Security Alert News Reporter   

        December 2004               LANGHORNE, PENNSYLVANIA, USA                Volume 1, Issue 08
Help! I think we have a Virus.

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This Newsletter is sent out periodically, but 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  the end of this letter to un-register.
Here's your "Security Alert News Reporter" for December,  2004
    The "NewsReporter" 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  reported December 30, 2004 by McAfee:

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.
Some notes about the Zafi.d worm  (W32/Zafi.D)
This new variant contains the following characteristics:
  • W32/Zafi.D
    added December 14

    US-CERT reported a new variant of the Zafi virus referred to as "W32/Zafi.D" or "W32.Erkez.D@mm". It arrives as an attachment to an email containing a holiday greeting message. Upon opening the attachment, the virus scans certain files on the user's system collecting email addresses, then attempts to mail itself to all e-mail addresses it found. It will also display an error message "Error in packed file!".

    In addition to email propagation, the virus attempts to spread through peer-to-peer file sharing networks by copying itself as either 'winamp 5.7 new!.exe' or 'ICQ 2005a new!.exe' into certain folders on the user's system.

    In summary, this worm :
  • contains its own mail engine to construct outgoing messages
  • spoofs the From: address
  • harvests target email addresses from the victim  machine
  • outgoing email message body is either in Hungarian or English
  • displays Peer to peer worm behavior
  • shuts down security services (This is really nasty!...Richard)

In last month's issue of the News Reporter, I posted an alert to be wary of 'friendly email messages' arriving during the holiday season. Through a careless moment, the CWS.mrhop returned to my computer with a vengeance. I opened an email attachment from a friend, a friend whose emails never caused a problem.

To learn how easily bad things happen, and heed the advice on how you can avoid making these simple mistakes, the details are posted on our Blog here

If this can happen to someone who uses the internet a lot, think of all of the unwary and inexperienced people who enjoy surfing the internet and communicating with family and friends. Their computers are among the prime targets to be attacked (and we have recently found just the thing to help them keep the Hackers from loading their PCs with viruses, worms and other pests).

How to help everyday internet users become aware, and protect them from the potential loss of private and personal information, files, important data, and even their identity is the Goal of many organizations, software providers, and even some individual webmasters, is the theme of our publications.

You can be a part of our "Computer Virus Awareness Campaign" and direct your family and friends to these helpful websites, such as ours, at ,and suggest they subscribe to this newsletter.

The Firewalls and Virus Protection website contains the information they
really need, it's easy to read and understand, and it wont cost you a cent.

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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 security ware.
If 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 website at STINGER. It finds and removes about 45 other active viruses and worms. Download the December 14 ,2004 update

Look for the STINGER Icon


Ever wonder How you can really Keep hackers, Worms and Germs out of your PC? We feel that we discovered the Mother LODE of information on protecting ourselves from continuing attacks by Hackers. It's an eBook  by the 20 plus year veteran of internet security consulting ...Mr Bill Hely.

           We found "The Hacker's Nightmare"!            
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.

Every single user of an Internet-connected Windows computer NEEDS the kind of information contained in
The Hacker's Nightmare™. Even so, until now only experts had this knowledge. Now this essential information is yours --- in a language you can understand and in a format you can easily implement for yourself.

Just one of the treasures we found is the Free Anti-Virus program by
GRISOFT, highly recommended by Mr. Hely and available to all of our readers. We downloaded and are using it now. Get your Free download HERE

And how about building your own Rock Solid Firewall from an old PC?

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.

Don't think that this is is 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 intrusions.
 Visit now and Learn the Truth About Computer & Internet Security
I'm confident that this will be a rewarding experience for you. ... Richard

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More about using the Newest AOL Web Browser

In recent issues, we commented on our experience with a variety of web browsers. After our IE hijacking experience, we looked at a few other browsers that might be less targeted by hackers and crackers.

We upgraded the AOL Service on another of our computers with the new AOL 9.0 Security Edition.  Because it is a fairly old computer with a slower dial-up modem, we used the Free CD provided by AOL.

Installation was quick and very easy. 

The program works great and has a bunch of new features. Primary among them is the anti-virus feature. You'll still need a strong firewall and the program will detect and advise you if you have an existing firewall. You'll also need to spend some time reading how to make the best use of this version, and locating and resetting many of the things that are changed to AOL's new default settings or provided as options.

Among the first things we noticed after installation was the addition to the desktop of many little icons linking to a bunch of AOL features and services. The main AOL program Start links appeared as icons in the Start up list, in the task bar at the bottom of the desktop and on the desktop itself.

Since we don't expect to be using many of these features linked to the icons, we made a desktop folder, named it 'Other AOL links', and dragged and dropped the ones we might eventually use into this folder.

