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Monday, February 28, 2005

 I see a great smothering darkness in your future...

[TBogg Link]

I wasn't home to see the Academy Awards tonight, but I see by the big splashy headlines that Million Dollar Baby won the big enchilada, an event that was popular in our house since it was the best of the two  film nominees that we actually saw, all of which just goes to show you how discerning we are with our movie dollar if you ignore the fact that we actually paid good American dollars to see Lost in Translation last summer.

Anyway, if we are to judge the national zeitgeist by reading the Oscar tea leaves, we would have to say that euthanasia is going to be all the rage.

So let's start with Michael Medved. You may say that he's not that near death, but I know brain-death when I see it and we should just move on.   The same goes for Rush Limbaugh and Rabbi Daniel Lapin who did their dammest to keep this movie from winning.  Yes we should just end the suffering and move on.
Our suffering, that is...

On another note I was also pleased to see that Born Into Brothels took home a trophy too. It's so good that it's already been remade as an American film

For fashion don'ts and ...more don'ts, go to national treasure Go Fug Yourself...and you might want to visit the Ashlee Simpson archives since you're in the neighborhood. Just don't buy a souvenir t-shirt.

categories: Politics
Other Stories according to Google: Amazon.com: Music: I See a Darkness | Amazon.com: Music: I See a Darkness | Drivel | The Great Shift 2001 | Realm of Darkness : Divinations: Dream Dictionary: S | Art and poetry page | Eve of the Presentation of Our Lord - February 1, 1975 | The Legend of King Jason V | FanFiction.Net: Reviews for This Present Darkness | Poems Of James Russell Lowell by James Russell Lowell: Present

1:51:47 AM    

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Calling all desperate Christian singles...

[Apostropher Link] 

TBogg and ThinkProgress have been trawling around the dating service at Sean Hannity's website. "No," you say, "such an easy target for derision surely does not exist in the wild. That can only be an invention of snarky, smug left-wing bloggers, right?" No, it's real and oh so worth your time. Just for starters:

Krista in Michigan would trade her tiara to have "the kind of love that Nancy and Ronald Reagan had," so if you're totally confused and incontinent, drop her an email.

Dave in Oregon's sole hope from placing his personal is "to kill deer with Ann Coulter someday." From the comments at ThinkProgress: "Well, you'd have to swing her over your head real fast, but I bet you could get up enough speed to bring a deer down with her."

Jay in New York believes "there is nothing that can be said that Billy Joel hasn't put in a song" and says "I enjoy getting off at a random subway stop." I love that Billy Joel song about masturbating in the subway.

Chris in Alabama is looking for a Christian woman who will appriciate his assperations to Christ.

A prayer for Chris

O wondrous Lord in Heaven, enlighten me in all my decisions. Be my guide as I do Your work here on Earth. Speaking of work, should I buy that Elm Street duplex - the one with the green shutters, not the one with the Christmas lights still up (but I don't need to tell You that, All Knowing God)-- and flip it right away, or sit on it for a few years until the market improves?)

And my humble thanks to You, O Lord, for sending a wonderful woman to me who worships You as I do. I feel in my heart that tonight is the night and, with the knowledge that I am not worthy of Your help, I ask that You make me acceptable in her sight. I beseech you to guide my hand(s) and ... other things ... in the darkness as we do as the monkeys do. (And when I say monkeys, I don't mean to suggest that we are descended from them. But we can learn from all of Your creatures, O Lord, because they are Your creations, and all that You create is perfection.)

If you do this for me, O Lord, I promise that I will stop socking my clients with all of those hidden fees at closing, even though those fees help me to do Your work. I will do this for You.

He left out a few details... Namely an explanation of how investing in real estate and stocks serves Jesus... I suppose creating independent wealth for himself instead of relying on the welfare state is the best way to serve Christ.

