Help--I need a new newsreader

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On Sat, 5 Apr 2008 06:08:13 -0400, "Buck Turgidson"

I like Free Agent, or Agent.
--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com


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Dear Mr. Gates
Enclosed is $30 cash (cash so we can keep the IRS out of this) to show my appreciation for giving us Outlook Express for reading newsgroups. It is a fine program and does everything I could ever want.
Use the $30 to take the family out for a nice dinner. You can even super size your meal with this much money.
I was going to send you $20 and suggested to my friend Buck that he send you twenty also. Well, turns out Buck is just a cheap SOB and he didn't want to help you out. So, I'm sending extra. Maybe Buck will be shamed into sending you the other 10 dollars this way. I doubt it thought. Last time I have Buck a nickel to hold the buffalo started to cry because Buck squeezed so hard. He sure is tight with money.
Thanks again Mr. Gates and I'm looking forward to more of your free software. So is Buck but he won't write you.
Your friend Ed
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Bill is visiting my place right now. Send me the check for $30 and I'll take him out for dinner. He's kind of skinny so I'll only need to supersize my meal if that's ok with you.
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"Colin B." wrote

Yeah, well ... about 20+ years ago I gave up my priestly robes and embraced Windows. It's arguably made my _personal_ computing/online life much simpler (and cheaper than previously possible) despite its many shortcomings.
... not to mention that it's difficult to imagine my 86 year old mother 'spamming the family' on anything else. :)
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wrote:

Oh good gosh, if Microsoft were not so easy to hack, Apple or Unix would be the next "easy" target. Be glad your job is to work with a less sought after target. If Microsoft and it's inept abilities to curb spam were to disappear tomorrow your job would become a nightmare 3 or 4 weeks later. The next most popular OS would be the target just like Microsoft is now.
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"Leon" wrote

be
While I never really bought into that argument because of the inherent difficulty of propagating malicious code at root level on a properly administered 'nix box, I do thank MSFT for the ubiquity of modern _PERSONAL_ computing, in spite of itself.
I was on the corporate side of the game when IBM was basically the only show in town and I $hudder to think of the cost of those days.
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I agree that it would be harder, until some one like the 14 year old that hacked the I-phone came along and did his thing. ;~) 30 years ago there were many impossible things yet to be done. Today, now so many.

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You can say that all you want but that doesn't make it so. I'll explain again why it is not so:
It sounds like you never heard of the "Join the Crew Virus" or Windows XP. All of the Linuxes, Unixes, and OSX are more secure BY DESIGN. They were designed to NOT execute code sent to a machine over the internet by an anonymous third party. Microsoftware was DESIGNED to execute code sent to a computer over the internet by an anonymous third party.
"Join the Crew" was a chain letter circulated in the late 1980s or early 1990s about a supposed email virus that would infect your computer if you opened the email. System administrators had to keep reassuring their users that it was NOT possible to get a virus by reading email.
Then Microsoft discovered the internet and distributed email clients that DID make it possible to infect a computer by merely reading email, and in some cases just by receiving it, no need to even read it. NO OTHER OS did THAT!
They topped that with XP which required that the user make an insecure connection over the internet to com- plete the installation. NO OTHER OS DID THAT.
These were not the result fo the crackers getting smarter. Microsoft put onto the market with FEATURES, not bugs, that rendered them insecurable. Microsoft wrote operating systems that deliberately and by design allowed other parties to control a local computer over the internet WITHOUT the permission or even notification of the local user.
I cannot overstress the fact that these were not bugs. They were written to do EXACTLY what the crackers did with them, excepting for the specifics of the malicious applications.
That is only one reason why spam proliferates.
Another reason is that ISPs with good spam control on their own networks (AOL is one of these) play 'whack o' mole" trying to block spam, instead of simply refusing all internet traffic from networks that harbor spammers.
Contrary to popular belief, the ISPs that host most spammers are known and that information is published by the likes of SpamHaus. See the http://www.spamhaus.org top ten spam supporting ISP list, for example.
Verizon led the list for years as a consequence of buying spam-friendly MCI (formerly UUNET) , but has now dropped to #6.
BTW, more than three times as many spammers are hosted in the USA as in any other country. China is a distant second.
--
FF


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Snip
Well I am sure that every thing you say here is true, today. But security be design is going to be cracked by some one. The strong point to all the other systems security is that 99% of the people spamming and sending out viruses are concentrating on the easy target. As long as other systems are not as widely useful as Windows the attraction is going to be low. Until another OS gets the attention that Windows does by the spammers no really knows what holes of methods can be devised in the future to cause havoc. To think that your set up is impenetrable is to be a bit naive.
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No, the strong point to all of the other systems is that they _have to be cracked_.
Abusers didn't have to crack Windows, they just used the available plug-ins.
Using Windows on the internet was like walking into a gay bar at closing time with your pants down around your ankles.

