Anti-Phishing | Vol VIII | Section III

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Phishing; The Bo's Eye View
In this Issue:
New Content on BLCOW
Harm on the Pharm
Cleanliness is next to impossible with a keyboard. Here is a tip to clean out the grime
Disclaimer

Useful Website:
ProcessLibrary.com
Answers.com
How Stuff Works

VCR Repair Instruction
Identity Theft a Five Step Stop Plan
Got a problem with Microsoft? Click Here

Computing Quote of the month:
"The one good thing about computers is, if they foul up, there is no law against whacking them around a bit"  --Bo

The Bo Alert
The OnLine Version
June 22, 2005
Another in a series of Phishing Pharming and 
Now, Credit card Attacks

June 2005 Bo Alert Newsletter
See the last Bo alert Newsletter

"If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing." Benjamin Franklin

Bo's Windows XP Performance Tips n Tricks New
Alternative Browser's To MSIE due to IE flaws
Microsoft offers tabbed browsing--in 
IE 6

Weeks after it promised tabs in IE 7, the software giant releases toolbar update that offers tabs in IE 6.
 
The Bo's Eye View: Stick with Firefox or Netscape, this turkey just won't fly.
Windows XP SP-2, what you should know!
Your Next Gen OS, Code Named Longhorn
Going Phishing? Hackers are. See more on this type of scam here
Netscape 7.2 
Netscape 8.0 Bo First Looks a Review
Virus Alerts

Featured Freeware:
Windows Media Encoder 9 Series
Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool
Microsoft® Windows AntiSpyware

BLCOW HOME PAGE | Browsers | MsOffice 97 & 2000 | Site Search | Windows

Phishing; The Bo's Eye View

Recent attacks on credit card companies, or their vendors, concerning the theft of personal information has caused us to update our warnings on certain security risks. This presents us with a severe problem. If we cannot trust those with whom we do business to protect our privacy and personal information, what can we do? The obvious answer is to be forearmed and forewarned. I know you are sick to death of hearing it from us, but Knowledge is power!

The simple theft of a Social Security card number is more then enough for a black hat to steal your identity. We all know about the problems of identity theft. It has been in the news add-nausium. We also all know how difficult it is to clear your good name. To coin a phrase, "He who steals my purse steels trash. But he who steels my good name steels all that I am. It enriches him not and makes me exceedingly poor".

Lets face it, in today's society online business transactions are everywhere, there is no avoiding it.. We must, however, demand more of those with whom we share personal information. I would suggest that before you ever sign on to a website and give out such personal information as Social Security Numbers, phone numbers, addresses, or passwords to certain accounts, you must know that the website you intend to do business with is really who they say they are. Also, don't ever forget to read the privacy policy even if you are sure the site is legit. If the privacy policy doesn't tell you that they take precautions to encrypt any and all information, keep the personal data on a separate server away from a hacker's prying eyes, do not do business with that particular site or service. The risks may far outweigh the benifit.

Unless you have been living under a rock, then you have to know about these thefts. See this about that in this newsletter.

We have said it before, which is why we are saying it again, "Make sure the site you are visiting is who they say they are"! 
For ways to tell if a site URL is real or faked, please see: Phishing and ways to identify a fake site.

See also this C|Net.com report: 
Consumers, retailers grapple with data theft

Increase in fraud feared as the credit card industry recovers from a mega-heist.
Wed Jun 22 04:00:00 PDT 2005 | Read Full Story

Because Family Matters:
When 'digital bullying' goes too far
Always-on gadgets give kids unlimited access to parents and friends--and expose them to 'round-the-clock harassment.
Image: Stopping bullying
C|Net.com | Read Full Story

Summer Begins (Surfing the Net with Kids) 

June 20, 2005 School's out! Summer sunshine is here. But don't leave the house without your sunglasses, brimmed hat, and sunscreen. Why bother? Because despite the sun's beneficial effects on our mood, even a small amount of daily exposure can lead to skin damage and cancer. Learn more with these five best-bet sites for summer safety....http://www.surfnetkids.com/sunscreen.htm

 

In this Issue:

MasterCard Security Alert: 
Specific Things You Can Do to Protect Yourself From Credit Card Fraud and Identity Theft

The largest security breach to date occurred late last week when 14 million MasterCard and 22 million Visa credit card numbers were hacked. Up to 40 million credit card users may now be at risk of fraud from their MasterCard, Visa and other credit cards.

The security breach took place at CardSystems Solutions, a third-party transaction processor for merchants and financial institutions.

It appears that the breach was caused by a hacker who gained access to Card Systems' database and then installed a virus-like script that captured customer data. The F.B.I. is investigating the security breach.

