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  July 22, 2007     Greeting Card Trojan Follow Up, and are PDF files
                          our next threat?

Since my report on the Greeting Card Trojan a few weeks ago -  a week hasn't gone by without three or four 'Greeting Card' announcements appearing in my email.

The subject lines state that these greetings have been sent by 'a neighbor'. 'a friend', 'a relative', 'an admirer', etc.

Kind of reminds one of shooting a shotgun blast into a flock of pigeons. The scatter shot is bound to get one or two of them. But I won't be a pigeon again.

Next thing I expect to see is a poisoned PDF file opening up in my Adobe Reader.

The e-mail security firm MessageLabs, recently reported that the number of junk
e-mail messages using an attachment in the Portable Document Format (PDF) has steadily climbed since mid-June, accounting for as much as a third of spam.

Spammers are certainly persistent, and clever. They know that businesses and more and more regular web surfers are accustomed to receiving PDF files and nearly everyone has an Adobe Reader or can easily get a free one.

What should we do about it? Here's my approach - if an email with an attached PDF file shows up in my mail, I'm not going to open the message unless I recognize the sender.

There's no reason, then, to either open or download the attached file. However, if the PDF file is opened to be viewed in the Adobe Reader, and it arouses even the slightest suspicion, it will be deleted.

Keep in mind that these PDF pages can contain active links which could dump all kinds of malicious stuff in your computer if you click on one that's poisoned.

Don't be a pigeon. Just be suspicious, cautious, and careful.

Tags:   trojans       




  July 7, 2007          iPhone Phishing and Malware scams - beware!

Certainly expected to follow the nearly world wide hype and promotion of the iPhone™, phishers and other malcontents are aiming poisoned email at unsuspecting and gullible Internet users.

SANS(*) reported, and credited zDnet of Australia with the alert that phony messages telling people that they have won an iPhone are booby trapped with a link that will load malware into their computers.

Clicking the link connects the unsuspecting viewer to a cleverly created website with  a variety of malicious software that searches for known vulnerabilities on many different kinds of browsers.

Be on the lookout, too, for iPhone scams on eBay, legitimate looking unsolicited webpage popups (adware), and more.

Here are a couple of recommendations - if you are going to buy an iPhone, get it at an Official Apple Store, and don't become a victim by clicking, or even opening any iPhone offer that sounds too good to be true. It's probably bad news.
Tags:   trojans      

*SANS is the most trusted and by far the largest source for information security training and certification in the world.


  July 1, 2007   Even when we think we've covered all the bases -
                     we might be surprised that we haven't

That's what just happened to me.

The scene - I was celebrating a significant event and received an electronic greeting card notice in my email. The sender wasn't identified by name, but the greeting seemed to come from a recognizable website.

After hesitating, I clicked the link and saved it to my desktop, where I did an anti-spyware scan of the file. It got a clean bill of health.

Still uncertain, I Googled the greeting card company name, found and visited their site. It 'looked like' the one that sent me the greeting.

A little less cautious now, I clicked the saved link - DISASTER! It was a fake and I immediately clicked off and deleted that file - hoping I hadn't acquired a Trojan and a bunch of malware in the process.

Things seemed to be ok until the next time I booted my computer. When I opened my browser, there was a list of addresses that my computer was attempting to contact.

Fortunately, my firewall appeared to be blocking those outgoing message attempts. The file trying to send these messages was named mIRC db

My anti-virus programs and firewall had allowed that dangerous message to enter my email where I made the mistake of opening it.

I ran more anti-spyware and Registry Cleaning scans and tried to delete the file, but it continued to appear each time my computer booted.

A Google search for "how to remove mIRC" confirmed that I had managed to get one of the Trojans that drop a tweaked old version of mIRC as part of their payload and it was VERY important that I completely remove all the files included in the trojan.

A visit to Spyware Warrior led me to Facetime Communications, Inc SpywareGuide website where I learned that the Trojan I downloaded was probably known as Alexandra, Highly Dangerous, and it no doubt already had my computer in a botnet.

Further, X-Cleaner Pro would remove it. Unfortunately, I hadn't transferred that program from an older computer when I upgraded so I immediately purchased the Delux version and used it to clean up my system.

It worked.

All evidence of the Trojan has been gone for a week, and since I never use Chat for communicating, I removed all Chat related software from my computer.

