Security

Thu
31
Oct
Dennis Faas's picture

Internet Explorer 6 Spyware -- Alexa Registry Key, Part 3

I was fortunate enough to receive a message from the Product Manager of Alexa, Geoff Mack. His concerns were about our ongoing discussion of whether or not Internet Explorer contains Alexa Spyware . I'd like to take this time now to share his ... concerns. Geoff writes: " Hello, My name is Geoffrey Mack, Product Manager at Alexa, an Amazon.com company. I am writing to disagree with your assertion that the Alexa Toolbar is spyware. First, it is helpful to define Spyware. The definition is here . In short, Spyware is: software that gets on your machine without your permission, and tracks your ... (view more)

Wed
30
Oct
Dennis Faas's picture

Internat.exe and ptsnoop.exe in my msconfig startup, Part 2

Yesterday's Visitor Feedback of the Gazette addressed why two program files ( internat.exe and ptsnoop.exe ) might be present in the Windows msconfig startup. To be honest with you, I have never encountered these programs before. The name ... "internat.exe" seemed to me that it was a purposely misspelled version of the word "Internet" -- most likely misspelled to dupe users into thinking that it was a friendly Internet-related program. In all likelihood, I thought, the program name "internat.exe" could have been a trojan. I was right. Sort of. As always, I use Google ... (view more)

Tue
29
Oct
Dennis Faas's picture

Internat.exe and ptsnoop.exe in my msconfig startup?

Infopackets Reader 'ZZ' write s: " Dear Dennis, I would like to know what the files "internat.exe" and "ptsnoop.exe" mean. I found them on msconfig/startup tab . Should I clear their checkboxes? " My Response: After searching for those file names ... using the Google search engine, it appears that there are legitimate Windows files (internat.exe and ptsnoop.exe) -- however, there are also files with the same names that carry malicious intent. In short, the trojan file Internat.exe steals passwords and sends them to the trojan creator; the trojan file Ptsnoop attempts ... (view more)

Tue
29
Oct
Dennis Faas's picture

Uninstall MSN Messenger for Windows XP

Similar to ICQ and Yahoo Messenger , MSN Messenger is a chat program that allows you to interact with other people around the world. If my memory serves correct, ICQ is the "Grand Daddy" of all Windows-based chat programs with a graphical user ... interface (GUI), but MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger are gaining in popularity. Conveniently, MSN Messenger comes bundled with the Windows XP operating system. Wait a sec -- did I say that was 'convenient'? No it's not. Since I installed Windows XP, MSN Messenger has been in my face multiple times asking me if I want to sign up for an ... (view more)

Thu
24
Oct
Dennis Faas's picture

Internet Explorer 6 Spyware -- Alexa Registry Key, Part 2

I had a few people email me with regards to the Alexa Registry Key (Spyware) that Chris B. submitted yesterday. OK, So is the Alexa registry key Spyware or not? There is much debate . Let me try to outline some of the issues. 1. It has been said ... that the "Spyware" part of the tool will only activate if you choose to use the Alexa tool provided in Internet Explorer. Long story short: you can't activate the Spyware component used in Alexa if you don't use the Alexa tool. You have the ability to change this (see below). 2. Spyware software is considered "Spyware" because ... (view more)

Thu
24
Oct
Dennis Faas's picture

Parental Control Filtering Software, Part 2

This issue of the Gazette is a continuation of yesterday's article, regarding Parental Control Software which is used to block "bad" web sites (pornography, gambling, bad language, nudity, sex, and violence). You know -- all that kind of bad stuff ... we normally see on day-time TV talk shows. Anyway, I decided to test out a highly recommended web-filtering program, called "We-Blocker". The results of that test were mixed . We-Blocker was able to block only a *very small* selection of "bad" web sites. I was able to break through We-Blocker's filtering control and ... (view more)

Wed
23
Oct
Dennis Faas's picture

Parental Control Filtering Software, Part 1

Yesterday's Visitor Feedback posed the question, "where can I get free parental control software that will filter out pornography , gambling, bad language, nudity, sex, and violence?" Since I was unfamiliar with the subject, I decided to ask the ... readers of the Gazette to send me their thoughts. Jeanne A. writes: " Thank you for your great newsletter. In response to your request about parental control software, I use We-Blocker on my kids' computer and it does an excellent job. You can set the level of control and allow or disallow additional sites. Best of all, it's free and ... (view more)

Tue
15
Oct
Dennis Faas's picture

Windows Security Threat -- NTFS Alternate Data Streams, Part 2

This issue of the Gazette is dedicated to "tying up a few loose knots" from our ongoing discussions about Hackers and Security threats . First, I'll give you all an update to Gazette issue dated October 10, 2002 (Windows Security Threat -- NTFS ... Alternate Data Streams ). To recap: an anonymous reader (John Doe) sent in an email that discussed a potential security risk in Windows which might allow a hacker to take a screen capture of a computer with the NTFS file system installed. I realize that this article was a bit on the "technical side", but I did my best to clear up ... (view more)

Thu
10
Oct
Dennis Faas's picture

Windows Security Threat -- NTFS Alternate Data Streams

Since we're on the hot topic of hackers and hacking lately, I thought I'd share with you another great resource that Eric B. sent me. The web site is called myNetWatchman . The myNetWatchman program (agent) gives users a heads-up that they have a ... security problem, if their system becomes infected with an Internet Worm virus. There's also some super-cool reading on their web site (RE: ' Windows Forensics ') which shows how multiple non-hostile applications combined can lead to a hacking threat. I'm not going into great detail because I don't want to spoil it for you; however, I will say that ... (view more)

Wed
09
Oct
Dennis Faas's picture

Can I track down a hacker?, Part 2

Yesterday's Visitor Feedback asked, " Can I track down a hacker ?" My answer to that question was a passive one -- mainly based on the fact it would take an inconceivable amount of time to prosecute each and every hacker who tries to wallow his way ... into your computer system. An algorithm for a typical Hacker might look something like this: Randomly select a computer to hack; Attempt to gain access to randomly selected computer; If access is granted, deliver a payload (send virus/trojan, delete files); If access is not granted, disconnect from this computer; Repeat process. With the ... (view more)

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