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Internet ScamBusters #35

Before we get started, we wanted to apologize for the gap in sending you Internet ScamBusters. We’ve been absolutely swamped putting together the Internet Marketing Super Summit.

Unfortunately, since ScamBusters is our “labor of love” and a free public service we provide, when we get as busy as we’ve been, it occasionally gets neglected. Sorry.

However, we’ve got a great issue for you. We’ve found some important ScamBusters Snippets we think you should know about.

The big news has been about computer viruses – both real viruses and hoaxes. You’ll find some highlights below. You’ll also discover some news on spam (which is fascinating), and some additional scam resources to check out. We end the year on a lighter note with some Y2K humor.

Speaking of Y2K, perhaps the most important thing you can do to prepare is to back up everything at the end of the year. That way, if you do have a problem, you’ll have good back ups you can use to help you restore everything. We’re going to back up everything our last work day of the year – we suggest you do the same. And don’t forget to get the Y2K patches for your computers.

One more thing: please don’t spam the content of Internet ScamBusters or our URL. We are pioneers against spam and we really don’t want Internet ScamBusters to be spammed. Thanks.

OK, let’s get started…

Internet ScamBusters Snippets

Real Viruses

New Worm – W32/Mypics
There is an important new real virus alert. Please check this out now. This one could really cause havoc.

First Self-Updating Virus Reported
W95.Babylonia pretends to be a Y2K fix, but it could update itself by downloading malicious code onto your PC.

Bubbleboy email virus
Bubbleboy is the first virus that can infect your system if you simply open an email. This virus does its potential damage because of the security holes in ActiveX.

*You’re only susceptible if you use Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express.*

Microsoft has posted a fix for the security hole targeted by Bubbleboy and similar viruses.

Y2K Virus “Y2Kcount.exe”
A real trojan horse that has been circulating for about 2 months is Y2Kcount.exe. This one is supposedly emailed by Microsoft and has been sent to Microsoft customers. Don’t open the attachment.
The return address is:
From: support@microsoft.com
The subject is
Subject: Microsoft Announcement.

To learn more visit ZDNet: http://www.zdnet.com/intweek/stories/news/0,4164,1017257,00.html
Read Microsoft’s response: http://www.microsoft.com/y2k/hoax/hoax2.htm

Virus Hoaxes

“Elf Bowling” It’s a hoax. You can read more about it at Symantec: http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/venc/data/y2kgame.hoax.html and compare the size of the program you receive with the actual size of the original program to verify authenticity.

An excellent resource for finding out if viruses are real or hoaxes is Symantec’s “Virus Encyclopedia.” http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/hoax.html

Another good resource for finding out whether or not viruses are real is http://urbanlegends.about.com/culture/urbanlegends/msubvir.htm

Internet ScamBusters in the News

You can find nice mentions of Internet ScamBusters in the December 1999 issues of Entrepreneur magazine and PC Computing.

There is also a nice review in TechSightings http://www.techsightings.com/cgi-bin/ts_review.pl?453

Spam News from the Third Spam Roundtable

Joseph Jobst wrote a very interesting article about spam in this week’s issue of GIM – Global Internet Marketing News.

Here’s a short quote that includes two fascinating – but depressing – statistics:

“Last month, system administrators from all over the US met in California at the Third Spam Roundtable to discuss the growing SPAM problem. The results were not encouraging. Between 15% and 30%(!) of the e-mail that America Online receives is spam. Most large Internet service providers have four to six people dedicated to combating the problem; unsolicited commercial e-mail costs these companies roughly $1 million each month, which translates to $1 to $2 per subscriber per month.”

30% – Wow! Actually, that’s probably not far off the mark. And the idea that we are paying $1 to $2 per subscriber per month certainly contradicts the ridiculous argument by spammers that “spam doesn’t cost anything, so what’s the big deal?” We don’t know anyone willing to pay $1 to $2 a month for their spam.

Some Other Useful Resources

  • How to Avoid Investment Scams:
  • The (Anti) Fraud Help & Info Center: http://linz1.net/fraud.html
  • Business Opportunity Scams: http://www.ftc.gov/bizop/
  • Top 10 List of Online Investment Fraud: http://linz1.net/fraud19.html

Some fun Y2K humor

Have a look at this site for the latest in office productivity software and hardware. 100% Y2K compliant – and guaranteed. No office or home should be without this group of items. Guaranteed satisfaction :-; http://members.xoom.com/joelzahn/Office2000/

Finally, we’d like to wish you a very happy, healthy, and prosperous holiday season and New Year.