Lesson learned - Don't take your Online Security for granted, and be absolutely sure you know who sent you an eCard before opening it.
                                                                                            ... Richard
Tags: trojans botnets spyware security



  June 22, 2007              Bogus E-Mail Claims to Be From FTC
                                   (Report released June 18, 2007 by the Agency)

Consumers, including corporate and banking executives, appear to be targets of a bogus e-mail supposedly sent by the Federal Trade Commission. It is actually sent by third parties hoping to install spyware on computers.

The phony e-mail poses as an acknowledgment of a complaint filed by the recipient. It includes an attachment that will unleash malicious spyware (malware) onto the computer of anyone who opens it.

The hoax e-mail is personalized and contains the name of the recipient and their business. The bogus message explains how the complaint will be used, who will have access to it and states, “Attached you will find a copy of your complaint. Please print a hard copy of the complaint for your records in the upcoming investigation.” Opening the attachment downloads the malicious spyware.

The agency warns consumers   Not to open the attachment, Immediately Delete the email, and Empty the Deleted Items Folder.

Which really raises an important question - "How often do you empty your Deleted eMail Folder?"

If you haven't done it for awhile, or at all, you could have hundreds of old messages clogging your email system. Some might contain links to stuff you would hope never got opened.
Consumers can learn more about protecting themselves from malicious spyware and bogus e-mails at, a Web site created by the FTC in partnership with other federal agencies and the technology industry to help consumers stay safe online.
                                                                                   ... Richard
Tags: spyware security phishing



  June 16, 2007               Are You One in a Million? You could be.

On June 14, 2007, the FBI announced that its "Operation Bot Roast" anti-botnet sweep  so far identified more than 1 million hijacked personal computers.

It also resulted in the arrest of three men charged with spamming and infecting systems at several hospitals.

The SANS organization reports that an FBI crackdown on botnets and those who control them has identified the PCs infected with malware that allow them to be hijacked and used as part of an army of bots to attack other computers, spread malware, or send spam.

The FBI is planning to notify the owners of the infected computers with the help of Carnegie Mellon University's Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center.

This could be a double edged sword - there's no doubt in my mind that the Hackers, phishers and other malcontents aren't going to use this to spam us with phony alerts.

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.

By way of review - Botnets are networks of computers that hackers have infected and grouped together under their control to spread viruses, send illegal spam, operate spyware, and carry out attacks that cause web sites to crash. We discussed them in detail in the September, 2006 blog posting
                                                                                              ... Richard

Tags: , trojans botnets



 To TOP 

  June 9, 2007       Be Thankful for the 'Browser Wars' – Looks as if
                              they're helping us be more secure while surfing

In recent months we've talked a lot about the security improvements in the newer versions of some of the poplar web browsers. Firefox now joins the list with more security updates.

The Firefox 3.0 browser is expected to Include 'Get Me Outta Here' Malware Protection when released at year's end. Probably with a warning display and a one click button to stop what it believes to be a malicious download.

The Mozilla Foundation is upgrading Firefox 2.0's protection of users' personal information to actually block Web sites that it thinks are planning to plant malware.

Mozilla is also considering a method to change the appearance of the URL bar in order to prevent it from displaying information about a user's browsing session—what it refers to as "private browsing."

Beyond potential security upgrades, Firefox 3.0 will also include interfaces to quickly tag pages and store bookmarks, history and other Web page information.

In recent months we've seen increased security efforts and results in the Netscape, Opera, and Internet Explorer browsers. In my opinion, all of them trying to catch up with, or surpass the Firefox 2.0 browser.

Looks as if it's now the Mozilla Foundation's turn to play catch up. Let's hope that these 'War Games' continue.



  June 1, 2007                        Protecting our Kid's Safety Online

I'm a proud grandparent of 9 precious grandchildren and the last thing in this world that I ever want to see is someone hurting them.
I'm certain that this doesn't make me any different than every other parent, grandparent or child guardian.
What is a bit different, however, is that I have an opportunity to help other parents and grandparents do something to help protect our young children from the most heinous  people who prey on them when they're playing on the Internet - the pedophiles and child predators hiding in the cyberworld.

I do this through my websites and blogs - usually through news alerts and product announcements. This message is a product announcement.

The product is an eBook I just prepared from information I purchased. I bought it because it seemed so complete, and thorough, that I believe it will enable all of us to help our kids more easily understand how serious, and cautious they must be when visiting the Internet.

Yes, there's a price for this one, but it's only $6.95, and you can download it from the internet and start using it almost immediately.

If you order the eBook and find that it doesn't help you understand, and explain the threats that these creatures pose, then I'll return your money. (Within 60 days of your order).

