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.... Richard Rossbauer
Warning for Children - The hidden dangers of Dust Off !
If you have children
or grandchildren, PLEASE read this police officer's story
carefully. It's about the tragic misuse of a compressed air product available
everywhere there's a computer.
I just became aware of this
article, and as a concerned parent and grandparent, I believe it's
so important that every caring parent should have access to it.
The heart breaking
account was forwarded to me by a special friend who is also a very
caring Grandparent. She has spent most of her career as a Nurse and
she, too, had never heard of the dangers from such a common product. By
sharing this article, I join her in alerting other unaware or
unsuspecting Parents and Grandparents to the potential dangers our
children and grandchildren face from compressed air products.
it HERE. It's short, to the point and compelling... and I urge
you to share it
with your children, family, friends and peers. I'm certain they'll
appreciate your thoughtfulness and concern.
August 29, 2005
Colleges Lead Charge for Secure, open Networks
(Aug 26, 2005)
Did you read this article in eWEEK?
I found it fascinating.
It certainly points out the importance of all of the stuff that's
been discussed in the Firewalls and Virus Protection website,
newsletter and Blog about serious security threats to home
We concern ourselves with keeping a home computer or small home
network clean and clear of viruses, worms, and spyware. Maybe as
many as two or three computers in one home, maybe a few more.
If we are sending family members off to college - with their
computers in tow, and probably with some sort of bugs buried in them
- we're adding to the major security challenges faced by those
Literally thousands of challenges as thousands of student descend
upon their schools. How would You handle such a task?
Read how some college administrations are handling this in the
You'll gain a greater appreciation for the importance, and relative
ease of securing your home computers.
August 27, 2005
Law enforcement officials
arrested two young men suspected
being responsible for the Zotob computer worm.
Farid Essebar, age 18, a Moroccan
national born in Russia, was arrested in Morocco, and 21-year-old
Atilla Ekici, a Turkish resident, was arrested in Turkey, Paul
Bresson, a spokesman for the FBI, said Friday.
Both suspects have been detained
and will be prosecuted in the countries in which they were arrested,
In the past, people released viruses and worms to show off among their
peers, (the fellow degenerates doing the same nasty deeds). To
show how good they were at their mischief,
they would infect millions of computers, just for the thrill. Today,
the computers they infect are valuable commodities that they offer
Spammers, international terrorists, and organized crime rings
pay a lot of money for control of large networks of infected
computers often referred to as 'bot farms' or zombie armies. These
computers can be used for many illegitimate purposes. Much of the
Spam and phishing stuff that arrives in your email box could be
coming from an infected computer controlled by the owner of a bot
A 'gang warfare'
atmosphere now exists among the owners of bot farms who control the
infected computers. The bot farms and infected computers belong to
whoever can take and keep them. Competitors may battle for these
properties, with losers being disposed of.
Having ''always up-to-date Safe-ware" on your computer will help you
avoid being hurt in the crossfire in these gangland style battles.
(You know what Safe-ware is -
anti-virus, anti-spyware, and a strong firewall, right?)
You also need to make sure you
install Windows security updates as soon as they come out. Turn on
automatic updates or visit
http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com at least once a week.
Don't allow your computer to be a part
of one of these Zombie armies.
August 20, 2005
Stinger updated as of August 18, 2005
the Free virus checking and removal
tool (compliments of McAfee's Anti-virus and Vulnerability Emergency
Response Team -
updated on August 18, 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
you're not infected yet, use the Microsoft
Malicious Software Removal Tool to protect
yourself from the ZOTOB worms.
If you're reading this
post on a computer running the Windows 2000 Operating System and
haven't yet acted on the most recent Update Alert, you really should
do it now.
You can quickly download the
Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool . JUST CLICK HERE
Why is this so important?
The Zotob worm has been one of the hot topics in newspapers, radio
and TV ever since it was first detected around August 14 (2005).
Since then, the worm, its variants, and other worms that take
advantage of the same security flaw have hit Windows computers,
especially those running Windows 2000. Computer systems at many of
the major media giants - ABC, CNN and The New York Times - were among
Microsoft has made available a free software tool to help clean the
systems of the victims whose Windows computers were hit recently.
The cleaning program, released a few days ago is an updated version
of Microsoft's Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool.
This Removal Tool checks computers running Windows XP, Windows 2000,
and Windows Server 2003 for infections by specific, prevalent
malicious software including Blaster, Sasser, and Mydoom and helps
remove any infection found. When the detection and removal process
is complete, the tool displays a report describing the outcome,
including which, if any, malicious software was detected and
Microsoft releases an updated version of this tool on the second
Tuesday of each month, and as needed, to respond to security
incidents. The tool can be run from their Web page anytime or
downloaded to your computer.
