Personal Computer
Users Group

Archive of Older Special Interest Items (2001-2002)

Items of Special Interest!

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

fpcug.org is now back on-line and now hosted by westhost.com.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

hutman.com, our former internet host provider ceased business operations.

Saturday, November 02, 2002

Judge Accepts Settlement in Microsoft Case Call for Tougher Curbs Rejected

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Attack On Internet Called Largest Ever

Saturday, October 19, 2002

Which Wireless Service? The Call Can Be Complex.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Linux Goes Mainstream

Parent Beams About DirecTV - Hughes Positions Itself for New Deal

AOL Hopes New Software Will Slow MSN Threat

Friday, October 11, 2002

FCC Rejects Satellite TV Merger

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Satellite TV Rivals Rewriting Deal Firms Work to Land FCC Approval

Microsoft Easing Up On DVD Restrictions Copied Discs to Play on More Devices

Sunday, October 06, 2002

Many Functions, One Machine

Friday, October 04, 2002

WorldCom Glitch Causes Internet Delays Botched Software Upgrade At UUNet Unit Blamed

Monday, September 30, 2002

First Review of Red Hat 8.0

Broadband Disconnect

The Wrong Wave? Most Cell-Phone Users Want to Talk, Not Surf

Which Wireless Service? The Call Can Be Complex.

Tuesday, June 18, 2002
Please Note!

At the June 2002 BoD meeting a discussion arose over the cost of sending the Newsletter to all of you via regular mail. It turns out that the cost has risen dramatically due to printing and postal increases with additional postal increases coming soon. This adds up to be approximately equal to the annual dues we collect each year. It was suggested that many people would be satisfied to read the Newsletter on the website where it appears every month anyway. The savings could be considerable. To indicate your choice please forward your preference to Bill Williams (flick1@erols.com) in the following manner. In the subject write "Newsletter via website" or "Newsletter via regular mail". Bill will do an analysis and determine if the website approach is acceptable to enough members to make it worthwhile. We will still mail the Newsletter to those who prefer to continue receiving it in the regular mail.

The Newsletter would be available at all SIGs and at the General Meeting also.

Thank you for a prompt reply.
Cliff Dalseide
President FPCUG

    Making Spam Go Splat
    Sick of Unsolicited E-Mail, Businesses Are Fighting Back
    Sunday, June 09, 2002


    Privacy and Security on your PC
    By: David Rittenhouse
    May 28, 2002



    "Making Your PC Secure:"
    By: Fred Langa - http://www.langa.com/

    Part One: http://content.techweb.com/winmag/columns/explorer/2000/04.htm
    Part Two: http://content.techweb.com/winmag/columns/explorer/2000/05.htm
    Part Three: http://content.techweb.com/winmag/columns/explorer/2000/06.htm
    Part Four: http://content.techweb.com/winmag/columns/explorer/2000/07.htm

      The Langa articles are a couple years old, but still contain good information.

    StarOffice 6.0 Lives Up to its Name
    Tuesday, May 28, 2002


    StarOffice[tm] 6.0 Office Suite - A Sun[tm] ONE Software Offering 
    Thursday, May 16, 2002 


    Sun touts StarOffice as affordable Microsoft alternative 
    Wednesday, May 15, 2002 


    OpenOffice.org: Serious Suite Alternative 
    Monday, May 6, 2002 


    Be Ready to Repel Viruses, Old and New 
    By Rob Pegoraro
    Sunday, April 21, 2002; Page H07; Washington Post  


    Web surfers brace for pop-up downloads
    By Stefanie Olsen Staff Writer, CNET News.com 
    April 8, 2002, 4:00 AM PT 

    Web surfers who thought online advertisements were becoming increasing
    obtrusive may be dismayed about a new tactic: pop-up downloads.

    In recent weeks, some software makers have enlisted Web site operators
    to entice their visitors to download software rather than simply to view
    some advertising. For example, when visiting a site a person may receive a
    pop-up box that appears as a security warning with the message: "Do
    you accept this download?" If the consumer clicks "Yes," an
    application is automatically installed.

    Computer security expert Richard Smith explained that with such
    downloads, "You don't even know why you're getting this
    program, and the people who do (pop-up downloads) are relying on the fact
    that people tend to say 'Yes.'"

    "A person should request the download," he said.
    "It's the classic opt-in, opt-out debate."

