Tag Archives: consumers

WARNING! You Are Now Connected To The Internet!

imageAny organization which provides services that expose the end user to risks – physical risks, financial risks, health risks………. expects that the user will assume the reasonable risks associated with the consumption of the service.

You can be sure, if you go on an African safari you will be required to assume the risk of being eaten by a Lion – ouch! If you venture on a mountain climbing vacation – you will have to assume all the risks associated with this type of activity – including the risk of personal injury, and even death.

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In both of these extreme examples, you will be required to demonstrate that you are aware of the risks, and accept and fully assume those risks, and hazards, associated with the activity.

In order to protect its interests, the service provider will demand that you sign a liability waiver designed to mitigate its responsibility in all but the most egregious of circumstances.

This is a two-fold practical warning solution .

It ensures that the consumer has considered the risks, and found those risks tolerable.

It offers protection to the service provider in the event, the consumer behaves outside common sense boundaries.

Why then, I wonder – given the constantly deteriorating state of Internet security, and the privacy, financial, and assorted other risks that a typical users is expected to assume (users who are largely unaware of the assumed risks) – Internet service providers have not considered the appropriateness of providing a “WARNING! You Are Now Connected To The Internet!” notice to consumers on Browser launch. No waiver of liability required – just a constructive warning.

Such a notice, might offer practical advice such as the following – but certainly not necessarily limited to these innocuous tidbits.

Users should be aware that the Internet is not a secure medium and that third parties may be able to obtain information regarding users’ activities.

The validity or accuracy of information found on the Internet should be considered with caution.

Some resources and destinations may contain material that you might find offensive, or inappropriate.

Software downloaded from the Internet may contain malware.

I have no doubt that Internet service providers could make a persuasive argument as to why they don’t have an obligation to educate consumers on the very real risks associated with the use of their service. But, in my view, there are fundamental considerations over and above a – “they don’t have an obligation” mindset.

Just one consideration –

Lack of consumer security awareness has led to the creation of a cyber crime industry – and, there’s little doubt that it is an industry – which is responsible for the theft of $388 billion globally (Norton Cybercrime Report 2011), in the past year, alone.

Additional information from the Norton Cybercrime Report:

Every day of the past year, over 1 million online adults in 24 countries experienced cybercrime.    This can also be broken down to 50,000  victims per hour, 820  victims per minute, or 14 victims every second.  In just the last 12 months 44% of people have been a victim of cybercrime while only 15% have been a victim of physical crime in the same period.

Norton emphasizes the point (made here many, many times), that cyber crime can be largely prevented if – good security practices (which includes patched operating systems and applications), are followed.

All well and good – provided, consumers are regularly reminded of the Internet risks they face. It’s my view, that Internet service providers can do much more to raise an awareness of these risks.

It may be a pipedream when I think that ISPs should consider their moral obligation in this matter – still, I can’t help but think out loud.

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15 Comments

Filed under Opinion, Point of View

My ID Score – Assess Your Identity Theft Score With This Free Tool

image Unless you’re in the cyber security business, it’s unlikely that you’re aware of this rather startling statistic – a cyber crime goes down every ¼ of a second.

It’s just as unlikely that you’re aware of these statistics:

One in four consumers is a cybercrime victim.

An identity is stolen every three seconds online.

Nearly 10 million people have reported identity theft in the U.S. alone, in the last 12 months.

There’s a popular misconception, held by most people, that they’re just not worth a cyber criminal’s time or effort. This is another cyber security myth. Cyber criminals will steal you blind, no matter how much, or how little, you have.

The free Norton Online Risk Calculator, recently released by Symantec, will help you evaluate how valuable you are to the cybercriminal economy. The calculator is easy to use, and bases its assessment on a number of simple questions  concerning your net usage.

Please consider taking this test. If you are aware of just how much value you have as a victim, I’m sure you will take all the appropriate steps to ensure you don’t become a victim.

One of those steps should be developing an awareness of the risk you face of having to contend with the aftermath of identity theft. And, to make that assessment easier, My ID Score offers a free risk assessment tool.

Unfortunately, this tool is only available t0 residents of the US, and since I live in Canada, it’s not possible for me to test this service. Nevertheless, in the interest of keeping you safe, the following information has been taken directly from the developer’s site.

My ID Score gives you real–time actionable insight into the risk of you becoming a victim of identity theft.

My ID Score is a statistical score that’s based on technology currently used by leading communications, financial services, retail companies, healthcare providers, government agencies, and consumers to assess your risk of identity theft. These companies use ID Analytics’ scoring technology to ensure that fraudsters do not apply for goods and services in an innocent consumer’s name

My ID Score calculates identity risk by looking at the use of billions of identity elements like name, Social Security number, phone number, date of birth, and address across multiple industries.

Get Real-Time Insight Into Your Risk of Identity Theft

My ID Score is a quick, easy, and free way to assess the risk that your identity is being misused. It can be an essential fraud detection and early-warning tool for consumers who are concerned about identity theft.

