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Valuable Information for the everyday
Non-technical Computer and Internet
User and Web
Surfer who just wants to be safe doing basic stuff
Visitors to the
Security Alert Blog are encouraged to express their views and
opinions on my postings (easily done by clicking on the highlighted
'TRACKBACK' at each post). You'll notice
that the most recent Posts appear first. You can use the links in
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Please let me hear from you.
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pleased that you're here today,
and look forward to
your early return. Using the
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.... Richard Rossbauer
How much time did you spend with your
If you're like me, it could
have been too much, but I didn't realize it until I read this post
Samanta Burn's blog .These Holidays Are A Time For Giving
Here's a short excerpt --
you remember back to the olden days, circa 1993, when none of your
had the Internet, or AOL? What did
you do for Christmas?
I'm guessing you didn't read BBS bulletin
boards, send text messages on your
2 kilogram cell phone, or download 1
megabyte emails with elves bowling using
your gosh-awful-slow 2400 Baud modem.
'Away from your computer time', is what
holidays are good for these days."
If I had read it before the holidays ended, I probably would have
spent a little more time being a holiday person rather than an
Enjoy the holidays, your family and friends, have a Healthy, Happy,
New Year, and thanks again for visiting my blog.
How Internet Savvy are your
Children and Grandchildren?
I recently had the
opportunity to watch my Grandchildren as they surfed the Internet
for information to do school reports and as they visited with their
friends by Instant Messaging.
They certainly are
knowledgeable about using their computers and when asked, they
assured me they were careful not to click on the wrong things. But,
they navigated so quickly, and had so many friends in their chat
rooms at the same time, I was concerned that they could lose
track of all that was going on.
And even though our kids are fairly well versed in how to use their
computers, certainly, today's hackers, online thieves, and predators
are smarter than my grandchildren, and probably your young children
and grandchildren, too.
All of this prompted me to review the sections of the "Firewalls and
Virus Protection" website that addresses
Internet Family Safety
Theft Avoidance -- not so much for the kids themselves, but for
those of us parents and grandparents who might not be as adept at
using our computers as they are, but still responsible for their
safety and the security of our families.
I invite you visit these updated pages --
Internet Family Safety
Theft Avoidance and comment. Tell me what's most important to
you about keeping your children safe.
Stinger updated as of November 22, 2005 to include
protection against the
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 -
updated November 22, 2005 to detect and remove more than 50
current viruses including the
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
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
2005 It seems impossible that it's been a
year since I first posted
this message. My thanks and appreciation have grown and
continue to grow for all of your support.
Here's what I wrote in December, 2004:
A Big 'Thank You' to all of
our Readers who have helped get our "Security Awareness Campaign"
The campaign started in January, 2004,
with the initial 5 pages of our Firewalls-and-Virus-Protection
website going online.
More than a very large handful of 'problems' have come this way
during the past dozen years or so of using the internet. Originally,
they were just "How can I do this - or that", but recently, all of
us everyday computer and internet users have been deluged with so
many nasty viruses, worms, trojans and spyware intruders, the focus
has changed to "How NOT to".
How not to get infected by these pests and intruders, and of
course, how not to let them take over our our computers and
The comments, questions and advice received from many online and
offline friends made it abundantly clear that we needed help. It
needed to be provided in a manner easy to understand and implement.
The theme of the Firewalls-and-Virus-Protection website, the News
Reporter, and the Security Alert Blog has been and will continue to
be "simplicity": information that can be used and easily understood
by the youngest internet users to the oldest of us Senior people,
many of whom were fearful of even starting to use a computer.
So as a rather senior 'Senior', I chose to use the Internet and my
online publications as the platform from which I could help the
unwary and lesser experienced understand what is happening in the
Cyber Jungle and how not to be caught in the ambushes along the way.
Thanks again to the many visitors and readers for their part in
carrying on my "Security Awareness Campaign" in 2004, 2005 and on
into the New Year, 2006.
2005 New SOBER
Worm Attacks expected on Jan 6, 2006
Security Firms have issued a
warning of yet another Sober Worm Threat
Sober worms have been reported as the leading Web-based security
threat during 2005. One Security firm, Sophos Inc., identified the
Sober-Z variant as number 1 complaint during November, 2005.
The first version of the worm appeared in 2003 and was traced to
German-speaking authors. It sends messages in both German and
English, depending up on the recipient's e-mail address.
If the attack materializes, it will only add to the already
record-breaking run of the Sober worm and its variants. Security
firms F-Secure has identified more than 20 different versions
and iDefense some 30 variants.
What does all of this mean for the everyday home computer user?
