Dear friend,

 

Welcome to the Nov 21, 2009 issue of
CompuNerds.Net-News

 

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The goal of our CN.Net-News is to share information that we think you'll find helpful as you wrestle with that little monster on your desk, your computer. And we aim to present this information from a Christian worldview. So here goes!


Click on Online PC Support for worldwide PC service - tell your friends!

IMPORTANT BREAKING NEWS!
We've added the following to our "AA 12-Step Rehabilitation Plan":
  12. A recent variety of malware consists of "zero day attacks" in which hackers inject a trojan that asks for your password, a 1 pixel x 1 pixel "web bug" image, a zero-width x zero-height iframe, or other malware into perfectly legitimate, well-known websites such as e-Bay, Amazon.com, your bank, etc. These malware injections usually last just a few hours or no more than one day before they're caught and removed, but meanwhile thousands of visitors can become infected and have their credit card or bank account numbers stolen: AVG detects between 100,000 and 150,000 such infected websites per day! To avoid such "real time" malware that won't be added to your standard antivirus program's virus databases until you update it the next day (when it's already too late), you need a program that scans each website you're going to visit immediately before your browser opens up that website.

AVG has just come up with a brilliant solution to this threat: "Link Scanner," and you should download and install it right now for free from http://linkscanner.avg.com. It guards against well-known but infected websites, and also rogue websites hiding behind a "http://tinyurl.com" or similar link - those extra-long website addresses that can be shrunk down to a tiny URL - people love to use these short URLs on Twitter, etc. But hackers also realized right away that they can hide their malware websites behind these shortened web addresses, or by displaying a descriptive name on a web page instead of the actual web address it's linking to. Link Scanner will prevent you from going to these websites that can infect your computer simply by opening up the web page. On the very same day that I installed Link Scanner it found an infected website hiding behind a tiny URL, and it prevented my browser from opening that web page - it really works!

(Note to Mac users: if an infected website uses "pfishing" or malware programmed in Java, you are just as vulnerable as Windows users. But Windows users can now have Link Scanner protect them.)

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
What's the difference between a website designer and a large pizza? A large pizza can feed a family of four.

TODAY'S TOPIC: CYBER-WARFARE & MEGA-SPAM
There have been several articles in the news lately about cyber-warfare, the ability of countries such as North Korea, China or Russia to disrupt the economies and war-fighting ability of the West. Simply google "cyber-warfare Estonia" and "cyber-warfare Georgia" to see a couple examples of Russia's use of cyber-warfare in 2007 and 2008, or "cyber-warfare China" more recently. Like guerilla warfare, it is "assymetrical" - just as a $10 roadside bomb can destroy a $1,000,000 armored vehicle and kill or cripple its passengers, cyber-warfare doesn't cost much more than a few PCs connected to the Internet with a few determined hackers sitting at them to disrupt an entire country.

Last week I was wondering why the daily backups of my wife's "My Documents" and email folders were taking up so much space. By looking in the backup archive, I found about 15 Megabytes of "mega-spam" - huge audio and video files that friends and relatives had sent her in email attachments. So I deleted the attachments, which is what I do after I listen to or watch such attachments sent to me. Now her backups are about 1/5th the size of what they were early last week, and the text of the emails is still there. Multiply 15Mb times the dozens and dozens of people such messages are forwarded to, times the number of forwards, and you'll begin to understand what "mega-spam" means: trillions of bytes of huge "junk mail" attachments bouncing back and forth over the Internet. My suggestion: don't clog up the Internet by forwarding "mega-spam" (huge audio and video files) - simply find the link on YouTube or wherever, and send the link to your friends, because the volume of spam now accounts for nearly 90% of all email traffic. And when you receive "mega-spam" from friends and relatives, reply and advise them to do the same.

Then this week a good friend sent me a 6.7-Megabyte *.wmv (Windows Media Viewer) attachment to an email about the Russian SU-30 test aircraft that has Vectored Thrust with Canards. The Subject line read: "Fwd: Wowwww!..... Russian Jet -- Read before viewing! CA_SU-30.wmv" and the body of the email apparently originated from http://www.getfrank.co.nz/russian-su-30-vectored-thrust-with-canards/, describing the supposedly vital threat to the U.S. and NATO by the Russians and Chinese. Here's my reply to my friend and the person he forwarded it from:

Hello **** and *****,

The SU-30 uses 20-year-old technology that the U.S. developed and flew in 1988-91, [technology] which the Soviets stole from us before the fall of the USSR: see - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-15_S/MTD on "Vectored Thrust with Canards". There's one very good reason, however, why those planes of ours didn't go into full production - they tend to crash a lot.