    In some cases, people are not even asked whether they want the software.
    It just installs on the hard drive--a particularly troublesome tactic that
    some have dubbed "drive-by download."
    Some Net users have complained ...More....

Date: Mon, 8 Apr 2002 07:45:41 -0400
Subject: Yahoo "tracking"

Very important information about Web "Beacons" Bugs (the
real name) and Yahoo PRIVACY Policy. (This is not directed
towards email Ygroups-this has to do with your Yahoo ID and
personal info.)

On the web site you will see in the privacy statement a
reference to "Web Beacons" you need to click on the OPT-OUT
button to opt-out. If you don't Yahoo will follow you around
on the Internet tracking the sites you visit and every thing
you do and send this info back to Yahoo for "marketing"
info. This is a Web Bug. It is not cool and it is an
invasion of your privacy, but it is still legal.

All Yahoo HTML email that you receive also includes a Web
Beacon (Web Bug) this is so they can keep track of live
email addy's and to see who is opening up the email. All
Commercial and HTML email you receive has a web bug, not
just that from Yahoo.

Here is the direct link to the Web Bug (Beacon) information.
You will have to click on the opt-out link to set the
opt-out option which is just another cookie. So if you
delete your cookies you will have to go and opt-out again.


Date: Sun, 31 Mar 2002 04:16:07 -0000
Subject: Yahoo's New  Marketing Change will flood your inbox

This is rapidly making the rounds, but those of us who are in Yahoo! 
Groups need to know this: Yahoo has made a "global" change to all of 
its users "Marketing Preferences."  To check yours, and re-set them, 
log in to your Yahoo account, scroll to the bottom of the page, 
click on "Privacy Policy." On the next page, under "Assistance" 
click on "Marketing Preferences."  You will probably find that you 
have been signed up for all kinds of junk. Change each or all as you 
feel appropriate to your needs/wants.

When checking your account you will be signed up to the following:

New Yahoo! features and events. Yes  
Exclusive offers, online sales, and shopping tips on Yahoo!. Yes   
Travel specials and exclusive deals. Yes  
Managing personal finances. Yes  
Entertainment, games, and sports. Yes  
Finding a job or an employee. Yes  
Meeting someone special or a new friend. Yes  
Staying in touch with friends and participating in online 
communities. Yes  
Managing my time and contacts. Yes  
Using Yahoo! for research and surfing the Web. Yes  
Building web sites for personal or professional use. Yes  
Ways to sell things on Yahoo!. Yes  
Tools for growing and managing a business. Yes  

It will even set you up to receive junk via the U.S. mail and via your 
phone number. They have the right address and phone number, even 
though you never gave it to them.

Date: Tuesday, March 29, 2002
Subject: New Beginner class to start Monday, April 8th 
From: Ray Pollock

  Beginner's Class: Ray is planning the next Beginner's Class to start
on April 8, and to meet every day, Monday thru Friday, at 9 AM, for 2-3
weeks.  The first two weeks will meet in the Gates Lab at the Rappahannock
Library, in Fredericksburg, and the third week will be meet the Falmouth Fire 

Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2002
Subject: New Investing SIG to start Tuesday, April 9th 
From: Kay Pollock

  The Investing SIG will NOT recommend stocks.  The goal of the Investing
  SIG is to introduce participants to websites which offer a free
  education about investing and/or free tools for investigating and
  analyzing stocks.   Like other FPCUG SIGs, questions from SIG
  participants will be encouraged.  Participants will also meet others who
  are interested in learning more about investing, and learn a great deal
  from their questions as well.  The organizational meeting for this SIG
  will take place at the Falmouth Fire House on April 9, at 7 PM. 

Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2002
Subject: Two more viruses/worms/creepy-crawlies 

  No doubt you've noticed that the press (both technical and
  secular) raged all a-twitter with news of two more
  viruses/worms/creepy-crawlies. One piece of malware, dubbed
  W32/Fbound, arrives as a file called patch.exe that's
  attached to an email message with "Important!" as its
  subject (unless your email address ends in .JP - indicating
  you're from Japan - long story). The other hobgoblin,
  W32.Gibe, lives in a file called Q216309.exe that's
  attached to an email message which appears to come from
  Microsoft, and claims to be "the latest version of security
  update, the update which eliminates all known security
  vulnerabilities affecting Internet Explorer and MS
  Outlook/Express". Yeah. And I'm the Easter Bunny.

