Bulletin!   Bulletin!  Bulletin!

#1  Lost buddies and friends.

  •     The A-37 Association is starting a section for lost buddies and friends.  If you are trying to contact somebody associated with the A-37 and think that our members may be able to help, email both Ollie (GM08@TxState.edu) and Dennis Selvig (DSelvig@yahoo.com).

  •     Include the missing person's name, where you last contacted them, any information that might help locate them (like "last I heard, he was in Montana") and your email address.  The webmaster will add the information to the web site and hopefully Ollie will have room in the Newsletter for the same. 

  •     Hopefully, this will help you find the person and perhaps get us another member in the Association.

#2  Spam and other things hazardous to your computer's health.

  •     Your webmaster once taught computer science at the University of South Carolina in Sumter, SC.  What follows is some of the advice I give my students about computer security.  Please read all of this bulletin.

  •     Spam is an on-going problem.   Most spam is just harmless extra email that you get.  Some internet service providers will try to filter out known spammers and help you with this never ending battle.  The important thing to remember is that some emails can be harmful.

  •     Some emails contain viruses.   The best way to protect yourself from viruses is anti-virus software.   MacAffee, Norton Anti-Virus, and so forth.  I would consider this software is not optional.  Get it, use it, keep it updated.

  •     DO NOT open any email if you are not sure of it's source!  Especially if the email contains an attachment.  The attachments can be the bearer of the virus.  If you open an email from somebody you do not know, and it contains an attachment, you are asking for trouble.

  •     There is such a thing as a "Hoax" virus.  If you get suckered in on this one, it can be just as bad as a real virus.   A Hoax virus goes something like this,

"There is this poor child in [ name your own location here ] who is suffering terribly from [ fill in the blank ].  I don't want you to send money, just pray for her and email this to all the people in your address book and tell them to pray for her also."

   By all means, do pray for children in a bad situation, Lord knows they need help.  But DO NOT send this email to everybody in your address book.  What they are trying to do is jamb/clog up email systems.  Can you imagine how many mailboxes this would entail if this progressed even as few as 4 or 5 levels?  This is like a pyramid scheme, but it's email.

  •     The Hoax virus above is not harmful to your own PC, but the following one is!

"A friend of mine told me about this.   There is a virus that may have put a harmful file on your computer.  It will wipe out your hard drive on [ name your date ] if you don't get rid of it.  It is called [ name a legitimate file that is supposed to be in your Windows folder on your C: drive ].  You need to delete this to make your computer safe or you will get your hard disk wiped out.  Here are the instructions for what to do.
1.  Go to your C:\Windows folder.
2.  Highlight the file [the one above].
3.  "Select All" from your menu.
4.  Hit the delete key."

   If you follow these instructions, you will delete your entire operating system (Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000, etc).  What did you think would happen if you selected all the files in your Windows folder and you hit the delete key???  Right, you shoot yourself in the foot!   This will be the last time you ever boot your computer (until you re-install your operating system).

    Even if you got instructions like this from a friend, he/she might have been duped just like you are about to be.  Do not perform surgery on your PC unless you know what you are doing.

  •     Besides having anti-virus software and a good dose of caution about emails, you need one other thing.  You need a personal firewall.  A firewall keeps hackers from using your computer.  Yes, they can do that without a firewall.  This is especially true if you have a cable modem or DSL.   These types of internet access are on all the time.  They are connected to your computer as soon as you turn it on.   Hackers can get in to your computer when you are connected to a DSL, cable modem, or when you are connected via a dial-up modem.

    Here is the good news!  Some perfectly good firewalls are available free.  The one I use is "Zone Alarm" by http://www.zonelabs.com.  They have a version that is free for personal use.  There are others out there too, but I've read up and I think it is the best (and the price is right).  No, I do not own stock in this company.

It's a nasty world out there.

Check 6!

Dennis Selvig