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Expert Philippa Gamse
Truth or. . . HOAX?Larry James
If you are not familiar with the term "Phishing," you need to be. The scam is called 'phishing' - as in fishing for your password, but spelled differently.
Webopedia.com defines phishing as: "The act of sending an e-mail to a user claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft. The e-mail directs the user to visit a Web site where they are asked to update personal information, such as passwords and credit card, social security and bank account numbers, that the legitimate organization already has. The Web site, however, is bogus and set up only to steal user's information."
If you would like to protect yourself from this e-mail menace, click here for complete "Phishing" definition, valuable info and links to other resources!
Steps that you can take to help identify and to help protect yourself from deceptive (spoofed) web sites and malicious hyperlinks.
Go to: http://support.microsoft.com/Default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;833786&spid=2073&sid=global. Although obviously written by a techie and a little technical in places, it's an interesting article. Lots of good tips.
E-mail Hijacking! (11/19/04)
If someone is "spoofing" (faking or hijacking) your e-mail address, making it appear as if the e-mail is coming from you, the solutions are to change all of your e-mail addresses, or get a good spam blocker and just try to stay on top of it. Find spam filtering tools here: http://www.datadoctors.com/hot/general.cfm?PageID=41.
The Lovegate Worm is Back! - (7/12/04)
It's a new variant that scans PCs for executable files and then renames them. This particular version of the worm spreads by e-mailing itself to addresses found on an infected machine. Once it has gained control of the system through a "back door," it then scans the network that the system is on. Learn about this worm and how to protect your PC by surfing to: http://news.com.com.
Severe Attack By Worm Variant W32.Sasser.B.Worm - (5/3/04)
A variant worm found on May 1st has already risen to a category 4 and has a very high distribution rating on the SARC site. This new threat is a self-replicating, self-installing worm that has nothing to do with e-mail. W32.Sasser.B attempts to exploit a vulnerability in Microsoft and spread by scanning randomly-chosen IP addresses for vulnerable systems. It is thought to infect home users more than corporate users, however this may change at any given moment. If you have a system that is already infected by this worm, then download the removal tool at: http://securityresponse.symantec.com.
Yet Another Mass-Mailing Worm Spreads - W32.Netsky.B - (2/21/04)
This worm is a mass-mailing worm that arrives as an attachment in your e-mail. This worm then searches through your drive for any folder names containing "Share" or "Sharing." Once again this worm spoofs the "from" address which confuses most people. For more detailed information, check out: The Data Doctor.
Mass Mailing e-mail worm in wide distribution. Named the W32.Novarg.A@mm (Norton), W32/Mydoom@MM (McAfee), WORM_MIMAIL.R (Trend Micro) - (1/26/04)
The worm generally arrives as an attachment to e-mail with the file extension .bat, .cmd, .exe, .pif, .scr, or .zip. If you open an infected attachment, a backdoor program will be installed into the system that will allow a remote attacker to access and make use of the computer. This worm is designed to attack all current versions of Windows but does not affect DOS, Linux, Macintosh, OS/2, UNIX, Windows 3.x based systems. Infected messages will generally have the following characteristics: From: Usually a spoofed 'from' address, meaning that the address used is not the actual sender... DO NOT BLAME THE SENDER, AS THEY ARE AN INNOCENT PARTY TO THE WORM! NOTE: We know that this virus has been sent from many variations of the CelebrateLove.com address. We are not the sender. Please delete this e-mail. For more detailed information, check out: Network Associates, Inc.
Eureka! Mac's Are Not Invulnerable! - (12/30/03)
A series of seemingly innocuous default settings can cause an affected Mac OS X machine to trust a malicious machine on a network for user, group, and volume mounting settings. Read more.
Hacker Alert for Apple Computer OS X Users - (7/12/02)
A hacker has posted full instructions online about how to fool Apple's SoftwareUpdate feature to allow a hacker to install a backdoor on any Mac running OS X. it was just a matter of time until Mac users were going to become targets. more. Apple users can get the latest security updates by going to: www.apple.com/support.
You are NOT under investigation - (2/22/02)
Some new ads that pose as an error message in your browser are using fear to sell their product. You may encounter a page that looks very similar to a "404 - Page not found" error that claims that you are being investigated and or tracked. Get the full story about these scumbags here.
BEWARE OF "PHISHING": E-mail that impersonates an e-mail or Web page from a real, respectable company, in an attempt to get you to provide account information that they can use to steal money from you. For more info click here or here for a list of the most recent "Phishing Attacks!"
