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.... Richard Rossbauer
of "Which Browser should you
Did you read the February 24
post on browser choices? There's a similar discussion running at
... with more MS bashing and some nasty exchanges among a few of the
respondents who seem to be trying to out-shout each other. There are
there who are more sincere about learning than the self-aggrandizing
who seem more interested in showing off.
Some of us follow these forums to learn. We have questions, and even
opinions based on our limited experiences. Why ask them or even
only to be insulted by the bullies? (I doubt that TechRepublic
really wants this type of participation).
However, in spite of the unpleasant exchanges, there is helpful
advice here, too.
February 24, 2005
Which Browser should you
There's a great debate
going on at CNET.com about the Mozilla FireFox browser versus the
Internet Explorer IE6 and the upcoming IE7
version from Bill Gates.
Take a look by going to
The Browser debate appears to have started in response to an article
titled "Do You Really Trust Bill Gates?" Comments on the article
reflect many expert opinions as well as personal likes and dislikes,
and maybe even some envy
of Mr. Gates.
However, I believe the real value of the exchanges is in reading the
Pro's and Con's of each Company's browsers.
I'm not so sure that the opinions and accusations expressed will
really help anyone decide which browser they should or shouldn't
have, but they will definitely help us understand why the decision
can be so difficult to make.
If you are at the point of having to make such a decision, there's
background information here that you might have to spend a lot of time
accumulating if you were searching for it on
February 19, 2005
The frustration of being a
minute too late
Have you ever been
frustrated and angry over missing your train or plane flight by a
minute because a schedule was changed and you could have avoided the
grief if someone had told you in advance?
A virus infection or spyware
can create a similar feeling of
You can be a minute late in updating your virus and spyware
protection and suffer the consequences. The rogue-ware purveyors
don't tell anyone when they are going to release a new pest, they
just do it, hoping they'll catch a bunch of us off-guard.
There's a battle going on between the bad guy virus writers and the
good guy security software providers -- and we're in the line of
fire. With hundreds of new virus and worm variants being released
monthly, random updating of our protection software can leave us
An ideal shield or defense plan would find us updating our security
programs on a minute by minute schedule -- unrealistic and
impractical. We need help.
Automatic updating by our security software providers is probably
the best defense that we can expect at the present time.
Fortunately, with McAfee's recent announcement that they are going
to provide automatic updates on a daily basis, and the similar
programs in place by a few of the other major providers, our
level of defense is being increased.
Great, but only if we're using the security software furnished by
the providers who are making daily updates available. It's not a
perfect solution but it is a step in the right direction.
So, what's the message?
1. Anti-virus, firewall, and anti-malware
programs are only as good as their latest update!
2. When selecting your security software provider,
chose one that provides
the most frequent updates that are automatically downloaded to your
3. Be aware that outdated protection software doesn't
do much more than take up space on your hard drive.
February 16, 2005
Microsoft's IE7 to the
Rescue? Well, maybe
For years, Internet Explorer has been my browser
of choice, just as it has been for millions of other Internet users.
But one day it was hijacked, and even though the CWS.mrhop worm that
did it was squelched, my IE6 browser has never seemed to be quite
I installed the Netscape browser and
used it most of the time, even electing to make it my browser of
choice. It worked quite satisfactorily except when the Microsoft
programs that I use decided to select IE6 instead of Netscape.
I really preferred IE6 because it was so familiar, and when not
influenced by unknown worms, it easily did what I needed it to do.
The Netscape learning curve wasn't too steep, my favorites
transferred from IE6, the desktop display was ok, but I missed some
of the old familiar tool bar, and other IE6 features.
Then along came Mozilla and I added the beta version to my growing
list of browsers. Sometimes I used it, but was very cautious playing
with a Beta version. When the Mozilla Group released Firefox 1, it
too became a member of my browser family. (Because of my interest in
computer security, the browsers I used and tested include IE6,
Netscape 7.1 & .2, Firefox 1, Compuserve and AOL 9.0 - security
version, a topic for future discussion)
After a few months of getting familiar, I recently made the decision
Firefox 1 my "Browser by Default".
It worked ok and presented some good features, but it had a few
annoying problems, too.
I did not attempt to completely remove the Internet Explorer because
to be a nearly insurmountable task, and I had no idea what kinds of
show up if I did.
But Today, February 16, 2005 I learned that Microsoft is on the
verge or releasing IE7! I felt a wave of relief and excitement.
Certainly, the Microsoft software engineers are equally as talented
as those from Netscape and the Mozilla Group. I feel confident, and
am placing my bet on IE7 being at least equal to the best that
Netscape and Mozilla currently offer, and possibly even better.
