Tag Archives: phishing

Wells Fargo Scam

This post is not an endorsement supporting Wells Fargo. In fact, I largely disapprove of Wells Fargo and think they’ve been up to some questionable activities in relation to my good-standing accounts. If it were up me, I’d love to see Wells Fargo fail miserably – but not at the expense of the average customer. The following is to help you, not them.

This afternoon, after filming a spot for MSNBC’s “Caught On Camera,” I drove into town to pick up a my daily espresso.

I received an incoming call from “BLOCKED,” but answered anyway. There was a pre-recorded voice stating something along the lines of: _This is Wells Fargo. Your bank card has been locked due to security reasons. Press ‘1’ to unlock your account.” I did not press ‘1’ – and the call disconnected after I pressed ‘0’ (just to see). Even if it did go through, I wouldn’t have given any information to the caller.

It certainly sounded like an automated recording, leading me to believe that this operation (if criminal in nature) was scalable and widespread. These criminals would be spending next to nothing to gain access to untold amounts of money.

Being a block away from a Wells Fargo bank, I stopped by just in case this was a legitimate call. Before I could explain the entire situation to the teller, he confirmed that the call was a scam. Worse yet? He said that they’ve had a lot of account holders come in to relay the same story recently.

Before heading home, I called my girlfriend (through my hands-free bluetooth system) to let her know about what had just happened. I didn’t want to leave her safety to chance.

In all my years, I’ve really only seen digital scams – but they certainly prepared me to face this situation with skepticism. I’d like to believe that even if I hadn’t been aware of these types of scams, I would have reacted the same way (and remained safe).

Let this simply serve as a reminder: think before you act, especially if you’re reacting to something. It’s one thing to share private / sensitive information with a person you’ve called or connected with, but you should always keep your guard up when someone (largely unauthenticated) tries to pry any amount of knowledge from your brain.

You might think yourself secure simply because you’re not banking at Wells Fargo, but replace this brand with the name of any other financial institution…? Yeah, it could happen to anybody.

Not Even the Dalai Lama is Safe from Malware

We talk often here on my blog about the dangers of malware. We attempt to educate you and bring you valuable discounts for various security programs. We try to stress how critical it is for you to practice safe Internet habits. You never know what those seemingly innocent links from your friends will actually lead to. Your information and sensitive data can be stolen in a moment… sometimes without your even being aware of it. Hackers don’t discriminate. They’ll gladly take private information from anyone and everyone – including the Dalai Lama himself.

After a long investigation, evidence has been uncovered showing that cyber spies used cloud computing systems and social networking platforms to steal classified materials belonging to some very important individuals. Along with the Dalai Lama, information was taken from the United Nations, the Indian National Security Council Secretariat, and the Pakistani Embassy located in the United States. Even New York University was affected.

Investigators into the attack stated that “”While we only have limited insight into the motivations and methods of the attackers, we believe they infected victims primarily via email using social engineering techniques to convince their victims to open malicious file attachments.”

I will type and type until my fingers are blue. I will yell at the top of my lungs. I will talk until… well, you get the idea. Please. PLEASE. Protect yourself and your information. Be smart about your security. Find out what security software will best suit your needs and USE it.

Fact or Context: The Ocean That is the Internet

I read an excellent article a few moments ago. Julien Genestoux talks about how the Internet is a vast, never-evaporating ocean. All of the content that is constantly pouring into that ocean are raindrops. In the article, he states that “When you’re a search engine, you obviously have an exhaustivity requirement. You can’t really skip on indexing the Indian Ocean. Google sends its bo(a)ts all over the ocean where it’s raining to update its index. However, the ocean is growing so fast that it will eventually become harder and harder to stay exhaustive.”

This has become a real problem for search engines, especially Google. They are trying to solve the problem by changing the way that they crawl and index websites in order to try and keep up with the constantly-changing websites. However, there’s going to come a point when that becomes impossible to do. Genestoux goes on to talk about how Twitter is better than Google when it comes to contextualization. When you search Google, you’re looking for facts. When you search Twitter, you want the context… you need to know what is happening (and being said about that subject) right now!

What are your thoughts? Is there any possible easy answer for search engine companies to attempt to keep on top of all of the data in the ocean?

Don’t forget to stop by the software center to see what’s new today!

Common Web Sites Compromised with Malware

Today, one security firm reported that there were about 5.5 million pages infected with malware in the last three months of 2009. Some of those pages were commonly visited sites: “In those three months, sites for Fox Sports, technology blog Gizmodo, and the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan, were exploited to deliver malware to unsuspecting visitors.”

