Posted: 27 January 2005 at 9:27pm | IP Logged
Prevent yourself from becoming an Internet statistic
The Internet can be a dangerous place in this day and age. It
reminds me of the Old West, with bandits and highwaymen ready to rob your
stagecoach at any moment. If you were lucky, the Marshall would come along in
the nick of time and save you. At least that was how it worked in the
Today, navigating the Internet isn't any different. There are
hackers and spammers waiting around every virtual corner of the Web. You might
have a "Marshall" to help you, in the form of anti-virus or firewall software.
But this won't help you if there are unpatched holes in your browser or
operating system, which allow hackers to quietly take over your PC.
column is designed to minimize your risk to unpatched vulnerabilities. In each
issue, I'll show you simple steps you can take to plug holes we're tracking
until an official fix becomes available.
management' is turned against users
Windows users who
are trying to do the right thing when it comes to copyrighted material have
recently become the target of hackers. Hackers have started placing
license-protected Windows Media files on file-sharing networks, such as Kazaa,
eMule, and Hinojasa. The files are booby trapped to download and install spyware
and viruses on unsuspecting people's computers, instead of the Digital Rights
Management (DRM) licenses they were expecting when the files were
Initially, Microsoft maintained that this was not an exploit of
a vulnerability in Windows Media Player, but hackers using the antipiracy
technology against Windows users. Microsoft said it had no plans to change the
way Windows Media Player handled accessing DRM licenses. Fortunately, Microsoft
later changed its mind and promises a patch in the next 30 days to deal with the
What to do:
For more information on
DRM, see page. For details on the exploit, see .
- Make sure
your antivirus software is up to date.
- Only download
media files from trusted sources. File-sharing networks like Kazaa are a
breeding ground for infected files. Steer clear of them.
- Disable the
Acquire licenses automatically for protected content setting of Windows
Media Player. This is done as follows:
- Open Windows
- Select Tools
from the top menu.
- Select Options from the
drop down menu.
- Click the Privacy
- Uncheck the Acquire
licenses automatically for protected content setting.
- Click OK in
all open dialog boxes to save your changes.