Computer Viruses, Hoaxes , Anti-Virus Utilities

Never forward a message unless you know it's true. So the next time someone e-mails you about another doomsday virus, or that Bill Gates is going to give you $100 just by forwarding an e-mail, stop and think where is this information really coming from? Chances are, it's just a hoax.

What is a Computer Virus?

"A cracker program that searches out other programs and "infects" them by embedding a copy of itself in them, so that they become Trojan horses. When these programs are executed, the embedded virus is executed too, thus propagating the "infection". This normally happens invisibly to the user.

Unlike a worm, a virus cannot infect other computers without assistance. It is propagated by vectors such as humans trading programs with their friends. The virus may do nothing but propagate itself and then allow the program to run normally. Usually, however, after propagating silently for a while, it starts doing things like writing "cute" messages on the terminal or playing strange tricks with the display (some viruses include display hacks). Many nasty viruses, written by particularly antisocial crackers, do irreversible damage, like deleting all the user's files."
- http://www.dictionary.com/cgi-bin/dict.pl?term=virus

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Software and Anti-Virus Information

If your AntiVirus software is configured to scan just Program Files, make sure that these file extensions are on the the list of extensions that are checked:
Otherwise, choose to scan "All files."
Norton AntiVirus

Symantec AntiVirus Research Center
"SARC is committed to providing swift, global responses to computer virus threats, proactively researching and developing technologies that eliminate such threats and educating the public on safe computing practices."

Get updated Virus Definition files for Norton AntiVirus from here. http://sarc.com/

McAfee's VirusScan.
Answers and solutions to your virus questions. Download a free 30 day evaluation. http://www.mcafee.com
McAfee, Network General, PGP & Helix have merged to create a new company, called Network Associates.

Dr. Solomon's Anti-Virus 
Virus Central: Virus Alerts, News, events, research, primers and descriptions
Don't Panic: So you think you have a virus....

Dr Solomon's Software is one of the world's leading developer of computer virus detection, identification and disinfection tools for all major operating systems, Groupware applications and e-mail. Dr Solomon's also develops solutions for software and hardware auditing, network management and system administration and a helpdesk management system for support environments.

Trend Micro
HouseCall is a free, online scanner that detects viruses and cleans your PC. There's nothing to install and nothing to update. http://www.antivirus.com/

OpenAntiVirus Project
OpenAntiVirus is not another virus scanner to put on a computer! OpenAntiVirus is a platform for people seriously interested in anti-virus research, network security and computer security to communicate with each other, to develop solutions for various security problems, and to develop new security technologies. http://www.openantivirus.org/

CERT Coordination Center
The CERT Coordination Center is the organization that grew from the computer emergency response team formed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in November 1988 in response to the needs identified during the Internet worm incident. The CERT charter is to work with the Internet community to facilitate its response to computer security events involving Internet hosts, to take proactive steps to raise the community's awareness of computer security issues, and to conduct research targeted at improving the security of existing systems. http://www.cert.org/

Central Command Anti-Virus Center
Central Command Inc. designs, consults, develops, distributes, and markets antivirus software and hardware, and is one of the leading antivirus companies in the United States and Canada. It's flagship product is AntiViral Toolkit Pro. http://www.avp.com/

Computer Incident Advisory Capability (CIAC)
CIAC provides on-call technical assistance and information to Department of Energy (DOE) sites faced with computer security incidents. This central incident handling capability is one component of all encompassing service provided to the DOE community. The other services CIAC provides are: awareness, training, and education; trend, threat, vulnerability data collection and analysis; and technology watch. http://ciac.llnl.gov/ciac/

Personal Firewall.
A firewall isolates your computer from the Internet using a "wall of code" that inspects each individual "packet" of data as it arrives at either side of the firewall -- inbound to or outbound from your computer -- to determine whether it should be allowed to pass or be blocked. Release History http://zonelabs.com/

GFI Email Security Testing Zone
Test the security of your email system!