There was a commonly held belief that if you avoid “bad” sites and limit yourself to popular sites, then you would be safe from malware. Obviously, this is not the case. Hackers are becoming very sophisticated and they will go where they can find the most traffic to exploit. That means some very popular sites have been targeted and will be targeted in the future.

It is no longer some teenager wanting to cause some problems and showing off for a limited number of friends. This is organized crime. These criminals want to exploit computers for identity theft, for spamming, for developing a bot network, and for other criminal intent.

The dark side of the Internet is that everyone is a target, and we remind our readers to protect themselves and their personal information. These Internet crimes are silent; it may take months or years, for example, before you realize that your identity has been stolen and exploited. If you are online, you must pay attention to Internet security. That is why we recommend security programs such as Webroot Internet Security Essentials (WISE).

“… With unmatched anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall security, WISE provides blockbuster protection for your PC. In fact, the technologies in WISE have won a combined 11 PC Magazine Editors’ Choice awards! These technologies provide more complete protection than competing products to proactively block: viruses, spyware, worms, trojans, data theft, rootkits, hackers, intrusions, keyloggers…”

Webroot is allowing up to three computers to be protected and with a ten dollar discount. This works out to an amount under seventeen dollars per computer. It is a huge bargain.

Protect yourself with an award-winning program. If you have more than one computer, you need to protect all of them. We want you to be safe online and just securing one machine is not enough. You do not want to be spreading malware when you synchronize your machines or share files between the machines.

This Webroot offer would be an exceptional gift to any friend or family member who does not pay much attention to Internet security. This is an easy to use program that you can give for year round computer security. And remember, this offer allows you to protect three computers.

Malware by the Millions

One of the disheartening pieces of news recently came from PandaLabs. The security firm reported that the new strains of malware for last year numbered in the millions. That is not a typing error. There were literally many millions of pieces of new malware.

Security company PandaLabs has claimed that it recorded more new malware in 2009 than in its 20 year history, identifying 25 million new strains in just one year compared to a total of 15 million since the company began.

This is malicious software that wants your banking codes, wants your personal information for identity theft, wants to turn your computer into a spam spewing bot, or other such malevolent intents. If you are on the Internet, it is absolutely necessary to pay attention to online security. It is not an exaggeration to say that when you are online, your computer is at risk.

You may be nodding in agreement and saying to yourself that you know this (hopefully because you read the security material on our sites). However, chances are that you have friends or family members who pay little to no attention to computer security. Not only do they endanger themselves… but they are also a danger to others. We are all connected online. Those people who ignore computer security are comparable to those who buy ‘products’ from spammers.

Do a good deed, and tell these people that they should have an anti-virus, a firewall, and at least one anti-spyware program running at all times. For an anti-spyware program, we are recommending SUPERAntiSpyware. We have an excellent deal for you (and for you to recommend) that offers real time protection.

SUPERAntiSpyware has “real-time blocking of threats! Prevent potentially harmful software from installing or re-installing! First Chance Prevention examines over 50 critical points of your system each time your system starts up and shuts down to eliminate threats before they have a chance to infect and infiltrate your system.”

SUPERAntiSpyware will detect and remove spyware, adware, malware, Trojans, dialers, worms, keyloggers, hijackers, rootkits, and many other types of threats. This program is easy to use and it is effective. SUPERAntiSpyware is being offered at a special rate for our readers. There is a ten dollar ($10.00) saving until January 20, 2010.

This is a program that is highly recommended within the security community. People who work on these pages use it and recommend it, too. Suggest this security program to your friends and family. The amount of malware probably will continue to increase this year. We are trying to make it as easy and as economical as possible for our readers and their friends to protect themselves and your computers.

New Year’s Resolutions with a Twist

While you’re making your list of resolutions this year, why not add in some of a different nature? If you’ve been “meaning” to have more of a presence on the various social media networks, why not turn that into a resolution? Resolve to send out a particular number of thought-provoking tweets per day. Decide how often you will be able to update your various site profiles, and stick to it!

People want to know what you’re up to. I know, I know… you’re busy. I am, as well! But it’s critical these days to have an active presence on the various social media sites if you’re any kind of social Geek. You have to keep yourself – and your community – updated. Don’t just post about your dinner, either. People want to know what’s really going on in that head of yours!

Commit yourself to not only blogging yourself, but to reading what others have done. There are a lot of excellent findings right within our own community, if only you make the time to look!

Just in time for the holiday shopping crunch, our downloads team has assembled an excellent array of software and App offerings. Be sure to check out what’s available, and save money on software purchases!

