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September 20, 2009    October is National Cyber Security Awareness
                                  Month -Are Your Prepared?


Why just October? Shouldn't every month be devoted to Cyber Security - or
every week, maybe every day - how about every minute spent online?

But human nature is what it is, and with so many distractions from anything we may try to focus on, or do, highlighting the urgency of Cyber Security with banners proclaiming it as a special event can help develop an awareness, and a habit for exercising sufficient precaution.

That's the goal of the National Cyber Security Alliance(*) and they promote it with sites like

Content on this Website is developed in cooperation with many partners including government, industry, non-profit, and education partners. Since the goal is increased education about and adoption of cyber security practices, all of the content found at may reproduced, if provided for free, to educate the public on good cyber security and safety practices.

I encourage everyone, young or older, to visit and benefit from the wealth of information, tools, guidelines, and just plain common sense presented there.

One of the best ways to minimize the threats associated with the Internet is to be aware of them, know how to avoid them, and how to recover from accidental entrapment by cyber criminals.

Are you ready to help spread the word? By participating in my Security Awareness campaign, you'll be helping others stay safe, and in turn, help yourself. Visit Stay Safe Online here

                                                                    ... Richard
Tag: (*) National Cyber Security Alliance

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September 13, 2009  It isn't getting any easier to be safe while
                                   Social networking

The September issue of the Security Alert News Reporter has an excellent article based on a report from Cloudmark Inc., (a global leader in messaging security) that not only covers the top 10 precautions your must consider, but also...

...why it isn't getting any easier to avoid the sophisticated methods being employed by cyber criminals to penetrate your computer and mobile devices to place all types of nasty malware in them.

These threats are being directed more and more toward those of us who use and enjoy the tremendous communicating capabilities of social networking.

How many people have a Twitter account, or Flickr, MySpace, and Facebook?
(Facebook is a registered trademark of Facebook, Inc.)

And these are just a tiny sample of the dozens of other networking programs that make the benefits of Web2.0 such a pleasure - developing communities and sharing all types of information with our friends - new and old.

And social networking creates Millions of targets for the crooks! We are in their sights.

Here's the link to the article

There's also some good news for Facebook members - especially for those who have expanded their use from the desktop to their mobile devices.

Stop by and check it out the September Security Alert News Reporter - your comments are more than welcome.


 Tags:  botnet,  identity theft, phishing,

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August 22, 2009 The Unending flood of SPAM has me really Ticked off!

Over the past few weeks, my email inbox has been inundated with dozens and dozens of unsolicited email messages EVERY bleeping Day.
The majority of these are attempts to sell money making ideas, products, and work at home packages. Obviously a result of the failed economy.
The balance are selling enhancement medicines. And they don't all come form New Webbers (I don't care for the 'Newbies' term).
Half of them do not have an unsubscribe option, and those that do are often email addresses that lead nowhere, lock up my email program, bounce back as undeliverable, and worse yet, lead to yet another SPAM message.
Unsubscribe links sometimes work, and the messages that contain working unsubscribe links don't upset me as much as when an 'unsubscribe' link on a enhancement site simply leads to yet another promotion for more medicines.
Of course there's always the threat of those unsubscribe links being booby-trapped with malware. When not sure, I hit the 'This is SPAM' button.
Trying to filter into a SPAM repository is a bit dangerous because of the clever Subject lines that the experienced SPAMMERS create.
I don't want to divert legitimate messages, so I'm wasting a lot of time every day deleting these intrusions on a one by one basis.
To relieve some of this aggravation, I sort my email inbox entries either by email source, or by subject. Then I simply do a block delete on the unrecognizable senders' addresses or the repetitive Subject lines.
How are you handling your SPAM?
                                                                  ... Richard
  Tags:  spam

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August 6, 2009            Image Spam on the Increase

Image Spam is spam that carries its message in an image to evade filtering based on text.

Independent researchers have noted these increases (as posted by Sunbelt Software Company in their August 6th post) Read more here

Sunbelt Software has determined that the bulk of image spam advertises Viagra and similar pills and comes from computers in China, and in their Blog, they posted the results found by other major security software providers -

Symantec’s Message Labs researchers said they found eight to 10 percent of the spam they filtered in June was image spam.

The Message Labs researchers said in May that 34 per cent of unsolicited emails were image spam.

IBM’s Internet Security System's X-Force said its researchers found that 25 percent of spam was based on images at the end of April.

You can bet that the cyber criminals are increasing this method of malicious spamming because it's working.

Don't be too quick to click on unsolicited emails with images, or you might be one of the people that image spam traps.
                                                                  ... Richard
Tags:  spam

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July 23, 2009           Don't fall for the "Peep Hole Video" exploit

   There are many excellent alert services available online, among them is the Sunbelt Software Company's "SunbeltBlog" at

   I subscribe to it using their RSS feed (an email update service is also available)

   Today's alert includes mention of the nasty Spam about ESPN reporter
Erin Andrews. You may already have heard about it.

   Sunbelt warns that the Spam attempts to lure Internet users to malicious web sites. The spam promises a "Peep hole" video of Erin Andrews undressing in a hotel room.

   The spam then delivers Zbot-like Trojans to both Macs and PCs. The PC version then downloads rogue anti-malware and tells you to buy it.

