Saturday, October 30, 2010

Clayton State Student Help Desk Wins Video Contest at USG Computing Conference

Members of the Clayton State University’s IT student help desk, The HUB, have proven equally skilled in the video arena as they are in the information technology arena.

At the University System of Georgia’s recent 39th Annual Computing Conference at the Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton, Ga., the HUB won first place in the 2010 Video Contest with their LANDesk Man entry.

“LANDesk Man is our very own resident warrior against evil and viri!” exclaims Shannon Thomas, Clayton State director of Client Services. “LANDesk Man is capable of exterminating the nastiest, most frustrating forms of virtual infections with little effort nor stress to your computer's performance. LANDesk Man is as capable of vanquishing malicious programs within the blink of an eye.”

The HUB staff who created the winning video included Sherry Paul, Corey Wagner, Courtney Pipkins, Chris Baldwin, Simeon Payne, Ryan Belom, Daniel Stone and Broderick McNeal, along with help from the University’s Center for Instructional Development.

The Computing Conference provides the opportunity for technology professionals and technology users throughout the System to exchange information with their peers and gain an accurate picture of the current and future state of technology.

The HUB’s winning video can be seen at; http://thehub.clayton.edu/landesk/. For more HUB videos, visit their YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/user/CSUTheHUB.

Friday, October 29, 2010

New Trojan Program Attacks Macintosh Computers

The following article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at http://www.eogn.com. 

Windows users have been plagued for years with viruses, keyloggers, Trojan horse programs, and other forms of malware (malevolent software). During this time, Macintosh users have simply smiled as their computers were safe and secure. Most Mac users don't even bother purchasing anti-virus programs as they have never had a need for such things. This complacency may be ending, however.

A newly discovered Trojan horse spreading through social networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, targets Apple's Mac OS X operating system, including the latest version, 10.6 Snow Leopard, by baiting users into clicking a link. Computers become infected when someone visits a social networking site and sees a message that reads, "Is this you in this video?" Clicking the infected link loads an infected file into your computer.

Antivirus firm Intego issued a notice Wednesday suggesting that the Trojan, a Mac version of the "Koobface" worm, carries a "low risk." The security firm said that the current Mac OS X implementation is flawed, though it admitted the threat exists and is likely to become a more legitimate concern in the future. Apple is expected to soon release an operating system update that will block the new Trojan.

The program, called trojan.osx.boonana.a, runs a Java applet that attempts to download files to any Macintosh system. It then automatically launches an installer that modifies system files and allows remote access to all files on the system. It also checks in with control servers to report information from the infected system. The Trojan also automatically runs in the background at startup, and attempts to hide its activities across multiple files. The thieves who write this malware are then free to remotely connect to your computer and copy any files they wish.

If your computer becomes infected, it is easily cured. SecureMac has released a FREE removal tool to eliminate this threat, which can be downloaded by visiting http://www.securemac.com  or downloaded directly from http://macscan.securemac.com/files/BTRT.dmg

Intego's VirusBarrier X6 and X5 at http://www.intego.com/virusbarrier/ sells for $49.95 and will detect and remove the malware. It also offers ongoing protection to block future viruses and Trojans, unlike the free SecureMac program that only removes existing problems.

Luckily, the new Trojan is easily avoided. The safest course of action is to not use social networking sites (Facebook, MySpace and Twitter). However, if you insist on using such sites, never click on any messages or links, even if those messages and links that claim to be from people you know. Your friends' names and email addresses are easily forged by malware programs. The message "Is this you in this video?" is an obvious trap but future versions of this malware could easily use different messages.

Users can further protect themselves from infection by turning off Java in their web browser, although this will also block many legitimate web sites. Java can be turned off in Safari by clicking the Security tab under Safari Preferences, and making sure the "Enable Java" checkbox is unchecked. Firefox, Opera, Camino, and other web browsers also can run without Java.

Finally, use the security features built into OS X. Turn on the built-in firewall, especially when a computer is shared by multiple users. Instructions for turning it on may be found on a number of web sites, including at http://www.cmu.edu/computing/doc/security/mac/firewall.html

Again, the simplest and safest solution is to not visit web sites where viruses and Trojans are known to exist. At this time, the highest risk is on the social networking web sites.

Linux computers are not affected by the new Macintosh Trojan or by the various Windows viruses and Trojans.