Electronically Transmitted Diseases (ETD) continue to proliferate. Most everyone has received e-mail warnings about computer viruses, a message from Bill Gates inviting you to send chain letters in exchange for up to $1,000 worth of free software, a trip to Disneyland, an e-mail at the request of a dying boy, or someone with cancer begging you to forward it to everyone so that someone could live forever.
Some of those chain letters are funny, however the fact is MOST ARE UNTRUE and serve no purpose other than
to clog the Internet with junk e-mail or scare people. It also contributes to the overall slowing down
of the Internet. Filling our inboxes with this junk e-mail is almost always a waste of the sender's
energy and the receiver's time.
Soooo. . . the next time an urgent message pops up on your screen, check some of the well-maintained, legitimate Web sources of hoax info on the following page to debunk the hoax and then press the delete key to avoid continuing to clutter up the Internet with hoax e-mail. Remember, "rumors" are a form of e-mail virus.
If it is, IT WILL APPEAR TO COME FROM SOMEONE YOU KNOW, PROBABLY A TRUSTED FRIEND OR CO-WORKER! The moral of
the story is - NEVER click on (or open) an attachment that you receive in an e-mail, unless you are
expecting it and know exactly what it is, NO MATTER WHO IT IS FROM. If you have any doubts, call or
e-mail the sender first before opening the attached file.
If you visit the anti-virus labs at Network Associates or Symantec, you will be quickly corrected after an indiscriminate use of the "v" word. Virus experts prefer the terms "malicious code" or MalWare. A virus is just one type of malicious code. Following are explanations of the primary types of malicious code.
VIRUS - A true virus is capable of self-replication on one machine. It may spread between files or disks, but the defining characteristic is that it can re-create itself on its own without traveling to a new host. Transmission time to a new host is relatively slow, on the order of days or weeks.
WORM - A worm is designed to spread from one machine to another over any type of network. Currently, the most notorious worms take advantage of the Internet to spread. Transmission time here is on the order of seconds. Technically, the Melissa virus was a worm, not a virus.
TROJAN HORSE - A Trojan horse cannot replicate and need not spread; it is any code that does something you don't expect it to do. Something that looks like a cute graphics file, for example, might actually forge bogus e-mail messages.
These distinctions are important for historical and technical reasons, but Roger Thompson, diretor of malicious code research at ICSA, says the lines are blurring a little.
"It used to be the case that a Trojan horse was very limited in scope," Thompson says. "But now, with the Internet and access to directories, a Trojan horse can get 57 million e-mail addresses and fire itself off instantly around the globe. So it hardly matters whether or not it can replicate itself."
A word about "forwarding" e-mail. I love a funny story as much as anyone. I even collect funny "relationship"
stories, but if you absolutely MUST forward that 10th-generation message from a friend, at least have
the decency to trim the eight miles of headers showing everyone else who's received it over the last 6
Do it yourself. . . How to remove angle brackets (<< >>), line breaks, and extra spaces from forwarded e-mail messages:
You can clean up that e-mail message by using Word's or WordPad's "Find And Replace" feature.
1. Copy the message.
2. Paste the message contents in a new Word or WordPad document.
3. Click "Edit" from the menu bar then "Replace". (You can also press Ctrl + H)
4. Type the character you'd like removed- leave the Replace With text box blank.
5. Click "Replace All".
The final word on "Forwarding e-mail" - All of the people you send an e-mail to by placing their e-mail addresses in the "To:" area are now at risk if others in that list do the same thing. If anyone's computer on the list gets hacked, all those e-mail will will now be a part of the hacker's spam list. This is one of the main ways that computer virus' spread.
Almost all e-mail programs allow you to send multiple e-mail as a "blind carbon copy" (BBC). When sent as a BBC, each person who receives your e-mail cannot see the e-mail addresses of the others you sent it to. My suggestion is that if you forward e-mail, copy & paste the part you want to forward in a new e-mail, then put the e-mail addresses in the BBC area.
Yeah. . . I know. It takes a few minutes to do, but at least you are doing your part to stop spreading spam and computer virus'. Perhaps, you should consider whether you should even consider forwarding it at all. I forward a lot less e-mail now because of the time it takes to strip all the e-mail addresses out before I forward.
I started added the following to all e-mail that I forward recently:
If you forward this message, PLEASE delete the forwarding history which includes MY e-mail address. Only forward as a "blind carbon copy" (BCC) which keeps everyone's e-mail who forwarded it before from appearing in the e-mail. Erasing the history helps prevent spammers from mining addresses and viruses from being propagated. Thank you.
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