Numismatic Coin Club World Internet Numismatic Society


From Behind The Green Curtain
- June 2005 -

WINS Email Lists - The email Lists are functioning, but maybe not as well as we would like from a send/receive time delay standpoint. For the past several weeks (and maybe even months) everything Internet related seems to be slowing down, particularly for those of us with dialup access who are experiencing 9 to 20 hour WINS list message send/receive delays. When we first joined our current web site host (Peter T. Davis, owner) who also provides our email lists, my send to receive times for both lists were about 6 seconds. It slowly dropped to 20 minutes and stayed there until the first major slow down a few months ago when it dropped to over 12 hours. And, while it never returned to the rapid send receive times I had once enjoyed, it did get better holding in at around 2 hours.

Now we're back to some members experiencing up to 20-hour send/receive times, and while I am in that group too, there doesn't seem to be anything that can be done about it. Believing it was my operating system that was the culprit, I went so far as to perform a complete hard drive wipe and operating system reload. Now completed, my overall system does perform better, but the original problems still exist. So I queried Microsoft online and waited for a reply. And I waited… and waited… and after 2 weeks more had passed, I gave up ever hearing from them. Another week pasted and I received a telephone call from Microsoft's QA section and a young lady was asking if the service I had receive was satisfactory on that 1-10 scale everyone is using now. She was a little taken back when my response was zero and totally surprised when she found out that no one had ever replied to my inquiry. To date, no other response has been received (other than the system's initial automated response) so I'm not holding out much hope for assistance from them. Not only is the WINS list send/receive times terrible for me, but also now several members can no longer contact me by email and I cannot contact at least one other member. I recently changed ISPs thinking it might be ISP related, but nothing changed so either it wasn't my ISP, but theirs or something else is happening. I do know that one local ISPs was just purchased by a local cell phone company and their Internet access times for their dialup customers has gotten so bad that the only time you can access the Internet is in the wee hours of the mornings. You think maybe the slowdown is due to the large numbers of cell phone users sending images and text messaging?? Who knows??

If anyone has any insight concerning the list slowdown and email problems some of us are now experiencing, please share it with me.

Virus Information - I am on Panda Software's virus alert mailing list and I thought I'd share some of their recent alerts with you. A few may hit close to home.

1. May 21, 2005 - PandaLabs reported the following:

  • Firefox 1.0.4 corrects several security problems (5/16/05). The new version 1.0.4 of Firefox is available, which, among other features, corrects three 'critical' security vulnerabilities.
  • A vulnerability has been reported in Yahoo! Messenger that could lead to a denial of service, with remote attackers being able to disconnect users from Chat sessions. The advisory is available at windowsntfocus.
  • According to information published by SecurityTracker, two new vulnerabilities have been discovered in the MySQL open source database. This information is available at May/1013995 and May/1013994.
  • Sober.W is a Trojan whose only purpose would seem to be mass-mailing messages with content related to the extreme right-wing movement in Germany, alluding to the Second World War and its 60th anniversary. As is usual with this type of malware, it cannot spread by itself but needs to be distributed manually through other channels.

2. May 22 2005 - Oscarbot.F is a worm with backdoor characteristics, designed to spread through AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), a popular instant messaging application, by sending messages to all the addresses in the Contact List. These messages include an URL which, on accessing it, downloads a copy of this worm or other kind of malware to the affected computer.

3. May 23 2005 - Netscape has published an urgent security patch for its recently launched version 8, after finding that it was vulnerable to several security problems corrected in Firefox 1.0.4. All users of Netscape are advised to updated to version 8.0.1 available at: Netscape V8.

4. May 25, 2005 - PandaLabs has recently reported the appearance of a type of malware that encrypts files on the infected computer and then asks for a fee in order to release these files. This is a new type of behavior, rarely seen until now, and to which the FBI in the United States are now alert.

Mafia take advantage of the Internet through networks of 'bots' that threaten users (03/28/2005). Malware creators have changed their aims and modus operandi. On the one hand, the trend detected over the last few months of creating malware for financial gain (phishing) has been confirmed and on the other, instead of using just one malicious code capable of spreading rapidly across thousands of computer, they are now using many different variants.

5. May 30, 2005 - The Californian market research company Radicati Group has presented a series of statistics about e-mail and messaging systems and the security problems that affect these services.

Perhaps one of the most alarming conclusions of the report is that the number of messages carrying some sort of malicious code in 2005 has increased to 900 million messages a day. And the forecasts are even more worrying, as this number is expected to grow to 4200 million infected messages a day by 2009. The study also concludes that the number of email users around the world will grow at a rate of 7% annually over the next four years, from 683 million users in 2005 to approximately 930 million in 2009. In 2005, there are a total of 381 million active mailboxes in Europe from a total of 1196 million in the whole world. Each European user has an average of 1.9 mail accounts.

The majority of malware is designed to spread either through email or across P2P networks. In 2005, 86% of malware used email as a means of spreading, while 49% used P2P networks. In 2005, email is expected to represent 53% of all corporate mail and 74% of consumer email traffic. In total, SPAM will make up 57% of the world's email traffic.

Given these statistics, the installation of systems to protect against malware is a necessity at all levels, from large corporate networks to home user systems.

6. May 31 2005 - According to Hispasec at Hispasec, 18 people have been arrested in Israel accused of industrial espionage using malicious code. The systems of the companies targeted by the spies had all the usual security measures installed: antivirus, firewall, etc, but the problem was that the code was designed specifically to spy on a certain company or to perform a very specific data theft task.

Just a reminder folks, you need to keep your virus software as up to date as possible. Everyday works for me.

Auction Update - Auction 28 was postponed until May 15-22 because of my system problems and even then a family problem made this a difficult auction to administer, as well as, in which to participate. While I can't promise the family difficulty will be over by the time the next auction rolls around, I certainly hope so.

Auction 29 is scheduled for the week of June 18-25, 2005.

Thanks for readin' and "See ya' at the auction".

Thank you kindly,
JD White, WINS#7

Thank you kindly,
JD White, WINS#7


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