The virus writers, hackers and other enemies of Microsoft and all of
the rest of us are certainly going to increase their attacks on
Microsoft. I don't expect IE7 to be a perfect answer to eliminating
viruses and spyware, but neither will Netscape and Firefox ever be.
With the awsome number of people downloading Firefox, it could soon
become a major target for the malefactors of malware distribution.
I'm ready to take my chances
with Mr. Gates again.
Some Tips on protecting your online security
traveling in the USA and abroad
After reading a
fascinating eBook about how to travel really 'cheap' but
comfortably, I wrote to the Author, Victor K. Pryles and asked how
he protected his online security during his travels.
He granted me this interview.
You can download this small zip file
(I suggest saving it to your desktop and unzip it using Winzip or
If you are even a sometime traveler, Victor's tips not only cover
they include first hand advice on maintaining personal safety and
security while on the road, high seas, and in the air.
I consider Victor to be a professional world traveler. He is also a
media consultant, author, newsletter editor and publisher. He's been
It was his book, "Travel Cheap - Travel Well, Confessions of a
that prompted me to ask for this interview. I'm glad I did because
of the wealth of experience and travel knowledge he willingly shared.
You can also benefit from it by reading this
Oh No. Not another
Warning about Online
Are you getting tired of
being told you must "do this" and you must "get that" so you'll be
safe online? Is everyone telling you the same thing?
Are you reading the same messages over and over again in newsletters, in ads from the
security software providers, from eBook sellers, etc.?
Have you ever had a Hacker put a Trojan horse worm, virus or spyware in
If you missed the grief and frustration of these intrusions and
attacks, you either have good solid protection, or you're been just
plain lucky, so far.
A friend just called for help because she suddenly started getting
un-ending popups, odd messages, undesirable websites showing up on
her monitor, her computer slowed to a crawl and she was unable to
update her anti-virus and spyware sweeping programs.
She said she was aware that her protection programs were important
and that they required updating, but things had been going along
smoothly for her so she hardly ever thought of updating anything.
Her words were "You really don't know how bad those internet bugs
can be until they bite you".
Ok, most of us know that our virus protection has to be updated
often - very often! Is daily too much? That's certainly an ideal
approach but who can remember to do it? Most of the the anti-virus software providers include
automatic updates with their services, so you don't have to remember
to do it yourself.
Spyware detection and destruction software providers also offer
automatic updates, even for many of their free programs.
Don't overlook keeping your operating systems up-to-date, too.
Microsoft Company alerts its Windows users when security patches
are required, even Mozilla has released a few.
Firewall programs are not exempt. Some of the software providers
sure your Firewall programs are current by sending and downloading
automatic updates, etc.
To reduce the harassment of spam filled mail boxes, most email
programs and service providers help you set up the filters built
into their email software. They also do preliminary filtering for
you before your mail ever reaches your inbox. That may not be
perfect, but it often keeps virus infected email attachments out of
It really is necessary to "do this" and "get that" if you don't want
to be bitten by the computer virus bugs.
The "do this" list includes regular updating of the security
software already on your computers. Internet services from AOL (the
new 9.0 Security version), Earthlink, Msn, compuserve, etc., that
include virus and spam filters are a good start, as is WinXP, with
its built in firewalls and virus protection.
The "Get This" list must include the items
necessary to complete you basic defense tools and
If you don't have a Firewall, anti-virus software, spyware sweepers,
and spam filters, you should get them and install them as quickly as possible.
Firewalls-and-Virus-Protection.com website for recommendations
and download links.
If you are uncertain about doing this yourself, read the newsletters,
such as our
Security Alert News Reporter
(read recent issue),
and advice available at many websites. Do a Google or Yahoo search
for instructions or ask your friends for help.
Try to get assistance from the people who have been able to avoid
virus grief and frustration because they installed security
software and kept their protection tools up-to-date. They should
know how to help you.
So Yes, this is another warning about online security.
2005 More about
Students' use of a keylogger to steal
Here's a response to my
January 23rd posting that raises some interesting points that I
wanted to share with all of our Blog readers.
Is this the beginning of a career of cheating and theft for these
or does it reflect a degeneration of today's moral standards?
Patrick Carr responded --
Concerning the kids with the keylogger device--sure, it's cheating
need to take responsibility for it. But let's not stop with them.
an educational system so involved in rote learning and testing, that
cheating becomes a creative outlet for intelligent people. Think of
sense of accomplishment those kids had upon successfully gathering
answers, probably more than they ever received from answering a
correctly on a test.
Again, they must take responsibility for their actions, but so do
institutions unwilling to take a creative approach to education. And
in this particular situation,
I wonder who it is that needs to be tested.
Imaging and Design
I wonder if this is why the juvenile, and older virus and spyware
writers engage in their deceitful and nefarious behavior. Is it just
to satisfy their 'creative' needs? What do you think?