Is your email system secure against email viruses and attacks? The most deadly viruses, able to cripple your email system and corporate network in minutes, are being distributed worldwide via email in a matter of hours (for example, the LoveLetter virus). Email worms and viruses can reach your system and infect your users through harmful attachments. But that's not all! Some viruses are transmitted through harmless-looking email messages and can run automatically without the need for user intervention (like the Nimda virus). Are you covered against such threats? http://www.gfi.com/emailsecuritytest/

Good And Bad Online Security Check-Ups
Fred Langa found some great sites for testing system and network security. Discover what you can learn about your system security just by pointing and clicking. http://www.informationweek.com/841/langa.htm


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The Danger Of Stealth Executables By Fred Langa

Microsoft Messaging Security Loophole Downloads Dangerous Code
There's a real vulnerability lurking in Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express.
The "Active Setup Control Security Loophole" can download and save an e-mail borne attachment without your intervention or knowledge.
Goto Microsoft Security Bulletin (MS99-049) to download patches. http://www.bugnet.com/alerts/bugalert_111599.html

Chilton Preview for Microsoft Outlook
Chilton Preview is an extension specifically designed to work with Microsoft Outlook. It adds a window below the message list window that displays the contents of the currently selected message and the To:/Cc: recipients. You can customize the preview window by right clicking on the preview window and choosing the Chilton Preview tab under Tools | Options. Internet and email addresses are highlighted in blue within the preview window and can be clicked to launch either a browser or new mail message window. File attachments can be opened or saved when applicable. http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Peaks/8392/


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Virus and E-mail Hoaxes

Never forward a message unless you know it's true. So the next time someone e-mails you about another doomsday virus, or that Bill Gates is going to give you $100 just by forwarding an e-mail, stop and think where is this information really coming from? Chances are, it's just a hoax.

Computer Virus Myths  Toppick
Learn about the myths, the hoaxes, the urban legends, and the implications of computer virus myths. You can also see a list of virus hoaxes from A to Z.
Check out the "False Authority Syndrome" article.

Visual Developer editor Jeff Duntemann sums it up best: "If people exercised greater discretion in who and how and to what degree they place their trust, we would know more as a community -- and we would know it better. There would be fewer paths for bad or phony knowledge." http://www.Vmyths.com/

F-Secure Hoax Warnings Pages
Hoax warnings are typically scare alerts started by malicious people - and passed on by innocent users who think they are helping the community by spreading the warning.

Do not forward hoax messages. We've seen cases where e-mail systems have collapsed after dozens of users forwarded a false alert to everybody in the company. Corporate users can get rid of the hoax problem by simply setting a strict company guideline: End users must not forward virus alarms. Ever. It's not the job of an end user anyway. If such message is received, end users could forward it to the IT department but not to anyone else. http://www.datafellows.com/news/hoax/

HoaxBusters: CIAC: Internet Hoax and Chain Letter pages
A public service of the Computer Incident Advisory Capability (CIAC) team and the U.S. Department of Energy.

You can help eliminate "junk mail" by educating the public on how to identify a new hoax warning, how to identify a valid warning and what to do if you think a message is a hoax.

Chain Letter: "A letter directing the recipient to send out multiple copies so that its circulation increases in a geometric progression as long as the instructions are carried out." Webster's II, New Riverside University Dictionary, 1984.

"Interspersed among the junk mail and spam that fills our Internet e-mail boxes are dire warnings about devastating new viruses, Trojans that eat the heart out of your system, and malicious software that can steal the computer right off your desk. Added to that are messages about free money, children in trouble, and other items designed to grab you and get you to forward the message to everyone you know. Most all of these messages are hoaxes or chain letters. While hoaxes do not automatically infect systems like a virus or Trojan, they are still time consuming and costly to remove from all the systems where they exist. At CIAC, we find that we spend much more time de-bunking hoaxes than handling real virus and Trojan incidents. These pages describe some of the warnings, offers, and pleas for help that are filling our mailboxes, clogging our mailservers, and that generally do not have any basis in fact." http://HoaxBusters.ciac.org/

Symantec Anti-virus Research Center (SARC) - Hoaxes
Although there are thousands of viruses discovered each year, there are still some that only exist in the imaginations of the public and the press. This is the comprehensive list of viruses that DO NOT EXIST, despite rumor of their creation and distribution.