Microsoft's update cycle for this free utility is usually once a
month, but with so many "Zotob" variants attacking un-patched Windows
2000 systems, the company added detections for 10 mutants to help
with the cleanup process.
The new version of the Malicious Software Removal Tool will now
remove the following worms: Zotob.A, Zotob.B, Zotob.C, Zotob.D,
Zotob.E, Bobax.O, Esbot.A, Rbot.MA, Rbot.MB and Rbot.MC.
Here's the link again (Download it to your desktop and open it from
there - makes it easier to use)
All of this raises the Question: "Why are so many computers being infected when Microsoft released a
patch that totally protected against Zotob BEFORE ZOTOB WAS
It has to be because hundreds of thousands of computer users help
the malicious hackers and thieves spread this stuff into their
computers! They ignore the Important Update Alerts, become infected
and unintentionally permit their computers to be used to spread the
pests to their families and friends, and you.
(A perfect time to re-read my article "How Not To Be A part Of The
My hope is that the broad media coverage of the current worm attack
will inspire more and more ordinary Internet users and web surfers
to acquire the habit of responding
Quickly to the threat
alerts, and keep their security software and operating systems up to
It's not me! I didn't put that virus in the
Commonly referred to as the
"Other Person Syndrome", or OPS,
encounter severely infested machines find that infections may not
necessarily come from the primary user. Instead, they come from a
boyfriend, the babysitter, kids or a friend who "just used the
computer for a bit".
Alex Eckleberry, President of Sunbelt
Software recently posted an intriguing discussion on the ways your
computer could become infected when other people use it.
I constantly remind my family members, friends and readers of my
News Letter that they must be vigilant when they and the people
they allow to use their computers are surfing the Internet.
Alex makes this point in a very interesting manner. You can read his
HERE. There are a couple of links to additional info in the
post. I followed them and I suggest you do, too, especially the one
for setting up accounts with Restricted Access.
Understanding Viruses and Worms - the
Problems and Solutions
In an article we just
published, Mr. Soroush King, a certified programmer from Australia,
shares his knowledge and expertise to help us better understand
viruses and worms.
The virus was one of the first ever threats to
computer security. It brought a whole new fear upon computer users.
The author offers some historical background and Security Measures
based on his personal experiences.
Read the article
2005 Expert Help
and Direct Links for Removing the
Srv.SSA-KeyLogger - You should check it now
Sunbelt Software has
posted their removal software download link and
expert James Healan of SpywareInfo has published an extraordinarily
good step-by-step guide for those of us who can't use Sunbelt's fix.
reports that the SSA-KeyLogger spyware remover cannot be installed
on the following platforms:
Windows 95 Windows 98 Windows 98SE
Windows ME Windows NT4
The SSA-KeyLogger spyware should only be installed on Windows XP,
Windows 2000/2003. CLICK ON >>
It was a real fast down load and install process for my Win2000 and
XP computers. Fortunately, none of them were infected.
In his Spyware Weekly Newsletter
of August 12, 2005, Jim Healan presents one of his usual outstanding
guides for removing trojans and other nasty stuff. His HijackThis
software tool (a must have for every Safeware library) will take you
step- by-step through the removal process if you can't use the
CLICK HERE to visit the Spyware Weekly Newsletter and
read the article
ID Theft Keylogger Examined.
Now's a good time to visit these sites and find out if your computer
has been broadcasting your personal or financial information.
P.S. I believe the free Spyware
Weekly Newsletter is so valuable, and such an extraordinary
resource, that I donate to Mr. Healan's publication whenever I can.
Fix for the Srv.SSA-KeyLogger
(the "Keylogger from Hell")
Continuing with Alex Eckelberry's
daily Blog postings on the Keylogger spy used by the Massive Theft
Ring uncovered in his investigations, the crucial part of his
message is quoted here....
"We have issued an immediate
security fix to thwart the newly identified spyware keylogger
uncovered by Sunbelts Research Team. This is the keylogger that is
behind the identity theft ring.
The spyware keylogger, named Srv.SSA-KeyLogger, is a backdoor
program that, among other things, secretly steals data from userss
internet sessions, including logins and passwords from online
banking sessions, eBay, PayPal, and other programs that use html
forms to collect personal information.
Anyway, to protect users from this harmful keylogger, new
definitions are being added for both the CounterSpy home and
Enterprise antispyware products".
Read the full blog
where Alex explains how to protect your
privacy from this insidious keylogger threat or
HERE to jump directly to the SunbeltSoftware home page.
Sunbelt reports it is sharing data on the keylogger with other major security
companies to insure the industry has the information necessary to
react rapidly to this threat.
