Tuesday, 15 August 2000

Newsletter Issue 9, August 2000

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 9, August 2000
Hi guys,
This newsletter is coming out a little earlier than expected. I have had queries from several clients about music recorders etc, and then I had a brush with a nasty new-generation virus on Thursday. So I have decided to send you all an emergency bulletin! 
I go through the "how to guide" to getting rid of "Kak.hta" - the second non-trojan horse virus (the first was bubble-boy, if you remember that). I have then given you all a fairly comprehensive guide to MP3 and audio music files. Check out Virus News below and Music-Bytes
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Virus News
WARNING, WARNING - danger, Will Robinson!
We have an outbreak of an non-trojan horse virus (it does not require an attachment to get into your computer). It is called Kak.hta. 
This is a worm virus which replicates itself via your email system. This happens because of a flaw in Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Outlook Express. The weakness is solved by ensuring that you have a patch installed for Outlook Express, and the latest version of Internet Explorer (5.5).
Apparently (and I am not sure how true this is) it doesn't matter if you don't use these programmes - only if they are installed on your PC. I have had experience with Kak personally. And it does take a bit of getting rid of.
Both the very latest Macafee and Norton anti-virus didn't trace all of the files, which is why I am giving you guys the whole gen. So bear with me!
If you have not updated your computer anti-virus software recently, you need to do so as soon as possible, and do a full system scan before you start bug hunting.
To find out if this virus is present in your computer, open Windows Explorer and go to the Tools menu. Select Find | Files & Folders.
Type "Kak" into the "Named" field (no dots, no suffix) and ensure that your search is on the whole C:\drive including subfolders (check the "include subfolders" checkbox, and ensure "Look in" reads "C:").Click "Find Now". 
If you find ANY files containing the word Kak that you have not created, you have the virus on board.
And to get rid of it:
  • Highlight the "Kak" files turned up in your search, and click the delete key (this virus will not clean so there is no point in trying)
  • Search C: drive for *.hta. Delete all files found
  • Search C:Windows for autoexec.bat. If it does not exist, it may have been renamed "Ae.kak" by the virus. 
    • Check your recycle bin for Ae.kak (only if autoexec.bat is NOT found under C:Windows). 
    • Right click on it and select restore. 
    • Rename the file in C:Windows as autoexec.bat
  • Delete any e-mails that might contain the virus 
  • Shut down & restart
  • Empty your recycle bin (by shutting down & restarting, you know none of the files that you have deleted into the recycle bin will affect your computer operating system)
  • Click on the link http://www.microsoft.com/security/Bulletins/ms99-032.asp . When downloading, select the link that reads "http://www.microsoft.com/ msdownload/iebuild/scriptlet/en/scriptlet.htm"
  • Download the patch, following the instructions
  • Now go to http://www.microsoft.com and download the latest version of Internet Explorer, following the download instructions
  • Shut down
  • Restart
  • If you are an Outlook Express user, open Outlook Express. 
    • Go to the Tools menu. 
    • Select Options
    • Select the e-mail Tab, then the Signature button. 
    • Delete ALL signatures that exist (recreate your one later)
  • Open Internet Explorer. 
    • Go to the Tools menu. 
    • Select Internet Options. 
    • Go to the Security Tab
    • Click Restricted Sites button (Web content..)
    • Click Custom Level
    • Scroll almost all the way down to Scripting
    • Under Active Scripting, check the "prompt" or the "disable" option
    • Click OK
    • Click OK again
  • Open Outlook Express
    • Go to the Tools menu. 
    • Select Options 
    • Go to the Security Tab
    • In the Security Zones section, select the Restricted Sites zone 
  • Shut down and restart for all changes to take proper effect
  • Go to your anti-virus provider's website, and complete a full system scan (ensure that you select ALL files & folders). Hopefully you will find nothing at all
Whew! It's a bit of a mission, but that should see you all OK. Good luck.


