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Five last articles
  • Building a Web Store on Shoestring Budget in less than Four Hours

  • Thursday, May 12, 2005
  • Effective Web Search with Google's "My Search History" Tool

  • Monday, April 25, 2005
  • Beware of Spyware

  • Thursday, April 7, 2005
  • How to Build a Business Website

  • Tuesday, March 22, 2005
  • Effective use of your online time

  • Saturday, March 5, 2005
    Your Daily Dose of .NET From India

    This is more like a Business Blog. Rusbiz.com is a B2B portal with features that cover a wide range of online business activities. As the CEO of Rusbiz.com, it is my obligation to be in touch with e-business related issues that concern Rusbiz members. I am planning to write about some of these topics over here. I hope that subjects that personally interest me will not go unattended either.
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    "MyDoom" virus and how to protect your computer from it Tuesday, January 27, 2004

    "MyDoom" virus and how to protect your computer from it Remember the Sobig viruses of last year that wreaked havoc and caused significant financial damage to corporation world? Well, the first major virus of this year has potential to beat those attacks easily.

    What is MyDoom?

    The new virus, which is actually a more virulent variation of Mimail virus, is dubbed MyDoom by antivirus software maker Network Associates Inc. and "Novarg" by rival Symantec Corp.

    The virus, first detected around 4PM EST Monday January 26, 2004, immediately started to create a mail storm through out the Internet. According to experts, MyDoom virus is capable of generating up to 8 million infected e-mails in the first 24 hours if it is not slowed down. This is twice as much as the amount produced by the Sobig.F virus, which at its peak last year generated around 3.5 million e-mails on the third day of its outbreak.

    Within one hour of its first attack Network Associates itself received 19,500 e-mails bearing the virus from 3,400 unique Internet addresses.

    How does it work?

    MyDoom spreads itself similarly as any other email-borne virus. Unsuspected user after receiving infected email activates the virus by opening the attached file. As always the virus infiltrates only into Windows based PC. The attached file can be of any of these extensions: ".exe," ".scr," ".cmd" or ".pif".

    Randomized subject line of the infected message can have the following texts among others: Mail Delivery system, Test, Server report, Hello, etc.

    The body of the email shows one of the several texts, such as: "The message cannot be represented in 7-bit ASCII encoding and has been sent as a binary attachment,"; "The message contains Unicode characters and has been sent as a binary attachment."; and "Mail transaction failed. Partial message is available." The idea here is to trick users into opening the attachment. The opened attachment looks like a simple Notepad text file, which most of the people believe to be safe and incapable of carrying viruses.

    Once a computer gets contaminated with MyDoom, the virus along with the Trojan embedded in it does the following things:

    The virus resends itself using a built-in mailing program to e-mail addresses from the address book of the infected computer. It is capable to send out 100 infected email messages in 30 seconds to addresses stored in the computer. It also fakes the senders address and shows one of the e-mails randomly selected from the computer's address book. So it appears that the virus came from someone other than the person whose computer produced this email.

    The virus also copies itself to the Kazaa download directory of the infected computer, on which the file-sharing program is loaded. The virus camouflages itself, using one of seven file names, including Winamp5, RootkitXP, Officecrack and Nuke2004. Kazaa is a file sharing program widely used by teens to share music among peers.

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    MyDoom also uses the domains of the emails addresses it finds in the infected computer to make up numerous email addresses in an attempt to spread itself. This tactic is commonly used by spammers and called Dictionary Attack.

    Some experts claim that this virus also drops a file onto infected computer systems, collecting sensitive data such as passwords, user names and credit card information.

    The infected e-mails are also programmed to start a denial of service attack on SCO, the controversial software group which claims that important components of the Linux open-source operating system violate its Unix copyrights. A Denial of Service Attack means in an attempt to shut down a server, thousands of emails are sent to one single address. The attack clogs the bandwidth and cripples the whole mailing system of the company and forces them to either turn off the server or change the domain name.

