July 31, 2004 - All
kidding aside regarding Microsoft, it's time to check to make
sure that you have the latest patches and updates for your systems.
The latest warning from CERT regarding Internet Explorer needs your
attention - even if it means working over the weekend. You might
want to consider dropping down to the bottom of this page and
reviewing the alternatives to Internet Explorer.
July 29, 2004 - Think
you're smart enough to tell if an email is a fake or if it's
from someone who really needs your information? According to MailFrontier
you have a 28% chance of giving information to parties that have
no need for it. On their web site you can take a phishing
trip and see just how well you tell a fake email from the
real thing. So the next time you get an email asking for personal
information, even it seems to come from your HR department, read
it carefully and don't be afraid to contact the party directly
July 28, 2004 - Google and
host of www.wi-tegrity.com) are often thought of as the
gold standard for Internet services - so how could they have
problems from Interntet attacks? Not having been part of the
group that found the problem and fixed it, one can only speculate.
The suspected culprit is the mydoom virus that is aimed at the two service
giants. Mydoom has been known to spread through email attachments.
If enough computers were infected and then attack a network,
automated defenses would either slow or stop traffic to a site.
The attackers managed to reach their objective.
No physical damage, an economic loss for the firms involved and
millions of clients inconvenienced. Previous updates on wi-tegrity
have warned about email attachments. As always, keep everything
up to date and delete email attachments from people you don't
know. Even if it means missing a chance for millions of dollars
For more information on the problems with
mydoom and Outlook Express check out the CERT site.
Life is not all bad in the Internet world.
There is still cool stuff and fun sites out there. If you want
to have the world's news at your finger tips, customized to your
needs, go to the Amphetadesk web site and learn how to set
up your own news aggregator. You can know what's going on in
the world the minute you boot up your computer. Well - a few
July 20, 2004 -
Microsoft is getting set to release the biggest update for XP
to date. This will be known as Service Pack 2 (SP2). It is scheduled to
be released in August. System administrators and developers are
advised to be very careful about this upgrade. Since it is security
oriented, it is possible that some web based services may have
to be modified. If you have been keeping up with all the security
updates from Microsoft and you have a well maintained firewall,
you might want to wait a week or two and see how others are fairing
July 18, 2004 -
Is it a profit center or a just another amenity? As more and
more restaurants, hotels, inns and even New England Bed and Breakfast
establishments are offering wifi access to their guests, many
are wondering if it is worth charging for the service. While
some companies may be able to sew up exclusive contracts in areas
where access can be limited, the opportunity for profit is diminished
as more free spots open up.
Looking to use a free hotspot? As usual,
be smart about it. Make sure the restaurant or Inn is really
offering the service and it's not a rogue spot set up to steal
your credit card numbers. Don't send your credit card number
over an open hotspot. Be happy to check your email and plan the
rest of your day.
As more places get free hotspots, watch
here for announcements.
July 6, 2004
- The Department
of Homeland Security has taken the unprecedented step of
advising against the use of the Microsoft Internet
Explorer. There have been reports of vulnerabilities that
may actually compromise your computer's security. There is no problem
with the use of Internet Explorer and the Macintosh operating system.
There is a certain amount of irony in this
warning. A search of the Department of Homeland Security website
for articles on Internet Explorer and Microsoft yields the URLs
of certain sites that require Internet Explorer to view.
When receiving news like this many people
often wonder about the alternatives, if there are any. Fortunately
there are alternatives to Internet Explorer. As you may have
guessed, the first alternative would be switching to a Macintosh.
As stated above, a Mac, even one running IE, is not affected
by the latest exploits. However, given the fact that most people
do not want to scrap their Intel based computers, nor do they
wish to convert them to Linux,
(my next suggestion) there are other options.
The old favorite, Netscape still exists. And is still being
maintained. It is easily downloaded and installed from the Netscape
site. Upon it's first loading it will ask if you want to make
Netscape your system's default browser. That decision is best
left up to the individual.
Another browser that has been around for
sometime is Mozilla.
Mozilla is a favorite of the Linux community but there are versions
for other platforms. Mozilla and Netscape share some of the same
features. (A bit of cross breeding over the years). Among these
features is the ability to create and edit your own web pages.
A third popular browser is Opera. You can download Opera for free, but
there is a catch. You will see more advertising than ever. You
can purchase a version for $39.00. The paid version does not
have the advertising build into it.
Although wi-tegrity does not particulary
endorse any of these browsers, we do want people to know there
are alternatives to what came installed on their computers.