PC Alert
Pointing you to the information
you need to know
Issue 16 - August 1999

Essential Internet

Recommended sites with important new PC information,
helpful resource files and other items of interest.

BackOrifice 2000
A hacker tool called Back Orifice is now on version 2000, and this time it runs under NT.  Plant the server component on a machine by attaching it to an email, and you can then access that PC remotely via the Internet or a LAN.  Read or write the registry, access any file you choose, grab passwords, dump the screen contents, etc etc.  Make sure you're aware of this program, and how to detect it, before it's too late.  Note that this is not a virus as such, as it doesn't have the ability to replicate, so it's unlikely that all virus scanners will detect it.

IIS Major Security Hole
If you run Microsoft's Internet Information Server it's essential that you take a look at this document, as it contains details of a hole that is probably allowing anyone to gain system access to your machine.

F-Secure Workstation Suite 4
DataFellows, the company behind the F-Prot antivirus product, has a new network security management suite.

Office MapPoint 2000
Microsoft Office 2000 has a new application, though it's a US$150 extra and isn't bundled with the rest of the package.  MapPoint 2000 lets you display sales targets or customer locations on maps rather than on boring spreadsheets.

Hotmail Still Infects
The antivirus industry is warning that the scanner built into free Web email service Hotmail is still not detecting macro viruses consistently or reliably.  If you have any users who use Hotmail for email, consider moving them to another service or ensure that they use third-party scanners on all mail that is sent and received through the system.

The Internet Fridge
It had to happen.  A new company has developed a chip that will allow appliances such as refrigerators, vending machines and electricity meters to be connected to the internet.

Free Stuff
PC Computing magazine has a site with links to all sorts of useful technical stuff available for free via the Internet.  Office software suites and utilities, as well as technical support information and fax gateways.

Delphi 5
Inprise is now shipping Borland Delphi 5, the development tool which would give Visual Basic a much harder run for its money if Inprise managed to get its marketing co-ordinated properly.  Now supports HTML 4 and XML.  Available in Enterprise, Professional and Standard versions.

AV and Anti-Spam for Firewall-1
Trend Micro has a new package for virus scanning and spam blocking that works in conjunction with Checkpoint's Firewall-1.

Corel Launches
Corel has launched version 9 of the industry's best-known drawing package, and is also shipping WordPerfect Office 2000.

Magic TSD
Network Associates has launched a new help desk product which combines the features of its own product and one that it inherited during a recent acquisition.

IE5 Security Hole?
We have received reports that the authenticode security in Internet Explorer 5 does not work correctly, and that it will let unsigned ActiveX controls onto a system even if it has been configured not to.  There is no fix yet, but it's only a matter of time.

Acrobat Reader 4.0 With Search
The free Adobe Acrobat Reader v4 now has the ability to search compiled index files.

Audio File Conversion
Need to convert Real Audio files to .WAV format?

You Can See Too
Want to be able to see where a user has been surfing?  And details of who they've been exchanging email with?  A program called UC2 keeps copies of all Web pages visited, and all email addresses.  A great way to keep an eye on what staff are doing.

Softseek Newsletter
Softseek, a shareware search engine, has a free email newsletter.  Subscribe and you'll receive details of interesting programs available for download.

PowerQuest Rollback
A new product from the makers of Partition Magic lets you roll back a machine to reverse the effects of file deletion, virus infection, system setting changes, and all sorts of other things that users are prone to do.  It works by taking system snapshots at regular intervals.

If you run NT servers and you've not played with Eeye, try it now and be prepared for a shock and it happily divulges your passwords.  Try it on your own systems before the hackers do.

Tips and Shortcuts for IE5
There's a useful list of IE5 tips on PC World's Web site.

How Stuff Works
Ever wondered how something works?  Not just computer things, but anything?  This site has the answer.

Windows 98 Second Edition
Various components of Windows 98 Second Edition are now available for download from Microsoft.

Encrypted Web Email
You've seen Hotmail, which does free Email via the Web.  ZipLip goes one stage further, and includes encryption so people can't spy on your messages.

