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Dear Howdy,

My friend would say things that made no sense at all, like,
"If I were the last person on earth, some moron would turn
left in front of me."

Louie A.
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Dear Howdy,

It's the 120th birthday of Statue of Liberty.
She's the tallest, oldest woman in the New
York City - except for Sigourney Weaver.

Dave L.
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The company my brother worked for had a phone system that
rerouted after-hours calls. If any calls came in on a
certain line while he was working late, Dave knew it would
be a wrong number. It got to the point where as soon as the
phone rang, Dave would pick up and say, "Psychic Hotline.
I'm sorry, but you've dialed the wrong number."

The caller would often reply with something like, "But I
didn't even ask to speak to anyone yet. How did you know I
dialed the wrong.... Oh!" (Click.)
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Noah was standing at the gangplank checking off the pairs of
animals when he saw three camels trying to get on board.

"Wait a minute!" he said. "Two each is the limit. One of you
will have to stay behind."

"It won't be me," said the first camel. "I'm the camel whose
back is broken by the last straw."

"I'm the one people swallow while straining at a gnat," said
the second.

"And I am the one that shall pass through the eye of a needle
sooner than a rich man shall enter heaven." said the third.

"Well, I guess you had better all come in," said Noah, "the
world is going to need all of you."
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1) cyclostomate sie klos' toe mate (adjective)
: having a round mouth

2) brumous broo' mes (adjective)
: misty, foggy
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The Silent
Epidemic of Botnets
By Jim Hedger

If, as author Philip K. Díck wondered, robots dream of electronic sheep, their collectivist cyber-equivalents, botnets live for the fleece. Used to enable or commit several types of fraud, including clíck fraud against PPC providers such as Google, Yahoo and the host of smaller pay-per-click programs, botnets are proliferating across the Internet at an alarming rate. The only thing matching the increase in criminal use of botnets is the increasing sophistication of their operators.

"The level of sophistication that we're seeing – and the speed at which new fraudster techniques are introduced – is tremendous," says Keren Levy, director of the Online Threats Managed Services group at RSA Security. In June of this year RSA Security and Panda Software collaborated to detect and dismantle one of hundreds of botnets operating online, one that was specifically designed to commit clíck fraud.

"Botnets are a silent epidemic," states Ryan Sherstobitoff from Panda Software as he ducks behind a row of trade-show booths to find a quieter place to speak. "The botnet we recently helped dismantle with RSA had infected over 50,000 computers with the Clickbot.A Trojan. Imagine if each of those 50,000 computers made the botnet controller one dollar each day the system operated. If it takes us a few weeks to shut him down, the operator makes millions."

The actual people who operated the network of bots that RSA and Panda broke remain at large and anonymous. They have not been identified and history suggests they will be back for more. The folks who hack at this level are light years beyond the script-kiddies of yesteryear. According to Sherstobitoff, the folks who hack at this level are organized, well paid, and very, very dangerous. So are the people they work for.

"We've traced a number of operations centers back to Eastern Europe, the former Yugoslavia, China, and even to North Korea", said Sherstobitoff. "There are multiple crime organizations doing this, some of which sell Trojans to each other and to outsiders."

When we spoke, Sherstobitoff was at an education and IT trade show in Nashville Tennessee. He has worked with Panda Software for three challenging years. His business card says he is a Product Technology Officer for Panda Software U.S.A. To be more accurate, Sherstobitoff has become Panda's security evangelist. His job has him traveling to trade shows, speaking at conventions and meeting with IT workers across the country preaching the mantra of tighter computer security. Knowing that cyber-security experts have only seen the tip of the iceberg, Sherstobitoff emphasizes the importance of personal and corporate responsibility.

Botnets can be described as a cross between a computer virus and the Borg. Where common viruses are designed to act independently, botnets are literally networks of infected computers that can be controlled by a master computer. Infection comes in the form of malicious code or malware. This code can get onto a system in a number of ways including email attachments, music or video downloads, and through open ports and flakey firewalls. Most who have it will nevër know they are running it and that's just the way the fraudsters like it.

Out of sight is out of mind is the axiom that online fraudsters rely on to take monëy out of the pockets of their victims. According to the Panda Software website, over 20% of all home, school or office computers in the U.S. are infected with malicious code and, just to hammer the point home, most of them will nevër know it. This means that one in five computers in the U.S. might, at any time, turn into a higher-functioning zombie. Though computers that become zombies appear to run normally, someone else is using part of their processing power. That someone is likely doing illegal things. A medium sized network like the one broken up by RSA and Panda is 50,000 computers strong. Each zombie has its own IP address and each can be used to fully mimic human behaviours or to scan and record personal information when ordered to by its operator.

