Engadine Web Services
Newsletter 1 - 20 April 2004

Welcome to the inaugural issue of the Engadine Web Services newsletter. This newsletter has been designed to maintain links with customers and provide an information service for internet users generally.

Bruce Beresford, Engadine Web Services - ManagerEditorial

As a big user of the internet, I subscribe to quite a few internet newsletters and forums, from general information through web-design and the latest technology and techniques to virus and security issues.

There is a wealth of information and opportunities on the net and it is my intention to distill the data I review and pass it on as a service to my customers and those who wish to avail themselves of this newsletter.

Bruce Beresford, Manager

 

In this Issue:

 

 

 

 


Virus Watch  Back to top...

News from Symantec - the latest virus threats are:

15-04-04 W32.Mydoom.I@mm

15-04-04 W32.Gaobot.AAY

16-04-04 W32.Netsky.W@mm

16-04-04 Backdoor.Sdbot.T

 

Virus Detection and Prevention Tips (Courtesy McAfee Security)

  1. Do not open any files attached to an email from an unknown, suspicious or untrustworthy source.
  2. Do not open any files attached to an email unless you know what it is, even if it appears to come from a dear friend or someone you know. Some viruses can replicate themselves and spread through email. Better be safe than sorry and confirm that they really sent it.
  3. Do not open any files attached to an email if the subject line is questionable or unexpected. If the need to do so is there always save the file to your hard drive before doing so.
  4. Delete chain emails and junk email. Do not forward or reply to any of them. These types of email are considered spam, which is unsolicited, intrusive mail that clogs up the network.
  5. Do not download any files from strangers.
  6. Exercise caution when downloading files from the Internet. Ensure that the source is a legitimate and reputable one. Verify that an anti-virus program checks the files on the download site. If you're uncertain, don't download the file at all or download the file to a floppy and test it with your own anti-virus software.
  7. Update your anti-virus software regularly. Over 500 viruses are discovered each month, so you'll want to be protected. These updates should be at the least the products virus signature files. You may also need to update the product's scanning engine as well.
  8. Back up your files on a regular basis. If a virus destroys your files, at least you can replace them with your back-up copy. You should store your backup copy in a separate location from your work files, one that is preferably not on your computer.
  9. When in doubt, always err on the side of caution and do not open, download, or execute any files or email attachments. Not executing is the more important of these caveats. Check with your product vendors for updates which include those for your operating system web browser, and email. One example is the security site section of Microsoft located at http://www.microsoft.com/security.

 

Manage your Mail  Back to top...

How many email messages do you receive each day that you have to delete? Even worse, have you been caught by opening an email attachment that infected your computer with a virus?

I have reviewed several packages that make email management a lot easier and help protect your computer against receiving a virus. In addition to this software it is extremely important that you have virus protection software installed, including Firewall software (the latter a must if you have a broadband connection).

The email management software that I have settled on is called MailWasher Pro and has proved a godsend. The major selling point of this software is that you manage your email at server level, downloading only valid emails to your email program on your computer. To give you an example, over the past 4 weeks I have received 4,874 emails to my email server. MailWasher Pro found 80% to be spam, viruses and other unwanted emails. This package costs US $37.00, well worth the investment. You can download a 30day free trial at http://www.firetrust.com/products/pro/free.php.

Be prepared to spend a little time setting up, but it's worth the effort. This company supports a great forum at Computer Cops where you can get all the help you need setting up.

 

Ad-aware - remove adware components  Back to top...

While the Internet is a powerful resource and provides users with many useful and often entertaining things to see and do, it also has its dark side.

Most people are familiar with freeware, shareware, cookies, media players, interactive content, and file sharing. What they may not realize is that some of the aforementioned may contain code or components that allow the developers of these applications and tools to actually collect and disseminate information about those using them.

They can track your surfing habits, abuse your Internet connection by sending this data to a third party, profile your shopping preferences, hijack your browser start page or pages, alter important system files, and can do this without your knowledge or permission. The security and privacy implications of these exploits should be quite obvious and undesirable on any system or network!

Have you noticed pop-up advertisements on your computer desktop; had you computer taken over for a short time (i.e. lost control)? Well it's possible you have been under attack through the sites you have visited.