From a security point of view, it appears as if AOL 9.0 Security release has anticipated many of the concerns of everyday internet users. Among the features that we found very valuable are the built in Anti-virus protection, and
             email spam protection                 Web pop-up controls
             Parental controls                        spyware protection
             Computer system check-up          security based AOL extras

Because there is so much that AOL 9.0 has to offer, lesser experienced users will probably need help in setting it up to benefit from all of the Security and User Accessibility features.

Our opinion: Current users of the older AOL programs should seriously consider up-grading and using the default settings as they learn the tricks to personalizing their copies.

We're still 'personalizing' the Firefox1 browser to suit our preferences and will report on this in a future
News Reporter.


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Privacy Theft  - -    

This message is being shared among many people on the internet. I put it here as an alert because it describes a very clever way that scammers can steal credit card and other personal information from you.

These scammers didn't sound like thieves, which is the way internet phishing theft often happens. The person that was scammed has related this as a personal experience. Here's her story--

You can Refresh your knowledge on Phishing and Spoofing at the Articles and Reports pages of our website; Firewalls and Virus Protection

                               Help for the Hijacked !

Even if you have only a few of hijacked browser symptoms we've mentioned many times, scanning your computer for hidden CWS variants is a good move. Let CWSShredder (it's included with SpySubtract PRO  where you can Download a free trial) find and remove these potential browser hijacking parasites, and then check out the Xsoftpy program. It's one of the few virus scanners we've found that actually finds and removes CWS.mrhop. Download XoftSpy and Scan Your PC for Free!

We encourage you to visit 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.

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. If you have occasion to use it, would you consider doing the same?
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

We encourage you to visit 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.

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Family Security 

We post these links 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.

  Please note the 'AMBER ALERT" scrolling at the bottom of this table
Reviews of Family Safe Sites


The Crayola website goes 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 the LINK

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

Our website has been Certified 'Family Safe' by the Institute of Family Safe Businesses.

Ask Jeeves for Kids

Enter your question here:
Ask Jeeves is a trademark of Ask Jeeves, Inc., Copyright 1996-2000 Ask Jeeves, Inc.
Ask Jeeves for Kids has great Study Tools, Fun and Games and News Resources, all Safe. Visit Ask Jeeves for Kids Home page Here

Check out the Kid Friendly pages HERE and the Parent Friendly Links HERE
  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.

 See more family related links on the Personal Privacy and IdentityTheft page at the Firewalls-and-virus-protection website if you are at all concerned for your own security
and that of your family.

                Here are A few more helpful resources

"Keep Your Private Information PRIVATE"

Lock away all of your Passwords, Images, Documents, 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.            

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Publications  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.

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 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 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 FREE report in a new webpage by clicking
Are Keystroke Loggers Spying On You?
(No downloading necessary, and you can print it right from your browser window.)


  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 Firewalls-and-Virus-Protection website, 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.
 Visit the  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 Consumer (family) protection HERE.

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 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.

  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. (You did check out this month's free download of the AVG virus protection program, Didn't you?). It would be a good idea to bookmark and check back regularly so that you don't miss newly added items.

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Reviews (some encouraging news about controlling SPAM and Spyware ).

Phishing could be punishable under a new law

A recent Associated Press article reported that a Federal Judge in Clinton, Iowa has made a $1 billion award in a suit involving
Spam damages suffered by an Internet Service Provider.

DAVENPORT, Iowa., December, 2004. Felt to be one of the largest judicial decisions against companies accused of sending junk e-mails, U.S. District Judge Charles Wolle ruled that Mr. Kramer's business, CIS Internet Services, was harmed by the unsolicited e-mails.

"It's definitely a victory for all of us that open up our e-mail and find lewd and malicious and fraudulent e-mail in our boxes every day,'' Kramer said.

He is unlikely to ever collect the large award made possible through an Iowa law that allows plaintiffs to claim damages of $10 per spam message, but he hopes to at least cover his legal fees and expenses.. 

(Sounds to us like another win for the Good Guys)                              

"User Education"
is the focus of our Firewalls and Virus Protection website and this "
Security Alert News Reporter". Please help us to help your family, friends, and associates enjoy a safer and less frustrating internet experience. We encourage you to share this information with them.

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 software.

Keep in mind that these programs are only as good as their latest updates!

                              Ever wonder how a Hacker thinks?
The Tech Republic website has the answer to that question in this free download at Thinking Like a Hacker


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A big Thank you to all who participated in the
Official U.S. Marines Toys for Tots Program again this year. Many young children from financially disadvantaged families received gifts that they would not have gotten without your help.
 Thank you for your generosity... Richard
 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
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.

And finally for this issue, we hope you can take our little survey and visit our new Blog Pages, read our postings and contact us with you comments and opinions. Everything you have to offer will help us do a better job to help you. Thank you. ...Richard

Read our Privacy Policy

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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 "

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


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

Volume 1, Issue 03
Volume 1, Issue 04
Volume 1, Issue 05
Volume 1, Issue 06
Volume 1, Issue 07


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