Podcast #83 – The “Oops, I Got a Virus Edition!” (Video Netcast #9)

Dr. Bill Podcast – 83 – (04/07/07)
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Geek Culture with “Mend My PC.” Microsoft releases emergency fix. Geek Software of the Week: Tag&Rename! A DirCaster Update. Dr. Bill gets a computer virus! WEP is dead! long live WPA! YouTube launches “CitizenTube.” Our Gamemaster segment!

Video Netcast Show Notes:
Very cool Geek Culture in the form of “Kiwi!” a video off of YouTube! As promised, here’s the YouTube video code: sdUUx5FdySs Also Dr. Bill grumps and grouses about actually… gulp.. getting a virus at work!

YouTube Launches “CitizenTube” for Political Expression

A lot of news has been made recently by YouTube videos about political candidates. Careers are being made (or lost!) Now, Google and YouTube is offering a more “official” version for political speech.

YouTube Launches CitizenTube – Official Political Vlog

“YouTube has formally announced a new, official channel of political videos called CitizenTube. Edited by Steve Grove, YouTube’s Citizentube/YouTube News & Politics Editor, the channel appears intended to aggregate select political videos already appearing on the rest of the site. Will Steve effectively be an official representative of the politics of the GooTube giant? In some ways, he just may. To call that a big responsibility would be an understatement.”

WEP is dead… Long Live WPA!

WEP is “Wired Equivalent Privacy” and is available in most wireless routers. It has long been easy to crack. However, new hacking techniques can now crack it in under 60 seconds! Ouch!

The Final ‘Final’ Nail in WEP’s Coffin?

“Researchers have discovered a new way of attacking Wired Equivalent Privacy that requires an amount of data ‘more than an order of magnitude’ less than the best known key-recovery attacks. In effect, the cracking can be done within a minute, as the title of the paper suggests: Breaking 104 bit WEP in less than 60 seconds. Specifically, only 40,000 data packets are needed for a 50 percent chance of success, while 85,000 packets give a 95 percent chance of success, according to the paper’s authors: Erik Tews, Ralf-Philipp Weinmann and Andrei Pyshkin, all researchers in the computer science department at Darmstadt University of Technology in Darmstadt, Germany. The ease of cracking WEP is nothing new; cryptanalysts showed six years ago that any WEP key can be cracked with readily available software in one minute or less. The protocol, which is part of the IEEE 802.11 wireless networking standard, was superseded by WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) in 2003, then by WPA2, another name for the full IEEE 802.11i standard. What’s new that has been missing from WEP cracking until now is that a Wi-Fi attacker no longer needs long periods of time nor much smarts, according to Wi-Fi security experts. ‘…To crack WEP [up until now] it 1) required a knowledgeable attacker [and] 2) took a long time,’ said Andrea Bittau, in an e-mail exchange. Bittau is a research fellow at the University College London and a co-author of a paper describing what had been the most effective WEP cracking technique prior to the Germans’ research.”

So… bottom line, use WPA (“Wi-Fi Protected Access”) or WPA2 and be safe!

History Has Been Made… A Page Has Turned… Dr. Bill Gets a Computer Virus!

Now, I am no “typical” computer user. I know better than to download warez and evil files. I don’t click on e-mail attachments… ever! And, in my 28 years of computer experience, I have never had a computer virus hit MY system! Until yesterday. I still haven’t had one on any of my personal computers… but at work, yesterday afternoon, I when to a very bland, ordinary web site. The next thing I know, my system was shouting about a virus… and I had 122 files infected. We use Sophos Anti-virus at work, and it caught it and stopped it dead. But… it was embarrassing! Me! Me, the Doctor, get a computer virus? Why that is unthinkable… totally ridiculous! But, it finally happened. And, as I have been thinking about it, it makes me mad!

I was one of those kids in school that had a perfect attendance record for years! I mark records like that… I was proud of my “I’ve never had a virus” status. Now, boom! It is shot! Any why? Not because of stupid downloads or stupid clicking on attachments… no, it is because of a very ordinary, innocuous web site that had a mechanism to launch a virus attack. Now, let me say, my system is always fully patched… and up to date on all virus signatures and security patches. And, it didn’t cause my system at work any “damage.” Other than to my pride. Sigh.

To my view, we have entered a new age… an age in which even the most computer savvy among us can, indeed, get a virus… there are just too many sites out there that have these “built-in” attack systems. It is a clarion call to be more vigilant, and more serious about computer security.

And I am giving serious thought to adding virus writing to the list of capital offenses. OK, maybe… maybe, that is overkill. Maybe.

Geek Software of the Week: Tag&Rename!

I know, this is another one that is NOT free, but occasionally you have VERY specific needs that only a shareware program like this addresses. I wanted a program that would allow me to edit tags within files of all kinds of file types, like: mp3 (ID3v1, ID3v2.2, ID3v2.3 and ID3v2.4 tags), MusePack mpc/mp+ (APEv1, APEv2 and ID3v1 tags), Windows Media wma, asf and wmv files, Ogg Vorbis/Flac/Speex (vorbis comments), Apple iTunes and iPod aac (m4a) files including mp4, lossless m4a and protected m4p files, most popular lossless codecs including Monkey’s Audio, Flac, Wav Pack, Optim Frog, True Audio, Apple, Windows Media lossless and Wav! WOW! Plus, I wanted all file info on ONE screen, so I could see it and edit it all at once. Well, check it out!

Tag&Rename – easy to use tag editor

“Tag&Rename supports many additional tag fields including lyrics, cover art, rating, mood, disc #, part of a compilation, album artist, classical music fields (Composer, Conductor, etc.), file related URL’s and so on. With Tag&Rename, you can:

* manually edit music files tags
* automatically fix and complete file tags using online freedb database
* load titles and cover art from amazon.com server
* get tags data from file names and its folders structures
* rename your music files and folders according to its music information in a batch
* create play lists
* export files information to CSV, HTML, XML and text formats and more

Tag&Rename supports many files and tags standards in an easy and intuitive way, so you can work with music metadata and not have to think about files codecs and tags versions – Tag&Rename does it all.”

And, it supports Vista! All for only $29.95! Not bad at all! I bought it!

Microsoft Releases Emergency “Animated Cursor” Fix

I told you about the “animated cursor” zero day exploit on Vista… well today they released the fix.

Microsoft Releases Fix for Animated Cursor Exploit

“Microsoft Corp. plans to patch a security hole in Windows on Tuesday related to an animated cursor that hackers have used to launch attacks after users click on links to malicious Web sites. Microsoft, whose Windows operating system runs on some 95 percent of the world’s computers, said it would release the patch outside of a regular monthly security update because it completed testing earlier than anticipated. ‘Microsoft’s monitoring of attack data continues to indicate that the attacks and customer impact is limited,’ the world’s biggest software maker said in a statement. Security firm F-Secure said attacks using the flaw related to cursor animation files used by Windows intensified over the weekend, with the majority tracing back to different Chinese hacker groups. It said most of the activity around the so-called ANI exploit has been via dozens of malicious Web sites but warned that on Sunday the first Internet worm, able to replicate without the user doing anything to the machine, was found using the flaw to spread. ‘This vulnerability is really tempting for the bad guys,’ said Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at F-Secure. ‘It’s easy to modify the exploit, and it can be launched via Web or e-mail fairly easily.'”

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