Friday, May 02, 2003
Wednesday, April 30, 2003
About email worms
I was on a message board the other day and someone had gotten an email from someone they knew, but it turned out the email was spoofed, generated by a email worm, while he opened the email, he did not open the attachment, because the person who sent it usually writes a bit more that "check this out". So he asked what is a worm, how does it work, and what can you do to prevent this. Being that I have some knowledge on the subject, I posted a response that I thought may be helpful to the novice, and I thought I should post it here also:
There is really no "easy explanation" as to how an email worm works, but I hope this helps. The worm is a program, just like your internet explorer, MSword, Excel, Resident Evil or solitaire, once the program executes it can pretty much do anything to your PC, read, write, delete, execute other programs. If you use MS Outlook, your address book is stored in a folder and its always in the same place on any PC, so the worm knows where to look and can read it. Furthermore each address entry has a specific format so the worm can sift though the file and knows what is an address and what is not. The same goes for ICQ, and your browser cache. Knowing this, the worm can now execute your email program and send a replica of itself to all the addresses it found.
As for the second part, again there is no easy answer, one way you can possible verify whether an email is actually from the person is to look at the email header, and verify that the mail server is the same as the persons email account, if you get an email from JoeBlow@hawaii.rr.com and the header says the email server was xtreme.uk.net and not the Hawaii road runner mail server then it may be falsely generated. Of course no one does this on a regular basis, the cold truth is there is no easy way to verify the sender is legit or from an infected PC. You can usually safely open any email you get, although there are some sophisticated worms that can execute when opened, the vast majority need you to open the attachment to execute, you need to have anti-virus with an email checker to scan the attachment.
Suggestions on prevention: spend $30 for anti virus software and update it on a regular basis. Get the most current updates of Outlook and Explorer. There is a setting you can turn on that will check if you have the most current version. Better yet don't use MS outlook at all, hackers know it's the most popular email program and write their virus specifically for outlook. That preview window in outlook is the same as opening it and as stated above there are some rare, smarter worms out there. Use an internet email like yahoo, hotmail, or pay $5 a month to subscribe to a messaging service like NetAddress, your address book resides on their server, and they always have the latest virus preventions. Or you can buy/download an email program that has public-key cryptography, like MailSafe or PGP which allows you to sign an email with an electronic signature that guarantees the sender is who it say its from. This also has the advantage of having the address book in a format that the virus may not be able to read. (emphasis on may not). Delete your cookies and temporary internet files and delete your history, on a regular basis, you may have to do more typing but you won't leave a trail of addresses that can be easily found.
Also very important: another way of being infected is if you have roadrunner or DSL. You MUST, repeat MUST, get a firewall installed or you will in all likelihood get infected from there.
Tuesday, April 29, 2003
via Tom Tomorrow
From this it seems that the "Saddam has WMD's and would in fact use them against our troops" screed was, well, a lie.
Officials inside government and advisers outside told ABCNEWS the administration emphasized the danger of Saddam's weapons to gain the legal justification for war from the United Nations and to stress the danger at home to Americans.
"We were not lying," said one official. "But it was just a matter of emphasis."
Officials now say they may not find hundreds of tons of mustard and nerve agents and maybe not thousands of liters of anthrax and other toxins. But U.S. forces will find some, they say. On Thursday, President Bush raised the possibility for the first time that any such Iraqi weapons were destroyed before or during the war.
"just a matter of emphasis"...yeah right.
this article calls a spade a spade. I heard this quote from Penn Gillette, from Penn & Teller, on their Showtime show Bulls**t it's a good show, debunking such things as the environmental wacko movement, psychics, feng Shui, bottled water, and the like, but here's the money line:
"No ends justifies the means, of lying"
That's the way love goes...
Federal terrorism charges were filed yesterday against a 20-year-old California woman who allegedly threatened to kill the passengers and crew of a cruise ship sailing to Hilo last week, said U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo.
Kelley Marie Ferguson of Laguna Hills was charged with two counts of threatening acts of terrorism, Kubo said. Each count carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. Probation is not allowed under the statute, meaning Ferguson would be required to spend some time in prison, if convicted.
"The defendant said that she never wanted to go on the cruise with her family and that she wrote these notes hoping it would shortern her time on the cruise, thereby allowing her to rejoin her boyfriend in Orange County, California,"
Why oh why do people do these kinds of stupid things?
Time for a new PC
So its time to buy a new PC, my current one is (get ready to say wow that's old), a 200Mhz pentium, purchased circa 1995 (say it now). Buying a new one is not the problem. The problem is offloading the data from the old girl. The CD-burner died about six months ago, and I have no zip drive or tape backup. I figure I have about 6 gigs of data that I want to keep. What I may try to do is to remove the dirve from the old one and try to hook it up to the new one, I have no problem opening the case and puttering with it. Maybe I can buy/get some USB/Firewire transfer utility. I just hope the old girl can last a few more weeks.