Windows-Help.NET Newsletter 01 Dec. 2001, Vol 4 No. 48

In this issue:

w   Could you please...
w   GFI Email Security Testing Zone
w   Featured Software: ClipCache Plus
w   Web Site Updates
w   Administrivia


  Could you please...

...take your security (more) seriously?

by Arie Slob

Hello Windows users,

OK, the title seems a bit weird does it? Lets start at the beginning....

Last Monday I started receiving lots of weird e-mails, which - when viewed in the preview pane of Outlook Express 6 - would pop up the Open Attachment Warning as shown in the screenshot to the right. Now I know enough about e-mail to know that if I get this warning without trying to manually open an attachment, something is verrrrrry fishy. This is typical worm (virus) behaviour, so instead of saving the attachment to disk (harmless in itself) or opening it (very harmfull!), I decided to just press Cancel.

Next I went looking at my favorite Anti-virus Research Site SARC (Symantec Antivirus Research Center), where I quickly discovered that this was a new worm (on an old theme) called Badtrans.B.

I posted a message on our Web site's home page informing our visitors of this new pest.

OK, so why am I writing this? Well, first of all because I'm a little disappointed. There must be a great number of people that do not take the security of their Operating System seriously. You see, the vulnerability exploited by this worm was patched by Microsoft on March 29, 2001 - a full 7 months ago!

Just in case you are wondering, the vulnerability patched was that Outlook/Outlook Express would allow the attachment to execute without prompting the user.

Now, I have been receiving 15-25 of these worms a day since Monday. And what makes me so upset is that 80% come to the email address I explicitly use when sending out this weekly Newsletter. And since I always post any patches Microsoft offers for their OS/browser in the Newsletter, this would mean that the people who got infected do not seem to bother to apply these patches!

Some people try to defend themselves by saying "We can have the best Anti-Virus and Firewall software available. But that does not mean that something will not sneak through. It can sneak in between updates."

Yea right! First of all here, in this case, we are talking about a known vulnerability for which a patch has been available for over 7 months. If you're going that long without updating your software in this day and age, then you have some serious problems that just updating your AV definitions won't fix (mind you, they do update their AV definitions... go figure!).

Using a virus scanner to be an additional line of defense is OK (and is considered even good security). In the case of the ordinary virus, you have (at least) two levels of defense: your virus scanner and your own good common sense. And since the viruses go *faster* than the scanners, so you end up using your common sense... Common sense is the really critical link in that chain and the virus scanner is only the helper.

OK, my message here: please keep your system updated, and try to use some common sense when receiving attachments. I've also said on numerous occasions that the rule should be that you don't open any attachments. You can have exceptions to that rule, but you'd better be careful and know what you are doing!

I'd love to hear your comments!


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  GFI Email Security Testing Zone

GFI has launched an Email Security Testing Zone to enable organizations & individuals to check whether their email systems are vulnerable to email viruses and attacks. The zone, allows visitors to discover instantly if their system is secure against current and future email threats, such as emails containing infected attachments, emails with malformed MIME headers, and HTML mails with embedded scripts.

Start your test!

Rose City Software

ClipCache Plus

"ClipCache Plus is totally awesome!!! I must use it 50 times a day. All my regular text clips, images, email addresses, and Web site URLs are just a double click away. This brilliant little program probably saves me two hours a day of looking stuff up or typing it over and over. And goodbye to all those miserable ">>>>>" in the emails. It was my lucky day when I read PC World magazine for April and heard about ClipCache Plus."
-- Susan Amos, Canada

Web Site Updates

These pages were added/updated in the past week. Information on previously updated/added pages is available on the What's New? page for 1 month.
Added: At Home Internet Customers Could Lose Internet Access Friday
Added: Sensors In A Car's Dashboard To Sniff Out Drunk Drivers and Alert Police

Added: Could you please...
Added: Microsoft Announces Availability of Windows XP Embedded

Windows XP
Added: View System Uptime
Added: Improve Boot Performance
Added: Microsoft Posts Windows XP Administration Tools Pack Beta 3 for Download
Updated: Windows XP, Installing and Setup
Added: Uninstall Additional Windows Components
Updated: Uninstall Windows Messenger


At Home Internet Customers Could Lose Internet Access Friday

Will a Bankruptcy judge permit @Home to cease service to 4.1 million customers?

Read Full Article

Sensors In A Car's Dashboard To Sniff Out Drunk Drivers and Alert Police

Alcohol-Detecting Sensors could become mandatory accessories in cars of repeat DUI offenders.

Read Full Article

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Microsoft Posts Windows XP Administration Tools Pack Beta 3 for Download

Last week, Microsoft posted the Windows XP Administration Tools Pack Beta 3 for Download. With this set of tools, it is possible to administer a server from your desktop.

Read Full Article
Microsoft Announces Availability of Windows XP Embedded

Microsoft today announced the availability of Windows XP Embedded. Windows XP Embedded, the componentized version of the Windows XP operating system, is targeted at devices such as retail point-of-sale devices, thin clients, gaming systems, self-service kiosks, industrial automation, residential gateways, and advanced set-top boxes.

Read Full Article

General Information About Windows Millennium Edition Hotfixes

Microsoft develops hotfixes for Windows Millennium Edition (Me) as needed to resolve critical customer situations. This article includes general information about Windows Me hotfixes.

Read Full Article

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