July '05 Topics
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Eric II, King of Denmark, died in 1104. He was known as Eric the Memorable. No one remembers why.
Top 10 Viruses
This newsletter has been produced to help you
get the most out of the Internet,
New look newsletter
Observant readers will notice that there is a slightly different look to this month's newsletter. For some time now I have wanted to move away from the framed approach that past newsletters have used. Frames were great in that they allowed the menu on the left hand side to remain in the same place all the time as you scrolled though content in the main part of the page, but frames have disadvantages as well, and over time they have fallen from favour with designers.
I have also wanted to move away from the idea of having a different URL for each newsletter. From now on, all new newsletters will simply be posted at http://editor.actrix.co.nz. Separate URLS (such as http://editor.actrix.co.nz/0507.htm) will only be used for archived versions of each newsletter.
If you're not sure what I'm talking about, don't worry. Suffice it to say I've changed the format for what I think are good reasons. Hopefully, regular readers won't mind the changes either. A few other interesting bits and pieces will be included in the left portion of the newsletter from now on, too.
The last month or so has been a real doozy for viruses. A couple of variants on some well-known ones have had a resurgence and have been producing some rather nasty e-mails. Once these viruses are able to infect a machine, they cause it to send e-mails out to every e-mail address they can find. We're able to catch most of these by using our CyberScan anti-virus system, but there are new variants all the time and a few manage to slip through to users before our system is aware of them.
These particular nasties often come to you as if they were sent from your ISP. One variant appeared to come from the address email@example.com and simply stated "We regret to inform you that your account has been suspended due to the violation of our site policy, more info is attached." But, of course, the attachment wasn't more information, it was a virus.
Another variant appeared to come from firstname.lastname@example.org and said: "In order to safeguard your mailbox from unexpected termination, please read the attached document." Again the attachment was a virus. In a further attempt to hoodwink the recipient, this nefarious little e-mail also included the words: "++ Attachment: No Virus found" and contained a working link to the Symantec (Norton Anti-Virus) web site.
Please be assured that Actrix staff will not send you unexpected attachments to their e-mails unless they are the harmless html attachments that represent your invoices. You should be highly suspicious of anything you receive that you didn't ask for which an attachment; even if it does purport to come to you from someone you would normally trust. If you're unsure, call our help desk on 0800-228749 and ask some questions before you click anything.
Yet another nasty e-mail that occasionally slips through will ask you to go to a certain site to enter your log in user name and password in order to "confirm your account" or something. These e-mails usually warn you that something bad will happen if you don't - your account will be closed, or your mailbox won't work, etc. What actually happens, however, is the page you go to to put your details into captures them for use by the writer of the virus.
Again, you should be highly suspicious of any e-mail that asks you out of the blue to go to a web page and enter your personal information. All the major reputable dotcom companies like eBay and PayPal, and all the online banks have it as a matter of policy never to send you such an e-mail. If you get one, therefore, you can be almost certain it is a phishing scam. Phishing is the term used to describe the practice of fooling you into handing over your personal details to someone who wants to use them illegally.
Just think how much better the world would be if these evil people used their powers and abilities for niceness.
Something Phishy Going On (from the August 2004 Newsletter)
Last month's newsletter contained an article entitled What is Broadband and When Will I Need It? The article attempted to cover some of the issues involved with the term "broadband" that we've been hearing so much about. It explained what it is, roughly how it works, how you could get it and why you would want to. It also covered some of the good ways in which access to broadband is changing in New Zealand in that ISPs are now able to provide customers with their own DSL broadband in competition to Telecom's JetStream.
Over the last couple of months Actrix has been developing CyberJet, its exciting new DSL broadband product.We reckon we've come up with some broadband plans that stand head and shoulders above what our competitors are offering. We're not far away from releasing these. Testing has gone well and we're just waiting on last minute adjustments from Telecom that will allow us to offer it on a large scale.
The advantages of Actrix CyberJet broadband
As covered in Last month's article, there are going to be a number of really significant advantages to getting Actrix CyberJet broadband. These will include:
So, if you're contemplating that move up to broadband, don't despair! Over the next couple of weeks we will be contacting all customers directly by e-mail to let them know that CyberJet is ready, what the various plan options are, and how to sign up.