  You all know the drill, right? If somebody sends you a
  file, don't open it, run it or do anything but thumb your
  nose at it, until you've contacted the person who
  supposedly sent you the file, and made sure that it's OK.
  Even then, you should pass the file through an anti-virus
  program before it sees light of day.

Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2002
To: FPCUG Internet SIG internet-sig@fpcug.org
Subject: [Internet SIG] Identity Theft Scam Using Fake IRS Email 

Some taxpayers have received a scam email, which indicates that they are under audit 
and need to complete a questionnaire to avoid penalties and interest.  The email scam 
refers to a fictitious "e-audit."  They are asked for social security numbers, bank 
account numbers and other confidential information.

The IRS doesn't audit via email, nor does it send audit notifications via email.

Thanks to CAPT Paul L. Anderson USN (Ret), Director Retired Activities Office, NSWC 
Dahlgren VA for this info.

Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 
To: FPCUG Internet SIG internet-sig@fpcug.org
Subject: [Internet SIG] Link in Email to a Web Page Could be Fake 

Excerpts from an article by Robert Vamosi of CNET

Be careful. Not all Web site links received via e-mail open real 
Web sites. In the case of MyParty for example, the www.myparty.yahoo.com 
link is actually an attached file that contains a worm.

MyParty arrives as e-mail.  The attached file seems to be a URL 
to a Web site named www.myparty.yahoo.com.  If the fake Web site link 
is opened, the worm copies itself and sends a copy of itself to each 
address found in the Windows address book.

Also, on systems with Windows NT, 2000, and XP, MyParty installs a 
backdoor Trojan horse, allowing a malicious user to gain control over 
an infected computer.

In general, do not open attached files in e-mail without first saving 
them to hard disk and scanning them with updated antivirus software. 
Contact your antivirus vendor to obtain the most current antivirus 
signature files.

Date: Tues, 29 Jan 2002 
Subject: Myparty Worm Spreading Quickly 

Myparty Worm Spreading Quickly
By  Dennis Fisher

A new mass-mailing worm hit the Internet on Sunday and has begun 
spreading rapidly.

The new worm is known as Myparty.A and arrives as an e-mail with 
the subject line "New photos from my party!"

The body of the message reads as follows:

"Hello! My party...It was absolutely amazing! I have attached my 
web page with new photos! If you can please make color prints of 
my photos. Thanks"

There is an attachment named www.myparty.yahoo.com, which does not 
point to any Web page and is instead a disguised executable file. 
When executed, the file uses its own SMTP engine to mail itself to 
everyone in the infected PCs Microsoft Outlook address book.

The Myparty worm continued to spread rapidly throughout the day 
Monday as users in the United States arrived at work and found 
copies of it in their mailboxes. Researchers discovered late in 
the day that in addition to mailing copies of itself to multiple 
users, the worm also installs a Trojan on machines running Windows 
NT, 2000 or XP. As of 4:30 p.m. EST Monday, MessageLabs Ltd., a 
U.K.-based company that tracks virus activity, had stopped more 
than 9,000 copies of Myparty.A.

Symantec Corp., the Cupertino, Calif., security vendor, gave 
Myparty.A a severity rating of three on a five-point scale.

Date: Tues, 29 Jan 2002 
Subject: Netscape flaw leaves cookies unsecure 

By Sam Costello
January 29, 2002 6:52 am PT

A SECURITY FLAW in Netscape Communications' Navigator Web browser can 
let malicious Web site operators view the information stored in cookies 
on a user's computer, according to a security note published on 
Netscape's Web site.

The vulnerability affects Navigator versions 6 through 6.2, as well as 
version 0.9.6 and earlier versions of the open-source version of 
Navigator, Mozilla, according to an analysis written by Marc Slemko, 
who discovered the bug. The bug, Slemko said in his analysis, can be 
exploited by causing users to visit a Web address inserted into HTML 
code on a Web page or in an HTML-formatted e-mail. If the user were 
to view the malicious Web site, cookies could be stolen off the 
user's computer, Slemko said.

Cookies are small data files used by many Web sites to track user 
visits, preferences and identity. If a cookie is readable, it can be 
used to impersonate the rightful owner of that cookie on a Web site.

Netscape urges all users of Navigator 6 through 6.2 to upgrade to 
version 6.2.1 which does not contain the flaw. Mozilla users should 
upgrade to version 0.9.7, which also contains the fix.

Users can upgrade the Netscape browser at 
http://home.netscape.com/computing/download/index.html or 
Mozilla at http://www.mozilla.org/.

