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  A Blog (web log) is a quick and easy way to share timely information (alerts, updated news, trends, and developments), answer questions, express opinions and exchange views. The really valuable and outstanding features of blogging are that it is interactive -- news, views and opinions are exchanged in a timely manner.

Visitors to this Security Alert Blog are encouraged to express their views and opinions on our postings (easily done by clicking on the highlighted 'COMMENT' | TRACKBACK at each post). You'll notice that our 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
  July 31, 2005     Some Thoughts on Microsoft's new OS Windows Vista

Windows Vista  has just entered widespread testing with some interesting new features.

Windows Longhorn, now known by its final name, Windows Vista, took its first highly visible development step this week, entering widespread  testing (referred to as Beta-1). There'll be further field testing before final release to the public.

I haven't read any reports yet, on how well this operating system performs. Most of what has been available this first week or so seems to be simply just more Microsoft Bashing, like condemnation without trial.

Unfortunately, when Win Vista is released to the public, those of us still using Windows 98 will have to stick with IE6. Not the greatest situation, by any means.

From my experience to date with Netscape 8 and Firefox, I've learned to use and love 'Tabbed-browsing'. and if IE7 ends up as a downloadable browser, it will definitely be on my Win2000 desktop and XP laptop computers.

I've already read some criticism of the IE7 tabbed-browsing flexibility. For average everyday computer users, however, we should be well satisfied with whatever is offered by Microsoft IE7, regardless of how much the super users may desire more features and complexity.

If you want some experience with tabbed-browsing while waiting for IE7, both Firefox and Netscape 8 are available as free downloads. Why not try one?

                                                                                        ... Richard 

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  July 27, 2005      Important Security Alert about the  STINGER anti-virus

 I'm changing my usual reminder about the  FREE virus checking and removal tool available for download at the Firewalls and Virus Protection website.
 ( the Free anti-virus software made available compliments of McAfee's Anti-virus and Vulnerability Emergency Response Team - AVERT) has not been updated since May 2, 2005. It really shouldn't be relied upon to find and remove the latest viruses that may have ended up in your computer since then.
It is 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 and update your security ware.  

 If, or when an updated version becomes available, I'll post a notice here, on the Firewalls and Virus Protection website and in the
Security Alert News Reporter
... Richard


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  July 23, 2005      Time to update Firefox to Version 1.0.6   What! Already?
Yes, already, but it's all in our best interests as Firefox users.
Go to, click on the Get Firefox Text link and on the new page that opens, left click on the Green "Free Download" text.

Firefox 1.0.6 is a stability update. The Mozilla Group recommends that users upgrade to this latest version. Firefox 1.0.6 restores compatibility for extensions and web applications that did not work in Firefox 1.0.5.
Until  Firefox automatically advises when your browser needs to be updated, I strongly urge you to Bookmark their home page and check it at least weekly for revision advice. Or watch this Blog for update notices.
Now that there are so many millions of Firefox users (nearly 4 million just from the c|net download center), the Hackers have a much larger target and you can bet that they're going to be more aggressive and ingenious in their attempts to infiltrate your computers.


  July 21, 2005     About Microsoft Security Updates - some could be fakes
Am I leading my blog, newsletter and website visitors into a trap?

Every time I receive an automatic update Security notice from Microsoft - I go to their Update site and install the fixes, and I've been recommending this to all of my website, newsletter, and blog visitors since the first day this site started.
Here's my concern:
 Microsoft Security Updates are released on the second Tuesday of each month.
The day after Microsoft's latest monthly Security Update release, an email containing a fake Microsoft Security Update was released. It included a virus!
This fake Microsoft Security Update claimed to offer patches against the Mytob and Sober Zafi worms, but it actually contained the SDBot Trojan.
Fake Microsoft Security Update email messages follow real updates each month.
How can you tell if the Microsoft Security Update is real or fake?
One good indication is that Microsoft will never send an attached file. They
always includes a link back to their website, where you can download the real patches.
So, please beware. If you receive a phishing scam email claiming to be a Microsoft Security Update, the safest thing to do is go to the Microsoft site security section and click on the current month's update. DO NOT open the attachment in the email.
Here's the real Microsoft security link
Another safer practice is to have the Windows Update feature of your system enabled so that the update notices are announced automatically.
...and you can always click on your START button and select Window Update from the list that opens.
                                                                               .... Richard


  July 18, 2005      Another noteworthy way to keep up to date on the
                         security matters that could affect your life.

Readers of my website, newsletter and blog know that Bill Hely's ebook The Hacker’s Nightmare™ is my bible on internet security. Bill recently  started to publish a companion Blog to his ebook.
Although open to public scrutiny, the Blog is primarily a means to keep readers of his ebook up-to-date with events of interest..
It will point readers toward items of general security-related interest that he comes across. Where appropriate, he may add his insight on the importance of these issues.
 I suggest that everyone take advantage of this available and expert free resource. Visit the Companion Blog here. If it's a resource that you find helpful, bookmark it or use the RSS feed to make it easier to revisit.
The hackers, virus writers and spyware creators are becoming more and more sophisticated and adept at invading your computers. The more you know about their outrageous deeds, the better prepared you'll be to try to avoid them.
                                                                                ... Richard


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  July 17, 2005    Travel SCAMS? Watch out for trips offered at too
                        low a price