Vipre Protects Your Computer From Malware

There used to be the belief that if one stays away from “bad” Web sites, then malware is not a problem. That is not true, as a recent example with the New York Times illustrated. The popular news Web site was compromised, and the trusted site was serving up malicious ads:

The malicious ad took over the browsers of many people visiting the site, as their screens filled with an image that seemed to show a scan for computer viruses. The visitors were then told that they needed to buy antivirus software to fix a problem, but the software was more snake oil than a useful program.

Exploiting weaknesses in online ad systems is an increasingly common approach for computer criminals around the globe who hope to make a quick buck from the audiences of the sites they attack. Experts say the problem is likely to get worse as companies scramble to satiate a click-happy online culture.”

This is just one way in which criminals / hackers are becoming exceedingly creative in exploiting site visitors. No reputable software company would market products in this manner, but the criminals are relying on the trust that people have in the site.

There have been malware installations without the site visitors having to do anything. These are the so called ‘drive-by’ downloads, and just visiting the site puts one at risk. No click – or download – is necessary.

It is absolutely essential to be running an anti-virus and anti-spyware program. One of our recommendations is VIPRE from Sunbelt Software. It is effective without draining your computer of resources. VIPRE’s memory footprint is very small, and this has brought a lot of memory back to otherwise bogged-down machines.

Sunbelt Software is offering our readers a 20% saving on VIPRE. This offer is good until November 18, 2009.

VIPRE works with “Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista+ (All flavors) 32 and 64-bit, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP SP1, SP2, SP3 (Home, Pro, Media Center, Tablet) 32 and 64-bit and Windows 2000 SP4 RollUp 1.” And yes, it works with Windows 7, too.

The Sunbelt people are making a generous offer to protect all the computers in your home. It is a “home site license” which allows using the program on more than one computer. There is a discount for this “home site license,” and it’s just a huge saving for our readers.

We have worked with the people at Sunbelt for years. They work diligently to keep up with what is happening with computer security. It is a ‘cat-and-mouse’ game where criminals are trying to exploit people in creative and innovative ways. The people at Sunbelt keep up with what is happening and this is reflected in their security product. Many Gnomies use this program… and we recommend it.

Identity Theft Protection

There are items in the news every day about identity theft. The obvious consequence is an unexpected financial disaster. However, it can be worse. There can be crimes committed under a stolen identity and warrants issued for the person who has had his/her identity used. And yet, it can be worse.

Identity theft can be a matter of health and well being. Along with identity theft being a rapidly expanding crime, stolen medical services are increasing. That means that someone uses a stolen identity to obtain medical care. Besides the obvious financial consequences, it can be deadly to the person who has had his/her identity used.

Once a identity is used for medical services, there will be an electronic record. The modern day goal is to have that medical record available to any physician who is treating that person. That means national access. Imagine the health consequences if the electronic medical records are wrong because someone has stolen and used an identity. The consequences can be disastrous.

A common means of identity theft is through your computer and through your passwords. A breach of your password (or passwords) just creates a myriad of problems. To maintain the security of passwords for our readers, Identity Protector with Password Manager from Large Software is recommended.

Wait. Before you say that you don’t need any password manager, here is one of the reasons why we are recommending this program. For the sake of an example, there are some websites that you might visit regularly. Let’s use PayPal. Imagine the damage that an identity thief can do with your PayPal data.
You think that you are careful and savvy but the hackers / criminals who spoof websites such as PayPal are experts at what they do. And regardless of how careful you are, there are times when you are rushed or tired or distracted. Identity thieves bank on these lapses. And some of the phishing websites are identical to the genuine sites. At a quick glance, it becomes impossible to tell the difference from spoofed sites and the genuine sites. Gone are the days of sloppy coding and spelling errors.

What an excellent password manager should do is protect you from phishing sites. The password manager should NOT release your personal data if the site is not legitimate and has been spoofed.

Identity Protector with Password Manager from Large Software does just that. It secures your logins, hides your keystrokes and encrypts your passwords. Password Manager protects your identity and is a significant extra layer of security from phishing attempts. It is a guard from identity theft.

Large Software is giving our visitors a special offer. Until November 4, 2009, Large Software is offering a ten dollar ($10.00) discount on Identity Protector with Password Manager. This is a third off of their regular price and an exceptional price for this outstanding security product.

Password Manager operates with ALL programs and web browsers, including Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox…. With the security issues with browsers, it is simply too risky to allow a browser to hold your confidential password information. Phishing, spoofing and other identity theft methods are becoming much more sophisticated in separating you from your password information. Protect yourself.

