"Christians and the Internet" newsletter CATI, Vol. 2, No. 10: July 23, 2001. _______________________________________________________________ TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. SERIOUS WORM THREAT: DON'T OPEN THAT EMAIL FILE ATTACHMENT! 2. WEB RESOURCES FOR LISTENING TO THE BIBLE (KJV, NIV, ETC.) 3. SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION FOR THIS NEWSLETTER _______________________________________________________________ Unless otherwise indicated, all material in this newsletter is Copyright (C) 2001 by Barry Traver, All Rights Reserved. For permission to reproduce material from this newsletter, contact Barry Traver at firstname.lastname@example.org. Permission is hereby granted, however, to pass along this issue to others, provided that (1) no changes are made and (2) it is passed along in its entirety. To subscribe, write to email@example.com, including "Subscribe to CATI" in the Subject line and including in the body your real name and the email address to which you wish CATI sent. (To be removed from the emailing list, also write to firstname.lastname@example.org, but include "Remove from CATI List" in the Subject line.) _______________________________________________________________ 1. SERIOUS WORM THREAT: DON'T OPEN THAT EMAIL FILE ATTACHMENT! This is no hoax -- the threat is a real one, and you need to know how to protect yourself against it. Here's Fred Langa's description in his July 23, 2001 LangaList newsletter: "An unusually aggressive, clever, and destructive worm is spreading by email with unprecedented speed; I've already had it unintentionally sent to me by *hundreds* of readers, most of whom have no idea their PC is spewing out copies of the worm." http://www.langa.com/newsletters/2001/2001-07-23.htm#0 I myself have received _two_ copies of this destructive worm within the past two days, so it is indeed spreading rapidly. Here's what's important for you to know to protect yourself: Don't open an email file attachment until you have checked it out properly first! If you've been following Crispen's Six Antivirus Rules, you are already familiar with these two rules: "3. NEVER DOUBLE-CLICK (OR LAUNCH) *ANY* FILE, ESPECIALLY AN EMAIL ATTACHMENT, REGARDLESS OF WHO THE FILE IS FROM, UNTIL YOU FIRST SCAN THAT FILE WITH YOUR ANTIVIRUS PROGRAM." http://traver.org/cati/archives/cati16.htm#4 "6. IF SOMEONE UNEXPECTEDLY SENDS YOU AN EXECUTABLE FILE OR VISUAL BASIC SCRIPT FILE -- IN OTHER WORDS, A FILE THAT ENDS IN .EXE OR .VBS -- THROW IT OUT." http://traver.org/cati/archives/cati16.htm#4 The same warning holds true, by the way, for files that end in .BAT or .COM, which is one reason why it's a good idea NOT to have Windows hide file extensions (I'll say more about that in a moment). McAfee.com (Web site for McAfee antivirus products) warns that this new virus "is a HIGH RISK virus for consumers" and warns further that "The infected email can come from addresses that you recognize." It notes that the name of the file attachment varies (which makes it more difficult to guard against). You can find more information from McAfee about this dangerous new worm here: McAfee.com: W32/SirCam[at]MM Help Center http://www.mcafee.com/anti-virus/viruses/sircam/default.asp?cid=2371 Another source of information on this new virus is Symantec (the company responsible for Norton antivirus products): Symantec: W32.Sircam.Worm[at]mm http://email@example.com Like McAfee, Symantec notes that the distribution of this worm is high. In my case, the virus did not come from someone I knew, but in your case, it may perhaps come from someone you know, so just knowing the sender of an email with a file attachment does not guarantee the harmlessness of that attachment! The content of the email message itself varies, although it usually has the same first line ("Hi! How are you?") and the same last line ("See you later. Thanks."). What is between the two may vary (e.g., one of the messages I was sent said something like "I send you this file in order to have your advice."). Likewise the name of the file attachment varies (in my case, one was called story.zip.bat and the other was called MERGE_1.doc.bat), but note that the filename has two extensions (.zip.bat in one case; .doc.bat in the other). If you save the file to your hard drive and you have Windows set to "hide file extensions for known file types," you will not see the last file extension (the .bat extension in the two cases described; instead one file will appear as story.zip and the other as MERGE_1.doc). Thus it may not be obvious to you that double-clicking on the file would actually start up a malicious executable program. (For example, ordinarily it is safe to open up a .zip file as long as you don't start running an executable file within that .zip file except when you know it's safe to do so.) For this reason and others, I recommend that you do _not_ have Windows hide file extensions for known file types. For the other reasons and an in-depth explanation, see this article in an earlier issue of CATI: The (Un)Hidden Secrets of (Un)Hidden File Extensions http://traver.org/cati/archives/cati54.htm#2 By the way, many people know that a file with the .exe file extension is an executable file (that is, if you double-click on the filename in My Computer or Windows Explorer, it will start a program running, and you may or may not know what that program will do), but they may not know that files with a .bat or .com extension are also executable files. (In fact, if you change the file extension of a particular file from .exe to .bat, Windows will ordinarily not notice or care.) So be careful with files that have a file extension of .exe, .bat, .com, .vbs, or even .doc (unless you have taken action to disable macros in Microsoft Word). Here's how to set Windows to show all file name extensions: Click on Start, click on Settings, click on Control Panel, double-click on Folder Options, click on the View tab, clear the check box for "Hide file extensions for known file types," and click on OK. I definitely recommend that you set Windows to show _all_ file extensions. So now you know what you need to know about this new serious threat being passed around the Internet. As Fred Langa says, "It's a bad one: First, it's clever, and actually uses its own mini mail server to propagate itself. But second--- and unlike the vast majority of worms--- this one really can cost you *all* your data!... Again, this is an unusually aggressive, clever, and destructive worm. Be careful!" http://www.langa.com/flash.htm But there's a encouraging word from Fred as well (at least if if you have been following Crispen's Six Antivirus Rules): "Good news: Nothing will happen unless you actually run the malicious attachment: Don't click on it, and you're OK." http://www.langa.com/flash.htm Take care! P.S. A worm is a parasitic program that can make copies of itself, can perform malicious mischief, and can very often be transported through email. It does not infect other computer files like non-worm viruses (for that reason some people make a distinction between worms and viruses), but it can do damage equal to that done by any computer virus. _______________________________________________________________ 2. WEB RESOURCES FOR LISTENING TO THE BIBLE (KJV, NIV, ETC.) You don't have to purchase audio cassettes in order to have an opportunity to hear the Bible being read aloud. There are a number of resources on the Web where you can listen to the Bible in English (e.g., in the King James Version or in the New International Version) or, for that matter, in some other language. It is helpful to know a little about computer sound files, but you don't need to know a lot. We'll be concentrating on two types of sound files: Real Audio files (which ordinarily have to be listened to while you are online) and MP3 files (which you can download and listen to while you are offline). (I regret to report that most "audio Bibles" are in Real Audio format.) Although my articles need to be updated somewhat, you can find more information about these two formats in some past CATI articles: The MP3 Music Revolution on the Internet: The Basics http://traver.org/cati/archives/cati02.htm#4 Real Audio: Intro Plus Some Christian Programs and Sermons http://traver.org/cati/archives/cati29.htm#1 To play Real Audio files, you can download a free Real Audio player at the following location: http://www.real.com/player/index.html Note well: you'll have to hunt around the page to find the link to download the free RealPlayer 8 Basic. Don't download RealPlayer 8 Plus (that version costs money!) unless that is really what you've decided to do. There are many software programs that will play MP3 files, including Windows Media Player and Winamp. Here's where you can download Windows Media Player 7.1: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/en/software/playerv7.asp (If you're running Windows, you probably already have Windows Media Player installed, but you may want to upgrade to the latest version.) And here's where you can download Winamp Version 2.76: http://www.winamp.com/download/ For MP3 sound files, I generally use Winamp (but I'm not sure that I can supply a good reason for doing so). ENGLISH: KING JAMES VERSION (KJV) Here's where you can find the King James Version (KJV) in Real Audio format, narrated by Alexander Scourby: KJV: Audio Bible Online: Old and New Testaments http://www.audio-bible.com/bible/bible.html KJV: Bible Gateway: Old Testament Only http://media.gospelcom.net/bgaudio/english/kjv/ Since it is in Real Audio format, you can listen to the Bible being read while you are online, but you will not be able to download the files to listen to while you are offline. (If you want to listen to the Bible offline, you will have to purchase it in an appropriate format (you can get the entire King James Version on one computer CD-ROM, 62 audio CD's, or 48 cassettes) from the Audio Bible site: http://www.audio-bible.com/orders.html Here's some background on the recording: "Back In the forties Alexander Scourby recorded the very first narration of the Bible. It was produced by The American Foundation For The Blind and distributed by The American Bible Society as The Talking Bible.... The oldest Book in the world is now available in multimedia.... Yes, with Audio Bible you can listen to all 72 hours of audio without flipping a record or tape. You may ask yourself, why you need Audio Bible?... We remember better if we hear it and best if we read along with what we hear. This is what Audio Bible is all about." http://www.audio-bible.com Although most "audio Bibles" online are available only in Real Audio format (which means that you have to be online while you listen), Audio Scriptures International presents the King James Version in both Real Audio and MP3 formats (narrator unknown): KJV: Audio Scriptures International: New