eCurrents | September 2009


Link to Advanced Technology, Personal Touch





Inside This Issue

Hackers Exploit Vulnerabilities In Adobe Tools

Travelers Get An Upgrade From 3 Rivers

Ask The Help Desk
Is There Any Harm In Forwarding Those E-mails That Ask Me To Send The Message To 10 Of My Friends?

Sites Of The Month
Great Sites To Check Out In September

Short Tutorial
Organizing E-mail Into Folders Using Rules

Your Guide To Understanding The Internet



Welcome to eCurrents

For students and their families, September means another year of learning has begun. It's a great time for all of us to pick up new knowledge and skills, and this eNewsletter issue can help with that goal. You'll learn about security vulnerabilities in the popular Adobe Flash video player and Acrobat Reader, and get related advice on software updates. Other lessons include a review of the reasons not to forward e-mail chain letters, and instructions on setting up automatic filing of e-mail messages. For more education, visit the Great Sites we've selected and discover a homework resource for your kids as well as recipes, travel ideas, and consumer information for you.

The goal of each of our monthly eNewsletters is to keep our subscribers informed regarding their Internet connection and to improve their Internet experience. We think you'll find this information interesting. If, however, you'd prefer not to receive these bulletins on a monthly basis, please see the links at the bottom of this e-mail to manage your preferences.

To see what's inside this issue, simply scroll down the eNewsletter or click on the links within the index to the left. Thanks for reading!

- The eCurrents Team


Warning! - Hackers Exploit Vulnerabilities In Adobe Tools

Adobe Reader LogoCybercriminals are taking advantage of critical vulnerabilities in Adobe's Flash video player and Acrobat Reader, the widely used tool for opening PDF documents. They've been e-mailing PDF files with corrupted Flash video clips and hacking into websites to implant them. These clips, when activated, quickly install malicious programs on the user's computer. The goal is to gain control of PCs and turn them into obedient "bots" to steal data, siphon cash from online financial accounts, and spread spam.

Acrobat Reader is an increasingly popular target. Some 43% of the 1,500 cyberattacks identified by security firm F-Secure in the first six months of 2009 were directed at Acrobat Reader, up from nearly 29% last year. That puts Acrobat Reader ahead of Microsoft Word, which was targeted in 40% of this year's attacks.

If you use these Adobe tools and your computer is set for automatic updates, you should be receiving alerts about recommended software updates and security patches issued by Adobe. If not, go directly to the Adobe website at for current information. You can also sign up for their security notification service at

Remember that for security reasons, it's always best to go directly to a software website by entering the URL yourself rather than clicking on a link found on YouTube or in an unsolicited e-mail message. When you're alerted of a needed software update, take the time to install it right then rather than deferring the installation until later. You may forget and the oversight could lead to computer headaches or worse.

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Travelers Get An Upgrade From 3 Rivers

We have good news for 3 Rivers' Internet customers who travel away from home with their laptops and have had trouble in the past sending e-mail. Previously, if you were not on your home connection, you may have been unable to send e-mail using Outlook or Outlook Express from your account. Due to a recent upgrade of 3 Rivers' mail server, that problem has been eliminated. There is a small configuration change needed in your e-mail client to take advantage of this improvement. If you take your laptop on the road and have faced this issue in the past, call our Internet tech support number at 1-888-783-7354, and a support specialist will be glad to assist you with getting your e-mail set up to use this feature.

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Ask The Help Desk - Is There Any Harm In Forwarding Those E-mails That Ask Me To Send The Message To 10 Of My Friends?

Question: I frequently receive e-mails that advise me to not "break the chain" and forward the news item, consumer warning, or touching poem to 10 of my friends. I usually go ahead and do it, figuring that people will enjoy reading the messages and may gain something from them. Is this a bad idea?

Answer: An e-mail chain letter is any message that, either through overt instruction or through compelling content, encourages the reader to pass it on. You ask whether it's a bad idea to forward them, and the answer is "yes" for a couple of reasons.