If you'd like to ask a question or request some help on any Actrix or Internet-related matter. Simply send me an e-mail with the word "Forum" in the subject line. I'll try and get an answer to you by return e-mail, and will also post the answer here for the benefit of others who may have a similar question or problem. By the same token, if you read something here and think you may have something to suggest, please feel more than free. Please also note that questions and answers may also turn up under the Helpful Tips section on the Actrix home page (www.actrix.co.nz).
Pete writes: Hi Rob, I communicate to a large group of aviation enthusiasts, and would feel more comfortable not broadcasting everyone's e-mail address with each bulletin I send out, despite privacy laws. My [idea] was to send it to myself, with the group's names in the BCC field. Would that achieve complete anonymity? Your comments appreciated...... Pete
Thanks for your e-mail. I don't know a lot about privacy laws, but it is certainly a breach of "netiquette" to send an e-mail to a large number of people and put them all in the CC field. This sends a nice little collection of e-mail addresses around for a spammer to harvest, but it also shares e-mail addresses of people who may not necessarily want their addresses shared (and allows lots of unsolicited group replies).
One way to get around this is to put everyone's address in the BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) field. This means that when the e-mail arrives for the recipient, no other e-mail addresses will appear. The recipient will also be unable to "reply to all".
It is best to just leave the "To" field blank. You will be able to send the e-mail as long as at least one e-mail address is in the BCC field. If you put your own e-mail address in the To field, recipients may be confused when they receive an e-mail that appears to have been sent to someone else. If you leave the "To" field blank, they will receive the e-mail and it will appear to them to have been sent to "undisclosed recipients." Most people can make sense of that.
To get Outlook Express to display the BCC filed in a newly opened e-mail, click View on the main menu and then "All Headers."
Aaron writes: Quick question - I'm looking for an easy way to back up my emails- either copy to a windows folder for later back up to CD or some other simple method. I've tried the export function but can't get much sense out of it.
Hi Aaron, The easiest way to do this is to search your computer for .dbx files, these are the files Outlook Express uses to store it's mail in. Once you've located these you can backup the ones you require, or the whole folder.
A more comprehensive and detailed guide can be found here - this includes backing
up the settings, address book, blocked senders etc - you only need to use the
sections for data you want to save: http://www.pchell.com/support/backupoe.shtml
Bill writes: We have just done a Symantec anti virus scan who advised that we have an Adware.IWon virus in our system.They are unable to delete or quarantine this and although supposedly of low risk would prefer to have it out of our system. We can only think it arrived when downloading the latest messenger but this may not be correct. Could you please advise how we can dispose of this from our system. The info we got from Symantec is the program file is-Fun Web Products\Installr\1bin\F3EZSETP.DLL. Thanking you for any assistance, Regards Bill
Hi Bill, I did a quick Google on "Fun Web Products" and found a good page
that discusses the product you're asking about. This might help you work out where you got
it from. http://www.pchell.com/support/popularscreensavers.shtml.
This was a fairly short answer to a pretty good question, so I might venture a couple of extra related comments. Firstly, little enhancements that are offered free on the web (e.g. click here to install the latest great little smiley thingies) almost always contain some form of spyware and should generally be avoided. Secondly, Google is a great tool for finding help with, or information about, all sorts of things online. Once you get in the habit of "googling" things you want to know about you will never go back. You'll wonder how you lived without it!
You could be a winner too! If you get a friend to sign-up for a dialup plan with Actrix, we'll give you a credit to the value of your friend's first monthly payment as soon as they pay their first bill.
You can get as many friends as you like to sign up. The only proviso is that your friend has to stay with us for at least three months. And remember, the credit comes through to your account only after your friend has paid their first bill.
We've added a referrer field to the sign up page. All your friend has to do is put your main account user name into that field when they sign up. (Your main account user name is the first part of your e-mail address before the @ sign.)
So why not go ahead and encourage your friends to sign up with Actrix? We don't think they'll ever regret making the move.