    Finally, the virus also opens up communication ports of the infected computer, allowing a hacker to manipulate the machine remotely.

    One hack of a virus, isnt it?

    What to do?

    If you take the following steps, your computer will be virtually safe from any similar virus attacks:

    • Get an Antivirus program and install it in your computer.
    • Regularly update your Antivirus program.
    • Get a firewall and install it. A great free firewall that you can download and install is Zonealarm. You can download it from http://www.zonelabs.com/store/content/home.jsp
    • Regularly get patches for your version of Windows and update.
    • Use email filters similar to Eprompter. It gives you the ability to delete unwanted spam or suspicious looking mail, which might contain viruses. Get it free from http://www.eprompter.com
    • Scan your computer for viruses regularly. A great free tool that scans your computer remotely for viruses and eliminates them you can find at

    No doubt that Microsoft has to do a better job to protect us from this on going slaughter. However, until this happens, Windows users have to be more vigilant and do everything possible to protect their machines.

    Protect your computer from the new virus "Beagle" Tuesday, January 20, 2004

    Protect your computer from the new virus "Beagle"If you received an email from somebody you know with the subject hi and the word test in the message body recently, welcome to the never ending world of computer viruses. You have just encountered the first virus unleashed in this year. The virus is named as Beagle or Bagle and spreading rapidly all over the world. Users in the United Stated will see the real outbreak on Tuesday, January 20, 2004 as on Monday US was closed in observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

    The attached to the email .exe file with a random name, which uses the same icon as the Windows calculator, is the culprit! Once executed it runs an email harvesting program, which searches for emails in every single file on your computer and the computers connected to yours via internal network. The codes of the worm also contain invisible email proxy server program, which allows your computer to be put into action as a spam relay center. When opened the attached exe file, it runs the Windows calculator in an attempt to confuse the user.

    The body of the virus email looks as follows:

    Test =)
    (string of random characters)
    Test, yep.

    It appears the worm is also programmed to send details about all infected computers to website addresses in Germany. Although till now these sites are not yet set up on the Internet.

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    The harvested emails will most certainly be used for spamming and selling to other spammers. This suggests that the Beagle virus is a creation of email spammers. Similar to Sobig virus, this one too embedded with an expiry date. The virus is set to deactivate on 28 January. Many experts believe this means a more virulent version may come out after this date.

    Network Associates has raised its alert rating for the program from "low" to "medium" because an increasing number of personal computers are becoming infected. After severe virus attacks of last year most of the companies have updated and protected themselves from this type of viruses. However, home users are at risk, as many still did not install any kind of antivirus software or do not update them regularly.

    Computer virus attacks cost global businesses an estimated US$55 billion in damages in 2003. Companies lost roughly US$20 billion to US$30 billion in 2002 from the virus attacks, up from about US$13 billion in 2001, according to various industry estimates.

    It looks like financial harm caused by various virus attacks will increase significantly in 2004.

    Here are some tips to protect your computer from Beagle and other viruses:

    Be vigilant
    Dont ever open an email that looks suspicious! The success of viruses that spread through emails totally depends on the ignorance and curiosity of unsuspected users.

    Update Windows
    Download the latest security patches for the version of Windows you use and install them.

    Install Antivirus Software
    If you still dont have an Antivirus Software, install one! Its worth the money spent!

    Update your Antivirus Software
    Antivirus Software companies constantly add new modules to their software in order to enhance abilities. You must update your software to ensure that you have the latest version capable of fighting the new virus unleashed.

    If you feel that your computer is already infected, find the file bbeagle.exe on your computer. The file disguises itself with Microsoft calculator icon. Delete the file immediately!


    Developing your export import business using Internet - Part I Saturday, January 10, 2004

    Since most of the businesses throughout the world have access to the Internet, many astute entrepreneurs and trading companies are using the Internet as one of the primary means for developing their import and export businesses.

    Already a big slice of global trades are taking place through the Internet. According to Forrester Research, a major marketing research company, worldwide online exports will escalate to US $1.4 trillion in 2004, and cross-border e-marketplace trade will exceed US $400 billion in this year alone.

