Security Alert News Reporter   

     JULY 2004                           LANGHORNE, PENNSYLVANIA, USA                Volume 1, Issue 03
Help! I think we have a Virus.
       This Newsletter is sent out periodically only 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
       end of this letter to un-register.
    Here's your "Security Alert News Reporter" for July,  2004
    The "NewsReporter" is published periodically 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.

Latest Virus Threats  reported July 30, 2004 by McAfee:
Full descriptions including virus characteristics, symptoms, aliases and removal instructions are available by clicking on each of these two links:
A new and potentially dangerous trend of virus writers is to use one infection to open a door for others. MyDoom.M, for example, can generate a list of infected systems, which provides the worm's creators with addresses where they can upload new pests and keep other attackers from taking over the infected PCs.

By directing virus attacks at known vulnerable PCs, new virus strains spread faster and are more damaging. At any given time, the number of these infected and highly vulnerable machines on the internet is immense.

The problem is that many of the owners of the infected PCs are not aware of the severity of the threat to them and the people with whom they share email, pictures, chats, etc.

The big question, then, is how to reach the people who own these infected PCs and let them know what's going on. They're vulnerable to any virus, not just MyDoom varients, that the attackers care to inject them with.

We can all help by spreading the word that the internet is not getting safer -- that the virus creators are becoming
more vicious -- and that our personal security and survival
is becoming more endangered every time a new virus is released.

As individuals, we must be vigilant, adhere to all of the safe practices, and above all, we must have firewalls, anti-virus and malware detection software on our computers that is always kept up-to-date.

If you use MS Windows and Internet Explorer, be certain to take advantage of the free Microsoft Update Service available for your operating system (Win95, Win98,
Win 2000, WinXP, etc).

And to help your family, friends and associates avoid the rampant spread of 'virus grief' -- direct them to newsletters and websites like this, where the primary goal is to help our readers and visitors maintain safe and secure computer systems without the threat of identity theft, loss of valuable data, and personal compromises.

With that said, have you checked your computer for viruses over the past few days?  Do you have an up-to-date anti-virus scanner?

If you haven't updated and haven't been infected by any of the MyDoom variations or Sasser yet, you're lucky. Update now. Try the FREE scanning and removal tool available on the Firewalls and Virus Protection website at STINGER. It also checks for about
40 or more other active viruses and worms


Look for the STINGER Icon


If you surfed the Internet recently using Microsoft's Internet Explorer, you may be one of the hundreds of thousands of people whose PCs were compromised with the potentially dangerous "Scob" virus. It was possible to get this Trojan Horse virus just by clicking on a favorite Web page. The good news is that Internet engineers shut down the Russian server from which the malicious code had been launched to thousands of Web sites where it attempted to steal users' credit card numbers and Social Security numbers.  

To find out if your computer has the Scob virus, Microsoft recommends you do this:
  --On the taskbar at the bottom of your screen, click Start, and then click
  --Under "What do you want to search for?" click "All files and folders."
  --Under "All or part of the file name," enter the following text to search for
    both of these files:  Kk32.dll  and   Surf.dat
  --If either file is present, your computer may be infected.

Most antivirus software companies have updated their signature files to include this worm. This will stop the infection upon contact and in some cases will remove an active infection from your system. For more information, visit the websites of Computer Associates, F-Secure, Kaspersky, McAfee,  Panda, Sophos,  Symantec, and Trend Micro.

There are links to most of these on our Firewalls and Virus Protection website.
Alternately, you can search Google and Yahoo for their website addresses.

                       ________To Top___________

Privacy Theft  

Hijacked !

About a month ago, after clicking on a link for a special report offered in one of the more recent newsletters to which we subscribed, a new browser window popped open with a very explicit pornographic site that would not delete. Each attempt to remove it opened more and more of these XXX pages, until finally, shutting down the computer was the only way to get rid of them.

Much to our dismay, these unwanted pages contained some trojan horses which planted the most insidious virus we have ever experienced.

And, until a couple of ISP's advised that our emails were being bounced by their filters, we weren't even aware of the infection. That is, until suddenly our Internet Explorer stopped operating properly, the computer locked up time and time again and crashed for no apparent reason, browser links were either disappearing or new ones were showing up, and many other programs became unstable.

Our up-to-date virus scanning programs could not find the worm. AdAware
™, Spybot Search and Destroy™, SpyCop™,
™  and Spyware Sweeper™ did find various bugs, but removing them did not cure the problem with the IE browser.

A search of the forums led us to the site at <> where we learned that the worm that Hijacked our computer and was wreaking havoc on the internet was one of the variants of the "CoolWebSearch" Hijacker.

