"Christians And The Internet" newsletter CATI, Vol. 2, No. 18: December 28, 2001. _______________________________________________________________ TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. WATCH OUT: THE "CATI" NEWSLETTER IS GETTING "ORG"ANIZED! 2. ANNOUNCING: FREE JIGSAW PUZZLE PROGRAM FOR CATI READERS 3. FAMILY-FRIENDLY INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS: HELP WANTED 4. THE SULFNBK.EXE VIRUS WARNING: IT'S STILL A HOAX! 5. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: INFORMATION ON CATI NEWSLETTER _______________________________________________________________ The latest revision of this issue of "CATI" can be accessed online at http://traver.org/cati/archives/cati63.htm. The Web page edition makes it especially easy to visit the links. Unless otherwise indicated, all material in this newsletter is Copyright (C) 2001 by Barry Traver, All Rights Reserved. See the end of this issue for more information on "CATI." _______________________________________________________________ 1. WATCH OUT: THE "CATI" NEWSLETTER IS GETTING "ORG"ANIZED! Here's something to make life simpler for CATI readers. You no longer have to remember http://traver.org/cati/ as the Web address for the home page of the CATI Web site. Yes, that will still work, but this one's easier: http://cati.org That's what I meant when I said that "CATI" is getting "ORG"- anized. The "CATI" part, as you well know, stands for "Christians And The Internet." The "ORG" part may be less familiar. "COM" refers to COMpanies or COMmercial endeavors, so "COM" is not really appropriate for this free newsletter. On the other hand, "ORG" is used for non-profit ORGanizations and groups whose orientation is toward service rather than making money. So the domain name for CATI is cati.org, which should be easy for you - and for your friends! - to remember. Since CATI now has its own domain name, there is now also an easier way to subscribe. If someone wants to be put on the CATI mailing list, all he or she has to do is to send an email (including his or her name) to this email address: email@example.com (Likewise, sending a similar email to firstname.lastname@example.org is a simple way to be removed from the list, although the old ways to subscribe and to unsubscribe will also continue to work.) So remember: "CATI" is getting "ORG"anized. Be sure to tell your friends about cati.org! P.S. For now, the new domain name works only for the CATI home page, but you can get to anywhere on CATI's Web pages beginning from that starting place. CATI's files, however, are still hosted at "traver.org," so you will still see that reference when you visit various Web pages on the CATI Web site, even if http://cati.org is where you begin. (Also, for now continue to use email@example.com as the email address to use if you want to write to me.) _______________________________________________________________ 2. ANNOUNCING: FREE JIGSAW PUZZLE PROGRAM FOR CATI READERS Jigsaw puzzles can be an enjoyable re-creation. There is a certain satisfaction that comes from bringing order out of chaos. But jigsaw puzzles ordinarily have disadvantages as well as advantages. For example, sometimes pieces get lost (and you may not discover that until the puzzle is almost finished). Or the puzzle takes up the dining room table, making it difficult to invite friends over for dinner. Or the family cat or dog may decide that puzzle pieces may look like fun for him or her to play with (or maybe even eat?). Well, I've written a jigsaw puzzle for the computer that you may enjoy (people of all ages seem to enjoy jigsaw puzzles). If your computer is running Windows 95 or later, the program should work for you. In some ways it's not the same as doing a regular jigsaw puzzle (for example, with the Traver Jigsaw program all the pieces are the same shape and size, that is, rectangles, rather than having different shapes), but it can be a nice way, say, to take a brief break from work so that you're ready to go back refreshed. Doing a jigsaw puzzle can be especially rewarding if the picture being put together reminds us of the beauty of God's world, the beauty of God's Word, or both (more about that in a moment). Well, I've written a jigsaw puzzle program for you to enjoy, and you can download it from the Internet. Perhaps the best way to describe the program is to go through the menu selections on the top menu bar. That menu bar reads like this: File Scale Condition Pieces Mode Status Help The _File_ menu provides these choices: "Load Picture," "Save," "Restore," "Print," and "Exit." For your puzzle picture, you can use any JPEG or GIF file (the two most common graphics formats on the Internet) as well as many other common graphics formats. Here, for example, is a place where you can find over a hundred JPG pictures that will invite you to meditate upon significant themes of Scripture (remember what I said earlier about God's world and God's Word?): Heart Gallery http://www.heartlight.org/gallery/ To download a picture, right-click on it with your mouse. Then choose "Save Picture As" (if you're using Microsoft Internet Explorer) or "Save Image As" (if you're using Netscape Navigator) or "Save Image" if you're using Opera as your Web browser. Be sure to save it in a location where you'll be able to find it again. Note: Many pictures on the Web are copyrighted, which means that - although they may be downloaded for your