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  Valuable Information for the everyday Internet User and Web Surfer
  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' 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
  June 1, 2005   Are you sure you selected the best anti-spyware

Everywhere you turn anymore - TV,radio, Newspapers and magazines -there's an advertisement for anti-spyware software - - all claiming to be the best of the best.
Too many choices - which anti-spyware solution should you use and how can a person know which one will really keep them safest?
I suggest that it'll take more than just one program to provide the best protection. Two, and possibly even three are necessary.
Making the choices among the increasing number of available programs can be somewhat overwhelming.
Here's a way to make it a bit easier. Just do a quick (read full article)

                                                              .... Richard


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  May 31, 2005    Add this excellent  information blog to your list of
                        Must Read spyware avoidance resources

In my opinion, the more useful information you have about the scourge of malicious spyware, the better chance you'll have of
avoiding the grief it will bring.

I just found Wayne Cunningham's Spyware-Confidential blog. On the chance that it could take you as long to find it as it took for me, here's a link directly to it.

Information so well written and presented fits perfectly into my personal
campaign to educate the lesser informed and everyday Internet users about the 'problem' of  surreptitious attacks on our personal security and privacy.

I encourage you to visit it:

If you're collecting RSS feeds, use this one for
                                                          ... Richard


  May 30, 2005    Do you ever have the feeling that you're caught in the
                        middle of Guerilla type warfare?

Armies of compromised (Zombie) computers under the control of less than desirable elements have been covertly organized by Spammers for criminal purposes.
Virus authors are using Bot Nets to launch spam emails, Denial of Service (DDoS) assaults, penetrate our personal privacy, steal our money and identities, and worse. These Bot Nets often consist of a few thousand or so hijacked computers. The individuals or organized groups who operate the Bot Nets hide their identities and locations because the spam messages they send are camouflaged by the legitimate addresses of the 'Zombied" computers.
The attackers can use Hit and Run tactics. Often, barrages of emails from the smaller Bot Net groups slip under the gunsights of the watch dogs who try to search out and destroy these enemies. The next barrage could come from a different group controlled by the same enemy.
I have read estimates that upwards of 80 percent of personal computers have some sort of malicious spyware, or have been hijacked.
This is alarming, because no matter how much effort I put into keeping my computer free of scumware, friends and relatives can easily and unknowingly send infected messages to me. The same thing could happen to you.
We've got to help our friends and relatives understand what's happening and how to avoid being a part of the Zombie Networks.
The June 2005 issue (No 13) of the Security Alert News Reporter will address these topics in more detail, provide suggestions and guidelines for keeping out of the line of fire, and even repairing battle damage.
Existing subscribers will receive their Newsletters early next week. If you aren't already a subscriber, you can get your copy by subscribing here.


  May 23, 2005                     Browser Hijacking and How to Stop It

If you never experienced a Browser Hijacking, that's no guarantee you never will.

Here's an outstanding source of information and advice on Browser Hijacking.
I consider it good insurance and believe it should be in every web surfers' library.

It's the  "
Beginners Guide - Browser Hijacking and How to Stop It"
by Mike Dowler of

Visit the site, read the article to become familiar with Browser Hijackers, and
Bookmark it for eventual future use.

But don't ignore the advice. Follow the guide now and you may never have to experience the frustrations of losing your browser to hijackers.

This is probably one of the easiest to understand beginners' guides on the Internet -- and it's Free!

It's another example of PWC (People Who Care) devoting their skills, time and effort to make the Internet a safer place for the everyday computer user.

I wish I had this type of help available the first two times my browser was hijacked last year. YES - it can happen more than once.

I've been following the trials and tribulations of one of my favorite Internet 'Gurus' - Harvey Segal- as he struggles with removal of a tenacious Hijacking program.

He has given me permission to share some of the details of his efforts to remove it. When his computer is completely clean, I'll post his story in hopes that it will help all of us avoid similar frustrations.

Back before this kind of stuff became so prevalent, we posted an article based on one of Harvey's Super Tips telling how his backup browser saved him then.
We'll soon learn what he had to do to remove this newest of Browser Hijackers this time.


  May 22, 2005                             Where to go after Netscape 8?

