Security

Wed
25
Feb
Dennis Faas's picture

OEM software -- deal or deception?

Infopackets Reader Pete N. writes: " Dear Dennis, My email box has been bombarded lately -- as I'm sure most of your readers have -- with solicitations for OEM Software (sans the box and manual) available at ridiculously cheap prices. The deal is ... very tempting, but can you tell me the pros and cons of buying and using this stuff? I find it hard to believe that the only difference [when purchasing OEM software] is that you don't get the manuals and boxes. Can you explain? " Side note: OEM is an acronym which stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. My response: Anything that ... (view more)

Thu
19
Feb
Dennis Faas's picture

Are email and IM's private?

Infopackets Reader "Artsiii" writes: " Dennis, thanks very much for your informative newsletter. Someone told me that every email and Instant Message [IM] I've ever sent has been saved by my Internet Service Provider [ISP] or email program. Surely ... this can't be true? There must be millions of messages sent every day. Isn't this information private? I know I would not like what I have said at one time or another available to anyone. Explain please. Thanks for your help. " My response: Interesting questions. Let me try and break it down. RE: Is information that travels ... (view more)

Tue
20
Jan
Dennis Faas's picture

Track emails received by recipient?, Part 2

With respect to our recent discussion on MsgTag and tracking whether or not a recipient has received an email, quite a few Readers emailed me over the weekend with some questions. Infopackets Reader Frank R. had some security concerns about MsgTag. ... He writes: " I was curious about MsgTag, so I went to download it. I was immediately notified that my security settings would not allow that to happen. I use Spyware Blaster and IE-spyad for protection against the 'bad guys', as well as the usual anti-hacker firewall / anti-virus stuff ... so now I'm second guessing the whole MsgTag operation ... (view more)

Wed
14
Jan
Dennis Faas's picture

Track emails received by recipient?

Infopackets Reader Brian 'BigJohn2' writes: " A year ago (maybe longer), I downloaded a freeware program from the web that allowed me to know when my emails were received by the recipient. I have since run into some complications with my computer ... system, had to reformat my entire hard drive, and wasn't able to save any of my downloaded utility programs. The real bummer is that I've completely forgotten the name of this tracking program and am unable to reference it on the web. Are you aware of such a program? " My response: After fumbling through Google for an answer, I came across ... (view more)

Wed
17
Dec
Dennis Faas's picture

'Brute Force Server Error' when using Internet?

Infopackets Reader Madelaine M. writes: " Lately, when I am trying to connect to the Internet, I get a message saying, 'Brute Force Server Error'. When I click the window, the error message disappears. I use Norton Anti-virus 2002 and Spy Sweeper to ... scan my system for viruses and Spyware. What else should I do to avoid this problem?" My response: I can say that I have never heard of this error message before. I did some research using Google, but wasn't able to come up with anything conclusive. However, what I did find is that the term "Brute Force" refers to a form of ... (view more)

Thu
11
Dec
Dennis Faas's picture

Surveillance Software: record chat logs and more?, Part 2

Infopackets Reader Kevin C. writes: " Dear Dennis, I just read your article on Guardian Monitor 8.0 . I checked the Washington Post article that you included in your review and read the comparison of Guardian Monitor versus the other surveillance ... programs ... but none mentioned the possibility that an outsider (hacker) could access your PC and obtain the data captured by the surveillance software -- and possibly obtaining passwords, account numbers, etc. Should this be a concern? " My response: Excellent question. As I previously discussed, Guardian Monitor records key strokes ... (view more)

Tue
09
Dec
Dennis Faas's picture

Surveillance Software: record chat logs and more?

Have you ever wondered what your loved one is doing online? Infopackets Reader Lisa E. addressed a few of her concerns over the weekend: " Dear Dennis, I have Windows XP. I have several people using this computer and would like to know how to access ... chat files. Everyone has their logon password protected, and my children do a lot of chatting on Yahoo and MSN Messenger. Can you tell me how to find and access these files?" My response: I only use MSN Messenger on my Windows XP system, so I downloaded and installed the latest versions of Yahoo Messenger, ICQ Pro 2003, ICQ Lite, and AOL ... (view more)

Thu
04
Dec
Dennis Faas's picture

Digital Steganography: The art of Hiding Files, Part 3

Can Digital Steganography be used with good intent? Recall -- Last week, I wrote 2 articles on Digital Steganography (pronounced "Stay-Gan-Aw-Gra-Fee"). By definition, Steganography is simply the art of hiding plain data from sight. In the same ... respect, Digital Steganography is the ability to hide a file inside of another file, called the "carrier file". Both articles focused on a question sent in from Infopackets Reader John B., who proposed the question, "If I downloaded a jpeg image file from the Internet, and it has a virus hidden inside ... [can the virus execute ... (view more)

Tue
02
Dec
Dennis Faas's picture

Can't open email attachments?

Infopackets Reader Jim D. writes: " Dear Dennis, I use Windows 98 and Outlook Express to read my email. A buddy of mine thought he was helping me by 'tweaking' my computer system, but now I cannot open any email attachments! What can I do? PS: How ... may I retrieve a file that has been deleted? " My Response: It sounds like your friend "tweaked" your computer by upgrading you to the latest version of Outlook Express -- version 6. By default, Outlook Express 6 will not allow you to open email attachments on the assumption that the email may contain an malicious attachment ( ... (view more)

Tue
02
Dec
Dennis Faas's picture

Web PopUps, Messenger PopUps, and Spyware PopUps

Infopackets Reader Gaye B. writes: " Dear Dennis, I'm a newbie on the computer, and I have a big problem with popup advertisements. When I first got my PC, I let a friend use it to surf the web (unsupervised). Since that day, my computer has been ... infested with despicable ads appearing on the screen. What can I do to stop this from happening? " My response: The first thing you should do is tell your friend to mind where he surfs because it has caused you and your PC a lot of trouble! The next thing you should do is download some software that can remove / block popup advertisements ... (view more)

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