This month the focus is on music - players, recorders and downloaders. Just to clarify a few things - it is NOT illegal for you to make an MP3 file copy of music that you already own. It is not illegal for you to download an MP3 file from the internet if you already own a copy of the track on cassette.. or record.. or 8-track.. or CD. 
In general, music companies are not interested in violation of copyright by individuals for private purposes. They are VERY vigilant on any commercial or large-scale private reproduction (hence the Napster fiasco). 
Napster is currently being sued by a consortium of music companies, who are trying to stop it operating. The music companies figure that if they manage to put Napster out of business (as it is the biggest MP3 sharing server), then they can carry on and kill the other sites. It seems to me that they are shooting the messenger. It is the people who download copies of music that they have no rights to that are the problem, not the people whose software is being used. Typical!
For those of you who don't know, Napster is both a server hub and a piece of freeware. You download the freeware onto your machine and install it. You go through some set-up stuff and get a user name and password. Then you connect to the Napster server and can share the music listings of every other person who is logged on at that time. You search for songs by artist, by name or by both... double click on them and they download into your set-up location. Then you can play them. Find all about it at http://www.napster.com/download/ 
There are always 1/2 a million tracks available on the Napster server, and often over a million. I have just managed to replace all the old tracks that I have on cassette and record with MP3 files, which I have then written to CD. I have even found fairly obscure Kiwi tracks.
If Napster does hit the wall, there is already a good alternative that uses the Napster freeware. You need to download and install another piece of freeware - Napigator. This is a server linking software which you open, then double click on a particular server that you want to search. There are usually at least 100 servers. Double-clicking opens Napster, connects you to the server and you search as usual. If you can't find what you are looking for, you click on the taskbar button for Napigator, select the next server, and go back to your search. Very handy and found at  http://www.napigator.com/- go to the bottom of the page to find the download information. 
To play your music you have the choice of several media players. The best one I have found is RealPlayer. If you have RealPlayer 2.0 (a standard load with either Netscape Navigator or Inernet Explorer - I can't remember which one!) you can get a free download of RealPlayer Basic 8; at http://www.real.com/player/index.html?src=000803realhome_2 . But beware! The download link is hidden at the bottom of the page in little letters - don't go for the one that you have to pay for.
Another bit of freeware/shareware is the Real Jukebox, which will play and record your CDs on your PC. You can listen to your Ravel's Bolero or Metallica while you work by installing the "RealJukebox 2.0 basic" at Real.com's RealJukebox .  Full hyperlink text: http://www.real.com/jukebox/index.html?src=000803realhome_2
Another way of recording your CDs, and probably a better quality of recording, is MusicMatch. This software allows you to set your recording preferences to 160kps (rather than 96kps for RealJukebox), which gives you a better quality sound. Download the software at http://www.musicmatch.com/download/, install and record your audio CDs as MP3 files like mad!
If you have a CD writer, you will need MP3 file conversion software. This allows you to convert your stored MP3 files into audio files to write Audio CDs(a stereo will not play MP3 files... only your PC will). I have found that the best software is MP3 CD Maker. This software costs you $30 US (approx $70 enzed), but is worth it - for the price of 2 CDs, you can write your own. Download address is http://www.zy2000.com/down.htm

Short+Hot Keys... and now tips
This time we have some easy shortcuts for getting around with several windows open at once;;
  • Alt & Tab  Hold the Alt key down. For each click on the Tab key, a selector box will move forward one open session on a message box. Very useful 
  • F11 Toggles full-screen on and off (drops menu bars etc) 
  • Taskbar Desktop icon  Many of you don't realise that this will take you to your desktop shortcuts. This is the wee icon right beside the Start button - icon is a a blotter with a pencil & paper on it 
  • F11 In Access this takes you to the database background from the foreground
Hot Linx
Another site for finding good software downloads is Download.com. Check it out

Looking for health news? Check out On Health for all the lowdown... at 8 million hits per month!

Spilt your screen - this freeware turns your screen into nine grid squares through which you can view up to nine different websites simultaneously. Divide your attention at: http://www.websplit.com/index.asp

Mars video footage, NASA findings, awesome slide images and interactive games - like a simulated landing on Mars found at http://www.livefrommars.com/

Want to see what is true and what is not? Check out Urban Legends

Crossword fanatic? Try american crosswords at http://www.sun-herald.com/crossword/ 

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here