September 2003

Sobig Worm/Virus causes problems even if you are not infected


As I am sure most of you have heard, one of the current virus threats is called W32.SoBig. This combination of virus and worm, SoBig arrives as a benign-looking file attachment, with a message that tries to entice you to double-click on the attachment. The attachment is actually a "trojan horse" program that then infects your computer.

Once infected, SoBig tries to infect the computers of your friends and business associates. How does it do this? SoBig looks in standard locations for your Contact List associated with the Microsoft Outlook or MS Outlook Express. If it finds this list, it attempts to mail a copy of itself out to each of these people.

While this behavior is bad enough, SoBig also causes trouble for people who are NOT infected by the virus. You may have noticed that during the height of the last round of SoBig you began receiving email listed as "Message Undeliverable." If you looked at these emails, they referenced a message you never sent to someone you probably don't even know. This does NOT mean that your computer is infected. Rather, it means that someone who has your email address in their Contact List has become infected.

When SoBig sends its emails, it chooses a random name from the infected user's Contact List and places that in the From: line of the message. If your email address is selected, you, not the infected person, will receive all the notices of invalid email addresses and automated responses complaining about a virus in the email message.

I hope this clears up a bit of confusion about those odd messages you may have been seeing in your Inbox. For further information on virus and worm programs, you can visit the sites below.

Symantec Security Response - SoBig

Virus Encyclopedia



Computer Discussion Group

at the Sherman Oaks Branch of the LA Public Library

Now that the Sherman Oaks Branch has re-opened, along with a beautiful, new meeting room, I have restarted my Computer Classes. This time I am arranging them as a computer discussion group, focusing on answering questions that computer users might have, instead of a more seminar-like environment.

I will be giving a short presentaion on some technology to start each meeting, but then I will open the floor for questions and discussion from the people attending that evening.

The September meetings are scheduled for the 11th and 25th at 6:30 pm.

A flyer is available here.

Douglas Recommends...

Looking for new anti-virus software, a Palm PDA or books? Check out Douglas Recommends...

It contains direct Amazon links to some of my favorite Books, Hardware and Software. These are the items I find myself constantly recommending and I wanted to share them with you. I will be adding new items regularly, so check back often.

If you are looking for a recommendation on anything particular, let me know and I will add it to this page.

Check it out!

Latest TechRepublic Article

Build a career portfolio to highlight your accomplishments

Access might require registering for a free account.

From the web site...

Conventional wisdom says that to have a good career, whether manning the help desk or sitting in a call center, it is best to keep your head down and not make waves. Although I would question whether this was ever wise, in today's economy, it is almost a sure way to end up at the unemployment office.

Remember to update operating systems and anti-virus programs


The beginning of each month is the perfect time to ensure that your operating system (Windows/Macintosh OS) and anti-virus software are up-to-date. Your anti-virus software cannot protect your computer from the latest viruses without these updates. Updates are released at least once a month, unless a new virus is dangerous enough to justify an immediate update.

Operating System Updates

For Windows (98, 2000, XP), there should be an icon labeled Windows Update in your Start Menu

For Macintosh OS 9 systems, check Apple Menu, Control Panels, Software Update
For Macintosh OS X systems, check System Preferences, Software Update

Most systems can be set to automatically check for updates directly from the Internet, as well. If you want to learn how to set up automatic updates for these programs, drop me an email or give me a call.

Software Updates


Security Update 2003-08-14


FreeCell on the Palm



Windows Updates

A variety of important Windows Security Updates are available using the Windows Update service at http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com

Three (3) updates this month...

817787: Security Update Windows Media Player 7.1
Security Update for Microsoft Data Access Components (823718) Automatic update
August 2003, Cumulative Patch for Internet Explorer 6 Service Pack 1 (822925)

Software Updates of all sorts



My Writing

My weblog, My Word with Douglas E. Welch, is a daily gathering spot for all the information I come across in my travels. There I announce new software updates, post photos, highlight interesting news stories, book recommendations and LA Events. You can check it out at: http://www.welchwrite.com /blog/

A Recent Entry:

Avoid this Scam -- DO NOT CALL list is free!

In the ongoing battle against scams, spam and viruses, be aware of the following scam based around the telemarketer DO NOT CALL listing. You can register for this list for free via both telephone and the web. Some scammer is trying to charge you $2.95 to probably do absolutely nothing.

Here is some info from DM News, the Online Newspaper of Record for Direct Marketers...


A toll-free number, 1-800-DO-NOT-CALL, that offers to register consumers for the national no-call list for a $2.95 fee, is a scam, the Federal Trade Commission said last week.

Read the entire article

Please take the utmost care when approaching any offer such as this. There are too many people more than willing to separate you from your money in the quickest way possible.

Via TechDirt

A Gardener's Notebook is a daily weblog of the trials and tribulations of a part-time gardener. It includes notes on what is blooming, what I am planting and what is struggling. It also contains links to new (or newly found) gardening books and more. Spend some time in my garden! http://welchwrite.com/agn/blog/

A Recent Entry:

DoItYourself.com Gardening Tips

These folks have a host of gardening tips and advice on their site. Some of the more advanced information, like Installing a garden pond, come with Flash animation slide shows for each step in the project.

Career-Op, now in its 6th year, is my weekly column on high-tech careers. In Career-Op, I address some of the particular issues of working in high-tech and also general issues that we all face in our careers. You can find the latest column, and a complete archive of past columns complete archive of past columns.

Latest Column

Career-Op: Stretching
by Douglas E. Welch, ComputorEdge Magazine

Stretching yourself, both professionally and personally, can be a bit painful. It can also yield some of the best improvements in your life. Just like you may be sore the day after starting a new exercise routine, your ego and intellect might emerge a little bruised, but your body will be better for the effort.


Interesting Web Sites

More Stuff 4 Less Bargain Blog

LA Wiki

More web sites of all sorts

Contact Information

I am available for assistance via telephone, cell phone, e-mail and instant messaging. The fee for assistance via these methods is my basic hourly rate, pro-rated by the minute.

Contact Numbers:

Office     818-781-6955
Cell        818-601-00 51
Email      help@welchwrite.com
AOL Instant Messenger   WelchWrite