As stated above, every month all new customers who have been referred by a friend will go into a draw for six free months on whichever plan they've chosen. Winners will be contacted by e-mail and mentioned on our web page and in the newsletter around the first of each month.
Click here to access the promotional page and find out more.
Interesting sites (Click the picture links to access the sites)
Please note: Actrix supplies links to these sites for your interest and possible use. We cannot endorse or take any responsibility for their contents.
Got a site you think would be neat to share with other readers? Click here to e-mail and let me know and receive a free Norrie the Nerd chocolate bar courtesy of Actrix!
Police left phishing for details of scam website: Mastercard has admitted it didn't tell the police about a phishing website found in New Zealand that it shut down as part of a worldwide sweep. Click here for more.
Warnings given on internet seminar: The Consumers' Institute and the Commerce Commission are urging people to steer clear of an internet marketing seminar being held in Christchurch next week. Click here for more.
Criminals target TradeMe: Fraudsters have targeted online auction site TradeMe in a surge of internet crime. Click here for more.
Labour grabs lobby group's web address: Tension is rising between Auckland business groups and the Government over roading projects and Labour's hijacking of a website which was apparently to have been used in one group's proposed election-time campaign on roading. Click here for more.
And the winner of the Webby is - New Zealand: New Zealand has won the online world's equivalent of an Oscar with its tourism website. Click here for more.
Website outing forces apology: A man who plastered the details of an alleged crime - and the alleged perpetrator - over the internet has received an apology and offer of reparation by email. Click here for more.
Laptop seller gets year in jail for phantom sales: Selling, but never delivering, several laptop computers on internet auction sites TradeMe and eBay this year has landed 20-year-old Napier man Michael Shaw in jail. Click here for more.
The terror of being offline for a day: It was the biggest network outage I could recall. But it didn't matter because we were all out in the cold together. Click here for more.
Business mentor: Check before launching that website: A website provides extensive opportunities for a business to grow and expand. Setting up a new website should be an exciting step and, with proper care and preparation, rewarding. Click here for more.
Silver surfers say net is 'vital': Technology use across the age groups in the UK is on the rise, even though a recent report said older generations are still alienated by technology. Click here for more.
Woman sues Yahoo over nude photos: A woman sued Yahoo Inc. for $3 million, alleging the Internet site failed to fulfill a promise to remove nude pictures of her from the Web. Click here for more.
Brain downloads 'possible by 2050': By the middle of the 21st century it will be possible to download your brain to a supercomputer, according to a leading thinker on the future. Click here for more.
Broadband connections overtake dial-up: The number of UK Web users connecting to the Internet via broadband has surpassed dial-up subscriptions for the fist time, according to new figures. Click here for more.
Keyboard cops follow pedophiles' cyber-trail: The offices couldn't be more generic. The building is nondescript. There's a sign outside the door, but they're planning to take it down. Click here for more.
Wireless broadband goes to church: A vicar in Cardiff is offering wireless broadband access from the pews of his church, alongside traditional weddings, christenings and Sunday services. Click here for more.
Study: Shoppers naive about retail prices online: Most American consumers don't realise Internet merchants and even traditional retailers sometimes charge different prices to different customers for the same products, according to a new survey. Click here for more.
Net porn plan labelled 'obscene': The creation of the .xxx net domain has come under fire from net veterans. Click here for more.
Parents urged to check downloads: A campaign urging parents to become aware of their children's music downloading habits has been launched. Click here for more.
Firefox storms ahead in Europe: In Finland more than 30 percent of Web surfers used Firefox. Germany and Hungary are not far behind. Click here for more.
Blog Reaction Fast, Furious, Divided On Jackson Acquittal: Reaction on the Web Monday ranged from exuberance to anger after former pop star Michael Jackson was found innocent of all counts in his child molestation trial. Click here for more.
Your ISP as Net watchdog: The U.S. Department of Justice is quietly shopping around the explosive idea of requiring Internet service providers to retain records of their customers' online activities. Click here for more.
Ketchup spat embarrasses law firm: An e-mail row between an executive and a secretary at a London law firm over a £4 dry cleaning bill has made its way around rival firms. Click here for more.