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Thursday, October 21, 2010

24-Hour Johnny Cash Internet Radio Station Launches

/24-7/ -- Johnny Cash fans around the world can now tune in to Johnny Cash Radio, a new venture launched by Bill Miller who, along with the late Johnny Cash, founded the official Johnny Cash website 14 years ago.

The station, www.johnnycashradio.com, streams Johnny Cash music and content 24 hours a day, seven days a week. "Johnny Cash Radio is a dream come true for Johnny's millions of fans around the globe. We are the source for all things Cash, and our lineup includes programming hosted by Johnny's own family members, friends, former band members and others in the music industry," said Miller.

Among the family members who host their own shows is the wife of John Carter Cash (Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash's only son), Laura Cash, and Johnny's youngest sister, Joanne Cash Yates. The programs range from DJ-style shows to documentaries featuring interviews with Cash friends and associates to rare vintage performances by the Man in Black spanning his five decades strong career.

Miller and his wife Shannon host the weekly webcast, The Johnny Cash Radio Show, which features guests such as Kris Kristofferson, Graham Nash, Merle Haggard, Rosanne Cash, Jane Seymour, Charlie Daniels, The Oak Ridge Boys and friends, family members and associates who knew Cash.

"There are few other entertainers whose body of work could sustain a 24 hour, seven days a week radio stream. With Johnny Cash's five decades of writing and recording, our station is always fresh and relevant," Miller said.

Johnny Cash began his career in music in 1954 and has sold over 100 million records. He is the only entertainer in history to be inducted into the Country Music, Rock & Roll and Songwriter's Halls of Fame. His life story was chronicled in the 2005 blockbuster film Walk the Line which starred Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon as Johnny Cash and June Carter.

The Johnny Cash Radio stream is powered by Live365.Com

JohnnyCash.Com and JohnnyCashRadio.Com serve fans of the Man in Black from around the world. For further information, please contact Bill Miller at odysgroup@aol.com.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fraud Advisory for Consumers: Involvement in Criminal Activity through Work from Home Scams

Consumers continue to lose money from work-from-home scams that assist cyber criminals move stolen funds. Worse yet, due to their deliberate or unknowing participation in the scams, these individuals may face criminal charges.

Work-from-home scam victims are often recruited by organized cyber criminals through newspaper ads, online employment services, unsolicited emails or “spam”,¹ and social networking sites advertising work-from-home opportunities. Once recruited, however, rather than becoming an employee of a legitimate business, the consumer is actually a “mule” for cyber criminals who use the consumer’s or other victim's accounts to steal and launder money. In addition, the consumer’s own identity or account may be compromised by the cyber criminals.

Example of a Work-From-Home Scheme:

• An individual applies for a position as a rebate or payments processor² through an online job site or through an unsolicited email.
• As a new employee, the individual is asked to provide his/her bank account information to his/her employer or to establish a new account using information provided by the employer.
• Funds are deposited into the account that the employee is instructed to wire to a third (often
international) account. The employee is instructed to deduct a percentage of the wired
amount as their commission.
• However, rather than processing rebates or processing payments, the individual is actually
participating in a criminal activity by laundering stolen funds through his/her own account or a newly established account.

In February 2010, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) coordinated with state law enforcement officials and other federal agencies to announce a sweeping crack down on job and work-from-home fraud schemes fueled by the economic downturn. Individuals who are knowing or unknowing participants in this type of scheme could be prosecuted.

Protect Yourself:

• Be wary of work-from-home opportunities. Research the legitimacy of the company through the Better Business Bureau³ (for US-based companies) or WHOIS/Domain Tools⁴ (for international companies) before providing personal or account information and/or agreeing to work for them. In addition, TrustedSource.org can help you identify companies that may be maliciously sending spam based on the volume of email sent from their Internet Protocol (IP)⁵ addresses. See also the FTC’s recommendations⁶.
• Be cautious about any opportunities offering the chance to work from home with very little work or prior experience. Remember: if it looks too good to be true, it usually is.
• Never pay for the privilege of working for an employer. Be suspicious of opportunities that require you to pay for things up front, such as supplies and other materials.
• Never give your bank account details to anyone unless you know and trust them.
• If you think you may be a victim of one of these scams, contact your financial institution
immediately. Report any suspicious work-from-home offers or activities to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)⁷ at http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.

For more information, visit:
• PhishBucket.org, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting job seekers fromfraudulent job offers.
• OnGuardOnline.org. Sponsored by the FTC, this site provides practical tips from the
federal government and the technology industry to help you be on guard against Internet
fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information.
• Better Business Bureau, http://www.bbb.org/us/article/work-at-home-schemes-408.