It's not the money, the most important issue here is the safety of our children, as you'll see when you visit the order page.

                                  You can  Order "Internet Safety for Your Kids" HERE

                                                                                          Thanks for Caring,
                                                                                           Richard Rossbauer


  April, 2007   Checkout My eBook "How to Protect Your Privacy
                              and Security Online"

It's loaded with Vital Security Tools and Tips to Secure Your Computers and Guard Against Internet Fraud and Identity Theft.
To make it easily affordable to the lesser experienced Beginners and Senior Internet Users, and to provide a greater opportunity for them to strengthen their own security defenses at a price that nearly everyone can afford -
I slashed the list price by 61 percent from $17.95 to only $7.00!
And to make it available to even more of the internet users who can really benefit from its wealth of security information, I have included free resale rights that will give you 100 percent of the profits for each and every copy you sell.
Your profits will go directly and immediately into your own PayPal account.
Even better, the $7.00 price includes the free bonus eBook - "PC Security", my Info Guide to Beefing Up Your Personal Computer's Safety from Malicious Threats, with dozens of easy to apply ideas and strategies to strengthen your Security Fortress.
It's really important that everyone be aware that Clever Internet Thieves from all around the world are using very highly sophisticated and stealthy infiltration schemes to plant trojans, worms, viruses and other malware in their computers, and could even be secretly adding any one of us to their botnets.
Even if you are reasonably comfortable when going online, your family members and friends may not be as experienced as you.
Give them the gift that can save their families and friends from potential hours of grief, plus potential loss of money and identity to these Internet thieves.
Here's the link to the Security Tips ebook, bonus PC Security ebook and  Free Resale Rights
Refer your friends to your very own sales page for "How to Protect Your Privacy and Security Online"
Thanks for helping to make the internet a safer and more fun experience
for everyone.
                                                                        ... Richard



  CLICK HERE for your FREE  Guide to Stopping Spam - Once and For All . Get the Guide plus a Free Subscription to the Security Alert News Reporter and the 23 Vital Security Tips that will help you protect your Computer Security and Online safety against Cyber crooks 

I hope you encourage your family and friends to get this free guide - it could keep them from innocently sending infected email messages to you.




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' | 'TRACKBACK' 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


  April, 2007      More Free help for People who purchase from online businesses and the business who sell to them

The FREE iCop Member and Shopping Mall Desktop Directory is a listing by business category of all of the hundreds of i-Cop members who have pledged to meet the rigid requirements imposed by the Council to maintain the highest levels of honesty, integrity and respect for you, the consumer.
You can use it as a guide to resources and assistance with the full confidence that each member is a professional in their field.
iCop™ is the organization for home based and other businesses that sets the industry standard of business ethics that every online business should follow!

Please note the iCop member seal on this blog and on my websites. I'm proud to be a member and I've pledged to meet the rigid requirements to maintain my good standing.

to request your FREE Directory

You can download your Free copy to your Desktop. Simply clicking on the desktop icon will then take you right to an always up-to-date Directory. You'll never ever have to upload updates and it will always be current.

CLICK to request your FREE Directory, compliments of


  Have you ever thought about writing your own Blog? It's actually a lot easier than having your own website, and it's a lot of fun, too.

  I thoroughly enjoy writing about my major interest, "Internet Safety for everyday Internet users and web surfers".

  Everybody has a main interest, and many would probably like to write about it, but may not know how to get started.  How about you?

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  May, 2007 (Repeated, because it's so Important)    A breach in your personal privacy protection could easily lead to  hackers, online, and offline thieves stealing your identity.
Identity Theft is the fastest growing crime in America, affecting approximately 900,000 new victims each year!

More than ever, the information explosion, aided by an era of easy credit, has led to the expansion of a crime that feeds on the inability of consumers to control who has access to sensitive information and how it is safeguarded.

Can we fight back? Yes! One of the best ways is to be informed of the tricks and ploys used by Identity Theft criminals and to understand how they attack.

Forewarned is Forearmed and There's a lot to know,

The contents of this Free Report include

  Protection Strategies
  Safe Credit Card Practices
  Why reveal your Social Security number? 
  Document Destruction                            
  Common Sense Things to avoid 
  What you must do if the Worst Happens-
with the telephone numbers to call and the
    organizations to contact.

It's a five page report you can download, print and freely share with your family and friends. Download "Identity Theft Guide" by CLICKING HERE.     Save the file to your Desktop - it'll be easier to find

                                                         ..... Richard Rossbauer


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