own personal, private use - they should not be given to others if the copyright owner has indicated that such should not be done. Note, for example, that the graphics in the "Heart Gallery" are copyrighted and may be "reprinted and reused for non-commercial purposes only if copyright credits are appropriately displayed." When you use "Load Picture" to load a picture, the pieces are scrambled, just like a regular jigsaw puzzle. Your job is to put the pieces in their proper places. If you're interrupted before you are finished and must close down the program or even the computer, you can "Save" the picture and the position of the pieces to disk. Then, at a later time, you will be able to "Restore" things to what they were before, so that you can pick up right where you left off. That takes care of "Load Picture," "Save," and "Restore." "Print" on the File menu prints out the picture (the way it will look when it is put together) on your printer, and "Exit" allows you to exit from the program. So much for the _File_ menu. (Don't worry: the other menus are much simpler.) The _Scale_ menu allows you two choices: "Normal" (to display the picture in its "Normal" size) or "Fit Screen" (to display the picture in an optimal size for the screen, since for some pictures the "normal" size of the picture may be larger than the screen or much smaller than the screen). The _Condition_ menu also gives you two choices: "Scrambled" (with the pieces mixed-up) or "Unscrambled" (with the pieces put in their proper places). The _Pieces_ menu allows you to decide how many pieces you want in your puzzle. Choices range from "2 x 2" (4 pieces, suitable for small children) to "12 x 12" (144 pieces, which can be challenging for adults, since all the pieces are all the same shape and size). The _Mode_ menu provides you with a choice of either of two possible ways of moving the pieces: "Drag Mode" or "Swap Mode." If you're using "Swap Mode," simply click on the piece you want to move and then click on the place where you want it moved. The two pieces will swap places. (When you click on the piece, it becomes highlighted. If you then change your mind about what piece you want to move, simply click on that same piece again, and the highlight will be removed.) "Drag Mode" is a bit more complicated, but it's the mode that most adults will prefer, because it's closer to the way a jigsaw puzzle is normally put together. When you decide on the piece you want to move, press down the left mouse button, but keep it pressed down. Now when you move the mouse, you'll find that the piece moves along with it. When the piece is where you want it to be, then release the mouse button. Computer people call this a "drag and drop" operation, but it's not much different from picking up a puzzle piece, trying it in various locations, and putting it down where you think it goes. The _Status_ menu lets you choose whether to "Show" or not the status of the puzzle on the status line above the puzzle. (By status is meant simply the number of pieces that are still not in their proper places.) The _Help_ menu has two choices: "About Traver Jigsaw" (which tells you something about the program and its author) and "How to Play" (which merely provides a brief description of the difference between "Drag Mode" and "Swap Mode"). It's simpler than it sounds. By the way, so that I'm not tempted to spend more time on it than I should, I generally set the size of my puzzles to 4 x 4 or so, so that I'm taking a restful, short work break (rather than letting Traver Jigsaw become an excuse to avoid work). I don't usually play computer games, but Traver Jigsaw is an exception. As I said, there's a certain satisfaction in bringing order out of chaos. This may sound far-fetched, but it reminds me of the work God does when he puts together the broken pieces of people's lives through the gospel. The world itself in which we live is messed-up, but that is not a puzzle that God cannot solve. Rather, from before the time the world was created, He had made His plans that there would be in the future a new heaven and a new earth, with everything where it should be. Preachers tend to see a sermon in everything, including even something as simple as putting a jigsaw puzzle together. Whether or not you are inclined to mix some theologizing with your jigsaw puzzle activity, I hope you will enjoy Traver Jigsaw. You can download it from this location: http://traver.org/cati/downloads/ After you download the file, you will need to unzip it. (If you need help on that, let me know.) After you have unzipped it, then run setup.exe to install the program, Traver Jigsaw, which is a gift from me to you. When you install the program, it is probably best to stay with the suggested defaults. (If you want to remove Traver Jigsaw later, simply use Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Add/Remove Programs.) Questions? Just ask! Enjoy! _______________________________________________________________ 3. FAMILY-FRIENDLY INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS: HELP WANTED Some CATI readers may have decided to sign up with a family- friendly ISP (Internet Service Provider). If you are one of them, you may be able to help me. I'm hoping to do another article in the near future on family-friendly ISPs, and I would love to get an email from you, telling me of your own experiences (if any) in that area. What ISP are you using? Are you