learn how you can protect yourself- for Free.
Nearly everyone is aware that Identity Theft is a serious crime and that people whose identities have been stolen can spend months or years - and their hard-earned money - cleaning up the mess thieves have made of their good name and credit record.
Despite our best efforts to manage the flow of personal information or to keep it to ourselves, skilled Identity Thieves use a variety of methods to gain access to our personal data.
Can we fight back? Yes! One of the best ways is to be informed of the tricks and ploys used by Identity Theft criminals and to understand how they attack. Forewarned is Forearmed!
And you can be fully armed with all of the vital information you need to secure your identity, know where to turn, what to do, and how to respond if you ever have the sad misfortune of becoming a victim.
There's a lot to know, and you can learn it from our Free

With the generous assistance of Victor K Pryles, a popular media consultant, radio broadcaster, publisher and Author, we developed this e-course to arm  you, your family and your friends against the devastating consequences of Identity Theft
It really does cover everything you need to know to protect yourselves.
In fact, it is so meaty with USEFUL, VITAL information that the lessons arrive every four days - so you can implement what you learn AS YOU GO THRU THE LESSONS. There are eight lessons, in total.
After taking this Free course, you'll be protected, wise, savvy and safe, because you'll learn
     * How Identity Theft Occurs
     * How to prepare your defenses
     * How to tell if you're a victim
     * Immediate steps for victims to take
     * Where and How to get your free Credit Reports
       ... and so much more
To start this course immediately, simply send a blank email to
This is a Free course for followers of my Security Alert Blog, newsletter and website and you will not get any commercial announcements after registering for it.
After you send your blank email, you will be sent a CONFIRMATION email. Click the link inside to start your E-Course. This way, no one can sign you up without your knowledge.

I do hope you sign-up and share it with your family and friends. You can print each lesson and have your own hard copy of the manual, or you might prefer to share the email address above so your friends can get their own lessons. It's Free to them, too.

If you would like the Premium Audio version of "Identity Theft & Other Scams" please visit:  Thank you.
                                                                                ..... Richard Rossbauer

PS. When you receive your first lesson, Victor will give you a Complimentary copy of: "The Top 501 Most Inspirational Quotes!" from his "ilovebooks" book club. In the meantime, you might like to check out some of his other inspiring books in his Author's Den



     SQUASH the Bug

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                                            .... Richard Rossbauer

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


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

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