Should unwavering and loyal Netscapers who have stayed with that browser thru the many releases up thru 7.2, change to Netscape 8, or would they be better served to use Mozilla Firefox?

I was preparing to download Netscape 8 yesterday (the day after its release) until I read the ZDNet™ May 20th news report by Joris Evers that Netscape already had to release an update to fix several serious security flaws, on the day after release!

Turns out that Netscape 8 is based on version 1.0.3 of the Firefox browser. That version was just updated to 1.0.4 by the Mozilla team to fix (read rest of post)



  May 20, 2005    Sober.p attacked McAfee AVERT Stinger antivirus
                        program. Time to get the May 2, 2005 update!
If you have followed my recommendations in the News Reporter and  Firewalls-and-virus-protection website about a free emergency virus protection program, you have already downloaded STINGER.

Free AVERT Stinger anti-virus software from McAfee
The filename has been changed from "stinger.exe" to
"s-t-i-n-g-e-r.exe" to circumvent anti-stinger tactics used by the
 Sober.p. virus. (This is the new logo).

Stinger is a stand-alone utility used to detect and remove specific viruses. It's not a substitute for full anti-virus protection, but rather a tool to assist users when dealing with an infected system - like when a virus has disabled your internet connection and you can't get online to update your anti-virus program.

It fits easily on a single floppy Disk. You can use it as we do, to check any of your PC computers for viruses, without being on line.

It's 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. (Check our website for FREE full time virus protection programs).

Stinger currently checks and repairs about 48 of the most recent viruses.
Update your copy, or get a new FREE download from McAfee STINGER 
Why take a chance?



  May 18, 2005   Hard Drive Crash -- if it can happen, it probably will(*)
       and it just did for me.
Being offline for 5 days due to hardware difficulty can be very painful, especially when it delays the publication and updates of a newsletter, website and blog.
Even more serious is the potential loss of a major collection of software, files and important data. Fortunately, the files on my crashed harddrive were retrievable and have been copied to a replacement harddrive.
Actually, many of my really important files were backed up on CDs and ZIP disks. But a working harddrive is necessary to retrieve and use them.
My next, and most immediate project will be to add an external harddrive on which I can more easily back up all of my work on a daily basis. Backing up to CD' and ZIPs takes a lot more effort and discipline, and is subject to the perils of procrastination.
I'm sharing this experience as a reminder that (*) Murphy's laws do prevail and as a suggestion to re-visit your own disaster recovery plans.

                                                                            ..... Richard
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  May 8, 2005       How much changes in a year for the ordinary,
                             everyday Cyber World adventurer?

While preparing the 1 Year Anniversary issue of the "Security Alert News Reporter', I reviewed the 11 previous issues to determine how much, if any, the threats to Cyber Security had changed.

I believe the online security situation really hasn't changed - we are still faced with virus infections, SPAM, malware, increasing spyware intrusions, potential identity theft, and all of the other nasty stuff that plagued us last year.

What has seemed to change is the shift of actual felonious criminal activities from our daily offline world to the Internet

Criminal schemes like criminal spam, phishing, spoofed or hijacked accounts, international re-shipping schemes, Cyber-extortion, auction fraud, credit card fraud, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), Computer Intrusions (hacking), economic espionage (Theft of Trade Secrets), International Money Laundering, Identity Theft, and a growing list of “traditional crimes” that continue to move on-line.

Makes you wonder if anything good has changed. I would answer 'Yes', but that simply raises the question of "How Much and is it Good Enough?"

The cyber crooks have grown smarter and more sophisticated. They're running the Offense, while the Good Guy protective software writers appear to be always in a Defense mode.

Defense is not cheap - it costs all of us honest Internet users and the protective software writers a lot of money, lost time, and stress.

What's the Answer? Is there an Answer? I believe there are things we Internet users can do to mitigate some of our own problems.

One part of this solution is Education. We can help everyone understand that the Cyber Threats are real, that users can't relax their defenses, even for a minute, and that our personal computer protective measures must always be up to date.

I believe by encouraging all of our family and friends to strengthen their defenses, the thrust of the online criminals can be blunted and our Good Guys might eventually win the game - or at least tie it.

Are we, as individuals, ready to help?

                                                               .... Richard
   Replies (01)
   Comment from visitor Patrick
-- where will this evolution lead?

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