Main Line Computer Users Group


January 2004 Issue 260

VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER, ROOM 110 MEETING STARTS - 09:30 - JAN 10 th
THIS MONTH'S CONTENTS
UPCOMING MEETING:

We finished up the OLD year with a party and a fine time for all who had the chance to make our December meeting (see the story elsewhere in this issue)!

But, the NEW year will be anything but enjoyable, at least for subjects to be covered in near term meetings. This issue will make some of that clear, too.

As has been ecident from previous issues, as well as the discussions at the meetings, MALWARE (that means bad stuff!) has become a bigger and BIGGER problem for computer users, bar none; but, especially for Windows computer users. That's not only because this OS has a lot of holes (with new ones being identified all the time), but also because it is far and away the biggest target. When you mess up Windows users, you cause a lot more havoc! What could be more satisfying to your average (or not so average) hacker???

To begin, our January meeting will take on the malware form that our presenter, member John Deker, has chosen to call pestware. The article immediately following makes for a good read BEFORE the meeting.

You ALL should find the session to be valuable !! See you at the meeting...


UPCOMING MEETING PRESENTATIONS by John Deker

At our January meeting we'll be taking a look at anti-pestware. This is software that detects and removes pestware or prevents it from being installed. Pests basically fall into two categories: adware and spyware. Pests are frequently delivered Trojan style. That is they sneak into your system unknown to the user and are frequently delivered with other software.

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ANNOUNCEMENTS & COMMENTS
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WELCOME - to the New Year - and, hopefully, another good year for the Main Line Computer Users Group! As a note of memory: in April, we will have completed our 22nd year of operation! That bit puts us in a pretty rare arena amongst computer user groups. We hope that all our loyal, and newer, members will continue to value the membership, will hang in there for the future and try to find other users who could benefit from being a part of the group!

OUR NEW WEBSITE - thru the good offices of Mr. Rich Goldberg, operator of the Bee.net local ISP, the club has been provided with a new website host and a new (we hope, easy-to-remember) domain name - mlcug.org! So, now we can be found on the web at: http://mlcug.org

Remember to check it out regularly. Last minute meeting items may be posted there, in addition to coming to you via the MLCUG listserv.

Oh yes, our faithful webmaster, Pete Whinnery, will be most appreciative of ideas to improve the useability and value of this website; so don't hesitate to suggest!

REGULAR REMINDERS: 1) our email mailing list is run for the member's benefit; so please do not hesitate to post notices or problems to it. If we can't solve the problem remotely, we can be alerted to it ahead of a meeting where hands-on may do the job. NOTE: see the notice later about the new version of the listserv.

2) attendees know that we have a very fast internet connection from the VU meeting room (last month, a pretty good sized download was done and we hit 733 KB/s, now that's really moving - tho no promises)! So, if you have a very large download, you could bring along a zip disk (or a CD-R/RW) and get it done there, either before or after the main meeting.

3) a half dozen or so of the regular attendees usually partake of lunch at the Villanova Diner after the meeting. Why not join us? It is a good time to get a little more help (or give it) and just to have fun talking about our common interests. The food is quite good, too!

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SYMANTEC/NORTON PRODUCTS

A recent column by John Fried carries another adverse message re the 2004 versions of Norton Anti-virus 2004 and Norton Internet Security 2004.

On the off-chance that folks might be interested, I took a flyer and made a bulk order of: Norton Anti-Virus 2003. These are OEM CDs and I will sell them at my cost of $12.50 each. This is cheaper than extending your AV subscription for Norton - which is now around $15, so I've been told.

I only have three (3) copies left. If anyone would like one, let me know and I'll set one aside for you to pick up at a meeting, or I'll mail it for a dollar more ($13.50). Let me know if interested [Emil]

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MLCUG LISTSERV

Our listserv for MLCUG members has now moved to the new web site host - Bee.net. You should all have got a note from me about the change. Please make the change of the email address. AND, start sending your comments, questions and questions to the new list. [Pete Whinnery, webmaster]

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MOZILLA Browser

Mozilla is a web browser, with a wide range of features, that we'll be covering in an upcoming meeting. With the demise of Netscape, Inc. - and the famous "Netscape Navigator" browser - Mozilla is the product that will carry on that "tradition". Current, or former, Netscape users may be much interested in this product.