 As one of the ThinkProgress commenters pointed out, either that dumbfuck Hannity or his dumbfuck webmaster actually published the email addresses of the hapless Hannitized. So they will all no doubt be set upon by spammers, confidence men, psychos, and liberal wiseacres (hope no one here succumbs, can't say I wasn't tempted to eff with a couple of them).

categories: Outrages
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3:52:45 PM    

Who Says Journalism Is Hard Work

 This One Comes With It's Own Caption.  [Via http://first-draft.com/]












Bush is thinking about JeffJames - since there's a word for sausage behind him.
To paraphrase a joke i saw in the comments at Atrios yesterday:
"Oh no! they're going to Douchbagistan next!"


categories: Politics
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10:01:36 AM    

Friday, February 25, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging














Quess Who?


categories: Humor
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10:03:25 AM    

Special thanks to the Freeway blogger 


Apparently, this has been up along a highway out west for 6 hours now LOL. I had no idea until Freeway just emailed me. Check out his site, he's amazing - note he's planning a special freeway blogging to mark the upcoming death of the 1500th US soldier in Iraq, more here. This guy would make a fascinating article.


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead


"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." -Martin Luther King Jr.


"Imagination is more important than knowledge." Albert Einstein

"Go fuck yourself." -Vice President Dick Cheney


categories: Politics
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12:50:40 AM    

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Piss Off
A Belgian novelty shows what the good people of Brussels really think about George W. Bush.

WHEN JOHAN VANDE LANOTTE, Belgium's Vice Prime Minister, goes to the toilets today, he finds the urinals in the offices of his ministry decorated with stickers. They show an American flag and the head of George W. Bush. "Go ahead. Piss on me," the caption says. Vande Lanotte is one of Bush's hosts in Brussels. Is peeing on your guest's head appropriate? In Belgium it is. After all, Brussels' best known statue is that of "Manneken Pis," a peeing boy.

The piss stickers, specially made to be used in urinals, can be seen these days in the public toilets of Belgian schools, youth clubs, and pubs. They were designed by Laurent Winnock, president of the Young Socialists, the youth branch of Vande Lanotte's Socialist party. Winnock did his creative work during his office hours, which would not be worth mentioning if Winnock did not work in the offices of Vice Prime Minister Vande Lanotte, as one of his press spokesmen.

Last Friday, Belgian television asked Robert "Steve" Stevaert, the Socialist party leader, what he thought of the stickers. It had not been his idea, he stressed, but he refused to distance himself from it. He hardly could, seeing as the stickers can be ordered for free through the party's official website. For Belgian television viewers the message was clear: Bush may be our government's guest, the ministers will greet him, smile and tell him that he is most welcome, but we all know what they think of the bastard.

For those who missed the
"subtlety" of the urinal stickers, Laurette Onkelinx, the Belgian minister of Justice and one of the Socialist party's most powerful figures, let go during prime time on Sunday evening, as Air Force One was about to land in Brussels. "I would rather have had John Kerry visiting us," she said on television. When the interviewer asked whether it was not undiplomatic to say so, she answered: "No. That is how I feel about it."



categories: Politics
Other Stories according to Google: Junk the junk: how to piss off credit card companies and get away | The Word Spy - piss - off factor | Ensight - Jeremy C. Wright » How to Piss Off a Recruiter | How To Piss Off Your Pair | Phil Wood Piss Off | Pivot-Blacklist - Take back your blog! | FedEx and Sears to First Amendment: Piss Off and Die | Musings: Don't piss off Rob Schneider | How to piss off the guys in the fire truck@Everything2.com | PISS OFF !

1:36:37 PM    

Monday, February 21, 2005

PROM princess or porn queen?

This prom dress is so skimpy, even the designer's CEO wouldn't let his teenage daughter wear it. But the dangerously revealing gown, prominently advertised in Seventeen Prom, YM Prom and Teen Prom, and on sale in a Midtown shop, is a top seller for the company this season.

"I was shocked when I first saw it, but now it's one of our top 20 dresses nationwide," says Nick Yeh, the CEO of Xcite, the Stafford, Texas, company that designed the dress and some 200 other styles this season.

"I have a 15-year-old daughter and, no, I would not recommend she wear this dress.

"As a businessman," he adds, "I'm not judging what a teenager should wear or not wear. It's up to the parents to decide for their own children."

In fact, some shops in smaller cities require girls to bring in parental permission slips to buy the dress, Yeh told The Post.

At Elite Designs, a formal shop in Midtown that has the barely-there gown on a mannequin, owner Surinder Nagpal says, "We've gotten a few calls about that dress. Originally, I wasn't going to stock [it], but my sales associate told me that girls would want it, so we're stocking it in black and red."

