Tag Archives: cybercriminal

The Best “Stay Safe On The Internet” App? – Your BRAIN!

image Yes, it’s true! There’s an application designed to help keep you safe on the Internet. And here’s the best part – you don’t have to buy, or download and install this application.

Most Internet users, in my experience, already have this app (some don’t – more about that later), and it works surprisingly well with a computer’s Firewall, Security Applications, and Browser security add-ons.

The Brain is a very efficient Internet safety device, and using it will provide a user with the best protection available while surfing the Internet. There’s a small problem with the Brain though – which might explain its frequent unreliability.

Just as a Firewall needs to be “trained”, to reach the best state of efficiency and protection capabilities, similarly, the Brain app requires “training’”; so that it too, can perform to its maximum potential as an Internet safety device.

Failure to train a software Firewall application, for example, can lead, in many cases, to an erratic and uncertain experience. The untrained Brain app as well, can exhibit parallel behavior.

Sadly, a significant number of Brain apps lack this training and as a result, many computer users fail to recognize the dangers, and threats, the Internet poses to their computers, and to their personal privacy.

The following is a current example of the dangers an untrained Brain can be exposed to:

Last week Naked Security warned of a Facebook worm that was spreading on the social network, tricking users into believing that they were clicking on a link to an image.

Although an unsuspecting user may believe that they are clicking on a link to a JPG image, the truth is that they are downloading an executable file that attempts to download further code (another piece of malware) from the net and drops a .BAT batch file onto infected computers.

The ultimate aim of all this malicious activity is to install the Dorkbot malware onto your Windows computer.

Clearly it’s time, if you haven’t already learnt the lesson, to realize that you should always be wary of links shared by friends on social networks – after all, how can you tell it was a friend who sent it or a piece of malware on their computer?

Times have changed; cybercriminals are increasingly more knowledgeable, quicker to respond to opportunities, and more relentless than ever in their attempts to separate surfers from their money.

Train that Brain – so that you are aware of the shape of the Internet landscape, and the changes that are occurring, or may occur in that landscape. Now, more than ever, Brain training is a necessity – a prerequisite to protecting yourself, and your computer, from cybercriminal attack.

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10 Comments

Filed under Cyber Crime, Cyber Criminals, Internet Safety, Malware Protection, Online Safety, Opinion

Internet Security Revisited: There’s an App for That – Your BRAIN!

image Yes, it’s true! There’s an application designed to help keep you safe on the Internet. And here’s the best part – you don’t have to buy, or download and install this application.

Most Internet users, in my experience, already have this app (some don’t – more about that later), and it works surprisingly well with a computer’s Firewall, Security Applications, and Browser security add-ons.

The Brain is a very efficient Internet safety device, and using it will provide a user with the best protection available while surfing the Internet. There’s a small problem with the Brain though, which might explain its frequent unreliability.

Just as a Firewall needs to be “trained”, to reach the best state of efficiency and protection capabilities, similarly, the Brain app requires “training’”; so that it too, can perform to its maximum potential as an Internet safety device.

Failure to train a software Firewall application, for example, can lead, in many cases, to an erratic and uncertain experience. The untrained Brain app as well, can exhibit parallel behavior.

Sadly, a significant number of Brain apps lack this training and as a result, many computer users fail to recognize the dangers, and threats, the Internet poses to their computers, and to their personal privacy.

The following is a perfect recent example of the results of an untrained Brain:

Malware in fake White House e-card steals data – Official-looking holiday e-greeting downloads Zeus malware, and secretly downloads PDFs and Microsoft Word and Excel documents to a server in Belarus.

So, in order to get the best out of this priceless Internet safety device, it needs to be trained. A good place to start this training process is The Enemy is at the Gate – Common Sense Tips for Internet and System Security, on this site.

Times have changed; cybercriminals are increasingly more knowledgeable, quicker to respond to opportunities, and more relentless than ever in their attempts to separate surfers from their money.

Train that Brain – so that you are aware of the shape of the Internet landscape, and the changes that are occurring, or may occur in that landscape. Now, more than ever, Brain training is a necessity – a prerequisite to protecting yourself, and your computer, from cybercriminal attack.

This article was originally posted here May 30, 2010.

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18 Comments

Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety, Online Safety, Point of View, Windows Tips and Tools

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.

image

image

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

Internet Security: There’s an App for That – Your BRAIN!

image Yes, it’s true! There’s an application designed to help keep you safe on the Internet. And here’s the best part – you don’t have to buy, or download and install this application.

