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July 31, 2005
Some Thoughts on Microsoft's new OS 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
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?
July 27, 2005
Important Security Alert about the
changing my usual reminder
FREE virus checking
and removal tool available for download at the Firewalls and Virus Protection
( 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
If, or when an updated version becomes available, I'll post
a notice here, on the Firewalls and Virus Protection website and
Security Alert News
July 23, 2005
Time to update Firefox to Version 1.0.6
Yes, already, but it's all in
our best interests as Firefox users.
http://www.firefox.com/, click on the Get Firefox Text link and
on the new page that opens, left click on the Green "Free
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
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
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
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
Fake Microsoft Security Update email messages follow real updates
How can you tell if the Microsoft Security Update is real or fake?
One good indication is that Microsoft will never send an attached
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
...and you can always click on your START button and select Window
Update from the list that opens.
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
Hackers 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.
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
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
Better Business Bureau 703-276-0100 or the National Fraud
(*)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.
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
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
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
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.
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 ...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. 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
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 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!.
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
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
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.
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
The new recommendations, based on Howes'
research are Giant AntiSpyware
with a detection score of
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.
was acquired by Microsoft in December 2004 -- their version
of the software that was tested by Howes is now called
and is currently available as a Free download.