I lived in Russia for 17 years, from 1991 before the collapse of the USSR through 2007. The facts are that Russia doesn't even have the money to buy jet fuel so its fighter pilots can keep up their required number of flight hours per year, or the money to bring into production its new Sukhoi passenger "Superjet" to replace its aging fleet of planes that are falling apart in-flight. I've flown in some of the old Sukhoi and Iliushin rattle-traps over the past 26 years, including some flights on which peasant farmers brought their animals on board, or my seat's back rest kept falling back, or the toilets didn't work, or the stewardess poured hot tea into the lap of a male passenger, or the drunk Russian tourists flying to Thailand - after passing a couple bottles of vodka around and taking swigs - stole the headrest pads, the plates and silverware after the in-flight meal was served. I've vowed never to fly on Russian airliners again!

Russia has had to sell its aircraft carriers to India for its navy, or for scrap metal to South Korea, because Russia can't afford to maintain the ships; its new sub-based Bulava missiles keep blowing up when tested; and its nuclear submarines like the Kursk have a bad habit of sinking, killing all on board. Russians steal whatever they can from military factories, driving truckloads of material right out the gates after bribing the guards with vodka. People steal the copper telephone and electric lines so they can buy vodka: I've seen the copper wire on sale in the street markets. They stole the light bulbs we put in the stairways after the old ones burned out. No wonder their military technology keeps blowing up or falling apart.

I've also been at the SS-20 intercontinental missile factory in Votkinsk (birthplace of Chaikovskii) in the Udmurt Republic of Russia, next to the Urals, had dinner with the factory managers at the same table in Marshal Ustinov's elegant dacha (summer cottage) where the Salt II Treaty was signed, and have a couple fragments of destroyed SS-20 missiles on my bookshelf. The surrounding town consists of tumble-down wooden shacks and a few mud brick barracks and houses, which is what nearly all of Russia consists of when you go 5 miles outside Moscow or St. Petersburg. For three years we lived in Izhevsk, Udmurtia, home of Mikhail Kalashnikov and his infamous machine-gun, where at the start of WWII then-General Ustinov moved the war machine manufacturing factories from Moscow so Hitler's armies wouldn't destroy them. It was in Izhevsk that cannons were cast to fight against the advancing armies of Napoleon in 1812. That city then became the center of the USSR's military-industrial complex. It was bankrupt when we lived there, and the factory workers were turning to crime, vodka and drugs. Do a Google search on "Marshal Ustinov Izhevsk" and you'll see an article I wrote about that republic and its people.

I know several Russian engineers and scientists who have emigrated to the West where they could actually get paid for their scientific work. I also know a Russian aerospace engineer who ended up driving gypsy-taxi in Moscow. This story is repeated over and over - scientists from the Academy of Sciences having to drive subway trains because that job paid a living wage, etc. I was in Moscow during the August 1991 coup; and on December 25, 1991 while watching Gorbachiov on TV as he signed the document dissolving the USSR, I was signing a software distribution contract with a Russian nuclear scientist to distribute his chess-playing program in the West: he was living on $1500 a month paid by the U.S. so that he wouldn't emigrate to Iraq, Iran or some other Muslim country and build nuclear weapons. The next day going home on a Delta Airlines flight I sat in a seat just ahead of the CNN reporters who were interviewing Gorbachiov when he was signing, and he had to borrow a pen from them because he didn't have one! They showed me "the pen that is mightier than the sword" - the one that dissolved the USSR.

This is why the USSR went bankrupt - whereas the middle class in the U.S. works hard to get ahead (and pay taxes), we get to keep most of what we earn, but in Russia the common people and even their leaders had almost nothing left to live on after it was confiscated to feed the military-industrial complex: you mustn't kill the goose that lays the golden eggs! So most of them live by stealing from each other and from the West. We knew a Finnish businessman in Udmurtia who was forced to abandon his parquet flooring factory to his Russian "partners" when they refused to honor their contract to provide the birch lumber raw materials. We knew an expatriate employee of Exxon-Mobil that lost billions of dollars when the Russian government forced them to abandon their Sakhalin Island project due to "environmental violations." We knew the family of the president of British Petroleum's subsidiary in Russia that was forced to sell off its business to its Russian "partners" because he and hundreds of other BP expatriate workers were denied Russian visas, which ended up costing BP billions of dollars. Russian "Christians" regularly steal from Western mission agencies: I would relate several instances, but it's too painful for me. Our former landlady stole our furniture and appliances when we had to leave Russia in 2007 due to a medical emergency. I could go on and on with examples - here are just a few:

