blog_image_comp_securityThe question that tops this story was recently posed to a panel of security and parenting experts by safesoundfamily.com. One of those experts was none other than our own CEO, Todd Morris, who offered one of the many salient pieces of advice found in the article. Let’s take a look at his advice as well as some of the other experts’.

Read More →

chick-at-computerDozens of people experience computers hacks everyday spanning from stolen Facebook login credentials that result in embarrassing status updates, to something more serious like bank or identity theft. Stealing these passwords used to be reserved for computer savvy hackers or psycho ex girlfriends, but apparently now all you need is a $100 cash to hack an e-mail account. A website called YourHackerz.com claims that, with the exception of .gov and .edu, they can get the password and effectively hack into any e-mail account. And if you use the same password for multiple accounts, you could be in serious trouble.

Although hacking into someone’s e-mail is considered a federal offense, it is treated like a misdemeanor as long as no other laws are broken. Orin Kerr, a George Washington University law professor and former computer crimes attorney, stated “The Feds don’t usually have the resources to investigate and prosecute misdemeanors. And part of the reason is that normally it’s hard to know when an account has been compromised, because e-mail snooping doesn’t leave a trace.”

However, there are some simple steps that every person can take to help make sure that they are not so easily defeated. Simple things such as keeping passwords secret and consistently changing passwords can greatly decrease the probability of getting hacked. Also, one should refrain from using the same password for more than one account. Using a combination of numbers and letters can also increase password strength, making it harder to figure out and crack. Simple preventative measures is all it takes to help keep yourself a little safer in today’s technological world.

Via (Wtop.com)


Read More →

cc-thief“We are working harder. The financial crisis is not making it easy for them over there,” said Banjo, 24, speaking about Americans, whose trust he has won and whose money he has stolen.

U.S. authorities say Americans lose hundreds of millions of dollars a year to cybercrime, with one of the biggest schemes known as the Nigerian 419 fraud. According to Nigerian scammers, Americans are the easiest prey for their schemes, and in the struggling economy, these victims are falling even more easily for their offers of riches. Americans are exercising less caution when they should be exercising more.

Statistics from the FBI-backed Internet Crime Complaint Center say that scam reports by Americans shot up 33 percent last year, and that after the United States and Britain, Nigeria housed the most perpetrators. The scammers are celebrated in Nigerian popular culture, and even have songs celebrating them. These men see their actions as a path to fortune and means to level the playing field and punish those seen as too greedy. They think of themselves as modern day Robin Hoods.

“I’m selling greed,” said Felix, 29, an e-mail swindler. “You didn’t apply for any lotto, and all of a sudden you just see an e- mail in your mailbox that you’re going to win money? That means you have to be greedy.”

The 419 e-mails are clinical and yet depressing in how they work and their effectiveness, with some promising wealth in the form of jewels and then requiring victims to wire “fees” to guarantee the deal, and others luring investors into venture opportunities that cost millions before they’re revealed as fake. These schemes take advantage of desperate people, and are very good at doing so.

Scammers use tools such as formats for letters and accounts that send e-mails in bulk. It is a lucrative field, and Felix claims he has made $30,000 in his best months and blows it on clothes and Don Perignon, though he complains about proceeds being down 40 percent with the economy. Apparently, he sees no connection between the greed he displays in his life as a scammer and the “greed” he is selling in his mail.

The problem of scamming began in the 1980’s when jobless young Nigerians were inspired by news reports about corrupt politicians funneling oil proceeds to foreign bank accounts. The Nigerian government insists that they crack down on 419 perpetrators and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission says these cases made up 45 percent of its prosecutions from 2003 to 2006. Scammers are frequently nailed in cybercafe raids.

Despite online victim support groups, the U.S. embassy, and bank and money-transfer-agency websites that display warnings about these scams, people continue to carelessly give out their financial information.

“There is another thing scammers always say in Nigeria,” Banjo said, “that every day, another maga (sucker) is born in America.”

(Via The Washington Post)

Read More →

As our modern world becomes ever more tied to computers and the systems that run it, our computer networks are constantly under the threat of hackers, spam and malware. We may be living in a constantly connected, dynamic society, but the benefits of the modern world’s dynamic nature are coming at a price to people’s person information security. Recent developments in the field of computer security have shown just how large of an uphill battle the public and our institutions are fighting against the unseen forces that endanger our computer networks.

The problem of spam and malware has increased a whopping 80% since last quarter, partly attributed to the advent of new procedures online including shortened URLS, frequently used on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.spam

When it comes to condensed URLs used on Facebook and Twitter shortened links, “The caution that users usually apply when they view search results and news links disappears behind the obfuscating address,” the a McAfee security report notes.

According to a report issued at the recent Black Hat security conference, another recent computer security threat is that of the Machiavelli technique, in which hackers take control of already victimized Macintosh computers and steal protected data. This technique takes control of the Safari browser before gaining data to protected information such as financial records.

mac1Macs are the apple’ of the public’s eye due to their impressive applications and high-end computers, but according to security expert Dai Zovi and others, who authored the report on the technique, attacks on Macs will rise as they gain market share on PC’s running Windows. Mac’s operating system will be easier to attack for hackers because it has much more code, therefore allowing them to have a larger affect on the system.

People today are constantly under the threat of malware posing as antivirus software. Many have experienced the hassles and sometimes truly dangerous consequences of fake antivirus software, but many people probably do not realize just how prevalent and resourceful this army of malware really is. According to PandaLabs, the samples of fake antivirus software have been reproducing like crazy and grew to 374,000 by the second quarter of 2009. The company estimates that as many as 35 million computers per month are infected by rogue antivirus programs, mostly due to users who are not diligent enough in checking out the programs they pay for. These samples are a big family to feed, and they will feed on the inattentive and uninformed.

Although it is a challenging battle, there are a few methods by which you can fight these forces.

1) Don’t always provide your e-mail address and apply strong caution when opening a suspicious e-mail sent to you.

2) Be careful when following links on social networking sites. If there’s a tag to the link, pay attention to what it says before clicking.

3) Don’t download pirated software or media: For hacking techniques such as Machiavelli, do as much as possible to avoid downloading pirated software and avoid pirated media that will put you at serious risk.

(via Wired, Cnet and News.com.au)

Read More →

How To Protect Your Identity Online

Some of my past passwords have included Fluffy (my dog’s name), Red (my favorite color), and if I’m feeling really tricky, my birthday.

-Sigh-

I’ve got news for you people. Anyone can guess these passwords! Especially professional hackers that want to steal your identity, your money, and your life.

Read More →

US security experts report that industrial espionage costs businesses over $200 billion per year. Trade secrets are sold from a worker on the inside of the company to competitors for personal gains. It happens a lot more than one would think and the costs are insurmountable.

Read More →