At this point, you might say that identity theft isn’t going to happen to you. The recent data from Australia says one in five people are identity theft victims. And don’t say that you are not worried about this because you have no money to steal. You have a reputation. And you have a health record to protect.

Are Hackers Suffering in This Economy?

One of the absurdities that is circulating the Internet is that even hackers are suffering in this economy. With the tough economic situation, supposedly hackers are having more competition. This is just one of the theories to explain why there is a steady increase in malware and criminal activity such as phishing and identity theft.

Whether it is a natural disaster or the death of a celebrity, hackers / criminals are almost always first responders, ready to exploit the situation at hand for personal gain. For example, you may find email that supposedly gives you the latest news about a tragic situation that just occurred. The news story itself may have happened but that email is dangerous. It could carry malware.

The email is just one venue. Are you on Facebook? Have you joined Twitter? These are just some of the examples of social media where people are sharing and clicking on links. If you are on Twitter and have a good number of followers, there are links posted every minute. It would be so easy for a hacker to play the social network and drop some malicious link there. And it will happen more and more often.

There’s even a spam campaign on YouTube. Reports say that this spam does not contain malware. However, it may be a matter of time before slick malware infections find its way onto this popular video site.

This should be frightening to you. These criminals want to exploit you and your computer. You may think you are careful enough. However, no one can be vigilant 100% of the time. There are drive-by downloads that can install things on your machine without your even having to click a link. This is the type of incidence that calls for an excellent security regime on your computer.

You should have an anti-virus, a firewall, and at least one anti-spyware program running at all times. It is foolish to be online without security protection. For an anti-spyware program, we are recommending SUPERAntiSpyware. We have an excellent deal for you that offers real time protection:

SUPERAntiSpyware has Real-Time Blocking of threats! Prevent potentially harmful software from installing or re-installing! First Chance Prevention examines over 50 critical points of your system each time your system starts up and shuts down to eliminate threats before they have a chance to infect and infiltrate your system.

The program offers much, much more and you can read about it at the links provided. It is being offered at a special rate for our readers. There is a ten dollar ($10.00) savings for our readers until October 15, 2009.

This is a program that is highly recommended within the security community. People who work on these pages use it and recommend it, too. We use it. We need it and so do you. SUPERAntiSpyware will detect and remove spyware, adware, malware, Trojans, dialers, worms, keyloggers, hijackers, rootkits, and many other types of threats. This program is easy to use and it is effective. If you have any problems with SUPERAntiSpyware , let us know. We will tell the founder / director of the company and have any problems addressed. Nick Skrepetos is well known in the security community and he stands behind his products. And if you need this program in large numbers, let us know. We will see if we can help with pricing for your company.

You may be wondering why we are recommending security programs when there are programs that are available for free. There is an old adage: ‘you get what you pay for.’ SUPERAntiSpyware has been doing Internet security for years. It is excellent. It works. It protects our machine and has for years. That’s why we recommend it.

Password and Phishing Protection

Students returning to school at colleges and universities need to be concerned about their security online. However, the same security measures should apply to ALL Internet users. For students, they will be using new Web sites, and setting up new accounts via the school. As such, they are prime targets for hackers and criminals who phish and steal identities. College students make such nice sitting ducks because there is a high probability that they do not have criminal records, nor high financial debt.

As students, they will be told repeatedly to guard their passwords and not share them with anyone. Unfortunately, people who give this advice don’t go far enough. There are spoofed Web sites designed to steal personal information – seemingly innocent and viable sites. There are keyloggers and various other tools that hackers use embedded on these types of sites. Fortunately, there is software available to protect these people – and their passwords.

You can safeguard your personal information with RoboForm Pro. It will protect users from phishing attempts. It will remember the sites that you want to use, and it won’t allow you to use a spoofed Web site. The phony sites are sometimes so good that it’s almost impossible to tell they are fake until it’s too late. RoboForm Pro will identify which sites are “real” and which sites are not.

There are many additional features to this software, and there are online tutorials to teach you how to use it effectively. It is more than worth the time to become an expert in the use of RoboForm Pro.

With the security of our readers in mind, the RoboForm Pro people are offering all of you a very healthy savings on this product. From now until August 19th, you can save 20% off your purchase of RoboForm Pro.

For those of you returning to school – and even those of you long out of school – we highly recommend this product for your own safety. You want to guard your personal information. With as much as you have going on in your life, you may not always be as careful online as you think you are. It’s so easy to get sidetracked!

In this day and age, you can’t be too careful with your identity or your passwords. RoboForm Pro will give you the peace of mind to know that you are much safer than you thought you could be.