According to MasterCard, names, credit card numbers, expirations dates and the three or four digit credit card security codes were stolen. Social Security numbers, birth dates or other highly sensitive personal data were not part of the security breach.

MasterCard said that only 68,000 of the 13.9 million MasterCard holders were at "a higher level of risk."

MasterCard, as well as some other credit card providers, have zero-liability policies, so consumers who find unauthorized charges made on their credit cards will not be responsible for paying for the charges.

This security breach is simply the latest, albeit the largest, in a long line of breaches reported this year. Security breaches or lost computer tapes have been reported this year by ChoicePoint, LexisNexis, Citigroup, Bank of America, Stanford University, United Parcel Service, and many others.

Since there have been a relentless string of security breaches -- both online and offline -- this year, we offer 7 specific suggestions of things you can do to help protect yourself from credit card fraud and identity theft taken from ScamBusters.org:

1. Check all your credit card and bank statements very carefully. If you have access online to your credit card charges and/or bank accounts, we recommend you check your statements frequently so you can spot problems as early as possible.

2. If you find any unauthorized charges on any of your credit cards, notify your card issuer immediately.

3. If you discover a problem, follow the advice in this ScamBuster's article: "What to Do if Your Credit Card or Wallet is Stolen." See also: Credit Card Fraud: 21 Tips to Protect Yourself, taken from ScamBusters.org

4. Consider using one-time use credit card numbers, called "controlled payment numbers" or "virtual account numbers," for your online purchases. Controlled payment numbers help protect your privacy and your security. They are substitute numbers that let you shop online without using your real credit card number. Check with your bank or credit card vendor to see if this service is available to you. If it isn't, DEMAND that they provide it.

Typically, controlled payment numbers expire after one use (although their use can be extended for repeating monthly bills). These substitute numbers link back to your credit card number without you ever having to reveal your actual credit card number when you shop.

The benefit is that if the substitute credit card number is stolen, such as in this case of the 40 million MasterCard and other credit card numbers, the substitute number would be worthless and your real credit card number would not be compromised.

Currently, we know of two credit card issuers who offer this service: Citibank and Discover Financial Services. MBNA Corp. and others may also offer this service (however, we could not find a public link).

For more info, visit:

Citibank (Virtual Account Numbers)

http://www.citibank.com/us/cards/tour/cb/shp_van.htm

Discover Card (Discover Deskshop)

http://www.discovercard.com/deskshop/

5. Consider purchasing a credit monitoring service. These services typically offer periodic copies to your credit reports so you can monitor your credit file, email alert notifications of key changes in your credit reports, identity theft insurance, and personal customer service help.

Note: Some people have very strong negative feelings about these services. They believe these services should be free to everyone, and that having to pay for them is completely unfair. We respect that opinion.

Our belief is that regardless of whether or not these services *should* be free, the fact is that they aren't. So, we believe the more practical question now is whether or not these services provide sufficient value to you to be worth the not inconsequential cost. You are the only one who can decide this practicality.

6. Consider putting a 'fraud alert' on your credit file with the major credit card bureaus as a precautionary measure.

A fraud alert is an alert that the three major credit reporting companies attach to your credit file that alerts creditors that your private financial information has been, or may be, compromised.

This free service alerts creditors to use additional steps to verify your identity before opening new accounts in your name.

When you place a fraud alert with one of the three major credit reporting companies, they will automatically notify the other two companies on your behalf, so you don't need to place the alert with all three.

In addition to flagging your account with a fraud alert, your name will also be removed from pre-screened offers for credit cards and loans. And, you may well be able to receive free copies of your credit report from all three major credit monitoring companies.

Placing a fraud alert does not decrease your credit rating. You can remove the alert by calling the number on the credit reports you receive.

There are certainly drawbacks to placing a fraud alert, including that getting new credit cards and other credit may be more difficult. For example, a fraud alert may limit your ability to get instant credit for in-store purchases.

Creditors are asked to call you at a designated phone number before opening new accounts, and you may be required to show additional identification when opening new accounts.

Another drawback is that a fraud alert may not prevent a scammer from opening a new account in your name. Creditors are asked to call and verify all credit applications made in your name before they open any new credit account or grant any new credit. However, creditors are not required by law to contact you. In other words, fraud alerts can legally be ignored by creditors.

