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Updated 05/01/06 |

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Internet Explorer 7 anti-phishing tech: a work in progress
The good news: To keep users from getting snared in a phisher's trap, Internet Explorer 7 beta looks for the tell-tale signs that an email is suspicious. The bad news: It needs to do more to flag the potential danger to users.
READ FULL STORY | ZdNet.com  
 

Why you should disable DNS caching on workstations

Even though some reports say that phishing attempts have slowed, that doesn't mean attackers have given up--they're just honing their skills. If there's one thing you can say about such attackers, it's that they're innovative.

Many would-be attackers are now focusing their efforts on the domain name system (DNS). Referred to as "pharming" or "DNS poisoning," this practice involves changing the IP address of authoritative DNS servers so subsequent DNS lookups for hostnames come from someplace other then a legitimate one.

Find out more about this security threat, and learn what steps your organization should take to mitigate its risk to such attacks.

See also: Download: Use this contact list to report phishing incidents
Fight back against phishers by reporting their activities. This list includes contact information for 50 banks, brokerages, Web sites, and online payment systems typically used in phishing exploits.

 This is a Tech Republic article off site content


Why Does IE Now Require “http:” In The Address Bar?

A reader wonders: My IE address bar will not respond when you type in, say, "www.yahoo.com." you have to put http:// in front of the address. This just started happening tonight, 4/15/2006. What's up?

Answer: To put it bluntly… Microsoft messed up.

I’ve gotten a flurry of reports of this behavior… all starting on 4/15. Right after Windows automated update. Some have even accused us of disabling their IE browser, sending them a ton of SPAM and many other evils they found only after applying for the Bo Alert Newsletter. I wouldn't mind so much but we take every precaution to be absolutely sure that their information on folks is never compromised....coincidence? In this case, yup!

Microsoft acknowledges that there’s an issue, and I believe that this is the issue causing your behaviour. It affects more than just IE - but also places some of the blame on some third party software.

First, here’s the Knowledgebase article that applies: 
Problems in Windows Explorer or the Windows shell after you install security update MS06-015.

I first learned of the problem as a Microsoft Office issue, where people are unable to open files in "My Documents." The Knowledgebase article actually includes several symptoms:

Not everyone is seeing the problem. One of two additional factors apparently need to be present: Hewlett-Packard's "Share-to-Web" software, or Sunbelt Kerio Personal Firewall. I don't use HP so would never really know about this problem if not for our Q&A's vie email.

The Knowledgebase article does include a workaround - but it involves a registry addition. A fairly obscure registry setting at that.

NOTE: the following is provided without warrantee, and should be used at your own risk. As always, be wary of anything you download from the internet, even from me. Backup first, backup often.

Bo Note: That disclaimer out of the way, I'd also recommend that if you can, just live with the behavior. I'd guess that the next round of updates will fix it. For more on the uses of the System Registry, please see Bo's Tweaky Clean Windows

But, if you need the fix now, here is a ."reg" file that will install that registry setting for you: 918165.reg. Just copy the text below the ~~~~~~~~~~ line and above the --------------- line into Notepad. once copied, save the text article as a Registry file, the extention will be REG. so for out peurposes, name the file  918165.reg

The registry setting apparently only deals with the HP software issue. Folks using Kerio firewall are instructed in the Knowledgebase article to make a configuration change to it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

``Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Shell Extensions\Cached]
"{A4DF5659-0801-4A60-9607-1C48695EFDA9} 
{000214E6-0000-0000-C000-000000000046} 
0x401"=dword:00000001

----------------------------------------

(There may be some line wrapping, but it's 4 lines, total.)

Save the text file as REG to a location you can remember, possibly on your Desktop then once saved, locate the file and double click on it. The registry edit will be made automatically. Reboot the system when finished.

I know a lot of people will start to worry about automatic updates breaking their system in the future. Obviously it can happen. However my opinion is that the benefit still far outweighs the risk. I'm leaving it on.


Microsoft releases IE 7 beta to public

Microsoft took the wraps off Internet Explorer 7 Tuesday, releasing the new "preview" version of its Web browser to the general public for testing.

The program, still a work in progress, is available for download from the Internet Explorer section of Microsoft's corporate Web site, the company said. The company, which began limited testing in July, had promised to deliver a public beta by the end of March. Download size is 11.28 Megabytes.

The latest version works only with Windows XP Service Pack 2 and includes many of the features Microsoft has been touting for months. Among them are new security and privacy protection capabilities such as mechanisms designed to combat phishing attacks, spyware and other threats.

As always, keep in mind that this program is in beta testing which means it may have bugs or other problems. If you have never used betaware before, I'd advise against downloading it. If, on the other hand you do not mind taking a risk and are an advanced computer user, then take it out for a spin. Otherwise, wait for the final release. Let the propeller heads deal with the bugs.

Microsoft plans to release a final version of IE 7 later this year, around the time the company debuts the next version of its Windows operating system, Windows Vista (Formally codenamed "Longhorn").

Is MSIE 7.0 worth the download? 
In a word, no! Netscape is using some of the same types of security features and tabbed browser is not really a big seller for those already using Netscape or Firefox. MSIE 7.0 beta 2 seems slower then even MSIE 6.0 with SP-2. If you need to have tabbed browsing but still want to stick with MSIE types of interface because you feel more comfortable with it...and that is the only reason that I can imagine you'd want to stick with MSIE, then go grab a copy of Mazthon which is a far better interface then this Microsoft's latest copy on. Maxthon is now donateware.

To be fair, we have to remember that this is a beta release and not the final version. Then too, what about Outlook Express? Will that be upgraded as well?

Netscape 8.1 has similar security features:
Again Microsoft releases a new beta version of its software shortly after Netscape rolled out their newest release Netscape 8.1 last week, Netscape 8.x is not in beta it is the final release. Netscape also has some impressive security features but, to be honest, we found it a little clunky.

Related stories:

Browser wars 3: IE7 beta no match for Firefox
Ed Burnette: Despite a few unique innovations, the IE7 public beta falls flat as a Firefox replacement. Here are some of the most annoying problems I've run into...
READ FULL STORY

IE 7 bugs abound Possible security flaw is found; preview release doesn't work with McAfee; and some security tools block browser installation. From ZdNet


Just downloaded Windows XP with Service Pack 2? 
You are indeed, a brave sole. Now you need some advise on some new problems. Microsoft Service Packs and patches come with their own set of problems. These solutions may be just what you are looking for.
Several of you have discovered that some things just don't work any more with Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 with Service Pack 2. This is the short list of problems and solutions directly from the MSDN website. this is, of course, off site content and we are not responsible for changes.
F Click here for the short list.