Updates to the consumer edition of
which they report will remove this keylogger, are available
"The keylogger from hell"
...from Alex Eckelberry's
daily Blog postings on the Keylogger spy used by the Massive Theft
Ring uncovered in his investigations
He wrote: "Ok, we have the latest on this identity theft ring. And its pretty
Remember that all we found was the cache of data from the
thieves we didnt have the actual keylogger that was responsible
for it. We had a keylogger we had found that was similar and
provided us some clues, but not this specific one that was reporting
all this data back.
So we had to find the keylogger. That entailed trying to actually
get a hold of a machine.
Last night, we finally got an infected machine and were able to
figure out whats going on".
(Read The rest of Alex's Blog Report)
August 9, 2005 Massive Criminal Theft Ring Discovered
anti-spyware software developer uses Keyloggers
to steal private data and affects up to 50 banks
If you're reading about
Internet safety information like this, I'd be surprised if you
haven't already installed firewalls,
anti-virus, anti-spyware, and spam blocker personal security
If you don't have this
type of protection on your computer yet, Get It Now and keep it up to
Based on the late breaking
news story in Alex Eckelberry's
SunbeltBlog (Sunbelt Software Company of Clearwater Florida),
secret keyloggers hiding in your computer could be
feeding your personal information to a ring of criminals
intent upon stealing your identity and money.
Here is a quick idea of what
happened: Patrick Jordan, Sunbelt Software Company's most senior
CoolWebSearch (CWS) expert, was doing research on a CWS exploit.
During the course of infecting a machine, he discovered that a) the
machine he was testing became a spam zombie and b) he noticed a call
back to a remote server. He traced back the remote server and found
an incredibly sophisticated criminal identity theft ring. (Jordon,
previous to being employed by Sunbelt, was known to the security
community as WebHelper)
The scale is unimaginable. There are thousands of machines pinging
back daily. There is a keylogger file that grows and grows,
and then is zipped off and .....
Read the rest
blog postings HERE
August 6, 2005 I'm going to stop trying
to keep track of progress on
Microsoft's IE7 Browser
There are so many articles, blog
posts and newsletters announcing opinions and results from testing
and reviewing Internet Explorer 7, that I've decided to just wait
until final release and stop tracking every little item that's
It isn't that I'm not
interested -- I am, and I honestly believe that most of the comments
and reviews are doing what they're supposed to do. They're helping
Microsoft develop a better, easier to use, and more secure and sound
It's just that the everyday Internet user or web surfer doesn't
really have to know all the pre-release details. Like nearly all
commodities, a TV set for example, don't waste our time telling us
how it was made, just give us a product that meets our personal
needs and desires, is trouble free, will last a long time, and isn't
That said, I do want to know a little bit about what benefits to
expect from IE7, when I can get it, and how much it will cost.
Tony Bradley of About.com wrote a short article that answers most of
these questions. I believe it's a fine starting point for the
those of us who might have no more than a casual interest in IE7's
development phase. Here's
what he wrote:
"Microsoft did not intend to release a new version of Internet
Explorer (IE) until the release of Longhorn, a major upgrade to
the Windows operating system due out in late 2006 (Microsoft
recently announced that the official name will be Windows Vista).
But, with security concerns and competing browsers eating away at
Microsoft's web browser market share, they decided to separate out
IE from the Windows upgrade and release it on its own. This is a
first look at IE7 based on the Beta (test) version"
You can Read the rest at Tony's About.com
Portal -- and I will
occasionally post news of any major announcement regarding IE7.
4, 2005 How
Should everyday home users plan for a computer
The data recovery pages on our "Firewalls'
website outline some very important advice for coping with the
potential losses from a computer disaster.
What's a computer disaster and why is
protecting ourselves against such an event so difficult? (Actually,
because of continuing improvements in our ability to store
increasingly larger amounts of data on our computers, it's
becoming more and more difficult).
Larry Seltzer's recent article in the online "eWeek" magazine, shed
a lot of light on that very problem. He wrote "Home Users Need to Plan for the Worst"
and explained why.
|"Businesses, or at least the larger ones,
have an easy time spending the time and money to implement
some sort disaster recovery scheme. Consumers are a completely
So what is a disaster? It could be a fire, it could be a hard
disk crash, the computer could fall off the table, or it could
be a massive virus infection or some other software disaster.
We like to think that security software can repair malware
damage and infections, but often it's easier and more
effective to restore a backup that is recent but prior to the
The heart of a disaster recovery plan is a backup and restore
plan. Unfortunately, in recent years the trend is for hard
disk size and utilization to increase to the point where
backing it up becomes impractical."
Read Mr. Seltzers full article in eWeek magazine HERE
and on our Firewalls website, the
Data Recovery pages are
If you've ever tried to recover all of your
files after a disaster, you'll know how important it is to have both
a "Before" and "After" plan.
July 8, 2005 (REPEATED)
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 - - 'My Yahoo' and '
which I use with my Mozilla Firefox browser.
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!.