Current Blog Posts
Nov 27, 2005
Nov 25, 2005
Nov 24, 2005
Nov 22, 2005
Nov 19, 2005
Nov 17, 2005
Nov 15, 2005
Nov 11 2005
Nov 8, 2005
Nov 1, 2005
Right Click and SAVE link. Paste it into
your RSS Reader to
Subscribe to our Security Alert RSS Web Feed.
It keeps you totally
informed of the latest web page updates, Newsletter Editions and Blog
posts as soon as they're made!
What's an RSS Feed?
Get your FREE report
"23 Critical Security
from the subscription
signup page and read recent issue
your email privacy
Some of my
▪Victor KPryles Blog
▪Arlene's Small Town Living Blog
Cnet Download Blog
No.1 Use of the Internet?
Please take this one minute mini-survey.
Let us know how we can best serve your
primary interests so you can avoid Hacker and spy ware intruders.
We'll give you a nifty and entertaining Free
eBook on Coping With Your Stresses
as a Thank You for your
Latest Virus Threats
to date on Internet Security with
the Firewalls and Virus Protection
Security Alert Blog
Valuable Information for the everyday
Non-technical Internet User
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
the left column to jump to posts from earlier weeks and months.
Please let me hear from you.
Your comments are really appreciated. Try to avoid anything inappropriate (hateful, abusive,
explicit, etc.), they'll be deleted before posting.
Please stick to the theme of "Security Awareness and Safety on the
Internet'. Your email address will never be displayed and will not
be shared with third parties.
pleased that you're here today,
and look forward to
your early return. Using the
Web Feed or bookmarking this page will make it a lot easier to visit
.... Richard Rossbauer
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.
2005 New Sober Worm variant
flooding email boxes as predicted
by Bavarian Police last week
A new version of the Sober worm
appeared on the Internet (late last week) and is flooding e-mail
servers around the world with help from zombie machines infected by
earlier versions of the same worm.
Identified by various names --Sober.J, Sober.AG, and W32.Sober.X,
it's the latest in a long line of mass e-mail worms.
It arrives in an e-mail message that appears to be a returned-mail
error message, advising the user that an e-mail sent earlier has
bounced. The message typically contains a .zip, .bat, .com, .scr or
.pif attachment and a body text that is some variation on the
Windows users should watch for a message that looks like it came
from the FBI, the agency warned. "These e-mails did not come from
the FBI," they added.
The FBI letter could appear something like this, and opening the file
containing the list of questions launches the Sober worm and infects
We have logged your IP-address on more than 30 illegal Web
sites. Important: Please answer our questions! The list of
questions are attached.
Federal Bureau of Investigation-FBI-
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW , Room 3220
Washington, DC 20535
Phone: (202) 324-30000[cq] "
Antivirus firm F-Secure calls it "the
largest e-mail worm outbreak of the year" and e-mail security firm
MessageLabs stopped more than 2.7 million e-mails carrying the
Sober worms are nothing new, but the latest variant is much more
widely distributed than other recent versions because it is being
sent out, simultaneously, from countless other Sober infected
machines, or "bots," said Symantec.
The new worm also uses a variety of enticing messages, in both
German and English.
Other e-mail campaigns containing
the Sober.AG worm promise recipients a glimpse of videos of
jet-setters Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie if they open the
file, (alert from Computer Associates International Inc.)
Software maker Sophos estimated that one in 74 messages presently
contain the Sober worm.
Although the new Sober variant spread quickly, security experts said
that existing anti-virus programs should be able to identify most
infected messages. "Most anti-virus vendors already protect their
customers against this," reports an official from Symantec.
My own ISP (Internet Service Provider) has already picked off a
bunch of attempts to enter my email inbox with these phony messages
... and my anti-spyware programs are kept up to date. Are
November 24, 2005
Some Thoughts on Thanksgiving Day
So many things for which we can
give thanks. So great to have a National Holiday set aside on which
we can itemize and summarize the things for which we are thankful
during the year.
Thanksgiving Day, USA, has
a lot of Mosts -- Most heavily traveled day of the year,
the Most organized or biggest Family Gathering day, and it's
followed immediately by the most busy (and probably the most
dangerous) shopping Friday of the year.
Why dangerous? Because in the crowds, and with the excitement of the
beginning of the big holiday shopping season, we could easily forget
to protect our credit card and Social Security numbers from lurking
If you haven't had an opportunity to read ""Strategies to Protect Yourself Against
Identity Theft", now would be a good time, before you get
lost in the shopping crowds.
It's Free. Download it by CLICKING
On the lighter side, I
found a few quotes that made me chuckle, and some that brought to
heart, the more serious, and real reason for this holiday. I'll
share them here.
"Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are
Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence."
"An optimist is a person who starts a
new diet on Thanksgiving Day".
"What we're really talking
about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth
Thursday of November when no
one diets. I mean, why else would they call it
Thanksgiving?" ~Erma Bombeck,
And probably closer to the Real
Meaning of gratitude and giving thanks:
|For each new
morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Our rural ancestors, with little blest,
Patient of labour when the end was rest,
Indulged the day that housed their annual grain,
With feasts, and off'rings, and a thankful strain.
Dear Readers, I'm thankful for the
opportunity to share my thoughts with you and to have you visit here
with me. May your lives and the lives of your family and friends be
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:
... Thanks ever so much, Richard
November 22, 2005 How's your
On a web site I found recently, the
webmaster highlighted some guidelines for being polite and
proper when using the Internet. It's a nice gesture toward keeping
the Fun in many of the things we do online.
She reminds readers that Internet
etiquette is becoming a necessity in todays world and that Millions of
users are added to the internet family from around the world every
year. Web sites, emails, instant messages, blogs, and chat rooms are
used millions of times every day. So, when a place is crowded, rules
keep it organized and pleasant for everybody.
You can check out the
Internet Etiquette site HERE
Identity Theft -There's hardly a newspaper, Radio or
TV show that isn't talking about it today
We've heard horror story
after horror story about how people's lives have been completely
disrupted or destroyed by it.
I'm willing to bet that most people know someone personally who has
suffered at the hands
of clever and unscrupulous Identity thieves. Do you know how to
avoid losing yours?
Local organizations, Chambers of Commerce, Senior and Social clubs,
and many others have
presented speakers and programs covering the subject. The FTC has
free books with guides
and advice. Banks, Credit Card companies and others provide helpful
If you're reading this, and haven't had the opportunity yet to get
any of the available
literature on protecting yourself and your family, you can quickly
and easily get help on developing a strategy for avoiding your own
loss of identity.
My free 5 page guide - "Strategies to Protect Yourself Against
can be downloaded by CLICKING
(It' s a zip file
containing the report as a Word and PDF document)
Don't become a statistic, be prepared for the increasing threat we
all face. Print and
share this free guide with your family and friends. They'll be glad
Sober worm to be released on November 15, 2005 ?
In a surprise move, the Bavarian
Police warned about a worm outbreak that will happen - today,
November 15, 2005.
Bayerisches Landeskriminalamt has out a
press release warning of a possible
new Sober worm variant that would be launched Tuesday,
The new Sober variant could be spreading in emails like this:
Subject: Registration Confirmation
Body: Thanks for your registration. Your data are saved in the
zipped Word.doc file!
DO NOT OPEN THIS eMAIL IF IT ARRIVES IN YOUR
Thanks to Alex Eckelberry who
posted this in
Sunbelt Software Blog
Predators! The national news services are creating
an awareness of the increasing dangers to our children
Law enforcement officials estimate
that 50,000 predators are online at any given moment. And the number
of reports of children being solicited for sex is growing says
Michele Collins of the National Center for Missing and Exploited
The recent programming by
MSNBC and NBC is a welcome effort to alert Parents and Grandparents
to the online perils faced by our children. It really adds emphasis
to the cautions I've presented in the Security Alert News Reporter
over the past few months..
There are easy to use tools to help us protect our kids from the
criminals who try to seduce them. Predator Guard, created
with the help of Law Enforcement officials is available from my
newsletter or you can learn more about
Predator Guard by
If your children or grandchildren use your home computer, Predator
Guard will help keep them safe online. Don't we owe it to them?
November 13, 2005
Hard Drives don't last forever. It's good insurance to
prepare for a hard drive crash.
When a hard drive on one of my
computers started to make some odd sounds recently, I wondered how
many of my readers would know how to prepare for their own
inevitable hard drive crash.
If you aren't sure about what
to expect, or what to do if it should happen to you, there are some
easy to understand planning articles posted on the Firewalls and
Virus Protection website.
If you can take the time now to review them (or print and read them
offline), you'll be pretty well prepared to create your own disaster
Here are quick jump links to two of the articles and the Data
Recovery page on the website:
What if Your Hard
Planning for Disaster Recovery
I suggest you add this information (as hard copy), to your important
2005 Federal Trade Commission shuts down
This spyware ring allegedly
used Google Inc.'s BlogSpot service to trick millions of computer
users into downloading spyware and adware programs.
