Guest Colomn: DeCSS, viruses, and Jay

Guest Colomn: DeCSS, viruses, and Jay

By Richard Heller

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that the trial in Norway against Jon Johansen had concluded. Jon is the author of the DeCSS program that allowed him to play his legally purchased DVD movies on his computer that was running the Linux operating system.

The Motion Picture Association of America had the Norwegian prosecutors argue that Johansen acted illegally in sharing his DeCSS tool with others and distributing it via the Internet. They claimed the DeCSS utility made it easier to pirate DVDs.

The court rejected these arguments, ruling that Johansen did nothing wrong in bypassing DVD scrambling codes. The judge ruled that there was “no evidence” that either Johansen or others had used the decryption code (DeCSS) illegally.

The ruling means it’s legal to use DeCSS code to watch legally obtained DVD films, at least in Norway. The victory represents a big win against the U.S. entertainment industry.

It has been a few months since I’ve mentioned anything about viruses and anti-virus software. I assure you that it was not because new viruses had stopped being produced; I just figured that you were tired of hearing about them.

The truth is, new viruses and Trojans are being written and distributed every day. The authors are being more creative and devious in their efforts. They are exploiting every security hole they can find in Internet Explorer, Outlook Express and any other program they can hack. They will shut down your anti-virus program and firewall program, and are even masquerading as updates to your anti-virus software.

An anti-virus program is important to have on your computer, although it is more important to keep it updated with the latest virus definition files. You should enable the auto e-mail scan function to reduce the risk of getting a virus from your mail. Do not open attachment files unless you know the person who sent you the e-mail. Even if you know the person, you still need to be careful in opening an attachment.

The problem is, the hackers are now taking names from your address book and using these names as the person sending the e-mail. The name is in your list, you know the person, and trust him. You open the e-mail, and you now have the virus on your computer.

Recently, Jay Hart passed away. Jay was a Realtor in Rockford for many years, but he was also into many other things including amateur radio and computers.

Jay was one of the original members of the TRS80 computer club and the group met in his office for a number of years. The group evolved into the Rockford Area Computer Society (RACS) until it disbanded two years ago.

Jay’s health started to deteriorate a few years ago, but he still was on the computer every day. Through his “Armchair Adventures” newsletter, he kept in contact with readers throughout the world.

Jay had a computer mouse in his hand as he lay in the casket, just waiting to click on his e-mail.

Richard Heller is an independent computer specialist who specializes in repairs, installation, upgrades, technical support, Internet sharing, data recovery and diagnostics. If you have any computer or service-related questions, please send them to The Rock River Times or e-mail

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