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Windows-Help.NET Newsletter04 Dec. 1999, Vol 2 No. 48

 New Variant of ExploreZip Worm

by Arie Slob

Dear Windows-Help.NET Subscriber,

Security and AntiVirus vendors announced that a new variation of the ExploreZip worm has been found. This dangerous worm has already infected a number of Fortune 500 companies as well as a host of smaller companies in the US during the business day on Tuesday, November 30.

This virus works like a chain letter and carries a destructive payload. So far, reports have been received from the USA, Europe and Asia. The virus is likely to spread globally within hours.

This virus is known as W32/ExploreZip.worm.pak. According to virus researchers, the original virus has been packed to reduce its file size to half. This made the new variant undetectable to most anti-virus programs, which has not been updated very recently. The virus itself arrives to a user via an e-mail attachment. When the attachment is opened, the virus will start to reply to e-mail messages, making it appear as if the user would have replied personally. In addition to this, once the virus infects one machine in a corporate network, it will start to look for other Windows workstations in the network. If another user has shared directories from his machine with others, the virus will try to infect this machine over the network.

"This seems to be spreading fast," Mikko Hypponen, Manager of Anti-Virus Research at Data Fellows Corporation, comments, "but not as fast as Melissa. The key issue here is that messages sent by ZippedFiles are very credible - they are normal-looking replies to messages you have sent earlier. You're quite likely to trust these messages and open the attachment."


Obscure bug found in new Pentium III processors

Intel said that a recently discovered bug in the new Pentium III "Coppermine" processor will be eliminated soon, when the company moves to the next "stepping" version of the processor. Intel is also testing processors to weed out chips containing the flaw.

The flaw (called "erratum" in geek-speek) becomes apparent in the "boot-up" sequence. It essentially forces computer owners to hit the "on" button twice, according to an Intel spokesman. If a computer contains a chip with the flaw, it does not start until the second try.

According to an Intel spokesman the bug only affects 1 to 2 percent of Pentium III "Coppermine" processors and has only been observed in labs.

AMD releases 750-MHz Athlon

-Systems Based on 750MHz AMD Athlon™ Processor Available for Holiday Buying Season-

Escalating the pace in the PC processor market, AMD this week cranked up the frequency on its AMD Athlon™ processor, announcing the immediate availability of a 750MHz AMD Athlon processor. The 750MHz AMD Athlon processor is the industry's fastest and most powerful x86 processor, offering unparalleled performance for high-end and mainstream computer users. Many computer manufacturers plan to offer systems featuring the 750MHz AMD Athlon processor for the holiday buying season, including Compaq and others.

The 750MHz AMD Athlon processor is the first processor that is built using AMD's aluminum 0.18-micron manufacturing process, and new AMD Athlon processors are now being built using that advanced technology.

"With the 750MHz AMD Athlon processor, AMD has rolled out the fastest x86 processor of the millennium, offering computer users unrivaled performance leadership on advanced applications for both the commercial and consumer markets," said Dana Krelle, vice president of Marketing for AMD's Computation Products Group. "The advanced 0.18-micron manufacturing process technology enables AMD to continue delivering x86 processors that lead the industry in both performance and frequency."

Consumer interest in Athlon - combined with difficulties some PC makers say they are having in getting large volumes of the fastest Intel "Coppermine" Pentium III processors--is pushing some major computer makers to take a second look at Athlon.

Do you want to share your thoughts on any article you read here? Head over to our Discussion forum, and let your opinion be heard!

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Locate and install software and driver updates. A comparison of Cybermedia's Oil Change and Symantec's Norton Web Services.


Internet Explorer 5.01 won't update to use 128-bit encryption

If you upgrade to Internet Explorer 5.01, and try to upgrade from the 56-bit encryption version to the 128-bit version, the upgrade might not work - But try this workaround:


Windows 98 Easter Egg; the easy way

You might have heard about the Windows 98 Easter Egg; it requires you to click on several places on the Regional Settings applet in Control Panel; quite a hard thing to do.

Well, here's the easy way to get to the Easter Egg:


E-icons 98

E-Icons 98, one of the most powerful and easy-to-use icon customization tools available, lets you customize shell icons on your system easily and quickly!

E-Icons makes it a snap to change any of the standard Windows 95/98 icons, these include ones for the Desktop, Start Menu, Drives, Folders and Files.

If you love to customize the way your system looks, E-Icons 98 is the perfect utility to download!


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Prepare for Y2K with anti-virus software

Microsoft and leading anti-virus firms are providing free 90-day trial versions of anti-virus software to consumers preparing for the year 2000. The software can be found on Microsoft's Year 2000 Web site through Dec. 31. Anti-virus software provides increased protection against Y2K-related viruses, hoaxes and other malicious files.

Microsoft's Y2K site

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  Microsoft Security

Patch Available for Internet Explorer 5 "WPAD Spoofing" Tim Adam of Open Software Associates discovered a vulnerability in Microsoft® Internet Explorer 5. Under very specific conditions, the vulnerability could allow a malicious user to provide proxy settings to web clients in another network.

Affected Software Versions

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5

More information

Patch Available for "Legacy Credential Caching" Vulnerability

Microsoft has released a patch that eliminates a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows 95 and 98 caused by a legacy mechanism for caching network security credentials. The vulnerability could allow a user's plaintext network password to be retrieved from the cache.

Affected Software Versions

  • Windows 95
  • Windows 98

More information

Patch Available for "IE Task Scheduler" Vulnerability

Arne Vidstrom and Svante Sennmark have discovered a serious problem on Windows NT systems that have IE 5.0 installed, when the Offline Browsing Pack (that is not installed by default) is also installed. The Offline Browsing Pack provides a Task Scheduler that replaces the native Windows NT Schedule Service (the schedule service is also known as the "AT Service"). A vulnerability in the Task Scheduler poses a privilege elevation risk and could allow normal users to execute code on the local machine in System context. (The Windows NT Schedule Service does not have this vulnerability).

Affected Software Versions

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5, when run on a Windows NT 4.0 system

Note I: The affected components are part of the IE 5 Offline Browsing Pack, which is not installed by default.

Note II: Windows NT 4.0 includes a native scheduling service, but it does not have this vulnerability.

More information

  Web site updates

These pages were added/updated in the past week. Information on previously updated/added pages is available on the What's New? page for 1 month.
Added: Patch Available for Internet Explorer 5 "WPAD Spoofing"
Added: New Variant of ExploreZip Worm Wreaks Havoc Across Corporate Networks
Updated: Patch Available for "Legacy Credential Caching" Vulnerability
Added: Patch Available for "IE Task Scheduler" Vulnerability
Added: Improve Performance, Prevent Crashing


Windows 98
Updated: Internet Explorer 5 Tip: Security Patches
Updated: Using ScanReg
Added: Windows 98 Easter Egg; the easy way
Added: Internet Explorer 5.01 won't update to use 128-bit encryption

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