Slemko's analysis of the vulnerability can be found at 

Date: Sat, 15 Dec 2001 09:44:23 
To: FPCUG Internet SIG
Subject: [Internet SIG] IE Security Hole 

Microsoft released a security patch to plug a hole
in IE that could allow hackers to steal passwords
and trick people into downloading virulent files.
Users of IE versions 5.5 and 6.0 should install the patch.
The patch, released Thursday, can be found on Microsoft's
Web site.

To: FPCUG Internet SIG
Subject: [Internet SIG] Don't Open Unexpected Attachments    
NEW YORK TIMES   December 5, 2001
They Looked, They Clicked, a New E-Mail Virus Conquered

A new malicious computer virus ((worm)) named Goner began making the rounds of 
the online world yesterday like an <<Internet IQ test.>>  Anyone who has not 
learned <<the most important computer security message of the last two years 
— do not open any unexpected files that come attached to e-mail messages>> 
— ends up infecting the computer.

...Goner... deletes a number of programs, including Internet security programs 
like ZoneAlarm. If the victim uses the Microsoft (news/quote) Outlook e-mail 
program, Goner sends itself to those in the e-mail address book. It can also be 
spread through ICQ, an Internet instant-message system...

...Goner is <<not>> automatically blocked by many security screens looking for 
features of older viruses. Most antivirus companies had patches ready yesterday.

The program arrives in an e-mail message that says, "When I saw this screen 
saver, I immediately thought about you," and, "I am in a harry [sic], I promise 

you will love it!" The file attached to the message is named "Gone.scr."

"If that doesn't look like a virus, nothing does," scoffed David M. Perry, the 
global director of education for Trend Micro (news/quote), a computer security 
company based in Tokyo. Despite extensive warnings, he said, people still open 
unexpected attachments. "They call and say, `I downloaded it and I clicked on 
it — what should I have seen?' "

"Your pink slip," he explained in a mock response, "because you're an idiot."
((Please Note: I'm only <<quoting>> the article here, i.e., "idiot" is NOT my 
words  -  Marty G))


Posted December 04, 2001 11:41 Pacific Time

A NEW HIGH-RISK worm, called "Goner," which attempts to
delete a number of program files on infected
computers, including firewall applications, is
spreading quickly Tuesday, according to a number of
anti-virus firms.

The worm spreads by way of an attachment sent to users
of Microsoft's e-mail programs Microsoft Outlook and
Outlook Express, and, in a change from the usual worm
formula, also through the chat application ICQ,
according to vendors of anti-virus products including
McAfee.com, Computer Associates International, and
Trend Micro. Goner does not exploit any security
vulnerabilities like the recent Badtrans worm, but
instead must have its attachment double-clicked in
order to be launched, said April Goostree, virus
research manager at Sunnyvale, Calif.-based McAfee.com.

For the full story:

Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2001 
To: FPCUG Internet SIG 
From: Marty&Carol consultant1@usa.net 

Subject: [Internet SIG] Yet Another Danger In Visiting Unknown Web Sites 

Before you click on a URL in an email forwarded to you, ask yourself, "Do I 
know and trust the ORIGINAL email being forwarded by my trusted friend?"

SECURITY: Cookie Data Exposure Vulnerability

Microsoft has released a Security Bulletin that addresses a security 
vulnerability in Internet Explorer. This vulnerability allows data in cookies 
to be exposed to and altered by a malicious user. Cookies are used by web sites 
to store personal information about a user, and they should only be accessible 
to the web site to which they belong. Due to this vulnerability, a malicious 
user can design a URL that, if visited, is capable of accessing other web sites' 

Microsoft does not have a patch available for this vulnerability at this point 
in time. However, Microsoft has labeled the security risk of this vulnerability 
as "high," and has offered a work-around to be used until a patch has been 
released. To implement this work-around, do the following:

Open Internet Explorer.
Click on Tools and select "Internet Options."
Select the Security tab and click on "Custom Level."
Scroll to the bottom, and then set both "Active Scripting" and "Scripting of 
Java Applets" to "Disable."
Click "OK," and then click "OK" again.
Note: Disabling Active Scripting and Java Applets will cause some web pages to 
lose functionality. If you are less concerned about this security vulnerability, 
or use pages with Active Scripting or Java Applets often, you may want to wait 
for Microsoft to release a patch addressing this vulnerability rather than 
disabling scripting.

Click here for more information from Microsoft: