WWW 111 Security OutlineEdit

An in-class discussion on issues regarding individual privacy from Oakton Community College (Spring 2005).

Spam Notes Here:

Spam: the unsolicited e-mail you receive more often than not. It’s usually commercial advertising and frequently for dubious products, get-rich-quick schemes, or illegal services. What happens is an unsolicited party, whose intentions are to gain your personal information and/or your authorization for any payments or purchases, reaches your attention through creative e-mail and/or interactive sessions. Parties interested in your money are involved, and they often distribute your information to other ‘spammers’. This has been going on since 1994. McAfee’s Virusscan and Norton’s Symantec are the two major shareware programs that you can download from the Internet for free. McAfee’s Virusscan and Norton’s Symantec sometimes come pre-installed in your pc. Personal strategies would include: not opening suspicious/ unknown e-mail or attachments, not posting your e-mail address online, resist unsubscribing to spam (just close it), and never purchase anything advertised in spam. The above strategies along with leaving your computer are the type of behaviors that leaves you susceptible to spam.

Virus Notes Here:

What type of behavior normally produces these results ?

Pop-up ads that people click on can install a computer virus.

Are there software products out there that help ?

Yes Mcafee Anti-Virus and spyware remover programs

How long has it been going on ?

There are a lot of opinions on the date of birth of the first computer virus. The first virus was born in the very beginning of the 1970’s or even in the end of the 1960’s (on Univac and IBM 360 or 370) although nobody was calling it a computer virus then.

"The Creeper" was one of the first global virus to spread itself in the first half of the 1970's.

Exactly what is happening ?

Computer Viruses can spread through numerous techniques

including :

Security holes in Windows XP Media Center 2005 Sp2 or Windows XP Pro operating systems, etc.

Security holes in Windows 95 Beta OSR2 or Windows 98 SE operating systems

Some viruses can spread through machines that have been previously infected by the Mydoom family of viruses

The Bagle family of viruses can bypass software firewalls such as :

Mcafee Firewall 4.0 software Windows XP Pro Sp1 Alpha operating system firewall

Deletes Registry entries in order to disable Mcafee Anti-Virus 7, 8, or 9 Home Edition programs from working and certain types of software firewalls

Blended threats :

Some computer viruses can spoof the From : address in email

Some computer viruses can send a password protected zip compression file that is an email-attachment.

Phishing Notes Here:


How does it affect privacy/ Computer Usage?

Exactly what is happening?

Scam artists are masquerading as banks and other companies that the victim has financial accounts with, and tricking them into providing credit card numbers, passwords, and other information that can be used to fraudulently withdraw money from their accounts, or charge goods and services to their accounts. Scams like this obviously make it very risky to give any financial information online, no matter who you think you are dealing with. This presents great obstacles to doing business online.

What can be done to stop/avoid /prevent it?

Are there software products that can help?

Help is available in the form of software, one example of which is available from

Are there techniques to use that can help?

Obviously, you should be very careful about giving out any information that could be used to steal your identity. Verify the identity of anybody asking you for such information. Use only secure connections for such information. The address should start https://, rather than http://. Contact your financial institution immediately if you think you may have sent information to a phishing scam.

How long has it been going on?

Mentions of the term “Phishing” date back to at least 1996. One of our group found a mention in January of that year on the hacker newsgroup alt.2600. However, both the word and the phenomenon may go back even earlier.

Who is doing it?

Grifters, mostly operating in foreign countries.

Spyware / Malware Notes Here:

How does it affect privacy/computer usage? Once the malefactors have installed the spyware on your computer, They can monitor all of your computer actions and determine characteristics Of you computer usage… even down to monitoring your keystrokes.

Exactly what is happening? The program monitors and records keystrokes. This means it can Check any sort of symbolic transmission, such as e-mail messages, Including passwords, SS nos., etc. This information can then be passed back to the installer of the Spyware so they can make use of the captured data.

How long has it been going on? First instance, 1949… came in a game called Corewars. It has become more prevalent as advertisers and other vendors on the web Are looking for information about our behavior so they can tailor their Sales (or theft) efforts around our behavior.

What can be done to stop/avoid/prevent it? Use anti-spyware programs provided by 3rd party vendors. Or depend upon your ISP to provide protection. (Good luck!) Use spyware removal software … provided by Spyware doctor and other Vendors. Don’t download software from companies you don’t know (and, I assume, Watch the e-mail downloads as well.) Set browser security to HIGH. Do other security things on preferences as outlined by Reggie in previous classes.

Are there software products out there that help?, Many. Among the first listed on Google, Astaro Linux Planet… there are others.

Are there techniques to use that can help? You can scan your computer for spyware by using software provided By ISPs and other vendors. Also: there are antispy links on Anti-Spyware Guide on Spybot, Adaware, Hijack This are others.

What type of behavior normally produces (the problem?) Turning on your computer without suitable antispyware software/firewalls In place. Downloading unknown programs/e-mail attachments/pirated software/ and other unknown downloads.