Tag Archives: victim

Five Simple Tips To Prevent Cybercrooks From Screwing You Over During The Holiday Season

Unless you’re related to the Grinch, the holiday season will hit town. Guest writer Liz Cornwell, from Australian software developer Auslogics, has some important and informative tips on how you can avoid potential dangers while shopping online this Holiday season – or, any time for that matter.

imageThe holiday season is a time of year that is wonderful and special for everyone – it’s the time for having fun, being with your friends and family, giving and receiving presents, and even making dreams come true!

For me, giving presents is just as exciting as receiving them. And what fun it is to shop for gifts, knowing that they will bring happiness and joy to your loved ones!

I’m pretty sure that you will do at least some of your shopping online. It’s not a secret that online retailers offer great deals. But at the same time there is always a potential danger of your money getting stolen by shifty dealers, scammers, and spammers.

OK, so maybe some of you don’t mind giving a couple of hundred dollars to thieves. However, it would be much better to donate that money to charity.

If you want to protect yourself from online fraud, then read on! Here are five simple tips that will help you shop online safely.

1. Use a Secure PC

No matter how careful you are, there is no guarantee that your computer is not infected. Anyone who browses the Internet, visits social websites, and downloads software simply cannot be 100% sure that their PC is malware- and spyware-free. So, before you start shopping, check that your computer has comprehensive protection and run anti-virus and anti-spyware scans. Use reliable up-to-date software.

We recommend using Auslogics Antivirus – not only will it protect you against viruses, spyware, and other threats, but it also has a feature called Privacy Control. This feature is especially designed to prevent hackers from stealing your personal data, so shopping online will be more secure. Auslogics Antivirus has a free unlimited 30-day trial, which will keep you fully protected for the next month.

If you can, avoid shopping from public computers, or a PC that your kids use to play online games and chat with their friends. Those PCs are likely to be infested with spyware, so your private data can get stolen no matter how careful you are.

2. Always Shop From Trusted Sites

There are a lot of sites that offer amazing bargains. In fact, some of them are so amazing that they simply can’t be true! Well, most of the time they aren’t – a lot of websites only pretend to be shops. All they want is to steal your money. Remember, nobody is going to offer you a car for the price of a burger. Therefore, I strongly advise you not to use search engine shopping. Or if you do, check and double-check the website before entering any payment details.

Pay attention to:

  • security seals
  • shipping, return, and refund policies
  • use of secure connection (https://) when the website asks you to enter payment details

You can also research unfamiliar shops on sites like RipoffReport.

Never – ever buy anything advertised via emails from unknown senders and never click on any links in those emails either. Those emails are almost always a scam and links take you to websites that put viruses onto your system. And never shop at web-sites that ask you to wire money or send money orders.

3. Control Spam

If you’re concerned about getting spammed by online retailers, you can always either create a separate email address for shopping online, or create aliases. Here’s how it’s done using Gmail.

For example, your address is myemail@gmail.com and you are shopping at a website called greatoffer.com. So, when giving them your email address, type it as myemail+greatoffer@gmail.com. That way all future communication from that shop will be addressed to myemail+greatoffer@gmail.com.

So if they or someone from their network try to spam you, you will know it’s them and will be able to easily block them.

4. Pay With a Credit Card

Most of you will have several bank cards – some credit, some debit. Both can be used for online shopping, but it’s safer to use a credit card. Experts say credit cards give you less hassle when dealing with your bank, should unauthorized charges show up later on a monthly statement. Besides, you wouldn’t want to pay huge interest on your debit card overdraft, would you?

5. Think About Alternative Payment Methods

Did you know that you don’t necessarily have to use a credit/debit card when shopping online? There are plenty of other ways to pay for the goods you purchased – pre-paid credit cards, gift cards and certificates, and sometimes you can pay in cash upon delivery. Also there are websites like billmelater.com that allow you to shop online without having to enter your bank card details. Besides, online retailers actually encourage you to use a service like that by offering free shipping and an option to postpone your payment for up to 6 months.

These tips should help you shop online safely so that you don’t become yet another fraud victim. Enjoy your shopping and have a wonderful holiday season!

Regular readers are aware that I’m a big fan of Auslogics; a company which provides users with some of the best free applications on the Internet including, Auslogics Disk Defrag (recently reviewed here) – a “must have” addition to a serious computer user’s toolbox.

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.

