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Quote of the Last Century:  
Sticks and Stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.................



Letter to the editor

Things to live or die by on the web.

I have finally seen just about everything. I want to stand up and say, "Honey, I've finished the web" and be done with it.

Back to reality...... I had a call from a friend at a financial institution asking for help to unzip a zip file. No problem, I know the software wizards personally and it really can't be that big of a deal. Right? Our office policy long ago around here was no zips period. We would rather pay more monthly for faster transfer speeds than to subject ourselves to what a lot of hackers call the treasure chest also known as zip files. As I proceeded to walk her through this process there seemed to be some problems with the zip file. My friend was intent on seeing what the file had in it since it was from a direct competitor who they were toe to toe with at the present. Raise the stakes a notch, her President of her company was depending on she and I to solve this mystery. One hour into the mystery, conference calling now so the "group" could be in on this, we get into the file. She reads the two files and one was a batch file also known as a .bat .  Now who would be sending this bank batch files? She insisted that it was from their competitor since it said so on the email. Red flags went off in my brain and I asked how did you get this? She said " They emailed it to me." I asked " Did you request this"? She said "No"

Sure enough when we dug into the host headers of the email this was coming from a HongKong IP. She had seen that and thought since they had offices in Hong Kong that it was probably OK. WRONG.

Rules of the Road

  1. Never open a zip file unless you are 100% sure where it came from and you were expecting it.

  2. Even if you are expecting the zip file it must come from a source that has some experience with basic virus security. Otherwise you get the "I didn't know" excuse as you spend the next 3 to 7 days reinstalling a lot of software and backups. Oh yeah did I mention backups?

  3. Always take the time and the pain in the butt to make backups. It is no fun, it never will be, but your work product is the effort already in the past tense and a great loss if you ever need it.
    Surveys have shown that 60% of the effort/work companies expend is spent on fixing problems. Fixing something that "fell through the cracks" so to speak. Running down your data should not be on the list of things to do.

  4. Never open an attachment with .exe unless you know the source.  This file is ready and armed. Again apply common sense and resist the temptation if you are not expecting this type file. Remember that I Love You may not be True Love at all.

  5. Email headers can be spoofed/faked/forged. Yes a lot of mail servers do not check or verify routing instructions in a very secure manner. Some do not want to because they are part of the Spam and Damn approach. There are 2 types of spam. Destructive and Non destructive. I have seen viruses in the past, "sent" from a financial trade association email address to it's members yet they claimed they never sent it. Just about all the members opened it since it had the correct "Face Value"  Imagine the wasted time explaining and researching that problem, not to mention ill feelings from their members and users who cannot believe someone can really do this. Yes advanced Spammers can and do do this. So do the hackers.

  6. You absolutely must run a virus protection always. Never surf without the most current version. If you are too cheap to pay $30, more or less, then you deserve to have problems. The brilliant minds that work on the virus issues need cash too. If we cannot pay the brightest and the best minds in the world then those wizards may seek employment on the dark side, and maybe without even knowing it. The old saying goes here- "Either you r fer us or agin us" and no that was no typo. The easiest way I know how to say this very important point is - Consider this software the condom for your computer... enough said

  7. This is the sore point to many in the world. .doc files can be as destructive as zip. They are used by millions of people and every time I get one from a client I just hold my breath and click. I am always so relieved when I don't see smoke or alarms. This goes back to point #2 about the sender knowing what they are doing. Remember that everyone that uses the same info and files are transmitting and receiving partners. .doc files can easily be laden with command codes if you did not already know that. More to come on that subject.

  8. Just because the domain name says www.ArizonaCreditUnions.whatever does not mean that it is anything. The Dot Tag, as well call them, should reflect the keywords in them, but that is not a guarantee. The example of the Arizona dot com above was made to look like a Microsoft help page for credit unions. It was a Venus fly trap and thousands of people where infected before it was shut down. Know before you go. Before you get too deep into a website think about things like the tracking code and cookies that are being placed on your machine. Some sites carry what is called moles to really hone in on your activities. These guys did not spend millions of dollars on software and put out "Free Candy Here" signs just because they are good ole boys.

  9. Wake up and experience the marvel of the New World Order. Yes even though everything above has the potential to be negative, we should still embrace the power of information. I met an encyclopedia salesmen a while back who was selling the Britannica hardcover books. I felt so sorry for this clean cut hard working kid. I asked how many he had sold his first week and he said none. He had bought his sales demo copy to lug around for show and tell but had been unable to sell a single set. He got a tremendously reduced rate on his copy and he could hold the book by one page and the page would not tear. What a deal. Termite proof books. I asked him about the internet and the amount of current to the second information stored there. Science can change daily. He explained they had a yearly update to solve that. I looked into this kids eyes, barely 22, and said "Let it go" Unless you are interior decorating for a magazine article of a showcase home with a library let the old ways go. Step into the turbo charged world called the Information Highway and have the greatest tool on earth in an instant. Imagine doing your homework and having the library of congress at your finger tips or your next research paper with current up to the minute accuracy. The power to deliver a video of a timeless moment that can inspire greatness from deep inside the soul.

This and so much more and it is readably available to us now. With a few simple rules for the road you should be saying "full steam ahead". The Future Is Here.
written by John Alden
Premiere Media Group


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