happy or not happy with the result? Why? Send an email message to me at firstname.lastname@example.org on this topic (or on any other subject related to the Internet, if you're willing to share your thoughts with me), and I'll be very grateful. Thank you for your participation in the CATI project! _______________________________________________________________ 4. THE SULFNBK.EXE VIRUS WARNING: IT'S STILL A HOAX! Within the past two weeks, I've received quite a few warnings about the SULFNBK.EXE virus. Six months ago in CATI (June 15, 2001) I had warned readers about the SULFNBK.EXE virus warning hoax: CATI: TWO MORE EMAIL HOAXES: SULFNBK.EXE AND AOL.EXE VIRUSES http://traver.org/cati/archives/cati54.htm#5 Well, there are now new versions of the warnings circulating, but it's still a hoax. What you need to know is that you are no more likely (and no less likely) to get infected through SULFNBK.EXE than you are from any other executable file (and that includes files ending with extensions .exe, .com, .bat, .pif, .vbs, .scr, and .doc). But it provides an opportunity for me to remind people NOT to open an email attachment until you have checked it out adequately first (preferably scanning it with a good anti-virus program), even if the attachment comes from the email address of a good friend. On the Internet it is especially important for Christians to be "wise as serpents, innocent as doves." Bob Rankin in his Internet TOURBUS newsletter, December 21, 2001, writes of "The Return of the SULFNBK.EXE Virus Hoax": "Do you remember the 'honor system' virus? It was a joke that was passed around the Internet last summer: 'This virus works on the honor system. Please forward this message to everyone you know, then delete all the files on your hard disk. Thank you for your cooperation.' Well, a few months ago [actually, at least six months ago] a nefarious netizen [i.e., citizen of the Internet] took the 'honor system' virus joke, rewrote it, and created an equally fake virus warning that many newbies have taken seriously. The new warning asks you to scan your hard drive for a file named SULFNBK.EXE and, if you find it, to delete it from your system. <SIGH>" http://listserv.aol.com/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0112C&L=tourbus&P=R141 It's a hoax, as CATI reported six months ago and as Bob Rankin explains in his recent newsletter: "What the virus warning fails to tell you is that SULFNBK.EXE is *NOT* a virus, it is a Windows utility used to restore long file names in the case of a catastrophic crash. DON'T DELETE THIS FILE, FOLKS." http://listserv.aol.com/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0112C&L=tourbus&P=R141 Rankin uses the SULFNBK.EXE hoax to teach an important lesson: "Long story short: if someone sends you an email that asks you to do *ANYTHING* -- invest money, sign an online petition, warn your friends about a new virus threat, delete files from your Windows system folder, forward information to everyone you know, yadda yadda yadda -- take two seconds to verify the contents of the email before you do ANYTHING! It is so simple to do, and it keeps you from making a fool of yourself in front of the entire planet." http://listserv.aol.com/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0112C&L=tourbus&P=R141 And he proves his point with SULFNBK.EXE: "For example, a simple search at http://www.google.com/ for 'SULFNBK.EXE' results in 13,800 hits, and EVERY ONE of the first 10 hits shows you that that the SULFNBK.EXE virus warning is a hoax (and the sixth hit is actually a page at my Web site, NetSquirrel.com, telling you how to restore SULFNBK.EXE in case you were foolish enough to delete it). Two seconds of work and you keep from damaging your system." http://listserv.aol.com/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0112C&L=tourbus&P=R141 By the way, the Internet TOURBUS, written by Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen, is a worthwhile free newsletter about "search engines, cool sites, free stuff, viruses, hoaxes, urban legends, internet tools and tips, cookies, and more!" Here's the home page, if you want to check it out further: Internet TOURBUS http://www.tourbus.com/ Actually, the SULFNBK.EXE situation is a bit more complicated than the preceding suggests, so let me clarify the situation in a bit more detail. (Skip to the last paragraph if you want to read the bottom line concerning virus threats in general and the supposed SULFNBK.EXE virus threat in particular. _Any_ e-mail file attachment (even from someone you know) is a potential virus and ought to be checked with a virus scanner before it is opened. A file attachment (especially one that is a virus-infected file from a friend's computer) may have _any_ name. It is not likely to have the name SULFNBK.EXE, but if you do get a file attachment with SULFNBK.EXE as the filename, you should be very suspicious (because why should anyone be sending you that file unless perhaps you asked him or her to send a replacement for the file you mistakenly may have deleted?). Here's is what F-Secure (the makers of F-Secure Anti-Virus) state about the SULFNBK.EXE warning: "In April-May 2001 there appeared a hoax message concerning a new virus that was reportedly discovered in ... SULFNBK.EXE. We checked several versions of this utility from Windows installations and found no infection in it. However, some e-mail worms (for example, Magistr) might