If you're planning a vacation involving travel on commercial transportation or with vacation promoters, beware, the scam artists crawl out of their holes during summer and holiday vacation seasons.
I just read this post at Victor K Pryles Pauper(*) Travel forum. Among the many tips presented in his open discussions, I wanted to share these three because they're so important and can help you avoid entrapment.
1.  If other companies are offering comparable packages at a much higher cost, be
     leery about how one company can offer something at such a cheap price, even
     if they claim some super discount awarded just to them or a special close-out
2.  Online auctions have become a good place for scams. To avoid getting ripped
     off on the Internet, ask that your payment be held in an Internet escrow account
     until the trip documents and tickets arrive. Tradenable/i-Escrow will provide this
     service for a fee. 650-598-3800 or visit their web site at:
3.  Be sure to get all promises in writing and try to verify flights and such prior to
    making a commitment. For additional help Paupers(*) should contact the
    Better Business Bureau 703-276-0100 or the National Fraud Information Center

(*)Paupers is the nickname Victor selected for the smart people who have learned how to travel cheap - but well, from his website and eBook. I used his confessions to plan my vacation this year. Saved me money, too.
                                                                                            .... Richard

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  July 14, 2005    Firefox users, Don't miss the update to version 1.0.5.
                       It patches about a dozen bugs, some serious.

The update was just released on July 13, but unless you read about it somewhere else, or a friend told you, you won't find the notice on your Firefox browser window.

Two of the serious flaws that have been patched were reported in June by security-monitoring company Secunia, according to a Mozilla representative's comments.
Mozilla initially did not release details on the other vulnerabilities, even though the software revamp was available online around noon Tuesday, July 13.
Details on the bugs were published Tuesday night. Two of the 12 bugs are rated "critical" and another four are "high risk," as stated in Mozilla's security alerts. The bugs could allow an attacker to take over a victim's PC or expose sensitive user data, according to the alerts published by zdnet
. Read full zdnet article
This is probably the biggest fault I found since starting to use Firefox back with the Beta 1.0 version some months ago. It also seems to take much too long to launch, compared with IE6 and now Netscape 8. (More to come on my experience to
date with Netscape 8).
The inability to download just the necessary patches and fixes, instead of downloading and reinstalling the whole program each time there's an update --
is soon to be fixed. Actually that wasn't too much of a problem because all settings and bookmarks transported perfectly to the updated program.
Among the features I like best about Firefox are Tabbed Browsing and the clean and relatively uncluttered browser interface. Increased security, downloading to desktop, popup blocking, and a bunch of other features make it a pleasure to use.
If you haven't decided to try it yet, I suggest you put it on your "To Do" list. You can have both Internet Explorer and Firefox on your computer at the same time and each will work ok. The whole Firefox file isn't very large, and even with a dial-up connection, will take only a few minutes to download.
 Version 1.0.5, Click to Get Firefox!


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July 9, 2005      Terrorist Attack in London brings new threats of
                         Trojan horse attachment in eMail messages

I hope that the readers of my Blog have already seen the alerts to this Trojan horse threat. Because some may have missed it, I'm posting this warning.

Internet thieves didn't waste a minute to carry on their unscrupulous and
incorrigible acts. Within one day of the tragic bombings in London, a Trojan horse that poses as news footage appeared as an email attachment with a subject line referring to the attacks.

Beware of email messages with a subject line "TERROR HITS LONDON".

Although this appears to be the only subject line reported to date, I believe it's more than likely that there will be other versions to encourage readers to open these malicious messages that are designed to look like official News Service newsletters.
Readers will be enticed to open the attachments with promises of viewing amateur video footage of the tragic event. This will make  the malicious code execute, causing the infected computer to send out spam messages.

Don't allow curiosity to overrule your usual cautions about opening SPAM or suspicious email. It's dangerous, regardless of  interesting Subject lines.
                                                                       ..... Richard


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  July 8, 2005                     A Little More Experience with RSS Readers
The more I use I use them, the more I like them, but how many RSS readers should a person have is 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 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 'bookmark' selections.

More and more of my favorite websites, newsletters and blogs were displaying
|XML|RSS| buttons. As 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.
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 
Add to My Yahoo! .
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 ' Quikonnex' 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 Yahoo site. The same is true for 

After you put the first 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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  July 4, 2005                                    Anti-spyware review - Repeated
The following post was repeated because it's just so vitally important. Actually, only the most important points have been carried over from last month's posts.
The full post is still available in the June Archives and the supporting article by Bill Hely is available in the Articles and Reports section of the website.
                                                                  .... Richard


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  June 27, 2005      It's Back to the Drawing Board on Anti-Spyware

A recent update to an article written by Bill Hely (Author of "The Hacker's Nightmare™") has prompted me to change the anti-spyware programs that launch automatically when I boot up and shutdown my computers.
In Bill Hely's article on Adware and Spyware Removers, he reported that Eric Howes, an independent tester at the University of Illinois compared and tested more than 20 of the most popular and best respected anti-adware applications against hundreds of adware threats, and the results surprised a lot of the experts.
The new recommendations, based on Howes' research are Giant AntiSpyware with a detection score of 63% and Webroot Spy Sweeper - next best with 48%. Combined, they had a rate of 70%, by far the best of any possible combination of two packages.
Giant Software was acquired by Microsoft in December 2004 -- their version of the software that was tested by Howes is now called Microsoft AntiSpyware and is currently available as a Free download.
                                                                                         ... Richard

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