This page contains news and updates about viruses, worms and other issues that will affect your network as well some tips to for your network. There might even be some controversial topics.

June 25, 2004 - The Associate Press, as reported in the Wall St Journal online, has a story about a Microsoft vulnerabilty that is the target of a new virus. This vulnerability has only been recently discovered. There is no patch yet.

The virus appears to actually target financial data and may be contracted by going to unsafe web sites.

Some experts have suggested using a non -Microsoft browser. One can be found at www.mozilla.org. Macintosh users are unaffected by this.

Microsoft has advised users to set their browser security selections to their highest level. This is computer equivalent of locking your doors and barring your windows because the monster is loose in the village. Didn't Mary Shelley warn us about this? Macintosh users can settle on Mel Brooks warning.

June 24, 2004 - No one likes the idea of an audit. Even if you do everthing correctly, the thought of someone poking around in your stuff makes you uneasy. However a security audit is a good way to test everything that you have bought and installed. Consider a review of your hardware, software and procedures before an intruder provides you with a complimentary audit.

An AOL employee has been arrested for the theft and sale of millions of AOL members names. Tech Republic was one of the first to report this story.

An editorial in the Decatur Daily warns of the threat of Spyware. It's good to see non technical puplications take up the fight for safe computing.

June 16, 2004 - Is it a hoax, a threat, or nothing to stay up nights worrying over? It's a cell phone virus. A few years ago when the purpose of the cell phone was for making calls, this was not a concern. Contemporary cell phones are loaded with features that make them more computer than telephone. Among the features added were Bluetooth, that someday to be ubiquitous short range communication protocol. This makes it easier to transfer data between devices that support Bluetooth. The ease of data transfer is what makes the easy transfer of viruses theoretically possible.

The experts opinions seem to vary on the severity of the threat, if there is one. Wired has their opinion [likely to change] and other sources, such as News.com have other ideas. [editorial comment - At wi-tegrity we don't think these viruses will be a problem until Outlook and VB run on cell phones.]

June 15, 2004 - P2P has published a warning about the latest Zafi.B virus. Like many others, this virus spreads itself through email. It is multi-lingual and mails itself out in Hungarian, English, Italian, Spanish, Russian and Swedish carrying a political message. SearchSecurity.com has more information on this latest threat.

June 14, 2004 - Recently it was reported by IDG and several other sources, that the source code for Cisco routers was leaked to the Internet. What this means is that the very basic programs that run Cisco routers and switches were made available to the world. How much of a threat is that. Probably not too much. While such code being public could reveal the trade secrets of Cisco equipment does its job, it does not necessarily mean that the devices are any more easily compromised. Tech Republic recently addressed this issue. Once again the advice is, and I sound like a broken record (20th century precursor to the CD), to be certain all default passwords are changed and all recommended software updates are performed as soon as practical.

So where was the real damage? More to Cisco's corporate pride than anything else, especially since they have been touting their concept of self-defending networks in their advertising.

British Telecom may be abandoning plain old telephone service (POTS) in favor of voice over IP (VoIP). VoIP uses the same technology for your voice calls as the Internet uses for email and web surfing. Proponents of VoIP cite cost savings and economy as the major benefits of VoIP. Many companies, including Nortel Networks , have been selling VoIP equipment for years. The primary market has been private telephone systems. British Telecom's venture with the public network will be a first for that nation.

June 11, 2004 - Spyware is the latest threat and, in theory it's older than you think. Remember the old dial-up service called Prodigy (It still exists in some form)? It was a fun introduction to being able to use computers for more than filing recipes. As part of its operating systems Prodigy created some files on your hard disk and none of the [minimal] documentation explained. There were all sorts of conspiracy theories about why the files were there and how IBM and Sears Roebuck were using the files to spy on you. Supposedly the department of Defense banned Prodigy on their computers. These fears were unfounded. However, there is a very real 21st problem with files on your computer telling the world more about you than you want the world to know. Fox news has a story describing spyware and some tips on getting rid of it.

Please don't depend on software firewalls on your computer. By the time your firewall detects a virus, worm or spyware installation, it's already too late. If you have any sort of broadband connection you should have a hardware based firewall. Even if it's a simple router/firewall appliance. Contact wi-tegrity for more information.

CERT has issued a warning regarding problems with Internet Explorer running on Windows systems. Click here for more information.

June 9, 2004 - Now that we are through staring at the planet Venus, back to some serious issues. Hiawatha Bray, of the Boston Globe has done some research. This respected tech writer has done some serious research on spam coming from home users' computers. This is a serious allegation and should be looked into by anyone with a home computer attached to a broadband service.

Not wanting to come across as a Windows basher I usually don't jump on stories about how many people avoid Windows systems. (wi-tegrity does perform security evaluations of Windows Networks.) A thread on slashdot.org talks about Windows avoidance and the alternatives. Caution - there may be some rough language at that site.

June 7, 2004 - There is a new trend in restaurants, cafes and even bookstores. No, it's not some super new blend of coffee or an exotic tea - it's wireless network access. Many service establishments are taking advantage of the fact that many of the portable computers patrons are carrying are equipped with wireless network cards.

There are two schools of thought on this trend. One is to make the wireless service part of the menu. Offer your customers the chance to connect for a fee, either based on an hourly rate or a flat monthly rate offering unlimited air time. T-Mobile is working very hard at this.

The second way of thinking is to feature wireless service as a condiment (I didn't invent this comparison). You would not charge extra for cream and sugar or an extra napkin. You won't charge extra for someone to connect to your network and check the stock prices or send some email. (As long as you segregate them from your business network.)

There will be more on this subject in later updates. We will even list some of the wi-tegrity favorites.

June 2, 2004 - The fastest growing threat to computer security is not those nasty worms that seem to make their way around the globe faster than the Genesis Project in the "Wrath of Kahn", but rather it is the proliferation of open wireless systems. In a recent and, admittedly, unscientific survey wi-tegrity demonstrated that most wireless networks are not secure. A scan of a number of networks in northern Bristol County and southern Norfolk County Massachusetts show that many people have installed wireless networks in both their homes and businesses, yet have not taken the simple steps to secure their system. A recent CNN story confirms that this is happening in other areas of the country as well.

Failing to secure a wireless network at home means that not only are you providing free wireless access to anyone in the neighborhood, you are also giving them the opportunity to read all of your personal computer files and to capture your bank account and credit card numbers.

Failing to secure a wireless network in your business does pretty much the same thing as at home with the added bonus that you could be in violation of Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA and who knows how many lesser known regulatory actions.

Before you even plug in the power supply of your brand new 802.11X wireless router do something that no one likes to do. Read the instructions and if you aren't sure you can maintain a secure network spend a few dollars to have a professional do it for you. It will be the money you've spent on security since your firewall. By the way, with an unsecured wireless network you may as well skip the firewall. It's useless.

Any mention of a product or service in this area is for news purposes only. It should not be taken as an endorsement by wi-tegrity management or partners.

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LAST UPDATED July 13, 2004