As an experiment, I ordered some CDs from Mozilla. They've arrived and each of the CDs (I ordered one for myself and a 5-pack to "sell") contains the latest non-beta version (1.5) for Windows, Mac and Linux OSes, along with a full collection of their other products (Camino, Firebird, Thunderbird), along with the source code, and the Bugzilla app for developers.

I'm offering them to the club members for $3 (my cost) for anyone who'd like to avoid the download and might be interested in any of the rest of their product line. Or those source codes!

I have four (4) of the CDs left. Anyone interested in one, can see me at the meeting. [Emil]

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LAST MONTH'S MEETING

For today's festivity, we had 17 members plus a guest show up. A good turnout, tho I had hoped more could make this special meeting. However, we were pleased to have a cameo performance by Prof. Maloney, who dropped in briefly with his son, Ryan. Unfortunately, they could not stay to share the fare; but it was great to be able to see Frank and introduce him to those members who probably have not met him. We thank Frank for sponsoring our meetings at VU for all these years!!

Thanks are very much in order for the folks who made it an enjoyable meeting:

- John Murphy for providing the coffe and other hot drinks, the coffee pots, condimnets and some other goodies - did a great job in keeping us supplied with java and stuff - John Deker for the cold drinks and associated fare - Ted Korlishin (delicious cakes), - Jack Ryan (those little donuts), Tom Johnson (ice for those drinks) - Emil Volcheck for the deli tray and eating stuff - Marty Caulfield for showing up early and prepping the meeting room in his usual competent fashion - Dewitt Stewart and Ed Cohen for handling the money and tickets for the raffle and door prizes! Hope they got all those renewals, too! - &, to Emil, John M and Ted for the door prizes!!

If I missed any other contributor, we thank them too. If you let me know whom I missed, I'll get them into the published version for the January newsletter.

There was no formal program planned for this month. But, we did plan to go round the table for announcements, questions, problems, etc. And, we did (start). In spite of the fact that there was no "program" we still did not make it all the way around!!! The questions and discussions ate up the time til we had to start the prize drawings and eat the goodies.

Hopefully, we can catch the missing items next time.

While all this was going on, Pete Whinnery had brought in a copy of the latest version (1.2) of the "Open CD". We made copies of the CD for all who were interested in getting one. Perhaps, at a future meeting, we can hear some reports on the contents of this interesting, open source product. How about telling us your experiences - folks???

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Internet Tidbit:

If you are curious about what goes on behind the scenes when you are on the internet, you might give a try to some of the zillions of little utilities that are sort of hidden away in Windows.

In order to use them, you need to open a command prompt; that's easily done: - for Win 98/Me - click Start, click Programs, click Accessories then click "MS-DOS Prompt" - you'll get a window with the prompt blinking away

- for Win XP - the same except it's "All Programs" and "Command Prompt"

Once you have the window, you can try this:

Type: tracert www.mlcug.org (or any other URL that you'd like)

You'll get a listing of all the jumps that your request makes from your computer to get to the URL that you list. The one above took 16 hops from the VU meeting room (and it took 20 from my home) - your experience will be different .

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PESTWARE ! ?

by John Deker, continued from p.1

Kazaa, the music exchange program, is a prime example of a delivery system for unwanted adware. Though there may be a casual reference to ads in the license agreement, there is typically no easy way to remove the adware even after removing the software with which the pestware was delivered. Again, Kazaa is a prime example of a pestware delivery system.

Besides being a personal annoyance, pestware in the form of advertising can load down a computer system to the point of it being virtually unresponsive. My brother was a victim of Kazaa. His son came home from college and installed Kazaa. When my brother tried to logon to his ISP, his logon with IE took about ten minutes where it had previously taken 30 seconds on his system with a 28K dialup connection. (For those who want to know, my brother lives several miles outside the nearest town and uses dialup and gets only a 28K connection. DSL is not an option and cable is too expensive as far as he is concerned.) Needless to say, Kazaa and the associated adware were removed from my brother's computer.

To be more definitive about January's presentation, we'll take a look at three programs - Ad-aware, Spybot & its associated Spyware Blaster, and Pest Patrol. Pest Patrol is the only commercial software in this group. Pest Patrol is sometimes bundled with other software like ZoneAlarm. All three programs will be presented, since each one seems to detect pestware the others do not detect.

What will we cover in the presentation? We'll review what pests are and how they differ from viruses. We'll download the three programs from their respective websites and install and update them. We'll then scan for pests and possibly visit sites known to deliver pests. We'll review the differences between the programs and make a general recommendation about who should use these programs and which of the three is the best.

All this may not be possible only the January meeting. So, we may need the following month of February to complete the presentation.

I hope all of you can attend the first two meetings of 2004. Happy New Year!

[ed: John neglected to suggesting to hope for no snow/ice meeting cancellations either !!!]

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Good Pest Overview Reference

http://www.pestpatrol.com/pestinfo/

We will likely look at this reference during the meeting. [John]

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No More Win 98 Support?

Interestingly enough, when coming home from today's computer club meeting, KYW was broadcasting, repeatedly as usual, an announcement that Microsoft will discontinue support for Windows 98 on Janury 16, 2004. This is reported as being in accordance with their policy of 5-year product support.

The announcement goes on to say that Wind 98 users should plan to either upgrade to Windows XP, which might mean they have to buy a new computer, or make sure they have some source of future support.
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However, for those who have not kept up with this, you have only been able to get support from Microsoft by paying $35 per incident - for Win 98!!!

I went to the Microsoft website to get THEIR words on this, and thought you might like to see them. The news item did leave out a bit of salient info...

So, here's a snip from the webpage, with a tad of editing on my part:
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Windows 98 Support Center

Highlights & Top Issues

Attention: In accordance with the Microsoft Product Support Lifecycle, no-charge support for Windows 98 ended on July 1, 2003. Paid-only support will continue to be available from Microsoft at $35 per incident until January 16, 2004. Support will also be available from some third party providers.

Microsoft will also continue to offer a variety of self-help resources on the Product Support Services Web site until at least January 16, 2006, two years after phone support for Windows 98 ends on January 16, 2004. These resources include the Microsoft Knowledge Base and Newsgroups.

On this Page:

- Highlights & Top Issues - Downloads and Updates - Step-by-Step Instructions & How To Articles - Additional Resources & Related Sites

URL: http://support.microsoft.com/windows98/
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We can talk about this at future get togethers, if folks are interested. BTW, you can check out support for the other versions of Windows by changing the "windows98" in this URL to "windows95, "winme" or "winxp". Check your favorite! ?? (Did I say favorite???). [Emil]

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Watch out for this one!

About a week ago, I received two of the email messages that are referred to in the article below. It was clear to me that these were scam messages, as the sort of info the messages referred to is NOT the kind that should be given at the request of an email.

My fears were confirmed by this article. Take a good look and make sure that if you are a VISA card user, you have not been taken in by it!!

Not so cheery, Emil ...
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'Phisher' site targets Visa, as holiday scams abound

By Paul Roberts, IDG News Service, December 29, 2003 9:00 am ET

Security experts are warning of a new Internet scam that preys on Visacredit card holders, using e-mail and a specially designed Web site to harvest customer account numbers and personal identification numbers. The ruse is the latest example of so-called "phisher" scams and comes as one e-mail security company reports incidents of such scams, which use decoy Web pages and spam e-mail messages to trick unsuspecting users into divulging sensitive information, are up 400 percent this holiday season.

The new phisher came to light after Internet users began receiving e-mail messages purportedly coming from "Visa International Service." The messages claimed that Visa had implemented a new "security system to help you to avoid possible fraud actions" and asked users to click a link to "reactivate your account," according to messages posted in Full-Disclosure, an online discussion list frequented by computer security experts.

The message contained a Web link that appeared to direct users to www.visa.com, Visa International's official Web site.

However, security experts who looked at the HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) message's source code discovered that the link really directed users to a Web page at an Internet address that does not belong to Visa, according to messages posted on Full-Disclosure. The Web site has since been taken down.

E-mail security company Tumbleweed Communications Corp. said on Tuesday that reports of e-mail fraud and phishing scams are up 400 percent this holiday period.

Tumbleweed based its findings on reports of scam attacks submitted to anti-phishing.org, a Web site run by the Anti-Phishing Working Group, an industry group that Tumbleweed helped found, the company said in a statement.

Tumbleweed identified more than 90 unique e-mail fraud and phishing attacks in the last 60 days, including scams like the Visa attack which spoof the origin of e-mail messages and feature links to fraudulent Web pages that collect user information.

Tumbleweed and the Anti-Phishing Working Group estimate that more than 60 million e-mail scam messages have been sent in the last two weeks and seek to take advantage of confusion and increased online transactions during the holiday season.

On average, 5 % of recipients responded to the scam e-mail, Tumbleweed said. [ed: sad news]

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Here's Another One!

In an effort to work their way round all the various anti-spam filtering programs that are being increasingly used by ISPs and users, messages in starnge formats are appearing.

Below is one - I presume that curiosity is supposed to drive one to open this sort of message! Since I do the bulk of my email activity with a text-based client, these things show up strange!
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Subject: Re: No affiliation Required Cheap Prices qwpjf kaxavhf nz

[2212.jpg] x t pxcowwwa fq bgs xyimsodmp hpva xtdwuidjcdhh bnxbgayfn ipmge jwgjxpvtkp k vbhxzl dlqvkvey
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Any cryptographers in the audience!

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The DVD Mystery !!!

Duscussing the subject of an I/O Magic DVD-RW, a query from Nelson Schrock:

"While at Wal-Mart yesterday, I noticed that they sell DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-RW and DVD RAM. What is the difference between them?

I understand that R is like CD-R's in that they can be written to once, but what is with the + and - ?

The DVD-R's were selling 25 discs for $14.95."

If some, more, most (?) of you have the same type of question in your mind, why not bring it up at the next club meeting? If one of you has the question, then, more than likely, others do, too.


DIRECTIONS FOR ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER MEETING ROOM

Meetings are in the St. Augustine Center at Villanova University. The regular monthly sessions will be meeting in Room 110.

Enter from the ITHAN AVENUE main gate, then proceed to the 2-level parking building adjacent to the St. Augustine Center, on the Ithan Avenue side of the building.

NOTE: maps on our webpage - http://astro4.ast.vill.edu/mlcug/ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- PC/128/64 Meetings 2003/4 Steering Committee Meetings

January 10 January 21 ** February 14 February 18 ** March 13 March 17 **

* = FOURTH Wednesday ** = THIRD Wednesday at Tom Johnson's home *********************************************************************************EDITOR: Emil J. Volcheck, Jr. 1046 General Allen Lane West Chester, PA 19382-8030 (Produced on a home-built PC: 233 MHz Pentium, 128 MB RAM, 20 GB hard drive, Epson Stylus Color 740 printer, HP Scanjet 6300C, CD-RW drive, DVD-ROM drive and 250 MB Zip drive, using Appleworks 5.0.3)

MLCUG LISTSERV: for members only... WWW: http://astro4.ast.vill.edu/mlcug/ PUBLICITY: Robyn Josephs 610-565-4058 VILLANOVA SPONSOR: Prof. Frank Maloney, Dept. of Astronomy

MLCUG STEERING COMMITTEE: PRESIDENT: Emil Volcheck 610-388-1581 SECRETARY: Charles Curran 610-446-5239 TREASURER: Dewitt Stewart 610-623-5145 AMIGASIG: John Deker 610-828-7897 WEBMASTER: Peter Whinnery 610-284-5234 DATABASE: Layton Fireng 610-688-2080 AT LARGE: Tom Johnson 610-525-3440 AT LARGE: John Murphy 610-935-4398