12 Comments

Filed under Cyber Criminals, Cyber Shopping Tips, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Guest Writers, Internet Safety, Safe Online Shopping Tips

Cybercrooks Gearing Up To Screw You Over During The Holiday Season

Five Simple Tips for Safe Online Shopping

Unless you’re related to the Grinch, the holiday season will hit town. Christmas commercials are already blasting the airwaves, despite the fact we’re barely past Halloween!

Guest writer Liz Cornwell, from software developer Auslogics, has some important and informative tips on how you can avoid potential dangers while shopping online this Holiday season – or, any time for that matter.

imageThe holiday season is a time of year that is wonderful and special for everyone – it’s the time for having fun, being with your friends and family, giving and receiving presents, and even making dreams come true!

For me, giving presents is just as exciting as receiving them. And what fun it is to shop for gifts, knowing that they will bring happiness and joy to your loved ones!

I’m pretty sure that you will do at least some of your shopping online. It’s not a secret that online retailers offer great deals. But at the same time there is always a potential danger of your money getting stolen by shifty dealers, scammers, and spammers.

OK, so maybe some of you don’t mind giving a couple of hundred dollars to thieves. However, it would be much better to donate that money to charity.

If you want to protect yourself from online fraud, then read on! Here are five simple tips that will help you shop online safely.

1. Use a Secure PC

No matter how careful you are, there is no guarantee that your computer is not infected. Anyone who browses the Internet, visits social websites, and downloads software simply cannot be 100% sure that their PC is malware- and spyware-free. So, before you start shopping, check that your computer has comprehensive protection and run anti-virus and anti-spyware scans. Use reliable up-to-date software.

We recommend using Auslogics Antivirus – not only will it protect you against viruses, spyware, and other threats, but it also has a feature called Privacy Control. This feature is especially designed to prevent hackers from stealing your personal data, so shopping online will be more secure. Auslogics Antivirus has a free unlimited 30-day trial, which will keep you fully protected for the next month.

If you can, avoid shopping from public computers, or a PC that your kids use to play online games and chat with their friends. Those PCs are likely to be infested with spyware, so your private data can get stolen no matter how careful you are.

2. Always Shop From Trusted Sites

There are a lot of sites that offer amazing bargains. In fact, some of them are so amazing that they simply can’t be true! Well, most of the time they aren’t – a lot of websites only pretend to be shops. All they want is to steal your money. Remember, nobody is going to offer you a car for the price of a burger. Therefore, I strongly advise you not to use search engine shopping. Or if you do, check and double-check the website before entering any payment details.

Pay attention to:

  • security seals
  • shipping, return, and refund policies
  • use of secure connection (https://) when the website asks you to enter payment details

You can also research unfamiliar shops on sites like RipoffReport.

Never-ever buy anything advertised via emails from unknown senders and never click on any links in those emails either. Those emails are almost always a scam and links take you to websites that put viruses onto your system. And never shop at web-sites that ask you to wire money or send money orders.

3. Control Spam

If you’re concerned about getting spammed by online retailers, you can always either create a separate email address for shopping online, or create aliases. Here’s how it’s done using Gmail.

For example, your address is myemail@gmail.com and you are shopping at a website called greatoffer.com. So, when giving them your email address, type it as myemail+greatoffer@gmail.com. That way all future communication from that shop will be addressed to myemail+greatoffer@gmail.com.

So if they or someone from their network try to spam you, you will know it’s them and will be able to easily block them.

4. Pay With a Credit Card

Most of you will have several bank cards – some credit, some debit. Both can be used for online shopping, but it’s safer to use a credit card. Experts say credit cards give you less hassle when dealing with your bank, should unauthorized charges show up later on a monthly statement. Besides, you wouldn’t want to pay huge interest on your debit card overdraft, would you?

5. Think About Alternative Payment Methods

Did you know that you don’t necessarily have to use a credit/debit card when shopping online? There are plenty of other ways to pay for the goods you purchased – pre-paid credit cards, gift cards and certificates, and sometimes you can pay in cash upon delivery. Also there are websites like billmelater.com that allow you to shop online without having to enter your bank card details. Besides, online retailers actually encourage you to use a service like that by offering free shipping and an option to postpone your payment for up to 6 months.

These tips should help you shop online safely so that you don’t become yet another fraud victim. Enjoy your shopping and have a wonderful holiday season!

Regular readers are aware that I’m a big fan of Auslogics; a company which provides users with some of the best free applications on the Internet including, Auslogics Disk Defrag (recently reviewed here) – a “must have” addition to a serious computer user’s toolbox.