Shopping Comparison
Looking for a book or some software on the Internet?  Type in the title, and this site will shop around for you.  It'll compare prices, stock levels and delivery times across all the major Web shopping sites.

Essential Reading

Our pick of the best of the world’s IT press articles this month.

Head-to-head comparative reviews
4 Security analysis tools SysAdmin, July www.sysadminmag.com
6 Anti-virus Suites Windows NT Systems, August www.ntsystems.com
3 Utilities Suites PC World, August www.pcworld.com
4 Diagnostics packages PC World, August www.pcworld.com
4 Uninstallers PC World, August www.pcworld.com
5 Data compression tools PC World, August www.pcworld.com
4 Crash -prevention tools PC World, August www.pcworld.com
4 File managers PC World, August www.pcworld.com
6 Undo/Undelete tools PC World, August www.pcworld.com
2 OCR packages PC Computing, August www.pccomputing.com
2 Intranet development suites PC Computing, August www.pccomputing.com

Performance Tuning
The July issue of Sys Admin magazine includes a major feature on performance tuning on all versions of Unix.  It also includes some real-world examples and case studies, showing just how much of a performance improvement can be made by tweaking various system parameters.

Exploit Protection
Also in the July issue of Sys Admin magazine, advice on how to protect your Unix network from some of the common exploits (ie, automated hacks built into script files) that are currently circulating on the Internet.

Unix Information
SysAdmin Magazine has a useful Web site containing features and information for anyone who looks after 1 or more Unix-based systems.  It covers all the popular brands of Unix.

Kerberos in Windows 2000
Kerberos is the security architecture that's at the heart of Windows 2000.  August's issue of Microsoft Systems Journal explains Kerberos in detail, in the context of Windows 2000.  Recommended reading for anyone who intends to roll out Windows 2000 and needs to guarantee the security of the network.  Well, as much as you can guarantee the security of any network that runs on Microsoft products.

Data Queries
Also in August's MSJ, information on how to query and manipulate OLAP data using ADOMD and multi-dimensional expressions.  If you don't know what that means, you probably don't need to.  Heavy going, but of interest to database developers.

Software Metrics Primer
In the July issue of Software Development, an excellent primer on software metrics.  Explains how to measure the performance of software, and of the development project, in order to be able to manage both more effectively.  As someone once said, if you can't measure it you can't manage it.

Installing NT 4 on a Laptop
Installing Windows NT 4.0 on a laptop isn't easy, if you want to do it right.  Laptops differ from desktops in certain key areas, such as power management (which NT doesn't fully support).    August's issue of Windows NT Systems shows how it should be done.

Also in August's issue of Windows NT Systems, a useful look at network security through the use of smartcards for authentication and logon.

Compaq's New Workstation
In July's issue of Performance Computing, a review of Compaq's new XP1000 workstation, based on a 500 MHz DEC (now owned by Compaq, of course) Alpha chip.

PC Troubleshooting
In August's issue of PC World, "the complete PC troubleshooting guide".  Lots of useful advice on how to fix problems in all versions of Windows.

Windows 2000 RC1
Windows 2000 is out of beta and we're now on Release Candidate 1.  August's issue of PC World reports on how the product is shaping up.

Free Software Sources
In August's issue of PC Computing, a thorough guide to all sorts of free software available on the Web.  There's links to it all from the magazine's Web site.  Includes office suites, utilities, as well as technical support packages and fax gateways.

3Com Palm VII and 50 GB Drives
The latest Palm machine, the Palm VII, has built-in connectivity to allow wireless Internet access.  There's a review of it, and a new Seagate hard disk with an astonishing 50 GB capacity, in August's PC Computing.

Office 2000 Developer
The July issue of Microsoft Internet Developer has an in-depth article on the developer edition of Office 2000.  This is the version recommended for support staff who wish to program and/or customise Office for end users.

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This compilation copyright International Technology Publishing Pty Ltd 1999.