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                                  .... Richard Rossbauer


  March 25, 2006     Buying a new computer now? Will it be Vista ready?

With the latest announced Vista reschedule, it doesn't appear as if we'll be able to purchase a Vista equipped computer until well after then end of the year holiday season.

However, if you need to purchase another computer now, you can spec a Vista-ready computer and make that commitment to buy one today.

MicrosoftTechNet posted an article on "Windows Vista Hardware" requirements outlined by Charlie Russel, Microsoft MVP, covering Processor,(CPU), Memory, Graphics, Storage, and Networking that takes a lot of the mystery out of what you'll need.

No doubt, we'll see "Vista Ready" computers being advertised by the major manufacturers soon, if not already available in your local electronic equipment supplier's stores.

Although final hardware requirements do not seem to have been absolutely tied down, Charlie Russel's article should help you understand what the computer store sales people will be including in their offers, and save you from "over buying" stuff you might not really need.
                                                                                       ... Richard


  March 19, 2006     Microsoft Vista will be here soon, but is it the Security Answer
                            for everyone?

Microsoft's Vista operating system is expected to ship in late 2006. It will include a variety of features and functionality, the most significant of which are built around anti-spyware, firewalls, and encryption.

It is expected to be very effective in withstanding Hacker attacks.

Upgrading existing computers to the Vista Operating System will probably be fairly expensive, if even possible. Many recently acquired machines will no doubt be limited in Vista operating performance, too.

Owners of older computers will face a "scrap","replace" or "stick with earlier Windows Operating Systems" decision. Purchasers of new systems will no doubt have the opportunity to opt for already installed Vista OS and Defender security protection.

There are probably 10's of thousands of machines that won't be able to run Vista, IE7 or Defender now and aren't even capable of being upgraded. The cost and technical knowledge required to upgrade for Vista will definitely be beyond the abilities of many non-technical, everyday, (discouraged) Internet users.

The purveyors of spyware will respond to Windows Vista with more sophisticated attacks.
No matter how strong the security features are in Windows Vista, the incentive for cyber-crime is still too great. Money, yours and mine, is a powerful lure.

And does anyone for a moment think that these newer more lethal attacks will be deflected by all of the older systems still in use?

Certainly not!

I see the potential for the older, non-Vista compatible systems becoming Zombies and being absorbed into Bot farms.

Maybe Vista and it's super secure capabilities will be a boon to the Hackers and criminals after all. Let's hope Not!
                                                                                           ... Richard

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  March 13, 2006    Parents beware. Irresponsible adult Internet activities can now
                           lead to Police searches.

Curious teenagers and younger children with unsupervised access to the Internet could view and download banned pornographic images placing a family in jeopardy.


A U.S. appeals court ruled recently that Police may search computer hard drives for child pornography if their owners subscribe to Web sites selling the images.

According to the ruling by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. There is a "fair probability" customers of child pornography Web sites receive or download the illegal images, opening the door for police searches.

The ruling affirmed a lower court's decision supporting an affidavit by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for its probe of Web site and one of it's subscriber's computer files.

One would hope that adults who visit or subscribe to such websites do so as a considered decision, recognize the risks, and delete or secure access to protect their children from accidentally stumbling into their illegal files.

Consider the seriousness of the consequences to the children, the family reputation and the responsible adults (and not the least of these consequences is the infestation of the family computer with spyware, viruses and Trojan Horses often attached to such files).

Today's computer and Internet savvy children could find these sites without an adult's help, but they may not be aware of the dangers in such explorations. Why not share this information with them?



  March 10, 2006       U.S. Treasury Department Releases Free Identity Theft DVD

I just ordered the “Identity Theft: Outsmarting the Crooks,” DVD through the Federal Citizen Information Center in Pueblo, CO. This is an excellent source for a wealth of free and inexpensive publications covering hundreds of consumer topics.

It'll take 2 or 3 weeks until it and a few other publications arrive in my mailbox, and it all cost only $2.00.

The Treasury Department has very recently released this DVD and I believe supplies are limited. The content caught my interest, of course. It informs consumers about identity theft, how to protect themselves against the crime and what to do if they fall victim. It also features a resource library of downloadable materials, including sample forms and letters that victims can use in reporting the crime and collecting evidence.

Free Copies of the Treasury Department DVD are available through the Federal Citizen Information Center at , toll-free at 1-888-878-3256, or by writing to: FCIC -05B, PO Box 100, Pueblo, CO 81002.

I appears to me to be a good investment for just about everyone. Order item number 635N
 ... Richard


March 3, 2006 (Repeated*)      Zombies, botnets, cyber criminals, and
                     more - one of the best,  and most interesting explanations
                     of these cyber antics that you'll read anywhere!

Brian Krebs, the Washington Post cyber security journalist who wrote this analysis, was able to get very close to this criminal. The article also covers other aspects of the adware and spyware scourge.(*) I repeated this posting because it is really a great article.

"The Agony of Spyware". (Invasion of the Computer Snatchers). Do take the time to read this one!

I bookmarked it for my future reference; it's such a good documentary. Mr. Krebs' writing style is engrossing, entertaining and down to earth. You'll really like it - and learn a lot about the seamy side of cyber space.

The SANS Organization highlighted this article in their Feb 21, 06 "NewsBites as providing "extraordinary detail about the motivation and techniques used by a young criminal who makes his living by installing spyware on thousands of computers."

                                                                      ... Richard


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  February 2, 2006              Stinger updated as of February 2, 2006 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 February 2, 2006.

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

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     SQUASH the Bug

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  March, 2006(UPDATED)   Use RSS Readers to add current Web Feeds to
                                             automatically update  your daily reading lists

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 browser 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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