Windows-Help.NET Newsletter 24 April 2004, Vol 7 No. 13

In this issue:

w   Microsoft Fights Spyware
w   Security
w   Featured Software: Registry Compactor
w   Recent Support BBS Postings
w   Web Site Updates
w   Administrivia

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Microsoft Fights Spyware

by Arie Slob

Hello Windows users,

Deceptive software, commonly known under the term "Spyware" have long been a problem for computer users. Deceptive software include programs which change your browsers home page without your permission, generate random pop up advertisements, or in some cases dial toll numbers, running up your telephone bill.

These programs have a number of (sneaky) ways to get into your computer. A common used "trick" these days is that this software is covertly installed during the installation of other software, such as file sharing programs, or downloaded via unsolicited junk e-mail.

According to Microsoft's Brian Arbogast, corporate vice president of the Identity, Mobile and Partner Services Group within Microsoft's MSN and Personal Services Division, deceptive software causes more than 50 percent of Windows operating systems failures reported to Microsoft, though rarely do people realize the cause of their problem. Microsoft collects the data electronically from the PCs of users of Windows who agree to share data about their system problems.

At a day-long Federal Trade Commission workshop Monday to increase understanding about deceptive software, Microsoft and other industry leaders detailed for U.S. regulators how they are working to reduce the threat of so-called "spyware."

Microsoft has launched a new informational Website to educate users, and pointed out enhancements in the Microsoft Windows XP operating system that are designed to provide people better control of their PCs.

Windows XP Service Pack 2 (which is expected to be released this June), includes a pop-up ad blocker for Internet Explorer, which also includes new technology that will suppress unsolicited software downloads, and tools to view & control browser add-on programs.

Microsoft's new anti-Spyware Web site lists 5 steps you can take to avoid Spyware:

  1. Choose an appropriate Web browser security setting
  2. Don't accept downloads from strangers
  3. Look for signs of deceptive software on your computer
  4. Detecting and removing unwanted software
  5. Keep Windows up to date

The FTC issued a consumer warning last year about deceptive software, but lawmakers in three states and in the U.S. Senate want to take firmer action. Utah has already adopted a law regulating spyware and other malicious programs. Lawmakers in California and Iowa are considering doing the same.

Microsoft and other industry leaders said they are committed to working with lawmakers to stop the distribution of deceptive software. But some noted that the new and proposed laws wouldn't affect many of the most pernicious distributors of deceptive software because they are located outside the United States.

Civil liberties advocates such as the non-profit Center for Democracy and Technology also are reluctant to enact new laws. They support the increased enforcement of current laws, which they say are sufficient to prosecute the distributors of the most egregious spyware and other malicious programs.

On our support forums we have an area dedicated to Security/Virus/Spyware, so if you have any questions/problems, you can always post there and get (free) help.

Note: Software distributed by our Rose City Software Web site does not contain any deceptive ("Spyware") software. (Windows-Help.NET and Rose City Software are divisions of InfiniSource, Inc.)


According to Tom Liston of SANS Institute, public exploits, which are often the precursors to widespread worm attacks, have appeared in the last week for several of the vulnerabilities that Microsoft unveiled and patched last week.

Microsoft have updated their TechNet Security Web site to indicate that code is available on the Internet that seeks to exploit issues addressed in Microsoft security updates related to Security Bulletin MS04-011.

Make sure that you have patched your system! (Also check that friends & co-workers have done the same!)

Rose City Software

Registry Compactor

This little utility is simply amazing! I had no idea how fragmented my registry was. I am surprised that Windows does not have any built-in utility to do this! I was having a lot of problems with Windows crashing and once I ran this great utility, POOF! The problems disappeared. :-)))

And my whole system seems to work much faster now as well. I'll use this monthly to keep my system fine tuned! Thanks Rose City... Registry Compactor is the greatest!
Harris Johnson, Los Angeles, CA

More Info - Download Trial [1.05 MB]

Recent Support BBS Postings

TaskManager - User listing - Windows XP
Download interruptions - Other Internet Software
Internet vs Intranet? - Networking
Hard discs and SMART - Hardware
Screensaver at Welcome screen - Windows XP

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.


Windows XP

Added: Windows Media Player (All Versions) Update


Port Reporter

Port Reporter logs TCP and UDP port activity on a local Windows system. Port Reporter is a small application that runs as a service on Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003.

More Info
[150 KB]

Symantec Client Firewall Denial of Service Vulnerability

eEye Digital Security notified Symantec Corporation of a severe Denial of Service vulnerability they discovered in the Symantec Client Firewall products for Windows. By properly exploiting this issue, an attacker could render the targeted system inoperable.

Symantec Security Responce

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OneNote 2003 Service Pack 1 Preview

Microsoft® Office OneNote™ 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) Preview provides an early look at updates and feature enhancements that will be shipped as part of Microsoft Office OneNote 2003 SP1.

Supported OS: Windows 2000 (SP3 & SP4), Windows XP

More Info & Download (English only)

TCP flaw threatens Net data transmissions

A flaw in the most popular communications protocol for sending data on the Net could let attackers shut down connections between servers and routers, according to an advisory released Tuesday by Britain's national emergency response team.

Read C|Net Article

Computers seized in anti-piracy sweep

Investigators seized 200 computers across the globe to break up online piracy networks that distribute copyrighted music, movies and software, the Justice Department said Thursday.

Read CNN Article

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