Since the Security firms have been able to decipher the code well
enough to anticipate the date of the potential attack, as well as
identifying probable email subject lines and dangerous links, one
would expect that safeware (firewalls, anti-virus and anti-spyware)
will be programmed to recognize and stop it if and when such an
attack might start.
That gives us plenty of time to get into the habit of updating
our own safeware and operating systems. If yours doesn't update
automatically, you should not delay when you receive notices that
upgrades are available.
Don't start the new year as a Sober worm victim.
Enjoy a Healthy, Happy and Secure
Even though most new
computers given as gifts for this
holiday season will include protective software, there are a couple
of vital steps required before going online
During the exciting and
busy days of the Holiday Season, we might be
inclined to overlook, or forget the importance of keeping the
security features and protective software up to date on our
Many hackers and criminals are counting on this so that they can
ply their nefarious trade of infecting our computers with
dangerous stuff adding the unwary to their BotFarms.
After the gifts are exchanged and your brand new computers are
set-up and ready to explore the Internet, these same criminals
know that the security software that comes with nearly all of
today's new computers may not be updated first. They'll be
Probably most brand new computers will have a version of Windows XP, which includes a
software firewall. They'll also have anti-virus and anti-spyware
software by a variety of sources like Norton AntiVirus, PC Doctor,
The WindowsXP operating system includes a software firewall, but it has to be activated by the user first,
before going on line!
Then, the included anti-virus
and anti-spyware programs must also be updated. This
is extremely important.
It will be important to Review the instruction for updating and
connecting to the websites of the safeware providers to
understand how to download
their latest information before starting the fun surfing.
Help Yourself By Helping Children . . .
The 5th Annual Internet Toy Drive!!
We are proud to be a partner with the
official U.S. Marines "Toys for Tots"
program in The 5th Annual Internet Toy Drive.
It's a sad fact that millions of children in the United States will
NOT have a single gift to open on Christmas Day! We aim to change
that and make sure EVERY child has at least one present 'from Santa'
under their tree. Help a needy child in YOUR community right now:
Your donation will reach one of the
lucky children if you make it before December 23rd
... Thanks ever so much, Richard
2005 Is this the end of Free
Firewall Software? If so, what's next?
Symantec Corp. just announced that as of
next week it will no longer support or offer its Sygate
line of firewall products. Here's their notice:
Effective November 30th, 2005 all Sygate products
and forum support
will be discontinued. For technical assistance,
please email SMBSupport@Symantec.com."
Thoughtfully, their announcement included links to the User Guides
for Sygate Personal Firewall and Sygate Personal Firewall Pro;
helpful for the people who will be using it while they find another
Sygate Personal Firewall Pro User Guide Version 5.5 (1327KB)
Sygate Personal Firewall User Guide Version 5.5 (1351KB)
Kerio Technologies also
announced that they will discontinue their free personal firewall software
by the end of this year, but they will support current users through
ZoneAlarm is still free and I find it to be quite satisfactory for
my Win98SE and Win2000 computers. However, if all of the good Free
firewall software programs disappear, I'll have no problems with
paid annual subscriptions for quality firewall software.
At $3 or $4 a month, it's rather inexpensive insurance, anyway. Just
compare it to the cost of having an outside service clean the
dangerous stuff out of your infected computer.
Read a real case
In my opinion, the firewall software providers are entitled to being
compensated for the research and development costs of trying to stay
ahead of the hackers and crackers.... and if all free firewall
software disappears, there will no doubt be keen pricing competition
among the manufacturers of the remaining available quality products.
Do you think this could be the next trend for free anti-virus and
anti-spyware products? I do.
Helping the Victims and Survivors of Hurricanes Katrina,
First and most important!
We all want to help, but there are hundreds of
criminal types who have already taken advantage of the concern and
compassion of decent human beings, those suffering and those who
wish to help.
These criminals have posted dozens of phony sites with links that
will do no more than infest your computers with spyware, Trojans,
and other malicious malware so they can steal from you. They are
Despicable and Morally Reprehensible - hardly worth being called
When you contribute, use caution and do it through honest and
reliable organizations like the American Red Cross, Salvation Army,
Let's all pitch in to help today,
tomorrow and during the trying months ahead. We're members of iCop
- i-Cop members are helping the survivors of the
Katrina Tragedy here.
Will you join us? However you do it, please open your hearts and
A Little More Experience with RSS Readers for
adding current Web Feeds to your daily reading lists
The more I use I use
it, the more I like it! I'm talking about the RSS feed reader on the
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.
For awhile I was using two RSS Readers, but after many months of
experience, I have 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
Now, even more display the
button. Clicking on it automatically adds that feed to my personal
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 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
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!.