Most Internet users, in my experience, already have this app (some don’t – more about that later), and it works surprisingly well with a computer’s Firewall, Security Applications, and Browser security add-ons.

The Brain is a very efficient Internet safety device, and using it will provide a user with the best protection available while surfing the Internet. There’s a small problem with the Brain though, which might explain its frequent unreliability.

Just as a Firewall needs to be “trained”, to reach the best state of efficiency and protection capabilities, similarly, the Brain app requires “training’”; so that it too, can perform to its maximum potential as an Internet safety device.

Failure to train a software Firewall application, for example, can lead, in many cases, to an erratic and uncertain experience. The untrained Brain app as well, can exhibit parallel behavior.

Sadly, a significant number of Brain apps lack this training and as a result, many computer users fail to recognize the dangers, and threats, the Internet poses to their computers, and to their personal privacy.

So, in order to get the best out of this priceless Internet safety device, it needs to be trained (educated). A good place to start this training process is The Enemy is at the Gate – Common Sense Tips for Internet and System Security, on this site.

This site is hardly alone in offering Internet security and how-to advice to computer users. There are many excellent sites that do just that.

Here are some of my favorites:

Mister Reiner

Paul’s Home Computing Blog

Scoroncocolo Tech Pages

Tech – for Everyone

ThreatFire Research Blog

TTC Shelbyville – Technical Blog

TuneUp (Blog about Windows)

What’s On My PC

Times have changed; cybercriminals are increasingly more knowledgeable, quicker to respond to opportunities, and more relentless than ever in their attempts to separate surfers from their money.

Train that Brain – so that you are aware of the shape of the Internet landscape, and the changes that are occurring, or may occur in that landscape. Now, more than ever, Brain training is a necessity – a prerequisite to protecting yourself and your computer from cybercriminal attack.

Here’s an example of the type of behavior exhibited by users who lack a Brain app:

Sensational news alerts, continue to be one of the most popular methods cyber-crooks use to capture Internet users’ attention; particularly in emails, Google search results, and on social networking sites like Twitter and FaceBook.

When Michael Jackson died, I wrote a piece entitled “Hey Sucker – Read This! Michael Jackson’s Not Dead!”, simply as a test of “curiosity exploitation”.

The results that followed were astonishing – within days, this article was getting 1,000’s of daily hits. Even today, this nonsensical article continues to get hits. Go figure!

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26 Comments

Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety, Online Safety, Personal Perspective, System Security, 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

Zemana AntiLogger Server Attacked by Bots

It’s often said that “no good deed goes unpunished”. Generally, this statement means that one can attempt to be helpful to others, and despite good intentions, end up paying an unexpected price.

That seems to be the case in Zemana’s good deed, in providing a free license for their superb security application; AntiLogger.

Over the course of the last few days, in conjunction with Zemana, Tech Thoughts, has been offering a free license for AntiLogger and the response has been very gratifying. For more information on this offer please read “Free Licenses for Zemana AntiLogger – 3 Days Only”, on this site.

Unfortunately, cybercriminals, who as we know are driven by opportunity, obviously saw in this free license giveaway, an opportunity to be disruptive by launching a distributed denial-of-service attack, driven by a bot network, against the Zemana license server.

If you’re unfamiliar this this type of attack, Wikipedia explains it, in part, as follows:

A denial-of-service attack (DoS attack) or distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS attack) is an attempt to make a computer resource unavailable to its intended users. One common method of attack involves saturating the target (victim) machine with external communications requests, such that it cannot respond to legitimate traffic, or responds so slowly as to be rendered effectively unavailable. In general terms, DoS attacks are implemented by either forcing the targeted computer(s) to reset, or consuming its resources so that it can no longer provide its intended service or obstructing the communication media between the intended users and the victim so that they can no longer communicate adequately.

image

There are very sensible business reasons why a company, such as Zemana, gets involved in this type of promotion, but at the end of the day, it’s the individual who receives a free license who benefits immediately.

While this attack has been extremely disruptive, and very inconvenient for those readers who choose to take advantage of Zemana’s generous offer, in a real sense this attack emphasizes the level of cybercriminal activity on the Internet, and the lengths to which these Neolithic idiots will go to threaten our enjoyment of the Net.

Inadvertently, those responsible for this attack have proven how important it is to ensure, that you as an Internet user are adequately protected against cybercriminal activity. The very definition of irony.

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39 Comments

Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Free Full Versions, Personal Perspective, Software, Software Giveaways, 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