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 Auslogics, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, internet scams, Online Safety, Safe Online Shopping Tips

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

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

’Tis the Season for Jolly Cybercrooks – Five Simple Tips for Safe Online Shopping

Guest writer Liz Cornwell, of Auslogics’ Blog, has some important and informative tips, on how you can avoid potential dangers while shopping online.

snowmanThe holiday season has arrived for many people from different countries and cultures of the world. This time of year is wonderful and special for everyone – it’s the time for having fun, being with your friends and family, giving and receiving presents, and even making dreams come true!

For me, giving presents is just as exciting as receiving them. And what fun it is to shop for gifts, knowing that they will bring happiness and joy to your loved ones!

I’m pretty sure that you will do at least some of your shopping online. It’s not a secret that online retailers offer great deals. But at the same time there is always a potential danger of your money getting stolen by shifty dealers, scammers, and spammers.

OK, so maybe some of you don’t mind giving a couple of hundred dollars to thieves. However, it would be much better to donate that money to charity.

If you want to protect yourself from online fraud, then read on! Here are five simple tips that will help you shop online safely.

1. Use a Secure PC

No matter how careful you are, there is no guarantee that your computer is not infected. Anyone who browses the Internet, visits social websites, and downloads software simply cannot be 100% sure that their PC is malware- and spyware-free. So, before you start shopping, check that your computer has comprehensive protection and run anti-virus and anti-spyware scans. Use reliable up-to-date software.

We recommend using Auslogics Antivirus – not only will it protect you against viruses, spyware, and other threats, but it also has a feature called Privacy Control. This feature is especially designed to prevent hackers from stealing your personal data, so shopping online will be more secure. Auslogics Antivirus has a free unlimited 30-day trial, which will keep you fully protected for the next month.

If you can, avoid shopping from public computers, or a PC that your kids use to play online games and chat with their friends. Those PCs are likely to be infested with spyware, so your private data can get stolen no matter how careful you are.

onlineshopping

2. Always Shop From Trusted Sites

There are a lot of sites that offer amazing bargains. In fact, some of them are so amazing that they simply can’t be true! Well, most of the time they aren’t – a lot of websites only pretend to be shops. All they want is to steal your money. Remember, nobody is going to offer you a car for the price of a burger. Therefore, I strongly advise you not to use search engine shopping. Or if you do, check and double-check the website before entering any payment details.

Pay attention to:

  • security seals

securityseal

  • shipping, return, and refund policies
  • use of secure connection (https://) when the website asks you to enter payment details

You can also research unfamiliar shops on sites like RipoffReport.

Never-ever buy anything advertised via emails from unknown senders and never click on any links in those emails either. Those emails are almost always a scam and links take you to websites that put viruses onto your system. And never shop at web-sites that ask you to wire money or send money orders.

3. Control Spam

If you’re concerned about getting spammed by online retailers, you can always either create a separate email address for shopping online, or create aliases. Here’s how it’s done using Gmail.

For example, your address is myemail@gmail.com and you are shopping at a website called greatoffer.com. So, when giving them your email address, type it as myemail+greatoffer@gmail.com. That way all future communication from that shop will be addressed to myemail+greatoffer@gmail.com.

So if they or someone from their network try to spam you, you will know it’s them and will be able to easily block them.

4. Pay With a Credit Card

Most of you will have several bank cards – some credit, some debit. Both can be used for online shopping, but it’s safer to use a credit card. Experts say credit cards give you less hassle when dealing with your bank, should unauthorized charges show up later on a monthly statement. Besides, you wouldn’t want to pay huge interest on your debit card overdraft, would you?

5. Think About Alternative Payment Methods

Did you know that you don’t necessarily have to use a credit/debit card when shopping online? There are plenty of other ways to pay for the goods you purchased – pre-paid credit cards, gift cards and certificates, and sometimes you can pay in cash upon delivery. Also there are websites like billmelater.com that allow you to shop online without having to enter your bank card details. Besides, online retailers actually encourage you to use a service like that by offering free shipping and an option to postpone your payment for up to 6 months.

present

These tips should help you shop online safely so that you don’t become yet another fraud victim. Enjoy your shopping and have a wonderful holiday season!

Guest writer Liz Cornwell, writes a terrific Blog for Auslogics, which includes tips on computer optimization, security, new product releases and more. Drop by Auslogics Blog – you’ll be glad you did.

Regular readers are well aware that I’m a big fan of Auslogics; a company which provides users with some of the best free applications on the Internet including, Auslogics Disk Defrag, and Auslogics Task Manager – both of which are “must have” additions to a serious computer user’s toolbox.