Detect Misuse

Detect the possible misuse of your identity as early as possible.

Take Control

Take the necessary steps to control your identity.

Peace of Mind

Technology used by Fortune 100 companies is now available to you.

The process seems simply enough, as the following screen captures indicate.

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Given the high incidence of identity thief, it seems prudent to develop as much information as possible on the risk factors you might be facing. I can’t endorse this service without a through test, but I do recommend that you checkout the developer’s site – you might find that this is a worthwhile resource.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

9 Comments

Filed under Windows Tips and Tools

Cyber Criminals Know Your “Net” Worth – To the Penny!

image According to Marian Merritt, security provider Symantec’s Internet Safety Advocate, a cyber crime goes down every ¼ of a second – a pretty startling statistic. What makes this statistic so astonishing is, unless you are in the Internet security business, you are probably unaware of this.

More stats that shock:

One in four consumers is a cybercrime victim.

An identity is stolen every three seconds online.

Nearly 10 million people have reported identity theft in the U.S. alone, in the last 12 months.

Global cybercrime revenues exceed that of the international drug trade.

A stolen identity can be bought on the Internet for as little as $100.

Stolen credit card numbers may sell for as little as $2 to $25.

Zombie computers are the main source of online fraud, spam and other scams on the internet.

If you were unaware of these statistics don’t be surprised, or chagrined. There’s  a surprisingly simply reason why you may not have known – the lack of responsible reporting by mainstream media.

IT media do a highly credible job of keeping IT professionals like me, in the loop on cybercrime issues. But CNN and the rest of the mainstream media, do a pathetic job when it comes to informing the general public on these critical consumer safety issues. I suspect these issues are just not sexy enough; not violent enough.

Symantec’s Merritt made this point clear when she stated, “You turn on the news and they are talking about capturing drug dealers ……….., but they rarely show a hacker in handcuffs”.

By now you’re probably looking at the title of this article and asking yourself – where’s Bill going with this? When is he going to tell me how much I’m worth to a cybercriminal?

Well, here’s one answer. According to a recent report Get Safe Online, partially funded by the British government, the average surfer is worth $25,000 to the cybercriminal community.

Norton calculator

But there’s a better way than just relying on this statistic. You can figure out what you’re worth to a cybercriminal, right to the penny. Well, sort of.

The free Norton Online Risk Calculator, recently released by Symantec, will help you evaluate how valuable you are to the cybercriminal economy. The calculator is easy to use, and bases its assessment on a number of simple questions  concerning your net usage.

Please consider taking this test. If you are aware of just how much value you have as a victim, I’m sure you will take all the appropriate steps to ensure you don’t become a victim.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

5 Comments

Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet Security Alerts, Online Safety, Software, Symantec, Windows Tips and Tools

What’s Your Net Worth? To A Cyber Criminal, That Is!

According to Marian Merritt, security provider Symantec’s Internet Safety Advocate, a cyber crime goes down every ¼ of a second – a pretty startling statistic. What makes this statistic so astonishing is, unless you are in the Internet security business, you are probably unaware of this.

More stats that shock:

One in four consumers is a cybercrime victim.

An identity is stolen every three seconds online.

Nearly 10 million people have reported identity theft in the U.S. alone, in the last 12 months.

Global cybercrime revenues exceed that of the international drug trade.

A stolen identity can be bought on the Internet for as little as $100.

Stolen credit card numbers may sell for as little as $2 to $25.

Zombie computers are the main source of online fraud, spam and other scams on the internet.

If you were unaware of these statistics don’t be surprised, or chagrined. There’s  a surprisingly simply reason why you may not have known – the lack of responsible reporting by mainstream media.

IT media do a highly credible job of keeping IT professionals like me, in the loop on cybercrime issues. But CNN and the rest of the mainstream media, do a pathetic job when it comes to informing the general public on these critical consumer safety issues. I suspect these issues are just not sexy enough; not violent enough.

Symantec’s Merritt made this point clear when she stated, “You turn on the news and they are talking about capturing drug dealers ……….., but they rarely show a hacker in handcuffs”.

By now you’re probably looking at the title of this article and asking yourself – where’s Bill going with this? When is he going to tell me how much I’m worth to a cybercriminal?

Well, here’s one answer. According to a recent report Get Safe Online, partially funded by the British government, the average surfer is worth $25,000 to the cybercriminal community.

Norton calculator

But there’s a better way than just relying on this statistic. You can figure out what you’re worth to a cybercriminal, right to the penny. Well, sort of.

The free Norton Online Risk Calculator, recently released by Symantec, will help you evaluate how valuable you are to the cybercriminal economy. The calculator is easy to use, and bases its assessment on a number of simple questions  concerning your net usage.

Please consider taking this test. If you are aware of just how much value you have as a victim, I’m sure you will take all the appropriate steps to ensure you don’t become a victim.

If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

4 Comments

Filed under Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety Tools, internet scams, Online Safety, Recommended Web Sites, Safe Surfing, Software, System Security, Windows Tips and Tools