Computer Knowledge Newsletter – July 1999 Issue

In This Issue:

Virus News

Nothing significant. Keep your scanners up to date; particularly due to the new Back Orifice 2000 release (see next section).

General Security

Back Orifice 2000. The Cult of the Dead Cow released a new version of Back Orifice (BO2K) at the Defcon convention in Las Vegas on 10 July 1999. Unlike the previous version which only ran under Win95/98, BO2K is said to run on NT networks as well. The hacker group calls BO2K an administration tool for NT networks; Microsoft calls it “a very malicious, destructive program.”

The Cult says the new version is smaller, nimbler, and twice as nefarious. Probably the most important change, however, is that this version targets larger organizations who tend to run Windows NT-based networks. The previous version would not run on NT systems. It’s said that keystroke-logging is also included in the new version. BO2K is also said to be open-source with the ability to accept plug-ins. Of course, this opens the door to malicious variants.

Virtually all of the anti-virus software makers have either announced detection modules or are working on detection modules. Check with your AV program vendor to see if they have a BO2K update.

Bookmark Problem. You might want to check your bookmarks as and/or after you save them. An exploit that can be used is to place JavaScript into a web page <TITLE> tag. When done, that JavaScript is then imported into the bookmark file and saved there. The problem is that the next time that bookmark is accessed the JavaScript will be executed. The difference is that when you accessed the script over the web certain protections were instituted by your browser; when run on your local computer, however, those protections are not in place and the script will be allowed to do pretty much whatever it wants. This exploit appears to affect both Netscape and Internet Explorer browsers.

Items of Interest

The following site has interesting collections of links and a daily newsletter discussing various topics with links to pertinent web sites. You might want to use it for general reference: Link

In closing: If you stopped by and noticed some old info on the web site, I apologize. But, in addition to a trip I upgraded my desktop this month. Converted a 6GB hard drive which had been partitioned into C:, D:, and E: at 2GB each and formatted with FAT16 to a single C: drive formatted with FAT32. Also upgraded Win95 to Win98SE. And, instead of starting from scratch I did it all by repartitioning on the fly and moving applications from one drive to the C: drive. That took just a bit longer than I originally thought it would. 🙂 (I still encounter one or two little things I forgot about now and again, but the major things seem to be stable enough for now.)