So far, says Helen Rodriguez, Nagpal's sales associate, no one has bought the $495 gown - but it just arrived.

"Our biggest sellers are still the traditional princess ball gowns, but sometimes a parent will come in with their daughter and will buy her whichever dress she wants," Rodriguez said.

"If my daughter had the body to wear it, I'd let her!"

It's too early to tell how many girls in New York City will buy the dress, but those who do may have a hard time getting through the prom door.

While it's up to individual school administrators to rule on prom fashions, the Board of Education maintains a disciplinary dress code that prohibits "wearing clothing or other items that are unsafe or disruptive to the educational process."

Lisa Maffei-Fuentes, principal of Christopher Columbus High School in The Bronx, bans "anything that resembles the famous [green Versace] J.Lo dress."

"I personally have to check every dress," says Maffei-Fuentes. "Breasts must be entirely covered and there should not be any cutouts in the bodice.

"On the night of the prom, we have chaperones at the entry looking at every dress. We also provide needle, thread and pins to close up holes and fix dresses to the appropriate length," she says.

"This is for their own protection. We're there to help them experience the prom as a wonderful, dignified evening."

Parents who saw pictures of the dress were shocked.

"It's absolutely too much," said Tal Mandler of Woodmere, Long Island, whose daughter, Dana, is 13. "It is very provocative and does not suit the occasion or the age."

"What happened to the rest of it?" wondered Hilda Salazar, whose 17-year-old daughter is a high school senior in Brooklyn.

Asked whether she'd allow her daughter to wear the dress to prom - or if she'd allow her 19-year-old son to date a girl who did - Salazar answered with a resounding no.

Students at Stuyvesant High School were just as appalled.

"Our school doesn't have a dress code, but I don't think any girls would wear that to prom," said senior Mary Zhang.

"How would you wear it, anyway? Double-sided tape doesn't last all night."

Senior Daniel Belu and junior Katie Hammond laughed out loud at the sight of it.

"I wouldn't want my girlfriend to wear this - at least not in public," Belu said.

"I don't think any girl would wear this to a prom. She'd step on her dress on the dance floor and everything would just fall out!"

Most of the students we spoke to were primarily concerned with practicalities. "You couldn't dance in that dress - actually, you couldn't do anything at all," says junior Vivian Healey.

"If you wore that to prom, you'd be falling out of it all night," says senior Angela Cho. "There's also hardly any material. I can't believe it costs $400. You could make it yourself if you really wanted to."

Other students expressed aesthetic concerns. "I don't think anyone would wear this to the prom. The dress looks kind of whore-ish," says junior Emma Herr.

"This dress would look great at a prom if the model in the picture wore it," says senior Vlaz Ermant, "but we don't have any girls like that at our school."

 Actually that dress screams "Hey all you Moms who want to live out your slutty dreams through your daughters, why not buy her something that you would've looked really hot in 25 years and 80 pounds ago!"  

 The dress should come with a bag of cheetos, a discount on a pair of "clear heels", and a gift certificate for a post-prom-night checkup at Planned Parenthood as Gifts with Purchase.  

categories: Outrages
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11:55:59 PM    

Friday, February 18, 2005

Keyes' daughter acknowledges she is a lesbian

Politician referred to gays and lesbians as "hedonistic sinners"

 Alan Keyes

Alan Keyes

The daughter of former Republican Party senate candidate Alan Keyes publicly acknowledged Monday that she is a lesbian.



The daughter of former Republican Party senate candidate Alan Keyes publicly acknowledged Monday that she is a lesbian.

During the Republican National Convention, Alan Keyes made headlines when he condemned gays and lesbians. His daughter says she has been ostracized from the family.

"God works in really strange ways sometimes. There are times in life when he just doesn't sort of nudge you gently in the direction he wants you to go, he sort of takes a two by four and whacks you upside the head," said Maya Keyes, Alan Keyes' 19-year-old daughter.

At a gay rights rally in Annapolis, Md., Maya Keyes said she is coming out as a lesbian in response to escalating tensions with her parents, including her arch-conservative father, whom she worked for in last year's Illinois senate race. Keyes said she also wanted to highlight the struggle of gays in the closet, including a gay friend who died last week after months on the street.

