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  Visitors to the Security Alert Blog are encouraged to express their views and opinions on my postings (easily done by clicking on the highlighted 'COMMENT' | '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.
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                                  .... Richard Rossbauer

  January 31, 2006        Just a couple of days left to prepare for the
                                 BlackWorm attack - Are you ready?

"The CME-24 (BlackWorm, et al) is really as bad as the news stories make it out to be. SANS(*) Internet Storm Center has records of more than 300,000 victims." (Quote from the SANS website on Jan 31, 06)

Estimates on the number of infected computers may vary. There's no absolute way to know how many are infected and about to be attacked on Friday, February 3.

Just make sure you have taken all of the precautions discussed in my January 26, 2009 Posting

(*)SANS is the most trusted and by far the largest source for information security training and certification in the world. It also develops, maintains, and makes available at no cost, the largest collection of research documents about various aspects of information security, and it operates the Internet's early warning system - Internet Storm Center.
                                                                                                ... Richard


  January 30, 2006                 Are you sending spam email to your friends?

Did you know that sending one email message to just 5 friends could grow into more than a million copies circulating on the Internet?

Nearly everyone has received a cute or funny joke email, virus hoax message, lists of amazing facts... you get the idea. You've probably received your share of them, too.

How often had it been forwarded before it arrived in your email box?

How many names with email addresses were shown in the header?

How often have you forwarded it on to your friends? Could this be considered Spamming?
Are you a Spammer? Probably, but Certainly not intentionally.

What a gold mine of email addresses for any hacker that might receive a copy! ...
and you know where that can lead.

I just read a post in the Imagine Kitty Magazine Blog titled "Quit Spamming Me!" It explains what's really going on in this quote --

     "Many of these emails are scams to harvest email addresses from the internet.
      Some unscrupulous people start these so that they can have your email address
      and when you forward it to me it doesn’t matter if I delete it because you sent it
      out to 10 of your friends with my email address in the header and they forward it
      so I get porno email anyway."

He explains how the numbers grow, and how quickly they can reach the million mark.
Read "Quit Spamming Me!" HERE.

I hope you consider this message next time you forward one of those emails to friends.
I know I will.
                                                                                             ...... Richard


  January 26, 2006               Serious ALERT About BlackWorm and the
                                                        February 3rd attack date

Your computer could be one of the approximately 2 million that have already been infiltrated by the Blackworm. This worm is different and more serious than other worms for a number of reasons. In particular, it will overwrite a user's files on February 3rd.

The Sophos anti-spyware compny reports that this worm, (also known as W32/Nyxem-D worm, or W32.Blackmal.E@mm) can spread via email using a variety of pornographic disguises in an attempt to disable security software. If launched it tries to disable a number of anti-virus and firewall products on a user's computer, and attempts to gather other email addresses from the infected computer, in an effort to spread itself further.

The best thing to do right now is to run your anti-virus software. At this point, the worm will be detected by up to date anti virus signatures. In order to protect yourself from data loss on February 3rd, you should use current (Jan 23rd or later) anti virus signatures

      The First Thing You Should Do is Update your Anti-Virus Programs and
      Run a Full System Scan!

 If you have the option of updating your firewall software, be sure to do that, too.

On January 25, 2006, reported that this worm attempts to disable/remove any anti-virus software on an infiltrated system (and does this every hour while the system is running),

If a user's machine was infiltrated and infected before January 23rd anti-virus program updates, anti-virus software can't be expected to clean up the infection.

What will BlackWorm do to your system? It will disable most anti virus programs and delete them. The worm will e-mail itself using a variety of extensions and file names. It will add itself to the list of auto-start programs in your registry.

The following file types will be overwritten by the virus: DOC, XLS, MDE, MDB, PPT, PPS, RAR, PDF, PSD, DMP, ZIP. The files are overwritten with an error message( 'DATA Error [47 0F 94 93 F4 K5]').
                                                                               .... Richard



January 20, 2006            WMF Update: Win 9x patch for the concerned

Worried about the WMF exploit and your old Windows 9x system? I had my concerns because one of my computers has the aging Windows 98SE OS.

Alex Eckelberry, President of Sunbelt Software Co -- posted this advice in his recent blog

"Don’t play around with unsupported hotfixes for something that, based on the best data available, is not a significant issue. Keep your AV sigs (signature files) updated and move on.
And remember that malware authors themselves are interested in market share.
Windows 9x systems is a waste of time for them". (Read his whole post here)

That made me feel a little better because I do work hard at keeping my Safeware up to date.
I hope all of our readers do, too.
                                                                                                   ... Richard

  To TOP

  January 14, 2005      Don't be Casual about passwords...some reminder information

Your passwords are the keys you use to unlock your computer and online accounts. Be sure that your passwords are difficult to crack.

Strong passwords provide the best security against intrusion by hackers and thieves.
If they can get into your computer files, your personal  information could used to open new credit card accounts, apply for a mortgage, or even chat online disguised as you—and you wouldn't know it until it was too late. You can Frustrate the Password Crackers.

It's not hard to create strong passwords. With a small amount of effort on your part and some tricks provided in this Microsoft article, you can help improve the security of your computer.

Cut and paste this address into your browser address bar if the above link isn't active on your computer :

                                                                                     ... Richard


  January 5, 2006           Get theSecurity update for WMF vulnerability
                                  Published by Microsoft on January 5, 2006

Get the security update for the Windows Meta File (WMF) vulnerability from Microsoft Update. The bulletin title for this update is: Vulnerability in Graphics Rendering Engine Could Allow Remote Code Execution (912919). Learn more about why Microsoft released this update.

To update your home computer, CLICK HERE and follow the steps on this page.or
Cut and Paste this address into your browser address bar :
                                                                                      ... Richard

To TOP   

  January 5, 2005 (Repeat)              Stinger updated as of November 22, 2005 to include
                                                   protection against the 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 November 22, 2005 to detect and remove more than 50 current viruses including the Sober@MM!M681 worm.

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

 To TOP 

  January 1, 2005      the official U.S. Marines "Toys for Tots" program
                             The 5th Annual Internet Toy Drive was another great success.

Special thanks to everyone who participated
  .... Thanks ever so much, Richard

  To TOP

     SQUASH the Bug

    (UPDATED)                     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 MyYahoo page.

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 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 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 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!.
                                                                            ......Richard |

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