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.

2 Comments

Filed under Antivirus Applications, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Freeware, Guest Writers, Online Safety, Recommended Web Sites, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

Personal Perspective on Cybercrime

Some perceptions on how our perspective of cybercrime is influenced.

Simply stated; our perspective amounts to how we see things from where we stand. But our perspectives on issues and realities can be molded, encouraged or discouraged, and can change over time based on additional data.

For the sake of discussion, think about your perception of property crime, more particularly, burglary – versus your perception of cybercrime.

Let’s start with an example of a “newsworthy” burglary story, taken this week from my local newspaper:

ELECTRONICS STOLEN

An Xbox 360 Elite gaming console, Xbox games, an IBM ThinkPad laptop computer and $40 cash were stolen from a residence Tuesday, city police said. Police said the home was entered through an unlocked door sometime between 4 and 11:30 p. m.

My first thoughts, when I read this story were:

This is not news that I can use, except in the most limited sense.

The Internet, from a cybercrime perspective, is going to hell in a hand basket, and I have yet to read a cybercrime report of any significance in my local daily newspaper. So what gives?

Why does my local newspaper, along with the rest of the mainstream media do such an inadequate job of reporting on an epidemic of cybercrime that has serious consequences for its victims? And yet, continues to publish stories such as the one above, but not stories such as the one below.

Commodo Stats 2

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been a victim of property crime – I know the feeling of outrage such a crime produces. But it was hardly devastating. Nor does it seem that an average burglary, at least in the U. S., is financially devastating.

Burglary Facts and Stats – FBI Uniform Crime Report 2005:

Property crime makes up slightly more than three-quarters of all crime in the United States.

In 2005, law enforcement agencies reported an estimated 2,154,126 burglary offenses-a 0.5-percent increase compared with 2004 data.

An examination of 5- and 10-year trends revealed a 1.8-percent increase in the number of burglaries compared with the 2001 estimate, and a 14.1-percent decline from the 1996 number.

Burglary accounted for 21.2 percent of the estimated number of property crimes committed in 2005. The average dollar loss per burglary offense in 2005 was $1,725.

Contrast those statistics with these cybercrime statistics:

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. You won’t get this information by reading your local newspaper.

Commodo Stats 1

More stats that shock:

One in four consumers is a cybercrime victim.

An identity is stolen every three seconds online.

Nearly 10,000,000 people have reported identity theft in the U.S. alone, in the last 12 months. Contrast this with 2,154,126 burglary victims in 2005.

Global cybercrime revenues exceed that of the international drug trade – HUNDREDS of BILLIONS of DOLLARS! Contrast this number with burglary losses of $37,158,000 in the U.S. in 2005.

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.

I’ll borrow a concept from the Real Estate industry for a moment, and that is the concept of, “highest and best use”. The use of money can also be described in this way, but the following graphics illustrate how cybercrime can impact this concept, at both a personal and a societal level.

Commodo Stats 4

Commodo Stats 5

Commodo Stats 6

The graphics shown above, were clipped from a new video “Dangers on the Web” provided by Comodo Internet Security, in an effort to educate computer users, in an easy to understand format. To watch the entire video (3:28 minutes), click on the graphic below.

Commodo launch

Is it reasonable to conclude then, that cybercrime is a more pressing problem, with more significant human costs overall, than burglary?  Well, if the above stats can be relied upon, and within reason, I think that they can, it seems to me that the answer is – yes.

Given that our perception of criminal activity is formed largely by the news media, why can’t we rely on the media to provide us with relevant news stories covering this issue, including the information necessary to protect ourselves?

Can we expect to see a refocusing on cybercrime by the media any time soon?

This article is not meant to be a thesis on the media’s lack of responsibility – just the jottings of a mystified consumer.

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.

3 Comments

Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Online Safety, Personal Perspective

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

Internet Privacy – You’re Kidding, Right?

Rick Robinette’s guest writer article might surprise you. Rick lays out what the sum total of your Internet activity might mean for you now, and in the future.

Once It Is Out There, It Is Out There

I was thinking about the time I first accessed the internet, up to the present, AND was questioning myself; “What have I put out there?” Now, I am talking about anything and everything from emails, web accounts, web mail, online purchasing, online chatting, files, credit card numbers, etc.

Actually, I try to be very careful of what I am doing; however, what little I have put out there, is out there AND there is no turning back. The little bit of information I have put out there is just enough that my identity and privacy could ultimately be breached.