During last year's senate race, Keyes referred to gays and lesbians as "hedonistic sinners"  [specifically, the Vice President's daughter]  and talked hypothetically about his own family.

"If my own daughter were a homosexual, or a lesbian, I would love my daughter, but I would tell my daughter that she was in sin," Keyes said in August.

Later, as rumors swirled around his daughter's pained admissions of sexual confusion and home tensions on an Internet blog page, Keyes defended his hard line.

"Before I deny god, before I deny Christ, before I deny my faith, I would die. Surely, then you would understand that I consider the eternal salvation of my children to be the real aim of my parenting, not how they feel today," said Keyes.

When asked Monday if she dislikes her parents, Maya Keyes said she loves them very much and they love her.

"My daughter is an adult and she is responsible for her own actions. What she chooses to do has nothing to do with my work or political activities," Keyes said in response to his daughter's announcement.

Maya told the Washington Post Monday her parents kicked her out of the house and will not pay her college tuition. But a family friend has a very different take, saying Maya has been self-destructive and needs psychiatric help, not college. The friend says Maya has not been kicked out of the family home, but she is no longer welcomed to stay at the downtown Chicago apartment that Keyes and members of his new political organization use.

categories: Politics
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10:47:55 AM    

Sunday, February 13, 2005

How Dirty Harry Turned Commie

 FRANK RICH: Published: February 13, 2005

THE day the left died in Hollywood, surely, was the day that a few too many Queer Eyes had their way with Michael Moore as he set off on his Oscar campaign. The baseball cap and 1970's leisure ensemble gave way to quasi-Libeskind eyeglasses and spiky hair that screamed "I am worthy of a cameo on 'Entourage.' " But not worthy of an Oscar. "Fahrenheit 9/11" got zero nominations, leaving the Best Picture race to five apolitical movies. Since none of those five has yet sold $100 million worth of tickets, let alone the $350-million-plus of a "Lord of the Rings"-level megahit, the only real drama accruing to this year's Oscar telecast was whether its ratings would plunge as low as the Golden Globes.

But two weeks out from the big night, the prospects for a little conflict are looking up. Just when it seemed that Hollywood had turned a post-election page in the culture wars, the commissars of the right cooked up a new, if highly unlikely, grievance against "Holly-weird," as they so wittily call it. This was no easy task. They couldn't credibly complain that "The Passion of the Christ" was snubbed by the movie industry's "elite" (translation: Jews), since it nailed three nominations, including one for makeup (translation: really big noses). That showing bested not only "Fahrenheit 9/11" but "Shrek 2," the year's top moneymaker. Nor could they resume hostilities against their perennial bogeymen Ben Affleck, Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, Barbra Streisand and Whoopi Goldberg. All are nonplayers in this year's awards.

So what do you do? Imagine SpongeBob tendencies in the carefully sanitized J. M. Barrie of "Finding Neverland"? Attack a recently deceased American legend, Ray Charles, for demanding that his mistress get an abortion in "Ray"? No, only a counterintuitive route could work. Hence, the campaign against Clint Eastwood, a former Republican officeholder (Mayor of Carmel, Calif., in the late 1980's), Nixon appointee to the National Council of the Arts and action hero whose breakthrough role in the Vietnam era was as a vigilante cop, Dirty Harry, whom Pauline Kael famously called "fascist." There hasn't been a Hollywood subversive this preposterous since the then 10-year-old Shirley Temple's name surfaced at a House Un-American Activities Committee hearing in 1938.

No matter. Rush Limbaugh used his radio megaphone to inveigh against the "liberal propaganda" of "Million Dollar Baby," in which Mr. Eastwood plays a crusty old fight trainer who takes on a fledgling "girl" boxer (Hilary Swank) desperate to be a champ. Mr. Limbaugh charged that the film was a subversively encoded endorsement of euthanasia, and the usual gang of ayotallahs chimed in. Michael Medved, the conservative radio host, has said that "hate is not too strong a word" to characterize his opinion of "Million Dollar Baby." Rabbi Daniel Lapin, a longtime ally of the Christian right, went on MSNBC to accuse Mr. Eastwood of a cultural crime comparable to Bill Clinton having "brought the term 'oral sex' to America's dinner tables."