There are tools that will eventually clean CWS out of the machine: 'Hijack This
™' and 'CWSShredder™' are the ones we tried, and now we have learned that the creators of the CWS worm have reprogrammed it so that it disables even these tools and blocks access to updating them. These virus writers certainly aren't playing fair!

Reminds us of when we were little kids and had our share of fights with our playmates. Fighting fair meant "no biting, no hair pulling, no gouging, and no hitting below the belt". For whatever reasons the irresponsible virus writers are spreading their malicious ware, they are certainly "Hitting below the Belt".

But don't let this keep you from visiting 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 receive no compensation from SpywareInfo, but we do support their completely Free website, newsletter and software with a small financial contribution so that they can continue to provide this outstanding service to their thousands of appreciative followers, like us.

Google and Yahoo searches will find all kinds of answers to your questions, too, and provide information on specific  viruses by name, spyware removal and virus protection programs, and just about any other related topic you can think of.
                     ________To Top________ 
Family Security  The Federal Trade Commission of the United States Government has many publications relating to protecting the security of your family, both on the internet and off. They are FREE at their website. Check out their pages covering Consumer (family) protection HERE

Reviews of
Family Safe Sites

PBS Kids is a respected and trusted site. We would not hesitate to send our children and grandchildren there for entertainment and education. Their Privacy Policy is very assuring. Families visiting the site can feel safe regarding potential threats to family privacy and childrens' welfare. Jump to it from HERE <>

   There are some interesting discussions and helpful family related links on the 'Identity Theft' pages at the
Firewalls-and-virus-protection website, including some very recent updates.

  If you are concerned for your own security and that of your family, visit the 'Identity Theft' pages HERE

                                       ____________To Top____________

Publications  Here's a way you can help your family and friends:

We are repeating this announcement because of the interest  it created after presenting it in the last issue of the News Reporter and because of its popularity, we will continue to create similar reports that can be downloaded, printed and shared.

 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 all directed toward
keeping you safe from hacker and cracker attacks.

Because it isn't always convenient to share your computer with family and friends, we have excerpted some important chapters from our Firewalls site and created small downloadable reports that can easily be printed and distributed to the people you'd like to help avoid 'virus grief'.

Bookshelf and Special Report Alerts
   Is Your Firewalls and Virus Protection Safe Enough?
This 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

Identity Theft

NEW, this Issue

    Is a Keystroke Logger Being Used To Spy On You?
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 report in a new webpage by clicking HERE  or here>
(No downloading necessary, and you can print it right from your browser window.)

                       ________To Top__________             

Free Resources  There is really no reason for anyone not to have the latest Firewall, anti-virus, spam blocking, and spyware removal software installed on their computers. You can download all of these programs, and more, mostly for FREE, from our Firewalls-and-Virus-Protection website.

    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.

    It seems as if many of these software designers and providers are trying to out-do each other with their Free software offers. Although these protective programs may be stripped down versions, they do work and no one should hesitate to download their trial or short term programs.

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. It would be a good idea to bookmark and check back regularly so that you don't miss newly added items.

                     ________To Top_________    
  Reviews (of the news).

    According to its background paper on the subject of SPAM, drawing from statistics from managed e-mail security vendor MessageLabs
™, spam accounts for 76 percent of the world's email and has an aggregate yearly cost of roughly $12 billion.

Suggestions from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) recent conference about how to fight spam raised the question in one anti-spam expert's mind as to whether spam can really be wiped out.

Last month, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the United Kingdom's Office of Fair Trade (OFT) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) agreed on what could be a forerunner to the ITU's goal of an international agreement on fighting spam. The agreement among the three countries would permit sharing of evidence and information on spamming activities and the spammers causing these activities.

Efforts like these could minimize the scourge of SPAM, but in our opinion, there will always be juvenile minded and malicious lowlifes who will challenge what ever programs are set in place to return our free, and safe use of the internet.
                  __________To Top__________
  NewsReporter Reader's Questions  ??????????

       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

                 __________To Top___________
Sharing ? If you had the opportunity to help family members, associates, or friends by sharing any of the information in this News Reporter, please suggest that they subscribe for their own personal copy.
  They can subscribe here and we'll never share their information with third parties.
Read our Privacy Policy

First Name:

To Top___________

As promised in our first issue, we aren't going to stuff your mail box with un-ending mailings every day, week, or month. When there's some important news about the topics we've noted, we'll let you know.

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 ""

Thank you again, for your interest and trust. We'll do our best to honor it.


                                              ____________To Top _____________

   CLICK HERE to be removed from this mailing list, or
   Click to send Un-subscribe email request


More Bookshelf
Special Reports
Latest Virus threats
Privacy theft
Family security
Free resources  
Reader's Questions
   Volume 1, Issue 01
   Volume 1, Issue 02


We are proud participants in the
"Rid the Planet of Viruses" campaign.