Recently we all read in the news where the ESPN reporter was a victim of a peepster who posted shots of the reporter on the internet. I actually was chuckling when there were reports of trying to stop this transgression and get it back.

There is no getting it back… In this case, the internet takes over, and these shots were sprinkling down on people’s PC’s like rain (a million drops a second). There is just no way to stop it and there is no way to get it back.

image

It amazes me what people are putting out there on the social network sites, such as Facebook and MySpace. Remember, when the information you are posting is “all about you”, it could come back to haunt you years down the road.

The younger generation, oblivious to privacy, is telling it all and exposing sensitive matters about themselves that would make a sailor blush.

Email is another interesting tool that we use that leaves a trail. My email sending policy, is to keep it short and never express my feelings about something or someone. Once you hit that send button, it rockets into cyberspace, which in essence can be infinity.  Email can remain on servers forever.

To give you an example, when I retired, my email account (at a government agency) remained active for over 2 years until I demanded it be terminated.  Termination of the account took it out of the public’s view; however, my data and email correspondence was still there.

The purpose of this article is to heighten your awareness about your identity and privacy; AND to make you think about what information you are giving away about yourself. It is human nature to investigate and to be curious. With just knowing your name and your zip code, a person with bad intentions can get your address, a map to your house, a photo of your residence, your property tax records, and it goes on and on.

Are you out there?

Simply by using Google or Yahoo you can find an abundance of information by simply entering a person’s name; however, there are online services that specialize in deeper searches.

I encourage you to perform a search for your name, using these services. If you know of any other services, please leave a comment below.

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image

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image

This is a guest post by Rick Robinette, who brings a background as a security/police officer professional, and as an information technology specialist to the Blogging world.

Why not pay a visit to Rick’s site at What’s On My PC. Like me, you’re sure to become a frequent visitor.

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Filed under Email, Google, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety, Privacy, Windows Tips and Tools, Yahoo

Gone Phishing? Protect Yourself – Stop · Think · Click

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Phishing refers to the act of tricking people into revealing sensitive or private information. It relies on the premise that asking a large number of people for this information, will always fool at least a small number of those people.

In a phishing attack, the attacker creates a situation wherein people believe that they are dealing with an authorized party, like their bank or another service provider. The attacker will ask the victim for sensitive information such as credit card information.

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.

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Phishing attacks generally target:

  • Bank information – e.g. VISA and PayPal accounts.
  • Username and password information.
  • Social Security numbers.
  • Information which can be used to retrieve forgotten or lost credentials.

The information obtained allows criminals to:

  • Make fraudulent charges on credit or debit cards.
  • Make use of an individual’s credentials on online services, like eBay, Amazon and others, to commit crimes with little risk of being caught.

 

Gartner Research, noted for their strong research in ongoing computer related issues, recently stated that U.S. consumers have lost approximately $3.2 billion in phishing scams. This translates into roughly, 3 million+ victims. It’s not surprising that these figures are higher than those of both 2005 and 2006.

It appears that the increase in losses stems from a rise in attacks that combine phishing with malware infections: generally through banker Trojans that use multiple techniques (key loggers, ‘men in the browser’, and others), to obtain user’s banking and identity information. Computer security industry statistics show that Banker Trojans accounted for over 18% of malware infections in 2007, and 24% of the total number of infections caused by all Trojans.

This combination of phishing and malware increases the effectiveness of attacks, since available statistics indicate; eleven percent of US adults interact with the Internet with no malware protection installed on their computers.

Recently, I have seen figures that indicate 36% of computers scanned by Panda Security’s Infected or Not website at http://www.infectedornot.com, were not protected against malware attacks. In my view, this is an astonishingly high figure.

I have found it a worthwhile practice to scan my personal machines, once a week, at the Infected or Not website since these online solutions have access to a larger knowledge base and can therefore detect more malware, even the malware codes that go undetected by the solutions currently installed on my computers.

Internet users must be extremely cautious against the type of combined attacks noted above, since the monetary and other damages suffered can be very substantial.

Follow the tips below to protect yourself against these threats:

· Your bank will never ask you to divulge account information or passwords via email. Never give out this information, especially via email.

· 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 banking transaction on the Web, scan your computer with a second-opinion security solution, like NanoScan at www.nanoscan.com.

Elsewhere in this Blog you can download freeware anti-malware solutions that provide excellent overall security protection. Click here.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Internet Safety Tools, Online Safety, Software, Windows Tips and Tools