False dichotomy--like 'safe' or 'unsafe' in a woodshop.
--
FF

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And again I'll say that if Microsoft disappeared tomorrow the attention of the spamers would be dirrected at cracking the security on the other OS systems. I do not contest the fact that Microsoft created the Spammers paradise but having to crack the security of an OS is not going to make the millions of spamers go away.

Yes that is true. Path of least resistance. Take that target away and the tens of thousands or more people that make their living doing this now will look for the next easiest target.

I would know nothing about that. I'll take your word on that one, BIG BOY. ;~)

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While 'tens of thousands' is not as wildly incorrect as 'millions' it is still way of the mark. There may have been a total of a few tens of thousands of email spammers since the inception of the practice, but the overwhelming number of those were chicken boners who almost certainly lost money by spamming. E.g. they paid for spamware and/or affiliate membership is some internet-based pyramid scheme, made no sales and got malletted within hours or days of sending their first spam. Almost every ISP will terminate the account of a spammer who isn't paying them a lot extra (e.g. the notorius 'pink' contracts with ATT and others.) The number making a living off spam today are no more than two or three hundred and never were any more than that.
There may be fewer today than at any time in the last ten years due in no small measure to organized crime offering deals their competition couldn't refuse.
--
FF

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Fred the Red Shirt wrote: ...

...
Question I've never understood--how does anybody actually make any money? I can see the possibility (however remote) that somebody responds to the phishing, etc., but 98% of what I get is simply machine-generated gibberish it appears. What's up w/ that?
--
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Most of the machine-generated crap you see is virus/bot software trying to infect your computer and turn it into a spam zombie--some of the spam out there is phishing (as you've seen), some is for Viagra and random penis enlargement stuff (nearly all medical spam is actual for "herbal viagra" or what have you, which has nothing in common with the original), and some of the zombies are just there waiting to be called into action to DoS a company that isn't paying protection money. Yep, vulnerable computers are being used for big-money extortion, some of it against the major world banks and such corporations.
Colin
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On Fri, 04 Apr 2008 01:25:46 +0000, Leon wrote:

Leon, the point he's trying to make is that spammers didn't have to devise any methods to get into Windows - Microsoft provided them :-).
AFAIK, that is not the case with any of the Unix variants. I wrote code to control, among other things, smelters, rolling mills, radio telescopes, and computer aided dispatch. All of them were concerned about security for obvious reasons, especially the highway patrol :-).
To put it another way, setting up an insecure Unix box takes a fair amount of work. Work that can only be done by someone with superuser authority. Setting up a secure Windows box takes a great amount of work and the result is a crippled system because many features must be disabled.
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"Larry Blanchard" wrote

Except for the last line, very well said ... however, I consider a box upon which I can't run my software of choice "crippled", no matter how "secure". :)
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I totally agree and am not defending Microsoft at all. They created this problem. But like "nukes" the problem is not going to go away. An industry has been created and will continue with or with out an easy target.

If Unix became the next OS in every home like Microsoft is now, do you think that "everyone" would be able to do that fair amount of work to insure its security against spammers? I am only saying that Unix is strong because it does not appeal to the masses, a target not worth the time needed to crack it, today. If Unix replaced Windows in the future you have thousands and thousands of spammers that will have reason to go after the next easiest target. I suspect that Apple would be that target. I remember when Apple had no virus problems. Had Unix been the first OS to be in every ones homes perhaps Spammers would not exist today but now they do and they probably are not going to go away simply because the target becomes harder to get into.
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On Fri, 04 Apr 2008 13:50:42 +0000, Leon wrote:

^^^^^^^^
I think you read that one backwards, Leon :-).

I don't doubt that dedicated hackers could get into Unix. They have before, albeit most intrusions were of the "worm" and not the "virus" species.
But when every process runs in its own protected memory space, it does limit the opportunities for system-wide damage. And at least one Unix, OpenBSD, was designed specifically for security.
But your point is valid. There would surely be more hacking attempts, and successes, were Unix the predominant OS. I just don't think they'd be as frequent or as severe.
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Probably so. I have been on medication all week fighting an upper respitory infection transfered to me my my wife. She sent me an unsecured e-mail and I read it. ;~)
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Next time read your email while wearing a condom...
--
FF


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