First of all, many of these e-mail chain letters are complete hoaxes and contain inaccurate information. If you forward them, you could be spreading rumors, urban legends, and fake charitable activities. Secondly, they pose a serious risk to your privacy and that of your friends, as your contact information could end up being circulated around the globe and falling into the hands of cybercriminals.

Most people who forward e-mail chain letters believe they are doing something good by staying in touch and giving family and friends potentially useful information. From now on, however, we suggest that you go ahead and "break the chain."

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Sites Of The Month - Great Sites To Check Out In September

TV Time - Leaves aren't the only things that change in the fall—so do the programs on the TV schedule. This site provides video clips, listings, top 20 lists, and features about the upcoming TV season and beyond. Find out what's happening with your favorite shows, find some new ones, and let others know what you think. You can also check out photos of your favorite stars.

And the Winner Is ... - You know it's true. Every potluck get-together has a "winner"—the recipe that gets requested the most. With the rise in popularity of simple at-home entertaining, you'll want to check out this site to make sure your next potluck dish gets the prize. From appetizers and salads to main dishes and desserts, you'll find hundreds of winning options here.

Stood There, Done That - Sometimes the best part of visiting someplace great is just standing there and taking it in. This site allows you to share that moment with others by uploading photos of yourself in settings ranging from the majesty of the Grand Canyon to the history of Pompeii. You can look at others' photos, vote for your favorites, and discover more of the best places on the planet.

Manual Mine - Tired of that huge accordion file of product manuals taking up space in your closet? This site may allow you to get rid of it once and for all. ManualsOnline is exactly what the name suggests: electronic versions of hundreds of thousands of manufacturer manuals. Find manuals for camcorders, laptops, lawnmowers, dishwashers, stereo systems, and more. Use the site to store your manuals in one convenient location. And if the manuals don't answer your questions, the site's online community might.

Homework Helper - As the new school year begins, point your kids to Fact Monster, a site that makes homework seem like fun. It's loaded with information on topics ranging from U.S. cities to metric conversions to "Women of Influence." Kids can play brain-twisting games, look up words in the dictionary, or improve their study skills. When they're ready for a study break, they can visit the Harry Potter page or the Best-Selling Video Games of All Time.

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Short Tutorial - Organizing E-mail Into Folders Using Rules

In our August '09 issue, we covered how to create new e-mail folders and manually move e-mails into them. This month we're following up with tutorials on how to organize e-mail into folders using rules or filters—a convenient, automatic way to file e-mails, which is an alternative to using the manual method.

Organizing E-mail Into Folders Using Rules ...
E-mail Program:
Outlook Express 6 and Window Mail
Computer Operating System: Windows XP and Windows Vista

  1. With Outlook Express or Windows Mail open, click your cursor arrow on "Tools" from the menu bar. Select "Message Rules" from the resulting drop-down menu and then select "Mail..." from the resulting submenu.
  2. The New Mail Rule window will open. Choose the conditions for your rule. For this tutorial, we will select "Where the From line contains people" in the "Select the Conditions for your rule:" section.
  3. Next, select the actions for your rule. For this tutorial, we will select "Move it to the specified folder" in the "Select the Actions for your rule:" section.
  4. In the "Rule Description (click on the underlined value to edit it):" section, click on the "contains people" link.
  5. The Select People window will open. Here you can manually type in names and click the "Add" button or you can choose people from your Address Book for Outlook Express or Windows Contacts for Windows Mail. For this tutorial, we will select people saved in the Address Book or Windows Contacts by clicking on the "Address Book..." or "Contacts..." button.
  6. The Rule Addresses window will open. Select from the list of saved contacts and click on the "From" button. Once you have selected all individuals to include in your rule, click on the "OK" button.
  7. The Select People window will reappear listing the contacts that you have selected for your rule. Click on the "OK" button.
  8. The New Mail Rule window will reappear and the selected people for your rule will now appear in the "Rule Description (click on the underlined value to edit it):" section.