  It could be worse - and maybe it is, so be warned that the curious surfer can easily be trapped

  Be cautious and careful, and you stand a better chance of being safe

                                                                         ... Richard
Tags:  spamTrojans,

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July 20, 2009,       Current Updates for Internet Explorer and
                                             Firefox browsers

Other than my email boxes being flooded more and more with make money stuff every day, I seem to have been passed over by the cyber criminal crews this past week, or my security filters have been doing a fair job of recognizing and diverting threats.

There is some important stuff, however, and it's the same old cry - make sure you update your operating systems with the patches from Microsoft - and- Mozilla (Firefox).

Microsoft issues patches on their regular Patch Tuesday, (the second Tuesday of each month). Even if you don't use Internet Explorer for your everyday browsing, use it to find and apply patches & updates.

Firefox 3.5, is Mozilla's popular browser. If you are a Firefox user, you'll be alerted when updates (including patches) are published. Updating is a Snap.

  Be Alert - be safe - enjoy the season, and thanks for following
my Security Alerts
                                                         ... Richard
Tags: basic safety practices,

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 July 11, 2009    Symantec reports that there are more than 800,000 computer viruses and malware in circulation

A "Latest Security Trends Media Day” seminar was held in Seoul, Korea, in June, 2009. In the seminar, Cho Jun-yong, Technical Product Manager of Symantec revealed in his presentation that Symantec has identified more than 800 thousand viruses and pieces of malware from big online shopping, game, news, travel and even government sites.

Pretty hard to avoid - right? So How can you keep your computer safe from all of this?

Obviously, the safest way is to never turn it on. The next safest way is never use the Internet.

These statement aren't really as dumb as they may sound because one of those 800,000 threats will definitely infiltrate any computer that has no anti-virus software, or even out of date AV software, no firewall, and an Operating System that has never been, or hasn't recently been updated.

Symantec Company's Mr. Cho went on to say that “ ... I recommend you to use passwords with a mixture of characters and numbers and make up unique passwords for your banking and email. When you visit sites, give your attention to the installation of Active X, links, advertisements and information. If you are not sure about the messages in your email, you need to be certain of its contents by asking for assistance from an expert.”

These suspicious email messages can appear to come from 'reliable or authentic' sites, like the one I received today purporting to be from the IRS advising me that I was eligible for (another) tax refund, and all I had to do was download a pdf file of a payment form, fill in the requested information and submit it.

IRS does not send emails to taxpayers with this kind of information, so I visited the Internal Revenue Service site at , located the address to report phishing, copied the suspicious email and forwarded it to the IRS fraud department at

Sure, I'd like another refund, and the email certainly appeared to be official, and there are probably thousands of unsuspecting Internet users who will bite on this bait.

Don't be one of them.

Tags: virus removal, phishing,

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Don't hesitate to express your views and opinions on my Security Alert Blog and Cyber Security Alert postings (easily done by clicking on the highlighted 'COMMENT' |  at each post. Watch for postings on fraud alerts, virus alerts, worm alerts, Internet Security alerts, security scams, parental controls, online predators, net security, and more. Be sure to visit our Firewalls-and-Virus Protection website for even more help


Evergreen      Free report - "Avoiding Current Security Threats"

   There are still some unresolved issues with the Conficker worm.

   As of this writing,(July 11, 2009)the worm, which started spreading to millions of computers last year, appears to be turning its infected hosts into servers for e-mail spam, and some Denial of Service attacks, security experts recently reported.

   Apparently, the payload has been made more of a threat by adding a a version of My Doom, and a second virus, called Waledac which adds infected computers to botnets which send out e-mail spam.

   And yet a third virus carried by Conficker prompts infected PC owners to purchase a fake (rogue software) anti-virus program called
Spyware Protect 2009
for $49.95. (Don't fall for it!)

   But you can take steps to avoid these security threats, and I have outlined them in a new report you can have for Free.

   This report is an update and a bit of an overview of the information published in my newsletters, blog and websites.

   It covers the basics of what to look for and how to prepare your computer to avoid the next high risk threat. It's a quick download (PDF file) which you can obtain by going to the registration page and leaving your email address so that the download instructions can be sent to your email inbox.

Get Free Report here and share this web address with your friends so the emails you get from them are clean and free of malware.
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Evergreen      Update your Emergency Virus Protection program

Free mcAfee STINGER backup virus scanner and removerIf you don't have your Virus Protection program yet, here's an Emergency Step you should take, Right Now!
 McAfee offers a FREE Virus Scanning program named

  It has grown in size a little over the past few years and no longer fits on a single floppy Disk. But so many of the newer PCs, including lap tops don't have a "A" floppy drive anyway, you should burn it to a CD or memory stick for an offline back up tool.

  You can use it as we do, to check any of your PC computers for viruses, without being on line.

  It is an 'After the Fact' application, which means that it does not scan incoming email files, attachments or downloads, but it does scan whatever you have already received online.

  It currently checks, and repairs over 200 recent viruses. It's FREE to download from McAfee

 Stinger - Latest Version  Updated July 6, 2009
                                                                                                       ... Richard



More Tags:Internet Safety Rules,  kids Internet safety , parenting teenagers,
          cyberbullying,  spam
Firewalls, Keyloggers,  Disaster Recovery,
 botnet,  identity theft, phishing, , Trojans,
          virus removal, anti spyware,  spyware
         Conficker, virus removal, anti spyware, Rogue software


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