Placing a fraud report is done by an automated system -- it is almost impossible to speak to a human being. Here are the three agencies and their phone numbers:

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285

Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742

Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289

For more information, visit:

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/bbcr.htm

Harm on the Pharm There is more to these scams, and they are getting more and more sophisticated
New Windows XP tips-n-tricks Content on BLCOW 
  1. Restore Missing System Files
  2. Creating a Suspend mode shortcut for Windows XP
  3. Free tool for removing some of the $Ntuninstall folders
  4. Can I remove the Windows hotfix?
  5. Repairing Windows XP's Restore
New Windows XP Troubleshooting Tips on BLCOW
  1. Trouble accessing old hard drive in new computer
  2. Windows XP Takes Forever to Shut Down
  3. Troubleshoot Hardware and Driver Problems in Windows XP Home
  4. Make XP Enter Safe Mode With USB Keyboards
  5. How to start your computer by using the Last Known Good Configuration feature in Windows XP-MSKB
New Microsoft Word Tips-n-Tricks on BLCOW
  1. Creating a Command List
  2. What to do if Recent File List is grayed out in Tools | Option | General Tab
  3. Printing Revisited
  4. Word Section Breaks And Page Formats
  5. Prevent Pictures From Moving In Word
  6. Word Document Closes When you Click on Hyperlink to Another Document or Webpage Document
  7. Add Numbers To Your Outline In Word
New Microsoft Excel Tips-n-Tricks on BLCOW
  1. Excel's Custom Formats

  2. Ampersands (&) in Excel Headers

  3. Auto/Fill Shortcut

  4. Retrieving the Last Value in a Column

  5. Make subtotal values stand out in Excel

  6. Prevent Excel from Opening a Blank Workbook

New Microsoft Power Point Tips-n-Tricks on BLCOW
  1. Datasheet Quick Tricks
  2. Rotating Drawing Objects
    Works with; Word, Excel, Powerpoint:
  3. Run a Song Through an Entire Large Slide Show
  4. Inserting Pictures - The Official Method
Off Site Help & Info:
  • Configure the Windows Firewall
    The newest updates for Windows XP contain free firewall software. If you don't know what a firewall is, you need to get one. Firewalls protect your datea from prying eyes. Don't let hackers into your hard drive. Follow these instructions from Net Security Guide Tony Bradley. Taken from About.com
  • Common Phishing Scams
    Antivirus Guide Mary Landesman lists some of the most common phishing scams on the Internet today. Watch out for these malicious mailings.  Taken from About.com
  • Don't Get Caught by by Phishers
    "Phishing" is the practice of deceiving users into giving their personal information to criminals. You'll get an email that looks like it's coming from a bank or an online store and it will ask for your credit card or account numbers. You'll go to a web site that looks legitimate but is actually a fake, designed to get you to give over your information. Net Security Guide Tony Bradley explains how to avoid these scams.
    Taken from About.com
Cleanliness is next to impossible with a keyboard. Here is a tip to clean out the grime Use Compressed Air

Everybody needs to clean their PCs sometimes. They get layered with dust and grime just like anything else. Compressed air in a can is one of the most useful tools you can have for performing this necessary task. By using the included straw, you can finely direct the air into places where it is most needed. Clean your keyboard by turning it sideways (side down) over a trash can or some other place where dust can fall, and then blow it out with the compressed air. Ensure that you get in between the keys because a lot of stuff falls in between the keys and can even hamper complete contact of the keys (hence unworking keys). You also want to remove your case cover and blow out the fan blades and other surfaces. Make sure you don't blow the air right onto your PC's innards up close. Give a little bit of distance between the computer and the end of the straw.

Don't have a can of compressed air? How come? Okay, we at BLCOW are all about being, shall we say, frugal? Okay, okay, we're cheap! If you need to clean out some layered dust, and who doesn't unless you are involved in a dust bunny farm, take a clean dry straw and lightly blow the dirt away. Hey, if nothing else it will take your breath away.

Warring: If you begin to feel light headed, its a cheap buzzzzzz 
or you're blowing to hard! ~ Bo

Happy cleaning!

Harm on the Pharm
by Steve Fox

The Buzz: By now, we are all too familiar with phishing attacks, those phony e-mail messages that direct users to spoofed sites in an attempt to steal passwords and account information. Well, pharming is like phishing with a really big net--redirecting users even though they have typed a legit URL into their browser. Pharmers inject malicious code into a PC or even a DNS server on the Net. Then if you type a URL like the address of your bank, your compromised machine or server may redirect you to a bogus site designed to install spyware or steal info. Pharming attacks on DNS servers (called DNS-cache poisoning) are uncommon, according to Shawn Eldridge, chair of the Trusted Electronic Communications Forum, but "the greater concern is pharming of individual computers with Trojan [horses] and worms." Users who innocently open an e-mail attachment can easily infect their machine with such malware, which can then plant the seeds of its nefarious pharm work.

Bottom Line: Never open an attachment from someone you don't know. Always keep your antivirus software up-to-date. And floss regularly.

Here is a freebee: 

Get the Malicious Software Removal Tool   
Get the Malicious Software Removal Tool ~ from Microsoft
Get help identifying and removing malicious software (including Blaster, Sasser, and Mydoom) from your computer.

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