    However, cross-border trading will create a division between the companies that actively import and export using the Internet and those that don't. Companies that are slow in adopting the Internet will loose competitive edge to the more proactive Internet-savvy counter parts.

    If you are already involved in international trade or planning to either import or export products, Internet could be your primary source of gathering data, researching prospective market, finding clients and, may be even, for doing your entire business online.

    First, lets look into the export side of the international trade. Like any other business, exporting requires proper planning. Well-documented and clearly written export marketing plan will work as your road map to success. The following steps are essential for any export endeavor.

    Identifying products for export

    Although, in any given time you may find numerous products that qualify as exportable one, your chance for success will increase substantially if your chosen product met the following criteria:

    You have been handling this product for local market for several years
    You have full confidence in the quality of the product
    The value of the product matches or exceeds the imported similar ones
    You have guaranteed availability of this product for export

    If you dont have a product to export yet, and you are serious about export oriented business, consider checking out your local trade shows to seek out an exportable product.

    Local online marketplaces are good options for finding products for export as well.

    Identifying potential export markets for your products

    To identify an export market you have to spend sometimes on gathering necessary information.

    You will need export statistics of your country to see which markets are presently buying products similar to yours. This will give an idea which markets are viable for you to target. Apart from checking the statistics from you own country, you also should verify export statistics from several other countries that manufacture and export similar products.

    After analyzing this information, choose couple of markets for further assessment. This time you will need more in depth information on these markets.

    Doing market research

    Market research is imperative in order to identify export potential of a product in a targeted country. There are two ways you can research your targeted market.

    By getting first-hand information from the targeted market
    This can be done by hiring a research company from the targeted market, participating in trade shows, contacting prospective customers, visiting the market personally, etc. Although, this method has a great advantage since you can get exact information tailored to your need. However, this might be very expensive and time consuming for most of the first time exporters.

    Getting information from the Internet and other sources
    Thanks to the Internet you can get almost all the needed information from various online sources. This includes: trade data statistics, country profile, demography and other market related data, list of prospective customers, etc.

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    To take an informative decision while selecting a market you will need answers to the following questions:

    How big is the demand for your product or similar products in the targeted market?
    What is the ratio between domestic production and import?
    Who are the main competitors in this market?
    What is the growth potential of the market?
    How strong are they in comparison to you?
    What is the import duty structure for your product?
    Is there any incentive available to you from your country for exporting this product?

    Answers to these questions will give you enough facts to compare the markets you have chosen for assessment. While taking final decision on export market, dont forget to study the business and social cultures of the specific country. This could be an important issue in selecting the right market for you.

    Selling your products

    Once you targeted the market you would like to pursue, you next step is to start selling your products to that market.

    There are several marketing options avai`lable for you to choose from:

    Hire an export trading house from your country
    The advantage, if you find right export trading house, is the experience and knowledge the company may have. The draw back is they might not be interested in your products, and if they do, you have to pay a major share from your sales to them as their commission.

    Find a distributor in the targeted market to sell your products
    This is, no doubt, a very good option. However, finding a good distributor for a product which does not have a proven track record of sale in the market wont be that easy.

    Sell products to customers from targeted market directly
    Initially, you might have to stick to this option only. B2B exchanges and emarketplaces from the targeted market can be a good place to start your venture.

    Here are the steps you need to take if you would like to sell your products through E-marketplaces.

    1. Seek out the largest emarketplace for the country of your choice.You should consider both vertical and horizontal marketplaces.
    2. Register with them.
    3. Create a Web Site, if you dont have yet, in the local language.
    4. Add your products to the e-catalog of the emarketplaces.
    5. Post your products for sale to the marketplace.
    6. Post frequent sell trade leads.
    7. Search for companies interested to by products similar to yours and contact them.

    International trade business, same like any other business requires months, sometimes even several years, to bring anticipated profit. Aggressive use of the Internet will help you achieve your goal with lesser investment and faster result.


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