Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Cheap Software For Sale Beware Spam

Many times during the day I receive E-mail from sources I have never subscribed to.

A friend was asking me about one of these emails and the discounted software titles that were available. I mentioned to him about software pirates in other countries shipping copied software that looked like the real thing.

Personally, I would not trust any email from a source that I did not subscribe to on the world wide web. A number of factors to consider.

One: If you give credit card billing and E-mail information online to these companies you have no idea what they are going to do with it. Are they going to feed it to the BOTs, sell it to other non-reputable companies, steal your identity, and compromise your privacy?

: Even if your order the product you may never get it and then have to go back to the credit card company and register a notarized affidavit stating what happened.

Third: Is the software product actually going to function or is the key a copied key that the software company can turn off because multiple copies all have the same lock.

Fourth: When you go to register the product you bought, if it is stolen, the company will find out from cross referencing information.

Fifth: Is it worth it in the long run to run the risk of buying stolen intellectual property?

My personal feeling is do not fall victim to this type of marketing, advertising, and sales scam.

Now, as one of the syndicated radio shows says, "Now, go do the right thing."

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Credit Cards Thieves

This really ticks me off!

I read this article today about how 40 million credit cards are at risk. This on the heals of 10 million Americans having sensitive information stolen from ChoicePoint card processing services which could be used for identity theft.

Apparently the credit card processing center was infiltrated by a rogue program that was harvesting credit card numbers from MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover Card, and a number of others.

All ready there have been over 68,000 fake charges to accounts.

Now for the big rub.

No one is going to do anything about it. They are going to leave it up to individual card members to double check and verify charges made. The processing center is leaving it up to the Credit Card Companies and the Credit Card Companies are leaving it up to the individuals to catch fake charges.

The article stated that new cards could be re-issued with new numbers but the bean counters feel it would be too expensive at a cost of over 1 billion dollars. So instead management has decided to do nothing. Further more, they are not even going to tell the people who had their personal card information stolen.

So now, not only do we have to worry about thieves stealing our wallets and website scam thefts for our personal information but now we have to consider the theft of our card numbers through all the financial institutions. Is it any wonder that identity theft is on the rise?

Financial institutions need to develop better security measures to fight against this.

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For info about crimes against business visit the Crime Prevention Service

Friday, June 17, 2005

Pharming for Information

Just when your thought your were secure with the phishing attacks come the pharming attacks.

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Now there is a new concern for all of us using the Internet for conducting business and personal use that is more severe than the email phishing scams. Pharming is the new scam that is starting to show up and users unfortunately have little control on this new crime that is coming upon us.

Pharming is occurring at the DNS server level. How this works is, the DNS servers or "domain name servers" are located all over the world and essentially store a url address to direct a person using a browser to the website. In this latest scam the scammer infiltrates the DNS server and redirects the person to a different location for the website being typed in the browser. The website that may be displayed is a bogus site that for all intensive purposes, looks like the real thing. Then a person typing login information at this bogus site can have their information stolen and be recorded for future criminal activity in the form of identity theft or other types of online stealing and offline crimes.

Ways of fighting this war needs to occur at the server side of the equation. Sites that need to have a login or private information shared should incorporate a SSL, Secure Sockets Layer and a digital security certificate to verify to the user that the website is the real thing. Unfortunately this is still not being done at many of the largest financial institutions. In fact some of these institutions do not use a secure login at all.

To check if your institution has a secure login, a small lock appears in the locked position on the bottom corner of the browser page. This represents that the information that is typed on that page is shielded from others on the Internet. Click here for an example of a secure Login

OK, What can you do to stop this crime?

Start with your bank and credit card companies and insist that they develop secure logins. Verify and insist that your private information on every site requesting confidential info remains private and is not shared with any outside sources. This can be tricky because some so called privacy policies are not actually privacy policies at all but a legal document allowing them to share and exchange info with others.

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