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Phishing is the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. In order to protect yourself, follow these simple tips.
No Bank or On-Line Store or site (like Ebay) will email you and request personal information. A legitimate email will tell you to “Log In to your account” and will Not pProvide a link in the email. Most fraudulent emails will look authentic with logos, etc and provide a link to click on and send you to their “Fake” website. There they will ask you to Log-in with your username & password. That’s where they have stolen your info. If you don’t realize this, you could possibly have money transferred from your bank account, or purchases made in your name. These frauds will usually set up a temporary PO Box and change the delivery address to the temporary box. If you receive one of these questionable email, before you delete, forward the email to the real site in question. For example email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com, for example. The websites should have a facility for reporting phishing.
by Jessica Dolcourt
(Credit: CNET Networks)
Editor‘s Note: This article was updated on 5/8/09 from a previous version published on 3/3/08, and the original, published on 12/15/06.
No matter how you arrive at an unsafe Web site, it’s all downhill from there. Phishers will attempt to coerce you into disclosing your address, credit card number, or social security number. Or maybe adware engines will start sprouting pop-ups over your screen like a field of clover. Worse, your computer may become part of a botnet, its processing power used to send spam and infections to others, possibly even in your name. Here are nine telltale signs you’re swimming in dangerous waters, with tips to help keep you firmly in the safety zone.
Before we dive in, take note of two tools to help warn you of dangerous sites. McAfee SiteAdvisor for Internet Explorer and Firefox and AVG LinkScanner assess the hazards of sites you visit, and are available for Firefox or Internet Explorer. Online Armor is one firewall that scans sites in real time based on traceable patterns of malicious software behavior. Also check out our Security Starter Kit for an excellent set of tools that defend against potential threats.
Sign 1: Pop-up city
You click a search result and are suddenly bombarded with no fewer than 10 porn pop-ups. Back out immediately by right-clicking the pop-up in your task bar and selecting ‘close’ or by killing the EXE in your Task Manager. It might also help to press Alt-F4 to close your browser. Then run a malicious software scanner and remover to assess and fix the damage–Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is a good start.
It’s a mouthful, but EULAlyzer’s ease of use makes up for its awkward pronunciation.
(Credit: CNET Networks)
Sign 2: Where’s the EULA?
Sign 3: Excessive firewall alerts
Your firewall repeatedly alerts you to file extensions you don’t recognize and other suspicious anomalies. Once you’ve set your firewall to allow your most common programs, any alert should be taken seriously, and a number of warnings should be a red light something is amiss. If you’re not running a firewall, get one right now.
Sign 4: E-mail and instant message links phish for information
You follow a link embedded in an e-mail and arrive at a site that asks you to provide security information for an “important update.” Misleading links are increasingly sent through instant messages under the guise of a contact’s friendly tip. This variety is especially easy to fall for. If the page is asking for data or looks like a different destination than the link implied, pull yourself out of autopilot and start taking screenshots. Contact the company for verification before taking any action, and check the Federal Trade Commission’s alert board.
Sign 5: The site’s URL and e-mail don’t match
Any case in which a site’s URL doesn’t match the contact’s e-mail address should raise an alarm. Most legitimate companies provide their employees with a corporate e-mail account. This doesn’t mean, however, that you can automatically trust sites where the two align. Illegitimate companies can purchase domain names as easily as legitimate companies.
Some of us at one time or another have needed a computer file from their home computer while at work, or vice versa. Whether it was a document, or a music file. Here’s a way to always have items available at home or work and even accross every computer you have, seamlessly. It’s called Dropbox. (Dropbox.com). You start out with 2 GB in a Free Account. You then gain more free space by referring people to join. It’s simple, Sign-up using this link http://db.tt/Xx1SA5c and the IAPSNJ will get more space to use for the organization. In turn, you can invite people to join, and you will also receive more space. There is a short video on the Dropbox.com page which explains it all.
On our new web site we will be striving for better communication between the organization and our membership. You may already know we are on Facebook and we are now on Twitter. (twitter.com/iapsnj/) Twitter and Facebook are not just for kids anymore (see above). If you don’t receive emails from the IAPSNJ, Please join our email list, either by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or subscribe on the new website. Be sure to include your Name, address, Dept, & member number if you remember it.