During 1991-92 the store shelves in Moscow were literally bare because the socialist economy had collapsed. We lived through the one million percent hyperinflation in Russia during the 1990s. We experienced three "revaluations" of Russian currency, in which they issued new bills that soon became as worthless as the previous currency. Pensioners expired by heart attack while standing in line outside the banks in freezing weather to exchange their old currency before it expired: they were about to lose their entire life's savings. We took care of a dear Russian handicapped lady: she and her husband lost their savings, summer cottage and car. After her husband died, her son forced her out of their two-room apartment so he could sell it and buy a Mercedes. Socialism is a utopian farce - "utopia" means "nowhere" - and that's where it leads. It perverts the souls, minds and bodies of those who fall into its grasp. So I'm convinced that, with the nationalization of the banking, auto and health-care industries in the U.S., socialism here will bring on a similar economic and moral disaster.

Building a couple of test models of a jet fighter using 20-year-old stolen technology in no way means that the Russians are capable of actually rolling out this plane into full production of the thousands of planes needed to conduct warfare. Yes, if they license this technology to the Chinese, we might be in trouble. But I don't think they ever would: the Chinese and the Russians are more worried about each other than we are about them - we're an ocean away, but they're next door to each other, and they also fully understand the thieving nature of communism, something we in the West can hardly comprehend. Besides, the Chinese are able to conduct sophisticated cyber-warfare to disrupt our military and steal our technology better than the Russians ever did: see -

http://www.uscc.gov/researchpapers/2009/NorthropGrumman_PRC_Cyber_Paper_FINAL_Approved Report_16Oct2009.pdf

Yours truly,

(signed)

-----------
On 11/18/2009 7:48 AM, ***** **** wrote:
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: ***** * ****** <[email protected]>
> Date: Tue, Nov 17, 2009 at 8:43 PM
> Subject: Wowwwwwwwwww!..... Russian Jet-- Read before viewing!CA_SU-30.wmv
> To:

Several articles have appeared recently on this general subject of cyber-espionage and cyber-theft in the 7-8 technical newsletters I receive. Here are just a couple of them:

Hackers from Belarus crack Walmart's network: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/10/walmart-hack/

Russian Hackers Stole U.S. IDs for Attacks on Georgia: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,539900,00.html

Of course, Bernard Madoff's $60-billion scam and the multi-trillion-dollar bailout of rich bankers illustrate that the West is becoming far from lily white, as we descend into the abyss of state-controlled capitalism, otherwise known as mixed socialism.

In conclusion, what I've learned from 50 years of study and involvement in Soviet and post-Soviet affairs, including about 20 years of travelling to and living in communist countries, is that we must not expect the vast majority of post-Soviet (notice that I don't use the term "post-communist" but rather "post-Soviet") people to behave according to our still semi-Judeo-Christian Western value system. In 2 Chron. 20:31-37 we read about Jehoshaphat, a righteous king of Judah, who made a deal with Ahaziah, an evil king of Israel, to build ships for the sea trade over the Mediterranian Sea. Even though Jehoshaphat was a good guy and well-intentioned, the ships sank and the deal came to naught.

The communist mentality is still strongly rooted in the post-Soviet psyche. Time after time we have witnessed how they will befriend you, wine and dine you, and then propose a deal... in which they will have a majority stake. In fact, Russian law requires that the Russian partners in any joint venture company with foreigners must control at least a 51% share of the assets. Then after a year or two of significant foreign investment, "unforeseen circumstances" will arise that force the foreign partner to sell out at fire sale prices or simply abandon the business. So I've concluded that the wisest form of involvement is as an advisor rather than as an investor. Advisors or consultants are paid by the hour for their assistance, and can leave with no ill feelings when they're no longer needed.

You may have heard that Google released the source code for their new Chrome Operating System this week and described basically how it will work "in the cloud." In our next issue we'll discuss Chrome OS & Cloud Computing.

Feel free to forward our CN.Net-News to a few friends (but don't spam!).

Yours truly,

Dr. Bob the CompuNerd

Dr. R.D. HoskEN
See the "nerd" in my name? (It helps if you're a little dyslexic!)
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