Phishing can be defined simply as the act of tricking people into revealing sensitive or private information. It relies for its success on the premise that asking a large number of people for this information, will always fool at least some of those people.
Most of this activity is automated, and the targets are, as stated earlier, large numbers of Internet users. So phishing is considered an opportunistic attack, rather than the targeting of a specific person.
In a phishing attack, the attacker creates a situation where people are convinced that they are dealing with an authorized party; in this case MasterCard.
As described by MasterCard, SecureCode is a secure method for payment at thousands of online stores which uses a private code known only to the customer and the bank. Using this system offers protection against unauthorized card use online, at participating online retailers.
According to Carole Theriault, a senior security consultant at Sophos, a leading developer and vendor of security software and hardware, “MasterCard has been very successful in positioning SecureCode as the answer to online fraud.
However security experts, including Sophos, are now warning of an email phishing scam that attempts to entice MasterCard customers to signup for this service with a promise of discounts on future purchases.
The email link redirects to a site that looks very similar to the MasterCard site, where the cyber crooks then persuade the victim to input their credit card information. Sophos’ Theriault makes the point that “to the undiscerning eye, it’s almost impossible to tell this isn’t the real MasterCard site.”
The information obtained would then allow criminals to make fraudulent charges, or use the victim’s credentials on online services, such as eBay, Amazon and others, with little risk of being caught.
There are ways to protect your money and identity from preying cyber criminals but in the end, we all need to use a little common sense – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Follow the tips below to protect yourself against these and other threats.
· Don’t open emails that come from untrusted sources.
· Don’t run files that you receive via email without making sure of their origin.
· Don’t click links in emails. If they come from a known source, type them on the browser’s address bar. If they come from an untrusted source, simply ignore them, as they could take you to a web designed to download malware onto your computer.
· Keep your computer protected. Install a security solution and keep it up-to-date. Also, before carrying out any kind of financial transaction on the Web, scan your computer with a second-opinion security solution, like NanoScan.
Elsewhere in this Blog you can download freeware anti-malware solutions that provide excellent overall security protection. Click here.
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