sometimes send an infected SULFNBK.EXE in an e-mail attachment. Bottom line: if you get SULFNBK.EXE in an e-mail attachment, it's probably a virus. If you find it from your Windows directory, it's probably not.... If you receive these hoax messages, please ignore them." http://www.europe.datafellows.com/hoaxes/sulfnbk.shtml Note well: It is extremely unlikely that you will get a SULFNBK.EXE email virus (and, as far as I know, there is no evidence of anyone's having gotten such a virus at this point). File attachment viruses are being sent around, but with a limitless number of possible filenames. Thus (as far as I know), all makers of anti-virus software advise that SULFNBK.EXE warnings be ignored and NOT passed around. Here are some more examples: Symantec (makers of Norton Antivirus): "Symantec Security Response encourages you to ignore any messages regarding this hoax. It is harmless and is intended only to cause unwarranted concern." http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/venc/data/sulfnbk.exe.warning.html Note that this Norton Web page was "Last Updated December 19, 2001," so it's Norton's current statement on the situation! McAfee (makers of McAfee Anti-virus): "This email message is just a HOAX. Although the SULFNBK.EXE file may become infected by a number of valid viruses (most commonly W32/Magistr@MM), the details of this HOAX message are not based on actual events. We are advising users who receive the email to delete the message and DO NOT pass it on as this is how an email HOAX propagates." http://vil.mcafee.com/dispVirus.asp?virus_k=99084& Norton and McAfee are the leading providers of anti-virus software. Here are some comments from another anti-virus software provider: Sophos (makers of Sophos Anti-Virus): "Sophos advises users to treat the warning with skepticism. Many computers do have a legitimate uninfected version of SULFNBK.EXE on them.... The confusion is compounded, however, by the W32/Magistr-A virus which is capable of emailing infected copies of SULFNBK.EXE to innocent users. This is probably how the scare started. Sophos offers users confused by the hoax warning and the virus, the following advice: If you receive an unsolicited executable file in your email (such as SULFNBK.EXE), simply delete the email. You should never launch or open unsolicited executable code on your computer. Existence of a file called SULFNBK.EXE on your hard drive is not evidence in itself of a virus infection. The best way to check for a virus infection is with anti-virus software. Run a quality anti-virus product and keep it updated to protect against the latest threats. Do not pass on virus warnings to all of your friends. Instead, check the facts at an anti-virus website...." http://www.sophos.com/virusinfo/articles/sulfnbk.html Bottom line: DO NOT be concerned about warnings of possible SULFNBK.EXE virus threats, because no such threat has been documented at this point. And DO NOT pass around warnings about a SULFNBK.EXE virus threat. DO NOT, however, open email file attachments (whatever the filename may be and regardless of the sender) unless they have been checked with an up-to-date good virus scanner (such as Norton or McAfee). And DO protect your system with a good anti-virus program (again, such as Norton or McAfee). _______________________________________________________________ 5. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: INFORMATION ON CATI NEWSLETTER Like to know what this is? This is the sixty-third 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"). Like to subscribe to this free email newsletter? Just send an email to email@example.com (but be sure to include your name in the note). Like to read past CATI issues and articles (or even search CATI for a particular subject)? Go to http://cati.org and you'll find an archive of past issues (arranged in reverse chronological order), a partial index of articles (arranged alphabetically by topic), and a search engine specifically for use with CATI. Like to pass along this issue to others? You may. Permission is hereby granted to pass along any issue of CATI to someone else, provided that it is passed along in its entirety with no changes made. (For now, I prefer that you send the complete issue, although I may in the near future provide guidelines for passing along individual articles.) Like to use material from this newsletter (say, on a Web page or in a publication)? For permission to do that, send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org (explaining what you'd like to use and for what purpose). Reasonable requests are usually granted. Like to unsubscribe? That's also easy. Just send an email to email@example.com (but if you decide to unsubscribe, you'll be missed, so any thoughts about the newsletter that you would be willing to share at that time would be much appreciated). Like to tell your friends about CATI? That is not only much encouraged, but also an encouragement to the editor! CATI is a lot of work (albeit a labor of love) and (since it is a free newsletter and I intend it to stay such) provides no financial income, so what keeps me going with this personal endeavor is knowing that people are finding it to be helpful, instructive, and enjoyable. (Comments from readers are always welcome, so let me hear from you!) Unless otherwise indicated, all material in this newsletter is Copyright (C) 2001 by Barry Traver, All Rights Reserved.