¹ Cyber criminals may also spoof a legitimate business to entice you into opening the email, which may contain a fraudulent application for information or malware.
² Other common job titles for these schemes include trading partner or currency trader.
³ http://www.bbb.org/
⁴http://www.domaintools.com/
⁵An IP address identifies the company’s website host or network interface and location.
⁶http://www.onguardonline.gov/topics/email-scams.aspx#3
⁷The IC3 is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).


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Friday, October 8, 2010

President Obama Signs Historic Technology Access Bill

/PRNewswire/ -- Today, joined by disability-rights advocates and tech industry representatives, President Obama signed into law the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act. The legislation requires smart phones, television programs and other modern communications technologies to be accessible to people with vision or hearing loss.

"This law is life-changing for the millions of us with disabilities who are too often unable to take advantage of new technologies," said Paul Schroeder, Vice President of Programs & Policy at the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB). "It opens the door to the digital age, and gives Americans with visual or hearing impairments equal access to smart phones, emergency broadcast information, the menus and controls on televisions and cable TV guides, and much more."

Signed into law during National Disability Employment Awareness Month, this legislation is expected to create more opportunities in the work place, the classroom, and everyday life. "It will help Americans with disabilities work more productively, respond to emergencies more effectively, and participate even more in society and culture," said Mark Richert, Director of Public Policy at AFB and a principal negotiator with the communications and TV industries.

"This law builds on the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act and ensures people with disabilities can fully participate in the 21st century," said Carl R. Augusto, AFB's President & CEO. "We applaud the many advocates and lawmakers who fought tirelessly to make this law a reality."

The legislation gives individuals with vision or hearing loss improved access to television programming, smart phones, the Internet, menus on DVD players, program guides on cable TV, and more. Specifically, it:

* Mandates mobile phone companies to make web browsers, text messaging, and e-mail on smart phones fully accessible.
* Restores and expands requirements for video description of television programs, in addition to requiring cable companies to make their program guides and selection menus accessible to people with vision loss.
* Ensures people with vision loss have access to emergency broadcast information.
* Provides $10 million in funding each year for assistive technology for deaf-blind individuals.
* Ensures that Internet-enabled mobile phones are hearing aid compatible.


The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act passed Congress with bipartisan support. A number of members played a key role in moving the legislation forward. In the U.S. Senate, the bill was championed by Senator Pryor (D-AR), with the support of Senator Kerry (D-MA), Senator Rockefeller (D-WV), Senator Hutchison (R-TX), and Senator Ensign (R-NV). In the U.S. House, it was championed by Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), with the support of Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA), Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), and Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL).

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit that expands possibilities for people with vision loss. AFB's priorities include broadening access to technology; elevating the quality of information and tools for the professionals who serve people with vision loss; and promoting independent and healthy living for people with vision loss by providing them and their families with relevant and timely resources. AFB is also proud to house the Helen Keller Archives and honor the more than forty years that Helen Keller worked tirelessly with AFB. For more information visit us online at www.afb.org.

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fake iTunes Bill Can Drain Your Bank Account

The following article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at http://www.eogn.com. 


I received one of these email messages a few days ago. Luckily, Gmail placed it in my spam folder so I didn't see it until today when I went looking for it. You have to hand it to these scam artists: they certainly are clever at devising methods of stealing your money.

I wrote a couple of days ago at http://goo.gl/nvl9 about a "trojan" email message that steals your user IDs and passwords to your online banking account. This new scam is a different Trojan message with a very clever delivery method.


The new scam sends a fake "iTunes receipt" email message to millions of people. The message appears to be completely authentic, except for the price shown in your bill. The message I received was for nearly $1,000. That's part of the trap.

Most people are likely to take action when seeing an "incorrect amount" appear on their bill. (I didn't do that because I never saw the "bill" in my spam folder until I went looking for it later, after reading about the new scam.)  Most people will click on the "report a problem" link that is included in the email message. However, that link takes you to a rogue web page that downloads the same Zeus trojan malware as described in the earlier article to your Windows computer. (Linux and Macintosh computers will not be affected.)

The program then waits for the user to log onto a list of targeted banks and financial institutions, and then steals login credentials and other data which are immediately sent to a remote server hosted by cybercriminals. It can also modify, in a user’s browser, the genuine web pages from a bank’s web servers to ask for personal information such as payment card number and PIN, one time passwords, etc.