It is amazing how easily malicious files can be acquired and how much financial and social damage they can do. These types of files come in all shapes and sizes. Some burrow into a computer's registry as a worm, some are invited in as Trojans, and some are attached to ID phishing attempts. One noted example of ID phishing email containing a Trojan is referred to as the Barclays Bank letter.

Once inside a computer, malicious files can perform whatever functions they are programmed to do. Some are even designed to accomplish multiple tasks from recording ID and keystroke information to using infected computers to mimic live visitors in clíck fraud schemes.

The bust Panda and RSA made involved a botnet built around the aptly named Clickbot.A, which was specifically designed to commit clíck fraud. Clickbot.A is a Trojan file that registers itself as a browser helper object so that whenever Internet Explorer is run it is automatically activated. When active, Clickbot.A is used to obtain, " profít from fraudulent clicks on advertisements sponsored by a certain company, which in return does not get any visits to its website."

According to a Panda Software press release, the Clickbot.A Trojan scam went down this way:

"- Fraudsters set up a number of Internet addresses and posted a series of (genuine) syndicated search-engine advertisements.
- The bot network -comprised of more than 50,000 zombie machines infected by Clickbot.A – was programmed to access these Internet addresses and to register clicks on the syndicated advertisements.

- The fraudsters received a slice of the 'pay per clíck' advertising revenues even though the original advertisers did not receive any visits to their sites."

The real victims of clíck fraud are PPC advertisers. Both the perpetrators and the PPC advertising providers make monëy every time an advertiser pays for a fraudulent clíck. If the fraudsters have been paid out by one of the PPC engines, it is a safe bet that engine has made monëy as well. Though the search providers, most notably Google and Yahoo, already detect and delete a wide array of invalid clicks, the rapid proliferation of botnets is considered mute testimony to the success of the underworld endeavor.

As efficient as they are at automating fraud, botnets require human control and activation. There is always a central controller. The controller is not necessarily the person responsible for writing the malicious code. The controller might not even be directly associated with the person or organization profiting from the scheme. Controllers are often highly paid mercenaries who happen to be very, very good hackers.

There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of controllers out there. They are extremely difficult to catch, even though they leave traces everywhere they go. With the ability to manipulate a massive network of zombies, Controllers can shift their command centers from computer to computer, effectively masking the route back to their own locations. When their networks are eventually detected and parts of the network dismantled, they can turn everything off and vanish into the ether of cyberspace. The controller truly is the ghost in the machine. Even if a controller happens to get caught, chances are that person has no idea who has paid them for their talents.

Running a botnet operation requires a number of unique skill sets. Fake businesses with bank accounts need to be established to accept payments. When paid out, clíck fraud revenues need to be laundered before the fraudsters can safely enjoy their ill-gotten gains. Friendly bankers, more fake businesses and allied accountants are required in order to facilitate the fraud and keep difficult questíons to a minimum. As none of the players mentioned above are proficient enough hackers to build a better botnet, someone needs to write the malicious code or know someone who they can obtain a copy from. This isn't a world where the script-kiddies play. This is the world of slash and burn organized crime.

The criminals know what they are doing and time is truly on their side. Sherstobitoff described the tension of living in what is becoming a fulltime Zero Day posture. Zero Day, hour or minute is the term used to describe when a botnet or other cyber-security threat is detected. Once detected, that threat needs to be dissected in order to learn how to destroy it. Any one of those threats might have been active for days, weeks or months before being detected.

Cyber-security experts play the role of Tom to the hackers' role of Jerry. In the game of cat and mouse, the security cats are always a bit behind the curve of the eight ball and the hackers know and love it. When a new virus is discovered, the malicious code writers make sure the security experts find a few thousand variants, just to keep them busy figuring out which variant is the real threat. Finding and figuring out a fix might take hours or it might take a few days. Once the actual threat is determined and a patch prepared to distribute through Norton, McAfee or other anti-virus software it can take between 8 – 16 hours to update computers around the world. Zero Day for Variant A is often the birthday of variants B, C, D, E, F, and Z. Everyday can be a Zero Day and some must feel like Groundhog Day.

Cyber-security experts are not really concerned about idle threats. They have far too many real ones to deal with. The threats posed by botnets are not limited to the personal or business finances of personal or business computer users either.