AdAware is a privacy tool, that scans your memory, registry, hard, removable and optical drives for known data-mining, aggressive advertising, and tracking components. It then lists the results and offers to remove or quarantine the components. The program detects a wide range of adware/spyware related issues and can be updated with the latest signatures via the built-in update utility. Please be advised that removing certain components may impact the functionality of effected software applications. You should fully read the included Ad-aware documentation before removing any files!

Ad-aware 6 is FREE and available here...

 

Search Engines  Back to top...

Has your web-site been found by search engines? The most common way your prospects search across the Internet is by using a search engine. Search engines such as Yahoo, Google, Excite and Ask assist people browsing the Web. They give you lots of possible answers and unless your site appears in the first few pages of their results it will most likely be missed.

So how do search engines work? They help people find relevant information on the Internet. Major search engines have huge databases of web sites that surfers can search by typing in some text. Search engines send out spiders or robots, which follow links from submitted web sites and index all pages they come across.

Each search engine has its own formula for indexing pages; some index the whole site, while others index only the main page. They decide the amount of weight that will be placed on various factors that influence results. Some want link popularity to be the most important criterion, while others prefer meta tags.

Search engines use a combination of factors to devise their formulas and their rules are always changing. Probably the most important thing to do is have good quality relevant content on your site and maintain site optimisation.

To get your site registered or elevated with search engines you can follow three basic paths.

  1. Pay for inclusion/elevation (a very expensive option $600 and more for six months).
  2. Regular monthly submissions (probably the most cost effective method, you can do this yourself or we can help).
  3. Do nothing and hope that the search engine spiders come across your site one day and index it.

There is no silver bullet, apart from spending 'big bucks', however repeated monthly submissions over a six month period, at least, has proved very successful. Submitting more often than monthly can cause the search engines to consider your site as spam, and ban your site.

 

SPAM Laws  Back to top...

As you are probably aware, Australia now has anti-spam laws, the Spam Act 2003, and these laws prohibit the sending of unsolicitored commercial emails.

How can I tell if it’s spam?

To comply with Australia’s spam laws, a commercial electronic message must meet the following conditions. Any message sent to you that doesn’t meet all three of these conditions is defined as spam:

  • Consent – it must be sent with your consent. You may give express consent, or consent may be inferred from your conduct and ‘existing business or other relationships’
  • Identify – it must contain accurate information about the person or organisation that authorised the sending of the message
  • Unsubscribe – it must contain a functional ‘unsubscribe’ facility to allow you to opt out from receiving messages from that source in the future

A spam message is not necessarily sent out in ‘bulk’ to numerous addresses – under Australian law, a single electronic message can also be considered spam.

Under the Spam Act 2003 it is illegal to send, or cause to be sent, ‘unsolicited commercial electronic messages’ that have an Australian link. A message has an ‘Australian link’ if it either originates or was commissioned in Australia, or originates overseas but has been sent to an address accessed in Australia.

If you are seeking further information re. anti SPAM Laws follow the link below:

http://www.aca.gov.au/consumer_info/spam/consumerinformation.htm

 

Visit the Chernobyl 'dead zone'  Back to top...

I came across this very interesting site recently. It has been built by a young Russian woman who rides motorcycles; she's obviously well educated and well-to-do. Her father is a nuclear scientist and she lives 100 miles from Chernobyl and will take you on a motorcycle ride through the dead zone. Since her web site is on a small obscure server it may be busy and you might have to try several times to get in. You won't be sorry and it will leave a lasting sobering impression.

Click on image or URL below:

http://www.angelfire.com/extreme4/kiddofspeed/

 


 

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Have any questions relating to the internet or your computer? Let me know and I will research an answer and use this for future entries in our newsletter. Pass on your questions via the Enquiry Form on our Web-Site or send me an email.

 

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This newsletter may contain links to sites on the Internet that are not owned and/or operated by Engadine Web Services. Engadine Web Services is not responsible for the content of any such linked sites. Unless otherwise specifically stated, Engadine Web Services has no commercial link with any companies or their products mentioned within this newsletter. Please review our privacy statement.

 

Copyright © Engadine Web Services

Manager: Bruce Beresford

Phone: 02 9520 7838

Mobile: 0402 024 160

http://www.engadineweb.com.au/

ABN: 34 474 430 019