"What do you have to give these people to make them happy?" Mr. Eastwood asked when I phoned to get his reaction to his new status as a radical leftist. He is baffled that those "who expound from the right on American values" could reject a movie about a heroine who is "willing to pull herself up by the bootstraps, to work hard and persevere no matter what" to realize her dream. "That all sounds like Americana to me, like something out of Wendell Willkie," he says. "And the villains in the movie include people who are participating in welfare fraud."

What galls the film's adversaries - or so they say - is a turn in the plot that they started giving away on the radio and elsewhere in December, long before it started being mentioned in articles like the one you're reading now. They hoped to "spoil" the movie and punish it at the box office, though there's no evidence that they have succeeded. As Mr. Eastwood has pointed out, advance knowledge of the story's ending did nothing to deter the audience for "The Passion of the Christ." My own experience is that knowing the ultimate direction of "Million Dollar Baby" - an organic development that in no way resembles a plot trick like that in "The Sixth Sense" - only deepened my second viewing of it.

There's no dream team, either in the boxing arena or in the emergency room, in "Million Dollar Baby." While there is much to admire in the year's other Oscar-nominated movies - the full-bodied writing in "Sideways," the cinematic bravura of "The Aviator," the awesome Jamie Foxx in "Ray" - Mr. Eastwood's film, while also boasting great acting, is the only one that challenges America's current triumphalist daydream. It does so not because it has any politics or takes a stand on assisted suicide but because it has the temerity to suggest that fights can have consequences, that some crises do not have black-and-white solutions and that even the pure of heart are not guaranteed a Hollywood ending. What makes some feel betrayed and angry after seeing "Million Dollar Baby" is exactly what makes many more stop and think: one of Hollywood's most durable cowboys is saying that it's not always morning in America, and that it may take more than faith to get us through the night.

 It's a standard tactic for these holier-than-thou bullies to cite movies they don't like as proof that, in Mr. Medved's formulation, "the entertainment industry" is "not in touch with the general public." The industry's profits prove exactly the reverse, but never mind. Even in this case, were Mr. Eastwood's film actually an endorsement of assisted suicide, the public would still be on his side, not his critics'. The latest Gallup poll on the subject, taken last year, shows that 53 percent of Americans find assisted suicide "morally acceptable" as opposed to the 41 percent who find it "morally wrong." (The figures for Catholics are identical).

 C'mon Clint, fire back at these sanctimonious, gutless nazi frauds. Make everybody's day.

 I never thought about the political side of this when making the film," Mr. Eastwood says. He is both bemused 
and concerned that a movie with no political agenda should be construed by some as a polemic and arouse such
partisan rage. "Maybe I'm getting to the age when I'm starting to be senile or nostalgic or both, but people
are so angry now," he adds. "You used to be able to disagree with people and still be friends. Now you hear
these talk shows, and everyone who believes differently from you is a moron and an idiot - both on the right and
the left."

categories: Outrages
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8:09:39 PM    

Sunday, February 06, 2005

New Virus Targets On-board Car Computers

New Virus Targets On-board Car Computers LINK

By Santosh Beharie

Owners of vehicles with onboard computers should brace themselves for an onslaught by hi-tech criminals who are causing havoc by infecting the devices with viruses.

Those with systems such as satellite navigation have been warned to secure the devices, after reports last week that the on-board computers of several Lexus models in the United States had been infected via cellphones.

And security experts in South Africa believe it is only a matter of time before local vehicles are targeted.

Ian Melamed, principal consultant at Shaya Technologies in Johannesburg, said computer viruses were now so widespread, they were starting to attack new devices such as cellphones and even on-board computers in cars.
“If a device can carry data, it can carry a computer virus,” he said.

Melamed said about 150 000 cars in the US had been affected last week.

“Many of the vehicles also had their security codes breached,” said Melamed, a former computer expert with Interpol. “And with our high car theft and hijacking rate, it is only a matter of time before car owners in South Africa become targets. It is only a matter of time before these criminals (in the US) brag about their achievements on the Internet and spread the information on how to spread the virus or breach a vehicle’s computer security code.”

