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NEWS - July 15, 2005

Gary McKinnon: Scapegoat or public enemy?
By Colin Barker, ZDNet (UK)
Published on ZDNet News: July 15, 2005, 5:55 AM PT

An unemployed North Londoner has been accused of committing the "biggest military computer hack of all time" by the U.S. government while authorities in Britain chose to release him without charge.

Gary McKinnon has a lot to worry about. His job prospects are bleak. He will shortly have to leave his home in North London and could be facing up to 70 years in a U.S. federal prison--a prospect that terrifies him.

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Firefox marketing site hacked

In reply to: NEWS - July 15, 2005

Published: July 15, 2005, 9:01 AM PDT
By Joris Evers
Staff Writer, CNET News.com

SpreadFirefox.com, the community marketing Web site for the open-source Firefox Web browser, was hacked earlier this week, potentially exposing user data.

Attackers broke into the Web site by exploiting an unpatched security vulnerability in the software that runs SpreadFirefox.com, the Mozilla Foundation said in an e-mail alert to registered users of the site late Thursday. Mozilla coordinates Firefox development and marketing. The authenticity of the e-mail was confirmed Friday by a Mozilla representative.

The attack actually occurred on Sunday but was not discovered until Tuesday, according to the e-mail alert. The SpreadFirefox Web site was subsequently taken down for a few days to investigate the attack, according to a notice posted on the SpreadFirefox site.

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Sophos promises to sniff out zombie systems

In reply to: NEWS - July 15, 2005

Published: July 15, 2005, 11:36 AM PDT
By Munir Kotadia
Special to CNET News.com

Antivirus specialist Sophos has launched a service that uses spam traps to find unsolicited e-mail messages originating from supposedly "protected" computers.

The ZombieAlert service uses a large amount of "spam traps" that are configured so they are unlikely to receive legitimate messages, Paul Ducklin, head of technology at Sophos Asia-Pacific, said. When the traps receive spam, the originating IP address of the message is looked up, and if it belongs to a ZombieAlert subscriber, Sophos will inform them that one or more of their computers is being used as a spam relay. The service was introduced Wednesday.

"We endeavor to ensure that of the e-mails that enter the spam trap, there is a statistically insignificant amount of real e-mail. Everything coming in is not supposed to be there," Ducklin said.

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Worm spells double trouble for PCs

In reply to: NEWS - July 15, 2005

Published: July 15, 2005, 1:06 PM PDT
By Joris Evers
Staff Writer, CNET News.com

A double-edged threat that attempts to hijack PCs has surfaced in at least three variants, security companies warned on Friday.

The new pest, Lebreat, is a combined network worm and mass-mailing worm, F-Secure said. Once run on a PC, it installs a backdoor for hackers, downloads the mass-mailer code and attempts to launch a denial-of-service attack that targets security giant Symantec's Web site, the Finnish antivirus specialist said. The malicious code is also known as Breatle and Reatle at other antivirus companies.

"This virus claims to be 'Breatle AntiVirus v1.0,' and it spreads over both e-mail and network vulnerabilities," F-Secure said.

The network-worm part of Lebreat exploits a known Windows flaw in a component called the Local Security Authority Subsystem Service, the security company said. The LSASS vulnerability was also used by the Sasser worm, F-Secure said in its advisory. Microsoft issued a patch for the LSASS flaw last year.

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Windows flaw could spawn DoS attacks

In reply to: NEWS - July 15, 2005

Published: July 15, 2005, 2:23 PM PDT
By Joris Evers
Staff Writer, CNET News.com

A newly discovered and as-of-yet unpatched security vulnerability in Windows XP could let an attacker remotely crash computers. Microsoft says it is working on a patch.

The flaw affects the Windows Remote Desktop Service, which lets users access their Windows PC from a remote location. An attacker could remotely exploit the problem to crash a victim's PC, which would then display the Windows "blue screen of death," according to a posting on the Security Protocols Web site earlier this week.

Microsoft knows of the security flaw and is working on a patch, a company representative said on Friday.

"The issue was originally privately reported to Microsoft and we are working on an update that will be released when it is of the appropriate quality," the representative said. "The concern is that this has now gone public, potentially putting customers at risk."

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Work around for this for Windows XPSP2 users

In reply to: Windows flaw could spawn DoS attacks

Thsi is ONLY for Windows XPSP2 users.
This is a quote from Harry Waldron's Security Blog. Scroll down the page on the posted link to read the rest of it.

Windows XP SP2 vulnerability - Remote Desktop Assistant

The remote desktop assistant should be turned off if it is not needed. You can do this by right mouse clicking on My Computer, selecting Properties, and then the Remote tab. From there you can select the option to turn off the Remote Assistant capabilities.
end quote

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