Cheap DSL: It’s About Time

For years, I lamented the fact that neither DSL nor cable Internet made it to my house in the semi-country. While friends around the U.S. downloaded Pamela Anderson JPGs at breakneck speeds, I was stuck on dial-up and would take a restroom break before she showed up on screen.

Then one day, DSL became available, and at 30 bucks a month, I snapped it up like a bass on a worm, saving the $24 I was spending to connect sloooowly through AOL. Now my provider, Verizon, is offering a slower 768kbps service (my original DSL speed before a service upgrade) for half price. Why is this such great news? Because competitive pressure hopefully will force Comcast Cable to lower its prices which are nearly three times higher than the discounted DSL. I have Comcast at a summer place and while I like the speed and find it less flaky than DSL, it’s not $35-a-month faster!

There a New Hole in Town
These IE holes where hackers can control our machines all sound the same, but as Yoda would say, fix them we must. The latest vulnerability, which sounds like all the other vulnerabilities, has a security bulletin ready and waiting for you at; a patch has not yet been released.

News of this hole re-stoked the animosity between the security community, which often reports the flaws before they’re fixed, and Microsoft, which has to rush out bulletins and patches to anxious and irritated IT pros. Adding fuel to the fire, examples of the code to exploit the flaw were also released.

Workarounds include disabling ActiveX or moving to Firefox (this one wasn’t in the Microsoft bulletin).

Speaking of Disclosure
There’s been a lot of talk about whether “white hat” hacker Mike Lynn should have revealed flaws in Cisco routers. Our own security guru and newsletter author Russ Cooper has a few thoughts on why it wasn’t such a good idea. Redmond magazine Managing Editor Keith Ward had harsher words.

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Spyware Never Sleeps
My 9-year-old is a spyware sponge. Give him a machine for an hour and it’ll be so thoroughly infected that even the CDC can’t fix it. Yesterday I had to clean up the mess on an old backup computer he and I use from time to time. There were three main infestations: Aurora, Command and Surf Sidekick. I used three anti-spyware tools and an adware removal tool, which deleted file after file. Aurora, as stubborn a beast as I’ve ever seen, I think was finally removed, but Command and Surf Sidekick still refuse to budge. The solution, it seems, is a long drawn out process using Hyjack -- rebooting into Safe Mode and manually removing a bunch of files -- which is no picnic. Or, I can reformat. If anyone has a better way or a spyware horror story to tell, e-mail me at, and let me know if I can use your letter in a future newsletter.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.


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