Many of the vehicles had satellite navigation systems linked to hands-free phone kits, via wireless Bluetooth technology and this was likely how the on-board systems of the cars had become infected, said Melamed.

“We are already starting to see a significant jump in the number of viruses affecting mobile devices such as cellphones and hand-held computers,” Melamed said. “As technology becomes more mobile, it is becoming increasingly important to guard against virus infections.

Although the viruses found on mobile devices are less advanced than those found on traditional computer networks, experts have warned that this will not be the case for long.

“We expect to see more elaborate viruses targeting mobile devices – viruses that are able to cripple those machines or steal the information housed in them,” said Melamed.

Melamed warned owners of such devices to always disable Bluetooth connectivity when possible.

“On-board devices in vehicles and mobile devices so readily available all pose a serious risk, once activated on a universal platform,” he said.

Automobile Virus Update

Lexus cars may be vulnerable to viruses that infect them via mobile phones. Landcruiser 100 models LX470 and LS430 have been discovered with infected operating systems that transfer within a range of 15 feet.

It seems that no one has done this yet, and the story is based on speculation that a cell phone can transfer a virus to the Lexus using Bluetooth. But it's only a matter of time before something like this actually works.

As for virus attacks and embedded systems well... Some (mainly older systems) are immune which are ROM based with insufficient RAM/Registers for executable code to be stored or operated. Until recently this would almost certainly have been true for all automobile based systems, however some now use FLASH ROM's and even smart/memory cards.

I guess a consequence of cheaper memory and short software development cycles requiring upgradeability as a standard is that we will get people developing attacks in exactly the same way as for motherboards in PCs.  I guess it will soon be possible for my fridge to be made to think it's a microwave oven or a coffee machine with results that would delight and amuse a 7 year old attacker.  

Automobile Viruses and DSRC from Thinking About Technology suggests how DSRC increases vulnerability.  DSCR  allows high-speed communications between vehicles and the roadside, or between moving vehicles, suggests other scenarios that could be more serious.  What if a car thief can call his pick of any of a new model of a high end car and make it shut its engine off, all he needs for carjacking is a threatening demeanor. Worse yet, if he can call the police cars behind him and tell them to shut down, he has an excellent chance of escaping his pursuers.

categories: Security
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1:16:50 PM    

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Anti-Adware Misses Most Malware

By Brian Livingston

Now that 80% of home PCs in the U.S. are infected with adware and spyware, according to one study, it turns out that nearly every anti-adware application on the market catches less than half of the bad stuff.

That's the conclusion of a remarkably comprehensive series of anti-adware tests conducted recently by Eric Howes, an instructor at the University of Illinois.

Howes, a well-known researcher among PC security professionals, collected 20 different anti-adware applications. He then infected a fresh install of Windows 2000 SP4 and Office 2000 SP3 with several dozen adware programs in separate stages. Finally, he counted how many active adware components were removed by each anti-adware product.

(Note: I use the single term "adware" in this article to refer to both "adware" and "spyware." Since it's not necessary for a spyware program to "call home" to be disruptive, the distinction between adware and spyware is meaningless. All such programs display ads or generate revenue for the adware maker in some other way. )

Howes's tests were conducted over a period of weeks in October 2004. His results were mentioned at the time in several places, including Slashdot and eWeek.


Howes's test results sprawl over six long Web pages, with no overall totals or summary of the figures. It's a daunting body of data, but its bottom line is explosive. Adware seems to be evolving much faster than anti-adware, and the battle is so far being won by the adware side.

Each anti-adware application, according to Howe, removed a certain percentage of "critical" adware components. These are executable .exe and .com files, dynamic link library (.dll) files, and Windows Registry entries (autorun commands and the like).

Almost all the anti-adware programs that were tested removed fewer than half of the hundreds of adware components Howes cataloged. The best at removing adware was Giant AntiSpyware, but even that program removed less than two-thirds of a PC's unwanted guests.  

Howes's tests were conducted before the Microsoft Corp. announced in December that it was purchasing Giant Company Software outright. For that reason, the tests use the version of Giant AntiSpyware that was available in October and not the newer Microsoft beta version that's currently available.