On December 1, the US Attorney's office indicted a 26-year old Romanian hacker named Victor Faur on charges he hacked into over 150 NASA and US Navy computers. According to the US Government, Faur leads a group of elite hackers known as the "WhiteHat Team". While Faur is said to have only used his exploit to open chat rooms for other WhiteHat members in order to prove he had cracked the most robust systems in the world, his accomplishments could earn him up to 54 years in an even more secure setting, a US federal prison.

On the same day Faur's indictment was being read in a Los Angeles courtroom, the Department of Homeland Security issued a warning regarding a possible Internet attack on US banking and ínvestment interests including the New York Stöck Exchange and Nasdaq markets. Though the advisory was issued by HSD spokesman Russ Knocke, "as a routine matter and out of an abundance of caution," it speaks to very real and persistent fears that such an attack is possible.

In May 2006, a botnet was used to bring down approximately 10-million TypePad blogs and LiveJournal communities in an overwhelming DDoS attack (distributed denial of service) on Six Apart. Six Apart client, was the actual target of the attack but the power of tens of thousands of zombie computers sending repeating requests to their servers crashed out their entire network. (source: Wired Magazine issue 14:11)

It is remarkably difficult to catch the controller. The fake businesses and the bank accounts attached to them can come and go as quickly as necessary. In the blink of a few short months, a criminal organization can make a few million dollars. According to Panda's Sherstobitoff, very few of the operations detected and dismantled are actually caught, in a real-world sense of the word, a discouraging 2 – 5%.

The sky is not falling but it is getting more expensive to keep it suspended every passing day. Home computer users, education networks and corporate IT departments might be under constant attack but there are ways to deter, detect and disrupt the hackers.

Using standard anti-virus products is important, however, they do not cover the full spectrum of threats. Most anti-virus software is also limited by the Zero Day concept and is therefore only as effective as its most recent update. Products like ZoneAlarm and AdAware are good additions to home and business computers but Sherstobitoff strongly recommends the tightest security should come at the server and ISP level. Sherstobitoff suggests ISPs and companies running web servers use anti-hacking software based on Host Based Intrusion Detection systems that perform deep packet inspection looking for common traits found in zombifing Trojans at the kernel level.

With a 20% infection rate in the U.S. and similar rates around the world, the only real certainty for cyber-security experts is that there is a 1/5 chance the computer in front of you is being used to assist thieves. That is a sad fact of life online. While researching one of the few botnet cases that has been prosecuted, that of Jeanson James Ancheta, this LinuxForums botnet discussion from late January 2006 was found. If you're not quite disturbed enough by this point, follow that link.

About The Author
Search marketing expert Jim Hedger is one of the most prolific writers in the search sector with articles appearing in numerous search related websites and newsletters, including SiteProNews, Search Engine Journal,, and Search Engine Guide.

He is currently Senior Editor for the Jayde Online news sources SEO-News and SiteProNews. You can also find additional tips and news on webmaster and SEO topics by Jim at the SiteProNews blog.
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* * * Great Archives Here - - - - "Music That Howdy Enjoys" Below * * *

February 2006   March 2006   April 2006   May 2006   June 2006   July 2006   August 2006   September 2006   October 2006   November 2006   December 2006   December 2007  

How Can I Know God???

Tales of Narnia

Answering Islam

The Da Vinci Code

A Short Look At Six World Religions

Bible - God's Word in different languages...

My Heart Christ's Home

Big John's America

Not Garbage

Discovery Institute

See The Word

Bible Study Info

Don't Be Left Behind

For The University Students & Faculty

How to become a Christian

The Berean Call

Great For Kids

Stories For Kids

Promoting Your Own Blog

Looking For God

Bible Knowledge Challenge

The Young Earth Club

Who Is Jesus???

Christian Apologetics

Christian Web Info

Great Christians In History

History of American Christianity

Bible Instructions


Dr. Ben Haden

Bible Search Tools

Kids For Truth

Lincoln - A Christian

Mission To America

One Place For Learning

President Lincoln

Purgatory, Heaven Or Hell?

Intellectual Takeout

Evangelical Viewpoint

Dr. John Vernon McGee

Insight For Living

Turning Point

Outstanding Bible Teacher

Dr. Tony Evans

Listen To The Bible

Is Jesus God?


Great Bible Teaching

America - Why I Love Her

How To Become A Christian

*Watch The Jesus Movie*


Your very own library

Muhammad or Jesus???