Reaching out to digital refuseniks: Net access has become so talked about and embedded in society that it is easy to forget that half of the UK population remain digital refuseniks. Click here for more.
Naked Censorship?: Is your Internet browser a little less polluted with porn today? Are you seeing fewer banner ads promoting hard-core sex? Click here for more.
Blank virus blanks email: It's happened yet again. A new version of the Bagle Downloader is spreading like wildfire via email, according to email filtering firm MessageLabs. Click here for more.
Virus flood threatens home users: Virus writers have adopted a new tactic to try to make sure their malicious programs reach as many victims as possible. Click here for more.
Britney Spears No. 1 name used by hackers: While Britney Spears' pregnancy may be popular with celebrity news junkies, her time in the public eye is also making it a whole lot easier to spread computer viruses. Click here for more.
Security and Safety
Database Hackers Reveal Tactics: "We didn't use the info for bad reasons," said the 16-year-old from Massachusetts, who goes by the handle "Cam0." "It was to have the info and get kicks out of it." Click here for more.
Hacker's tale - The lure of cracking computer systems explained: As a Briton faces possible extradition to the US for alleged computer crime, a former hacker, whose prosecution collapsed, talks about the lure of breaking into systems. Click here for more.
New ads warn girls of online predators: One in five children received a sexual solicitation in 1998 and 1999, according to a survey of 1,500 regular Internet users age 10 to 17. Click here for more.
Bogus Jackson suicide bid claim used to spread malware: A spam campaign that claims Michael Jackson has attempted suicide is being used to lure surfers into infecting their PCs with a Trojan horse. Click here for more.
Trojan emails suggest trend toward targeted attacks: A report on Trojan email attacks against critical infrastructure systems in the UK highlights an emerging trend away from mass-mailing worms and viruses to far more targeted ones, analysts say. Click here for more.
Avoiding bugs and bots at internet cafes: ...computers in 90 per cent contained spyware and adware and in some cases more insidious programs such as trojans and keyloggers that can be used to steal passwords by recording keystrokes. Click here for more.
Spam, Eggs, Baked Beans, Spam, Spam and Spam
Developing Countries Hit Hardest By Spam: Developing nations are struck hardest by spam, which sucks up capacity and resources of Internet service providers and discourages consumers from using the web... Click here for more.
Spam sign-up man convicted of harassment: A US man who signed his boss up to various spam lists has been convicted of harassment. Click here for more.
Windows 2000: Microsoft's most successful failure: How bad was it? It was really bad. Unfortunately, many break-ins went unnoticed, and those that were noticed were kept very quiet. Banks, government and military sites, ecommerce sites - rest assured, they all got hacked. Click here for more.
Apple drops IBM for Intel: Apple Computer Inc. said on Monday that it will shift to using Intel Corp. microprocessors in its Macintosh computers, severing its long relationship with [IBM]... Click here for more.
Unix, Linux and Open Source
Opera boss swings at Firefox's Sugar Daddies: So far, Opera CEO Jon von Tetzchner has been pretty circumspect about FireFox - and he's always said respectful things about Mozilla browsers to us. But he did take a swideswipe at the open source project in an interview with CNET this week. Click here for more.
The Weird, Weird Web
Oh, bless me, blog, for I have sinned: Online confessors are like flashers. They exhibit themselves anonymously and publicly, with little consideration for you, the audience. Click here for more.
Firefox fans too frumpy for Beautifulpeople.net: Elitist online dating website Beautifulpeople.net is excluding Firefox users. Alternative browser users report being given the cold shoulder by the site, which prides itself on only allowing pretty people (as voted by its existing members) to join. Click here for more.
Germans come up with longest domain name: The Germans have come up with the world's longest domain name: www.WiemenschlichMenschensindzeigtihrUmgangmitderMuttersprachefrsch.de. Click here for more.
High tech computer sales jargon
NEW - Different color from previous design
Thanks again for reading the Actrix newsletter. Feedback can be sent to me via the e-mail address listed below. Please limit this to comments/suggestions regarding the newsletter. Non-forum requests for support should go to the Actrix Help Desk (email@example.com) or to the Accounts Department (firstname.lastname@example.org).