Sunday, November 1, 2009

Internet Fraud

I am surprised with the number of phishing emails that still arrive in my Inbox every week – most supposedly from banks which I don’t even have a bank account with. But the concerning aspect is that people still fall for the email and click the link, ending up giving their contact details.

So how do people get our information over the internet.

Phishing requires that a person provides their information. It is often via the email process we all see. An email is received from what appears to be a legitimate company (in many instances a bank). The emails advise you of some issue – the bank has had a security upgrade for example – and they need you to verify your information. You click the link and are taken to a web page that looks almost identical to the company you have been dealing with. There you put in your username and login and the hackers have your information.

A Trojan is malware. It is used by a hacker to obtain unauthorised access to the user’s computer system. Trojans are designed to give hackers remote access to the users computer and give them the ability to perform the same functions the user can.

Key logging programs do as the name suggests. The program allows for each key stroke entered by the user is recorded by the program. These programs are used frequently to obtain a persons username and password for internet banking.

No matter what the issue, the preventative measures are the same. Here are some examples:

  • Have appropriate firewalls on computer systems;
  • Have up-to-date virus checking software and regularly check for updates to it;
  • Use a strong password and change it regularly;
  • If it seems to good to be true – it probably is - for example never give your password to anyone;
  • Use security tokens or similar for internet banking.

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