Please ignore any messages regarding these supposed "viruses" and do not pass on any messages about them. Passing on messages about these hoaxes only serves to further propagate them. http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/hoax.html

Trend Micro Hoax Encyclopedia
With the increase in the growth of viruses and Trojan programs, many computer users have turned to the Internet as a fast and easy tool to warn friends and co-workers of these threats. At the same time, there has also been a growth of virus hoax warnings. These warnings often describe fantastical or impossible virus or Trojan program characteristics, but appear to be real or forwarding these hoax warnings to friends and co-workers only perpetuates the problem.

  1. If you receive an email that you suspect is a hoax, do not forward it to your family and friends.
  2. If you receive an email with an attached file from an unknown source, simply delete it.
  3. Viruses and Trojan programs must have code that is executed in order to infect. If you "double-click" an attached file on an email message, you are executing code and may infect your machine. (Note: Newer antivirus software is capable of scanning these attachments before they are opened.)

AFU and Urban Legends Archive
Archives from the alt.folklore.urban newsgroup.
Search for E-mail forwarding hoaxes and other urban legends. http://www.urbanlegends.com/

Urban Legends and Folklore

E-Hoax by ZDNet.com
Our e-hoax specialist debunks urban myths, chain e-mail, and pervasive riff-raff spread via the Internet. Did you receive an e-hoax you want to be investigated? Submit it to [email protected]. http://www.zdnet.com/zdhelp/filters/ehoax/

Break the Chain
Break the Chain's "goal is to educate people about the e-mail chain letters circulating on the 'net, share the facts, give our interpretations, and provide the tools and information people will need to make their own decision about the validity of a message." http://www.breakthechain.org/

Well-intentioned but stupid: Are you the Net's weakest link? By David Coursey, AnchorDesk
"It's been a good week for slimeballs and well-intentioned idiots who've once again made the Internet such a fun aberration of real life. I am speaking about the dozens of "virus warnings" I've received telling me to erase a Windows utility from my machines before it turns into a deadly virus sometime today.

This isn't the first time a crafty bit of social engineering--I deeply believe this was done on purpose--has managed to get people to do themselves what it used to take a real virus to do. That is: overload everyone's e-mail with useless messages, erase files, waste time, and bring others into the mess so they can do the same. " http://www.zdnet.com/anchordesk/stories/story/0,10738,2767075,00.html

Urban Legends Reference Pages

Evaluating Internet Research Sources
There is an extremely wide variety of material on the Internet, ranging in its accuracy, reliability, and value. Unlike most traditional information media (books, magazines, organizational documents), no one has to approve the content before it is made public. It's your job as a searcher, then, to evaluate what you locate, in order to determine whether it suits your needs.

Information is everywhere on the Internet, existing in large quantities and continuously being created and revised. This information exists in a large variety of kinds (facts, opinions, stories, interpretations, statistics)and is created for many purposes (to inform, to persuade, to sell, to present a viewpoint, and to create or change an attitude or belief). For each of these various kinds and purposes, information exists on many levels of quality or reliability. It ranges from very good to very bad and includes every shade in between. http://www.virtualsalt.com/evalu8it.htm

Evaluation of information sources
Pointers to criteria for evaluating information resources, particularly those on the Internet. It is intended to be particularly useful to librarians and others who are selecting sites to include in an information resource guide, or informing users as to the qualities they should use in evaluating Internet information. http://www.vuw.ac.nz/~agsmith/evaln/evaln.htm


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Code Red Worm
Microsoft Security Bulletin MS01-033
Unchecked Buffer in Index Server ISAPI Extension Could Enable Web Server Compromise
Affected Software:
Microsoft Index Server 2.0
Indexing Service in Windows 2000
Indexing Service in pre-RC1 versions of Windows XP

Patch Availability
Download locations for this patch
  • Windows NT 4.0:
  • Windows 2000 Professional, Server and Advanced Server:

Tool to Remove Obvious Effects of the Code Red II Worm
Microsoft has developed a tool that eliminates the obvious damage that is caused by the Code Red II worm. http://www.microsoft.com/technet/treeview/default.asp?url=/technet/itsolutions/security/tools/redfix.asp





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