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                                  .... Richard Rossbauer


  April 24, 2006         Is your computer a Zombie in a Hacker's Botnet?

Most Internet users are familiar with the names of the different types of
undesirable files that can be downloaded to their computers while surfing
the web - Viruses, worms, trojan horses, cookies, spyware, adware, etc.

How about "Zombies" and "Bot farms"? What the devil are they? Are they PC threats, too?
Yes, and rather serious ones, at that.
Your computer might be controlled by someone, anywhere in the world, without you knowing it. If it is, it's a “Zombie”. Computers connected to the internet that have a virus or Trojan installed to allow a hacker or other unauthorized person to access and issue commands via the internet are called "Zombies".
The hacker who controls a "Zombie" may have hundreds, or even thousands of compromised PC's under his control. These networks of infected PC's are called "Bot Farms" or "Botnets".
How can you tell if your computer is a "Zombie" in a "Botnet"?
Mr. Greg Day, a Security Analyst for McAfee has written and posted an article on the
"IT OBSERVER" website that describes, in easy to understand language, how you can tell if your personal computer has become someone else's money stealing "Zombie". Read  his article about Zombies and Botnets Here. (Sorry, No Longer Available)

And if you'd like to get up to date on those other nuisances "Viruses, worms, trojan horses, cookies, spyware, adware, etc", Check out the Firewalls and Virus Protection website where
I've recently updated that information, along with tools and advice on controlling them.
                                                                                      ... Richard



  April 21, 2006            Michael Miller's Open Letter to Security Vendors

Thanks to the heads-up in Alex Eckelberry's Sunbelt Software* Blog, I just read PC Magazine Editorialist Michael Miller's open letter to four of the major security software companies top management people.
It all has to do with Microsoft Company's possible entry into the security market this summer with a new security service called OneCare (a pure subscription service).
Mr. Miller's article is less about what Microsoft could be offering - it really points out the good and the not so good issues in the popular security suites offered by Symantec, McAfee, Trend Micro and Zone Labs.
It's hard hitting, but it's fair, and it's a great reminder about how we should consider our approach to keeping our computers secure and online forays safe.
Read Mr. Miller's letter in PC Magazine HERE
                                                                                   ... Richard
(*)Sunbelt Software Co. Free anti-spyware Free Trial!

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  April 15, 2006      The April issue of The Security Alert News Reporter
                           is now available.
Although the frequency and severity of web wide virus exploits seem to have diminished, the virus writers and cyber criminals haven't stopped doing their mischief.
They have simply joined forces to create even more sophisticated and devious ways to steal from the Internet public. (You, your family and friends, and me!)
Many of their latest tricks and targets are discussed in this Issue. Well worth reviewing, because being forewarned is one of the major steps in building your defenses against their exploits.
Both the News Reporter and the Regular Features Supplement are loaded with valuable information, reports, and free tools to guide those of us non-technical internet users who just want to be safe doing basic stuff.
You can check out the current issue here. If you like what you see, please consider subscribing for our periodic releases, and be a part of my "Computer Virus Awareness Campaign" by sharing with a friend.

                                                                              Thank You, Richard

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April 14, 2006                Which do you use when you update your Windows
                                    Operating System?

A recent post in the Sunbelt Software Blog by Alex Eckelberry suggested that using
Microsoft Update instead of Windows Update gives you everything that Windows Update does, and more — it checks for things like Office updates, too.

I never really paid too much attention to which one I used, so I followed his suggestion, and Yes, it seems to be much better than just the Windows Update service, thank you, Alex.

Read the full Sunbelt Software Blog post HERE

                                                                           ... Richard


  April 12, 2006       Are you still practicing your New Year's Security Resolutions?

Lest we forget, the cyber world hasn't become any safer since the beginning of this year - however, the cyber criminals have become even more clever.

Most all of the security software providers seem to agree that the numbers of serious virus threats have diminished over recent months.

They also agree that the amount of malware has definitely increased, both in numbers of attacks and sophistication. A recent study showed that online fraudsters launched a record number of phishing scams last year, with nearly 17,000 unique e-mail-based fraud attacks detected in November alone, and close to 18,000 in January, 2006.   

I doubt that this continuing increase will stop very soon. Since much of the increase can be
related to people falling for the scam messages in their Spam email, a review of ways to minimize the amount of Spam entering our email inboxes might be timely.

My recent article on some ways to Keep Internet Junk Mail and Spam out of your email inbox(CLICK HERE) could save you and your family come serious grief.


P.S. If you find value in my security and safety postings, please join in my Security Awareness Campaign by letting your friends know about this blog. They can easily add it to their RSS Feed readers or bookmark it to their favorites.

P.P.S. Please note the most recent addition to my list of Favorite Blogs "Creative Consulting"



  April 6, 2006     Get your U.S. Treasury Department Free Identity Theft DVD, too.

The DVD I ordered last month just arrived. It is well worth the few weeks wait!

The importance of protecting yourself and your family against fraudsters and criminals intent on stealing your money and good name is being stressed heavily by all of the media outlets.

And in my opinion, well they should. Based on all of the statistics being reported by our Government agencies and private organizations, the losses to ordinary public citizens are only getting worse.

The Identity Theft thieves are becoming more and more sophisticated, and organized, in their attack methods, both online and in our everyday lives. You'll find out just how organized from the DVD.

The Treasury Department free DVD, titled "IDENTITY THEFT - Outsmarting the Crooks" is an excellent expose of many of the tricks, scams, and lures these criminals are using.

It's also a great resource and guide for getting help to avoid the theft of your privacy and what to do if you become a victim.

Every family should have a copy and share the message with their family members, and it would be a very valuable addition for Senior Centers (major targets of the ID crooks), civic organizations, schools, employee groups, etc.

The ordering information is in my March 10th post HERE. For only $2. to cover mailing, it's easily affordable for just about everyone.

While you're waiting for your copy to arrive, you can read my 5 page Guide on Avoiding Identity Theft. 
Download the Identity Theft Guide by CLICKING HERE..  It's free, too.
                                                                                                           ... Richard


  March 10, 2006  Repeated      U.S. Treasury Department Releases Free
                                            Identity Theft DVD

I just ordered the “Identity Theft: Outsmarting the Crooks,” DVD through the Federal Citizen Information Center in Pueblo, CO. This is an excellent source for a wealth of free and inexpensive publications covering hundreds of consumer topics.

It'll take 2 or 3 weeks until it and a few other publications arrive in my mailbox, and it all cost only $2.00.

The Treasury Department has very recently released this DVD and I believe supplies are limited. The content caught my interest, of course. It informs consumers about identity theft, how to protect themselves against the crime and what to do if they fall victim. It also features a resource library of downloadable materials, including sample forms and letters that victims can use in reporting the crime and collecting evidence.

Free Copies of the Treasury Department DVD are available through the Federal Citizen Information Center at , toll-free at 1-888-878-3256, or by writing to: FCIC -05B, PO Box 100, Pueblo, CO 81002.

I appears to me to be a good investment for just about everyone. Order item number 635N
 ... Richard

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  April 5, 2006                         Stinger updated as of April 5, 2006 to include
                                       protection against the
W32/Sober@MM!M681  worm.

Add this 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 -
AVERT) was updated April 5, 2006.

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 security ware.  

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 here at McAfee STINGER


                                                                                                      ... Richard

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  April, 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. 

 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.")

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 Yahoo site. The same is true for Add to Google and  

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!.




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