If you follow and read Blogs, or write your own, Google's Blogspot
free blogging service is probably a very familiar word. Literally
thousands of us Bloggers use it. So do the miscreants who want to
steal and cause trouble. They've found it an open field to prey on
unsuspecting readers. (this is not one of my Blogspot blogs)
Dozens of blogs hosted by Google Inc.'s Blogger service can install
programs that are widely considered to be spyware and adware onto
visitors' computers. Many users are discovering the offending sites
as they browse among blogs through Blogger's navigation bar.
These offending blogs typically prompt visitors to accept downloads
through misleading pop-up windows.
There's nothing more irritating to Weblog authors than the
increasing problem of BlogSpam.
Sure, I encourage appropriate comments to my postings. They help me
select security related information and helpful tips to guide the
everyday, non-technical internet user who just wants to be safe
doing basic stuff.
The FTC's recent action against 3 major predators is good news.
Read more about this in eWeek.com's
Security article HERE
2005 Why do I Blog? One of my
friends asked recently if blogging
was a waste of my time
No, blogging is not a waste of
time for me. It's a great way of reaching the audience I'm trying to
help -- the everyday, non-technical internet user who just wants to
be safe doing basic stuff.
With powerful tools available, like
syndicating with RSS, Free and simple to use Feed Readers like
MyYahoo, MyMSN,etc., the ability to reach my desired audience
is greatly increased.
Blogging can be difficult at times, though. Readers can make cutting
and often insulting comments about a blogger's efforts, accuracy,
and even personality. The up-side to this is that they are actually
reading my blog.
Although her blog is not directed to helping users maintain their
online security, Samantha Burns, for example, publishes a popular
and often controversial blog to which many readers respond. Her
feelings about less than pleasant comments are covered in one of her
recent posts in Thoughts On The Blogosphere.
I agree, it's readers' comments that help make my blog better and
more useful to the people I want to help. So, if you care to share
your opinions about my Security Alert Blog, click the COMMENT link
below and lay it on me. Thanks
November 1, 2005
Some Windows XP users have experienced a general
slowdown of their computers after installing Service Pak 2
(SP2). Have You?
SP2 increases the security level of a
Windows XP system, I installed it on my laptop, and yes, I sensed
that it wasn't responding as fast as it did before the installation.
If you're an XP user, you should have it installed on your computer,
To quote Alex Eckelberry, President of Sunbelt Software, makers of
is no excuse these days not to have XP SP 2 on your system.
From a security standpoint, its absolutely essential. For
example, we have never been able to infect an XP SP 2 system
with the keyloggers weve found through an exploit
Here's what I did.- visited this
Microsoft Help and Support page and followed their suggestions
If you are one of the users who have experienced slowdown, read what
Microsoft has to say
|After you install
Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) or upgrade to
Windows XP with SP2, you experience slow computer performance.
For example, you experience the following symptoms:
If you browse the Internet, the performance is slow.
If you try to download newsgroup e-mail messages, some or
all of the messages
are not downloaded.
There is excessive hard disk activity.
Overall system performance is very slow.
This issue occurs if one of the following conditions is true:
You have spyware or malware running on the computer.
You have viruses that are running on the computer.
You do not have sufficient free space on the hard disk.
You do not have sufficient random access memory (RAM)
installed on the
You have corrupted or outdated drivers.
You have too many files in the Recycle Bin or temporary
To quote Alex Eckelberry of
Sunbelt Software again, In other words, a general statement
of the obvious to any reasonably technical computer user".
You can follow the easy step-by-step method described by Microsoft
to solve your problem, too. They helped me get back up to speed.
If this is the answer to
paying more for safeware, I feel as if
I'm being set-up.
Symantec is employing the tactic of increasing prices of
anti-virus software update subscriptions to come closer to the price
of newer versions of their products.
In his October 18, posting at
eWeek Review, Larry Seltzer lays out quite clearly what we can
expect when it's time to renew our subscriptions for virus signature
(Virus signatures are what our anti-virus programs look for when
scanning. Each virus has a unique signature and the money we pay to
the anti-virus vendors for subscriptions covers the costs of
research, monitoring and downloading them to the anti-virus programs
on our computers).
Some, but not all of the other vendors are following Symantec's
example. They want us to buy the updated software when updated
signatures would actually still be effective deterrents in many
Thanks to Mr. Seltzer, you can find out if your anti-virus vendor
has you in their gun sights. Worse yet, your current vendor cold be
preparing to eliminate subscription programs altogether. Read Mr.
complete report HERE.
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
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
More and more of my favorite websites, newsletters and blogs were
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
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 - - 'MYYahoo' and '
which I use with my Mozilla Firefox browser. However, I find that
for my blog reading, the MYYahoo
reader more than satisfies all of my requirements.
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
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!.