Even so, with Giant's application removing 63% of a PC's adware components, and its nearest competitor, Webroot Spy Sweeper, removing less than 50%, it's clear that Microsoft has a potential winner on its hands.

How to defend yourself against adware

First, let me make my opinion clear: The installation of adware should be illegal and harshly punished. Adware has exploded because it offers big economic incentives for its sponsors. They'll never adequately inform PC users about their software before it's installed. This troubling aspect of adware will never be wished away.

Only software that a PC user specifically consents to should legally be able to install — and "end-user license agreements" that stretch off the screen should never be counted as consent. (This isn't a knock on "ad-supported software," such as the Opera browser. Such legitimate software is clearly integrated with its advertising and makes it easy to shut off the ads by registering.)

In reality, today's tech-illiterate legislatures will never ban adware — if they could even think of an effective legal approach to do so. We need to engage the battle on a technical level instead.

To understand adware, you first need to know how PCs get it. The ways that Howes obtained the adware he used in his tests provide us with some perfect examples:

Software downloads. For one group of tests, Howes downloaded and installed Grokster, a popular peer-to-peer file-sharing program, from CNET Download.com. Installing Grokster and clicking OK in its subsequent dialog boxes loaded 15 separate adware programs, containing 134 "critical" executable components, by Howes's count. This source of infection would compromise even Windows XP with its new Service Pack 2 (SP2).

  • Drive-by downloads. To set up another group of tests, Howes used Internet Explorer to visit the following Web locations: 007 Arcade Games (a games site), LyricsDomain (a song lyrics site), and Innovators of Wrestling (yup, a wrestling site). This resulted in 23 different adware programs being installed, carrying 138 components, Howes says. Drive-by downloads such as these are now less of a problem for users who've installed XP SP2.
  • You can't step into the same river twice. For yet another test, Howes visited the wrestling site again, but on a different date. The makers of adware must have signed a lot of distribution contracts with the site in the interim. Howes says his PC picked up 25 adware programs and 153 components on that one visit alone. (You'll notice that I didn't link to the examples I cited above, and I strongly recommend that you avoid trying any of them.)

It's not enough to say "PC users should be more careful." Computer  professionals, instead, have a duty and an obligation to prevent adware from infecting their PCs or anyone else's.  

Introducing the Windows Secrets security baseline

Every PC needs the following six components for protection against hacker attacks, both from the Internet and from within your company or home. In each issue, starting today, this new section will summarize the top-rated products top-rated by trusted reviewers.

1. Hardware firewall. For wired home and small-office networking, the 8-port Linksys BEFSR81 router ($80 USD) is rated "the best of our testing" by Extreme Tech. For wireless networking, the new Belkin Wireless Pre-N router ($150) is currently highest-rated at CNET.

2. Software firewall. Often called a "personal firewall," ZoneAlarm Pro ($40) is number one according to several testers, including TopTenReviews.com and PC World's Best of 2004.

3. Antivirus. Trend Micro's PC-cillin Internet Security 2005 antivirus suite ($50), which includes a personal firewall, recently won head-to-head comparisons in PC World and CNET.

4. Antispam. Cloudmark Safetybar ($40, formerly SpamNet) is rated a Best Buy by PC World and Editors' Choice by PC Magazine.

5. Anti-adware.  Giant AntiSpyware or Microsoft AntiSpyware beta, Webroot Spy Sweeper, CWShredder (use all; free or optional registration). See article above.

6. Update management. Without naming a winner (because update software is highly related to your network's size), a wide-ranging buyer's guide to patch-management software was published in the Oct. 2004 Windows IT Pro magazine.

FORWARDING INSTRUCTIONS — news gains value when it's shared 

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categories: Security
Other Stories according to Google: ABC Online Forum | Anti - adware misses most malware : India Forums | Donna's SecurityFlash | -Virus/Spyware discussion Forum - Tek-Tips | -Virus/Spyware discussion Forum - Tek-Tips | -Virus/Spyware discussion Forum - Tek-Tips | -Virus/Spyware discussion Forum - Tek-Tips | -Virus/Spyware discussion Forum - Tek-Tips | Anti - adware misses most malware | Datasäkerhet, Computersecurity, Antivirus

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Last update: 2/28/05; 1:52:40 AM.

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