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           Issue 35 - 1st September 2000

Welcome to PC Alert, the email newsletter that
keeps you informed of the best new tech support
resources on the Internet.

PC Alert is free. If you like it, why not share
the good news and email a copy to a friend or
colleague?

PC Alert is sponsored by PC Support Advisor and
PC Network Advisor, the standard reference sources
for support professionals.  Find out how much
easier your tech support job can be - get free
copies of PC Support Advisor and Network Advisor now.
Just point your browser at http://www.itp-journals.com.

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FROM THE EDITOR

One of the first internet bank robberies took place
last week.  Or rather, it didn't.  It depends on
whether you read the newspapers or whether you prefer
the official press release from the bank concerned.

The facts appear to be that a gang of criminals set
up a large number of accounts with UK-based Egg, the
internet banking arm of the giant Prudential insurance
company, using false names and addresses.  They then
applied for loans and overdrafts and ran off with the
money.  Simple but effective.

At first, Egg claimed that the scam had been detected
in time and that no money had been lost.  It was
later reported that this was not quite true, and that
some money had indeed been lost.

So is this an internet bank robbery or not?  It
certainly wasn't the best advert for organised crime,
as the criminals apparently set up all the bogus
accounts from the same PC, which alerted the Egg
security software pretty early.

Twenty years ago, people hacked into computers for
fun rather than for the information that was stored
there.  Why?  Because there was hardly anything on
the computers that was worth stealing.  Now, of course,
that's not the case, and any company with confidential
data on its systems needs to take the utmost care.

The first large-scale internet bank job has yet
to happen, says the media.  But maybe it already
has, and the press doesn't know about it.  Maybe
the victim bank itself doesn't even know.

Now that's scary.
 

Robert Schifreen

PS:  Do you have a favourite site that you'd like to
see featured in PC Alert?  If so, send details to me
at pcalert@itp-journals.com.
 

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IN THIS ISSUE

1. TOP SUPPORT SITES
    - Troubleshooting Windows NT and 2000
    - Internet Security Assessment
    - Office Support Index

2. SUPPORT UTILITIES
    - Convert BDC to Standalone Server
    - Outlook Zipper
    - Deleted File Viewer

3. SERVICE RELEASES AND PATCHES
    - Easy Crash for FrontPage
    - Windows 2000 Patch
    - IIS Patch

4. OTHER USEFUL STUFF
    - PictureTaker for Me
    - A Twist on the LoveLetter Virus
    - Tucows
    - Instant Chatroom

5. TECH SUPPORT RESOURCES
    - Office 2000 Document Formats Explained
    - Intrusion Detection Roundup

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1. TOP SUPPORT SITES
====================

Troubleshooting Windows NT and 2000
The online forum at http://forums.itworld.com/webx
is a great place to meet fellow Windows support
professionals and to find answers to problems.
PC Alert Rating: Recommended.

Internet Security Assessment
Steve Gibson was once famous for Spinrite, his
program for changing the hard disk interleave and
dramatically speeding up PCs.  Now, he's best
known for http://www.grc.com, which hosts a number
of useful utilities.  Most useful is the automatic
port scanner, which will scan the PC or server from
which you connect to the site, and produce an instant
report on whether the machine is vulnerable to attack.
PC Alert Rating: Highly Recommended.

Office Support Index
Got a problem with Microsoft Office?  Need to know
where to find the answer on Microsoft's Web site?
One of the best-kept secrets of Microsoft's site
is a full alphabetical index to all the Office-
related support material.  Find it at
http://www.microsoft.com/office/index.htm.

2. SUPPORT UTILITIES
====================

Convert BDC to Standalone Server
Windows 2000 comes with a utility to convert a backup
domain controller to a standalone server (DCPROMO).  NT
doesn't, however, which means a format and reinstall.  Or,
check out a tool called u-promote, which will do the job
much faster.  It's at http://www.u-tools.com.

Outlook Zipper
MaX Compression is a tool which automatically zips
attachments in Outlook messages before they are sent, and
unzips them at the other end.  It is claimed that the
program can reduce network traffic by up to 35%.  Get
more details at http://www.c2c.com.

Deleted File Viewer
Executive Software is best known for Diskeeper, its
defrag tool.  But it also has an undelete utility for
NT and Win2k, and the current promotion includes
giving away a free utility which display the names
of any deleted files which its tool could recover.  Not
just an advert, but a useful tool for the
security-conscious support person too.  Get it from
http://www.execsoft.com.

3. SERVICE RELEASES AND PATCHES
===============================

Easy Crash for FrontPage
Microsoft has been full of embarrassment this week
after someone discovered a very easy way to crash a
Web server running FrontPage Extensions.  Just request
a page that includes an MS-DOS device name as part
of the URL, such as prn.htm.  You'll find the patch at
http://msdn.microsoft.com/workshop/languages/fp/2000/winfpse.asp.

Windows 2000 Patch
There's a bug in Windows 2000 which can allow a hacker
to corrupt security polices remotely and thus crash a node
on a network or the entire network itself.  Service Pack 1
fixes the problem, but if you don't have SP1 you should
install the separate fix which Microsoft has released.  It's at
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/fq00-062.asp

IIS Patch
Microsoft has a patch for Internet Information Server v5,
which ships with Windows 2000.  Without the patch, a user
could fool the system into sending the source code of
confidential files.  You can get the patch from the Web at
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/fq00-058.asp.

4. OTHER USEFUL STUFF
=====================

PictureTaker for Me
Windows Me (the OS formerly known as Millennium Edition but
which now sports a more friendly name) is due for launch
towards the end of September.  Among the first programs to
officially support it is PictureTaker, the rather good
tool for rolling out OS upgrades across multiple PCs.
See more at http://www.lanovation.com.

A Twist on the LoveLetter Virus
A new and particularly nasty virus is doing the rounds.
It arrives in a file called RESUME.TXT.VBS and claims to
be details of a Swiss Internet company which is looking to
hire some highly-paid staff.  Of course it's nothing
of the sort.  Make sure your scanners are up to date, in
order to prevent catching this bug.  You'll find
scanner updates at http://www.symantec.com and
http://www.nai.com, among others.

Tucows
It's been a few months since we mentioned this excellent
site, so it's high time to cover it again.  Tucows is
The Ultimate Collection Of Winsock Software, which
basically means that it probably has all the
internet-based utilities you could ever want.  If you
need something for your network, you'll find it
at http://www.tucows.com.

Instant Chatroom
Want a chatroom on your Web site or extranet?
Check out http://www.beseen.com/board/boardsignup.html
for a completely free version.

5.  TECH SUPPORT RESOURCES
==========================

Office 2000 Document Formats Explained
The September issue of PC Support Advisor, which has
just been published, includes a detailed article about
Office 2000's document file formats.  You can read
the full article online at http://www.itp-journals.com,
which explains all about how to import and export files
from other applications and how to configure users' PCs
for optimum compatibility with others.

Intrusion Detection Roundup
In the September issue of PC Network Advisor, articles
include a close look at intrusion detection systems.
If you want instant notification when someone or
something starts prowling round your network, you can
read our roundup in full at http://www.itp-journals.com.

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                  ABOUT PC ALERT

PC Alert is produced by International Technology
Publishing, the publishers of PC Support Advisor
and PC Network Advisor, the standard resource
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