Why The U.S.A. Is At War - 1

Why The U.S.A. Is At War - 2

Christian Women

Politics & Religion

Is Jesus God?

Statement Of What Howdy Believes!!!

Bible Crosswords

Los Angeles

Bible Search Tool

Great Bible Teacher

All About Cults

Religion Comparison

The Relationship of the Church to Israel

Just For Guys

Church History

***Watch The Jesus Movie***
{Many Languages}

Howdy's Blog #2

Howdy's Blog #3

Music That Howdy Enjoys

Military Music

Blueberry Hill

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring


A Taste Of Honey - clip

(I Left My Heart) In San Francisco - clip

Take The 'A' Train - clip

Hello, Dolly! - clip

Peggy Sue - clip

Theme From Peter Gunn - clip

Song from Moulin Rouge


Ebb Tide

Tara's Theme from Gone with the Wind

Around the World in 80 Days

Breakfast at Tiffany's


The Way We Were

You Do Something to Me



A Foggy Day



Arrivederci Roma

Theme from Moulin Rouge II

Stardust - Big Band



Rhapsody in Blue

Sleepy Lagoon

My Foolish Heart

Lisbon Antigua

La Mer

April in Portugal

Because of You

Poor People of Paris

Unchained Melody

Stranger on the Shore


Maple Leaf Rag

Voices of Spring

Radetzky March

Water Music (Excerpt) George Frideric Handel

Finale - William Tell Overture

Overture - My Fair Lady

The Rain in Spain

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Tijuana Taxi - Herb Alpert

The Happy Whistler

So Rare

Mona Lisa

Ghost Riders in the Sky

Walk, Don't Run

Wonderland by Night

Canadian Sunset

Blue Tango

The Happy Wanderer

Down Yonder

Midnight in Moscow

Crazy Medley


That's for Me

Quiet Village

Harbor Lights

Dueling Banjoes II

Autumn Leaves

My Foolish Heart

Don't Know Much





Close To You

Rainy Days & Mondays

Sing A Song

Yesterday Once More

We've Only Just Begun

Goodbye To Love

Only You

As Time Goes By

As Time Goes By II

As Time Goes By - Original

After Loving

San Francisco

Stranger In Paradise

Mrs. Howdy

Rags To Riches

The Good Life

Hello Dolly

All Of Me

Thank Heaven For Little Girls

Beyond The Sea

Everybody Loves

Return To Me

That's Amore

Autumn Leaves

Love Me With All Your Heart

If I Give My Heart To You

Autumn Leaves II

Autumn Leaves III

See The USA

My Prayer

You Always Hurt

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Love Me Tender

Its Now Or Never

Old Shep

Dont Be Cruel

When I Fall In Love

When I Fall In Love II

When I Fall In Love III

A Fool Such As I

You'll Never Know


I'm Yours

Wish You Were Here

Lady Of Spain


It's Magic

Secret Love

This Magic Moment

My Prayer

Twilight Time

Great Pretender

Harbor Lights

Little Darlin'


No Other Love

Magic Moments

Till The End Of Time

Dont Let The Stars

Overture - Barber of Seville

Back In The Saddle

You Always Hurt

When I Fall

When A Man

True Love



In The Mood

A Taste Of Honey

The Lonely Bull

Lollipops And Roses

This Guys In Love With You

What Now My Love

Three Coins In The Fountain

You've Gotta Have Heart


Stranger In Paradise II

Love Is...


Georgia On My Mind

Sentimental Over You

Thanks For The Memories

Too Young


Never On Sunday

Yellow Rose Of Texas


My Little Corner

Speak Low

Moments To Remember


Be My Love

Embassy Waltz


A Certain Smile

Chances Are

Not For Me To Say

Stranger On The Shore

I'll Be Seeing You

Cherry Pink


Moonlight Serenade

Last Date

Naughty Lady

Til I Kissed You

All I Have To Do Is Dream

Dixie Land Band

Ghost Riders In The Sky

The Happy Wanderer


Santa Catalina

Band Of Gold

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The Wayward Wind

P.S. I Love You

Harbor Lights

Ebb Tide

Lime Light

Green Door

My Heart Cries

Down Yonder

Silvana Mangano Anna

Does Your Chewing Gum?