Testament http://www.gospelcom.net/asi/audio.html Here's the advantage of an MP3 file: "Unlike Real Audio the file will not play until you have completely downloaded it. The files are large at about 10MB each so they will take a long time to download, but once you have them on your hard disk you can play them over and over again using MP3 player software." http://www.gospelcom.net/asi/audio.html ENGLISH: NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE (NASB): Here's where you can find the New American Standard Bible (NASB) in Real Audio format (narrator unknown): NASB: Bible Gateway: New Testament Only http://media.gospelcom.net/bgaudio/english/nasb/ ENGLISH: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV) Here's where you can find the New International Version (NIV) in Real Audio format, narrated by Max McLean: NIV: Bible Gateway: Old and New Testaments http://media.gospelcom.net/bgaudio/english/niv/ NIV: International Bible Society: New Testament Only http://www.gospelcom.net/ibs/bibles/audio_niv.php Actually, "performed" may in some respects be a more accurate term than "narrated," for Max McLean's background was in the theater, although he came to recognize the power of the Bible: _________________________________ / "...Max’s involvement in the theater began at the University of Texas.... After receiving his bachelor’s degree, he acted and directed for American troops in West Germany before continuing his theatrical education.... While in Germany he was invited to a Bible study where for the first time he was confronted with the power and insight of the Bible. Within weeks he became a follower of Jesus.... "He realized that an actor is nothing more than a hired hand whose job is to communicate other people’s ideas regardless of his own feelings about them. Aware of the fact that 'you cannot serve two masters', he made the decision to leave the theater. To fill the void, he became active in his local church and began to study the Bible more closely. He attended seminary and listened to great preachers and teachers who inspired him. "In 1982 he had an epiphany that would redirect the course of his life. 'Why not use the skills and techniques from the theater and apply them to present and interpret books of the Bible?' It was an event waiting to happen. From his first memorized Bible presentation the impact on those who received the word in this unique way was immediate and profound. "Since 1983 presenting the Scriptures dramatically has become his life’s work. Max has performed the Bible to millions of people of all ages and from across the religious and cultural spectrum. His work includes Genesis at the Edinburgh Theater Festival in Scotland, Lamb’s Theater in New York, Pegasus Theater in Chicago, and the Dallas Theater Center; Mark’s Gospel at Stratford Festival Theater, and Acts of the Apostles at the Playwrights Theater. He maintains an active touring schedule of colleges and houses of worship across America and his radio program of Scripture presentations is heard on 400 radio stations." http://www.bibleonstage.org/max_mclean.html \_________________________________ OTHER LANGUAGES Bible Gateway, which has made available the Bible (in part or in entirety) in three English versions (KJV, NASB, and NIV), also makes available in Real Audio format the Bible in other languages: Chinese: New Testament Only http://media.gospelcom.net/bgaudio/chinese/ Italian: New Testament Only http://media.gospelcom.net/bgaudio/italian/ Portuguese: New Testament Only http://media.gospelcom.net/bgaudio/portuguese/ Spanish: New Testament Only http://media.gospelcom.net/bgaudio/spanish/ Here's the home page for the Bible Gateway audio Bibles: Bible Gateway: Audio Bibles http://bible.gospelcom.net/bg/bgaudio.html Note that -- except for the KJV which can be downloaded in MP3 format from Audio Scriptures International -- all of the preceding files are in Real Audio format and thus can only be used while online (although some can be purchased in a format that can be used offline). This list is not complete (audio versions of the Bible in languages other than English are also available), so if you are aware of other good resources on the Web for listening to the Scriptures, please let me know. In the meantime, I hope you find these references to be helpful. _______________________________________________________________ 3. SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION FOR THIS NEWSLETTER This is the fifty-fifth issue of a free newsletter devoted to "Christians And The Internet" ("CATI," pronounced "Katy," but spelled with a "C" and an "I" for "Christians" and the "Internet"). To subscribe, write to firstname.lastname@example.org, including "Subscribe to CATI" in the Subject line and including in the body your real name and the email address to which you wish CATI sent. Past issues: you'll find archives of past issues of CATI available online at http://traver.org/cati/. ("It's not a pretty site," but hopefully it may be a useful one.) ________________________________________________________________ Unless otherwise indicated, all material in this newsletter is Copyright (C) 2001 by Barry Traver, All Rights Reserved. For permission to reproduce material from this newsletter, contact Barry Traver at email@example.com. Permission is hereby granted, however, to pass along this issue to others, provided that (1) no changes are made and (2) it is passed along in its entirety.