URBAN LEGENDS AND VIRUS HOAXES

When I get e-mail messages that don’t smell right, the web site I check first is the Urban Legends site at About.com. You’re likely to find solid information about any e-mail chain letter that comes your way, as well as the hundreds of virus hoaxes that continue to travel from mailbox to mailbox. […] continued

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SIRCAM VIRUS WARNING

SirCam is a widely distributed virus. Within the next four days, you’d like to become very confident that you’re not infected with it.

According to one analysis of SirCam’s code, every year on Oct. 16 the worm will delete all the files and folders contained on the hard drives of randomly selected SirCam-infected computers. […] continued

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NORTON ANTIVIRUS 2002

Last year’s version of Norton Antivirus was a fine piece of work – easy to use, easy to keep updated, and way ahead of the mish-mash of products put out by Mcafee. But it had a couple of problems: its method of scanning e-mail was clumsy and frequently stopped e-mail from functioning; it could significantly interfere with some database-driven programs; and it was not compatible with Windows XP. […] continued

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PRIVACY

One of the pieces of legislation being reviewed to deal with terrorism would permit Internet surveillance without a court order. The scope of that surveillance was debated at a Congressional committee meeting on Tuesday. The bill’s advocates argue that prosecutors should be able to intercept e-mail headers (TO: and FROM:), since it’s analogous to what they can discover about incoming and outgoing phone calls. […] continued

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INTERNET UNDER ATTACK

There’s at least one nasty new worm attacking Windows 2000 Servers today, and as near as I can tell it’s causing problems all over the Internet. Details are hazy, but apparently the worm travels as an e-mail virus that is not covered by current antivirus definitions. Some of my clients have DSL lines that are down, at least one has a dialup account that’s gone dead, and browsing seems to be slow all over. […] continued

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DISASTER: E-MAIL HOAXES

The World Trade Center disaster has already generated a tremendous amount of e-mail spam and chain letters. As this article points out, you can count on a lot of hoaxes to be disseminated by e-mail in the next few weeks. Exercise a high degree of caution before you forward an e-mail message to your favorite fifty friends. […] continued

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COOKIE BLOCKING

Internet security is the buzzword of the moment. There’s a lot of paranoia about privacy these days. Some of it is justified.

For what it’s worth, I tend to think that cookies do not currently deserve much paranoia. There are hypothetical ways in which information from cookies could be used in insidious ways by advertisers, but I’m not aware of anything like that happening in the real world – at least not yet. […] continued

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GATOR

When you’re downloading software, watch for an innocuous item named ‘Gator” that will appear checkmarked in the list of items to download. It’s an evil piece of software that monitors your surfing and pops advertisements in your face that it believes are related to the site you’re visiting. It’s not polite about it – advertisements can appear any time you’re online. […] continued

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CODE RED & SIRCAM

The SIRCAM virus may have come your way – I got several copies in my mailbox. The usual precautions apply – don’t open file attachments to e-mail, keep your antivirus software up to date. And if you’re running Microsoft Office 2000, visit the Office Update site and install Service Pack 1 or 2 plus the Outlook E-Mail Security Update. […] continued

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HOMEPAGE VIRUS

There’s another virus travelling around quickly this morning. It’s similar to the Anna Kournikova “Love Bug” virus – annoying but it doesn’t damage your computer. The “Homepage” virus will arrive in a message from someone you know, with the subject line “Homepage.” The attachment is a .vbs visual basic script that opens a porno web site on your computer and sends the message on to everyone in your Outlook address book. […] continued

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MICROSOFT TO CHANGE PASSPORT PRIVACY POLICY

Microsoft is hustling to revise its privacy policy for Passport and Hotmail, after a torrent of criticism from privacy advocates. (See my item on March 30.) Microsoft says it’s a terrible misunderstanding, just some old legalese that they forgot to update. Here’s an article about the gosh darned oversight.

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MICROSOFT AND CONFIDENTIALITY

Microsoft has new initiatives on the way that are meant to move programs and data online, relieving companies and users from some of the burden of maintaining it all. Confidentiality will be the key issue that will persuade or dissuade people from trusting the services.

Many of the new .NET services are built on the Passport system created by Microsoft. […] continued

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UNDERSTANDING AND GUARDING AGAINST INTERNET-BASED ATTACKS

Another Symantec bulletin uses plain English to describe how hackers look for a computer to attack over the Internet, what might make you a target, and steps you can take to protect yourself. This is also highly recommended reading.

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TOP TEN WAYS TO PRESERVE YOUR DATA

Symantec circulated a very nice list of basic ways to protect your computer and preserve your data. This is highly recommended reading. Common sense, plain English descriptions about backups, creating Windows startup disks, updating virus definitions, preventing hackers, disabling the Windows Scripting Host, and more. Check it out!

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NORTON ANTIVIRUS BUGGY E-MAIL PROTECTION

Norton Antivirus offers a feature called “e-mail protection” that I routinely turn off. It’s a service that scans e-mail for viruses as messages come into your system – an appealing idea, but it’s implemented badly. It changes the settings for your POP3 server and frequently prevents e-mail from being retrieved at all. […] continued

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