Grand Night For Singing

Purple People Eater

Orange Blossom Special

I'll Get By

'Til Then

Katie At UNC

Love Letters

As Time Goes By

Cheek To Cheek

Mission Impossible

The Way You Look Tonight


Glad To Be An American

Battle Hymn Of The Republic

How Great Thou Art

Have Thine Own Way

Beyond The Sunset

Amazing Grace

He's Got The Whole World

Peace In The Valley

How Great Thou Art II

Stars & Stripes Forever

Tennessee Waltz

Beverly Hillbillies Theme

El Paso

Happy Trails

Big John

Sixteen Tons

Which Doctor?

Wonderful! Wonderful!




Daniel Boone

Davy Crockett

Dick VanDyke

Donna Reed

Father Knows Best


Gomer Pile


Have Gun

Hawaii Five-O

Hogans Heroes







Law & Order

Lone Ranger

Magnificent 7


Man From Uncle




Mission I

Mr. Ed

My 3 Sons

Raw Hide

Real McCoys

Rifle Man

Secret Agent

Simon & Simon




Super Man














Victory I


The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Mr. Sandman

Only The Lonely

Beyond The Sea


Magnificent 7

Magnificent 7 - II


I Walk The Line

God loves you so much that He died for you!!!


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Verse of the Day

* * * Four Important Things To KNOW: #1) For ALL (Americans, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Buddhist, Asians, Presbyterians, Europeans, Baptist, Brazilians, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc.) have sinned & fall short of the glory of God. #2) For the wages of above (see #1) are DEATH (Hell, eternal separation from God, & damnation) but the Gift (free & at no charge to you) of God (Creator, Jehovah, & Trinity) is Eternal Life (Heaven) through (in union with) Jesus Christ (God, Lord, 2nd Person of The Trinity, Messiah, Prince of Peace & Savior of the World). #3) For God so greatly loved & dearly prized the world (Americans, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Buddhist, Asians, Presbyterians, Europeans, Baptist, Brazilians, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc.) that He even gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, that whosoever (anyone, anywhere, anytime - while still living) believes (trust in, relies on, clings to, depends completely on) Him shall have eternal (everlasting) life (heaven). #4) Jesus said: "I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, & THE LIFE. No one (male/female - American, Muslim, Jew, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist, Asian, Presbyterian, European, Baptist, Brazilian, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc. ) comes (arrives) to the Father (with GOD in Heaven) EXCEPT BY (through) ME (no other name). *** This wonderful loving GOD gives you the choice - - - (Rev. 3:20) {Please note that church membership, baptism, doing good things, etc. are not requirements for becoming a Christian - however they are great afterwards!!!} *** Jesus said, "Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction (Hell, damnation, eternal punishment), and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life (Heaven, eternal happiness, forever with God), and only a few find it.

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But these are written so that you may
believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the
Son of God, and that by believing in
Him you will have life. Jn 20:31

Seek the Lord while He may be found;
call on Him while He is near. Let the
wicked forsake his way and the evil
man his thoughts. Let him turn to the
Lord, and He will have mercy on him,
and to our God, for He will freely
pardon. "For My thoughts are not
your thoughts, neither are your ways
My ways," declares the Lord. "As the
heavens are higher than the earth, so
are My ways higher than your ways
and My thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow come down
from heaven, and do not return to it
without watering the earth and making
it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed
for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is My word that goes out from My
mouth: It will not return to Me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire and
achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy and be led forth
in peace; the mountains and hills will
burst into song before you, and all the
trees of the field will clap their hands.
Instead of the thornbush will grow the
pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle
will grow. This will be for the Lord's
renown, for an everlasting sign, which
will not be destroyed." Is 55

O Lord, you have searched me and you
know me. You know when I sit and when
I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying
down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you know
it completely, O Lord. You hem me in -
behind and before; you have laid your
hand upon me. Such knowledge is too
wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where
can I flee from your presence? If I go up
to the heavens, you are there; if I make
my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide
me and the light become night around
me," even the darkness will not be dark
to you; the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you. For you
created my inmost being; you knit me
together in my mother's womb. I praise
you because I am fearfully and wonderfully
made; your works are wonderful, I know
that full well. My frame was not hidden
from you when I was made in the secret
place. When I was woven together in the
depths of the earth, your eyes saw my
unformed body. All the days ordained
for me were written in your book before
one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts,
O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would
outnumber the grains of sand. When
I awake, I am still with you. Search me,
O God, and know my heart; test me
and know my anxious thoughts. See
if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Ps 139

But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up,
that I may show My power in you, and that My
Name may be declared in all the earth. Ex 9:16

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small:
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
- - Isaac Watts

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