Panda Labs released a statement explaining the infection process:
"After clicking the link, the victim is asked to download a fake PDF reader. Once installation is complete, the user is redirected to an infected web page containing the Zeus Trojan, which is specifically designed to steal personal data."
Here is the full announcement from Panda Labs:
Massive Phishing Attack Uses iTunes as Lure to Steal Bank Details, Reports PandaLabs

ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 4 -- PandaLabs, Panda Security's antimalware laboratory, has discovered that Apple's popular iTunes platform has become a major target for hackers looking to steal credit card data from the service's millions of users. 

Victims receive a cleverly-crafted email informing them that they have made an expensive purchase on iTunes. The user, having never made the purchase to begin with, is concerned by the email and naturally tries to resolve the problem – in this case by clicking on the proffered (fake) link. An example of this fraudulent iTunes receipt can be seen here:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/panda_security/5050360091/

After clicking the link, the victim is asked to download a fake PDF reader. Once installation is complete, the user is redirected to an infected Web page containing the Zeus Trojan, which is specifically designed to steal personal data. This phishing attack was uncovered shortly after a similar phishing attack targeting LinkedIn users appeared last week, which appears to have originated in Russia.

"Phishing is nothing new," said Luis Corrons, Technical Director of PandaLabs. "What never ceases to surprise us is that the techniques used to trick victims continue to be so simple, but the design and content is so very well-orchestrated. It's very easy to fall into the trap. When using services such as iTunes, it is absolutely crucial that users never go to the website via email, but rather from the platform itself where they can verify their account status." 

This technique has been reported to the Anti-Phishing Working Group, which has started to block some of the Web addresses linked to in the fake email. 

PandaLabs advises all users to be wary of any emails related to iTunes, regardless of how genuine they seem. Users who think they may have been affected are urged to scan their computers thoroughly to locate and remove any possible active threats. [Windows] Users who do not have an antivirus installed can use Panda Cloud Antivirus, a free security service available at www.cloudantivirus.com.

More information is available in the PandaLabs Blog.

About PandaLabs

Since 1990, its mission has been to detect and eliminate new threats as rapidly as possible to offer our clients maximum security. To do so, PandaLabs has an innovative automated system that analyzes and classifies thousands of new samples a day and returns automatic verdicts (malware or goodware). This system is the basis of collective intelligence, Panda Security's new security model which can even detect malware that has evaded other security solutions.

Currently, 99.4 percent of malware detected by PandaLabs is analyzed through this system of collective intelligence. This is complemented through the work of several teams, each specialized in a specific type of malware (viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, phishing, spam, etc.), who work 24/7 to provide global coverage. This translates into more secure, simpler and more resource-friendly solutions for clients.

More information is available in the PandaLabs blog: http://www.pandalabs.com.



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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

EarthLink Demonstrates Comcast-NBCU Merger Will Increase Prices of Comcast's Broadband Service

/PRNewswire/ -- EarthLink, Inc. (Nasdaq: ELNK), one of the nation's leading Internet service providers, has presented an economic report to the Federal Communications Commission on the proposed merger of Comcast Corp. and NBC Universal. The findings demonstrate that control of NBC Universal's content and assets will result in Comcast raising the prices that consumers pay for standalone broadband service. This report was prepared by Professor Simon J. Wilkie, Former Chief Economist of the Federal Communications Commission, and is available at http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020915403.

The report shows that an increase in the price of standalone broadband service will harm consumers in several ways. In response to higher prices, existing subscribers may be forced to drop their broadband service subscription and new subscribers may not be able to afford Comcast's broadband service. Further, Comcast customers who wish to "cut the cord" from the higher-priced Comcast cable television subscription in order to access lower-cost online video and voice services via standalone broadband or simply "break the bundle" and subscribe only to broadband services will face increased charges. As a result, the market for innovative online video services will be stifled and the nation's goals of ubiquitous broadband adoption and usage will be dampened.

In June, EarthLink asked the FCC to deny the merger or adopt a condition requiring Comcast to offer wholesale standalone broadband access service to independent Internet service providers. Professor Wilkie determined that allowing consumers to have a choice for broadband services will allow consumers to "break the bundle," promote and discipline Comcast's pricing and protect the development of online video. This remedy will impose little or no costs on Comcast while at the same time generating significant benefits.

"Professor Wilkie has confirmed through substantial findings that the Comcast-NBCU transaction will result in a real and significant harm to consumers," said EarthLink General Counsel Samuel R. DeSimone, Jr. "The FCC must step in to ensure that consumers have access to affordable standalone broadband service."

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