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protonic.com Newsletter
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Issue 14 - April 1, 2007
Table of contents:
????Introduction:
????Zero day bug:
????Vista will save the planet!
????Is your password safe?
????Open Office - Open door!
????A perfect kelogger:
????Windows 98 to get support:
????An Operating system on a bootable CD:
????Talkback:
????Worthy websites:
????Credits

Introduction:[ TOP ]
If you walk past the Regent Street (London) branch of the HSBC bank and you happen to have a bluetooth mobile phone, you will be hit with an advertisement for the aforementioned bank and its services. Passers by also receive videos promoting the bank.

It is believed this is the first use of such technology. A blutooth "box" inside the bank scans for bluetooth enabled phones in the area; when it finds one it sends a message asking if the owner is prepared to accept a message from the bank (damn decent of them I thought!) and if the answer is yes the bombardment begins. A good use of technology, or an outrageous intrusion?

In this edition we have bugs, scams, scares and some great sites to visit. You can have your say and be published in this newsletter by writing to clientnews@protonic.com

Zero day bug:[ TOP ]
Another bug in Windows has surfaced that allows a hacker to exploit it. Industry experts rate it as "very serious" Called the zero day bug, the vulnerability lies in the way Windows handles malformed animated cursor files and could enable a hacker to remotely take control of an infected system. Apparently you only have to visit a website, or preview an email, to get infected. But the most staggering element is that Microsoft are not rushing to provide us with a patch! A spokesperson said:

"Upon completion of this investigation, Microsoft will take the appropriate action to help protect our customers. This will include providing a security update through our monthly release process or providing an out-of-cycle security update, depending on customer needs."

Well that's alright then. http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,130287-c,windowsbugs/article.html

Vista will save the planet![ TOP ]
Microsoft has, albeit quietly, been touting the "green" credentials of Vista, claiming that its energy management functions can reduce carbon emissions and fuel bills. I have suspected that this is hogwash, and an attempt by Microsoft to jump on the global warming bandwagon, and apparently I'm not alone. Windows XP can be set to use less power if only people would take the trouble.

It really doesn't matter what operating system you use, when you are not at the PC, turn the damn thing off.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,130302-c,xp/article.html

Is your password safe?[ TOP ]
There are many people (mainly malicious) who try to crack passwords. Often they succeed. Here's the hackers' top six guesses at your password:

1. Your partner, child, or pet?s name, possibly followed by a number.
2. The last 4 digits of your social security number.
3. 123 or 1234 or 123456.
4. ?password?
5. Your city, or college, football team name.
6. Date of birth - yours, your partner?s or your child?s.

Does that cover you? If it doesn't there's no cause for complacency, you can get software to crack passwords: take a look here: http://sectools.org/crackers.html

That site contains information about, and links to, password crackers. Some may think it irresponsible to publish it, but the information is freely available to anyone who seeks it on the net, and I believe that if you, honest people, are aware of how easy it is to crack a password you might take more trouble in choosing them. Stay safe.

Open Office - Open door![ TOP ]
Users of open office should be warned that there are three security vulnerabilities in the suite that have been described as "highly critical".

The last I heard 4,500 open source developers were discussing how best to integrate the 934 solutions they had devised, into a workable patch. I believe a conference is being planned in Sweden, sometime in November.

http://www.itweek.co.uk/vnunet/news/2186206/trio-security-holes-found-open

Meanwhile, the latest release of Open Office is said to be free of the bugs:

http://www.desktoplinux.com/news/NS5512688626.html

A spokesperson said (to those contemplating the latest version) "You will be playing a vital role in helping to ensure the ongoing quality of OpenOffice.org," In other words, you are a guines-pig.

A perfect kelogger:[ TOP ]
This is quite brilliant, and very, very dangerous. You, the victim, click on a link to a website offering investment opportunity, and when you arrive you find a dead looking site that you do not understand. While you try to figure out what's going, and before you exit, a piece of code is executed and several files are implated into your system without you having any idea it is happening.
All your keystrokes are then recorded, and a report is sent to the crook who set the site up. It can even take screenshots!.

OK, that is scary, but who in their right mind clicks a link to a website in an unsolicited email? Apparently a lot of people do. http://www.websense.com/securitylabs/blog/blog.php?BlogID=115

Windows 98 to get support:[ TOP ]
Microsoft has reversed its decision to stop supporting Windows 98 and will provide updates for a further 12 months. A spokesperson said: "We recognise that many people still use 98 and cannot afford to upgrade. We feel we have a duty to support them a little while longer."

http://www.thefoolsday.com/

An Operating system on a bootable CD:[ TOP ]
"KNOPPIX is a bootable Live system on CD or DVD, consisting of a representative collection of GNU/Linux software, automatic hardware detection, and support for many graphics cards, sound cards, SCSI and USB devices and other peripherals. KNOPPIX can be used as a productive Linux system for the desktop, educational CD, rescue system, or adapted and used as a platform for commercial software product demos." http://www.knoppix.org/

It has a lot of uses, for example if you cannot boot to Windows you can pop Knoppix in the drive and you're running.

Talkback:[ TOP ]
There was nothing worth publishing in the talkback mailbag this week, at least not without risking a lawsuit!

If you have something to say, put Talkback in the subject line and send it to clientnews@protonic.com

Worthy websites:[ TOP ]
http://www.buildyourown.org.uk/pc-building/ Is a useful resource for those planning to build or upgrade a computer.

http://www.softpedia.com/get/Tweak/Memory-Tweak/Microsoft-Windows-Memory-Diagnostic.shtml Is a memory tester. So the next time you have a problem ans someone suggests "it could be a memory problem" you can check it out.

http://beer.about.com/od/cookingwithbeer/a/CookingIntro.htm Is for real cooks.

Credits[ TOP ]
protonic.news Editor: Phil Dodd,

Comments or Feedback:
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