Wednesday, August 22, 2007

New Marketing Might Cause Security Nightmares

Are you caught up with they hype about the new Gaming-combined-Social Site marketing that is spreading like wild-fire?

I am - I'm IN ON IT for sure!

uVme is preparing to explode all over the Internet to combine Gaming with Social Marketing and I can't help but think that this combination can't go wrong. People are already fully engaged in these activities, showing no signs of stopping. uVme has just organized a way for people to actually PROFIT at the same time as they're having a great deal of FUN online.

Now, although I'm hyped up about this and have gained membership, myself, already with uVme, I think that engaging in these combined activities is also going to be somewhat of a security nightmare!


Well - we will see people logged in, constantly exchanging information online while they're gaming as well as chatting and using social marketing sites. People will log in for extended periods of time to sites geared for information exchange. These will be people logged in to sites for a long time while they're DISTRACTED COMPLETELY due to attention focused on games! How annoying will it be for your security software, if it flashes some minor warnings about cookies and certificates while you're busy trying to RULE THE WORLD or Shoot bad guys or do SPEED TRIVIA or other such games, which will require full gamer attention? How attractive will it seem to just lower your security settings 'just a little bit' so that you don't have any annoying alerts and such? Hmmm

Obviously, people are already doing this, however, these online behaviors will just increase. Sites such as uVme will spring up in greater numbers - sites geared for exchanges. Believe me, uVme seems like the ONLY revolutionary new Gaming-combined - Social Site at the moment and people are really REALLY fired-up and excited about uVme, but others will catch on very quickly to how uVme works. Other sites will spring forth and utilize methods of Social Sites and Gaming combined, too, and MILLIONS of people will be engaged in gaming/social activity soon.

Though I'm totally excited about this, I am stepping up my computer security already and changing my surfing and scanning habits. I hope that everyone else will, too.

I scan my system for viruses and malware immediately upon power-up now, and I also scan before I shut down. I know that many malware items and viruses can hide, then circulate at re-boot, so I scan every single day now during both operations.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Surf Anonymously Online

Surfing the Web Anonymously

It is possible for others to learn information about you online while you are surfing. This can happen even if you think your activities online are low-key and you haven't advertised who you are online. Even if your system is not full of virus or malware software, there are some details that others can gain about you once you point yourself and your computer online.

Easily accessible information that others can pick up when you're online:

* Your IP address
* Your Country (and sometimes more focused details about your location, county/province, and city)
* What computer system you're using
* Which browser you're using to access the web
* Some of your browser history

People may be able to find out your computer's 'Name,' too and then figure out what kind of software and other programs your computer will be compatible with (in case they are trying to send something malicious and want to make sure it will install on your system).

"Cookies" can track your movement throughout websites and even if you change users on your computer, some people can become aware of you 'switching' users.

There are some products kicking around that allow you to move around your computer and the Internet 'Anonymously.' These aren't foolproof, but they make it hard for others to track your activities online.

Some sites sell anonymous proxy servers and there are some free services online, too. These also aren't 100% effective, but they can usually allow an average person to surf general sites safely - without the worry of having real personal information and location stats blatantly showing to internet users elsewhere.

I am testing out 2 free services, but will post these at a later date, once I have had more time to evaluate their effectiveness and ease of use.

I just thought I would put the word out - because a lot of people do not know that there are free or reasonably priced programs that allow users to surf and keep their real, personal information away from those who might exploit these details.

I'll let you know in about a week, how well these programs work.

Feed Shark

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Work Together, People - To Combat Identity Theft

Working together: People and Identity Theft Laws

You might sometimes feel pity when you encounter stories about identity theft victims. If you were in the same situation, you would know how it feels to be in a victim's shoes. This is why identity theft laws have been made and enacted. Identity Theft Laws attempt to quell and stop this ongoing threat to people, companies, organizations of all sorts, and the whole country for that matter.

Awareness about Identity Theft among consumers has reached somewhat of a peak in recent years, due primarily to the media coverage that ID Theft has been getting as of late. Consumers are becoming more wary when disclosing personal information and are checking up to see that it isn't given out without their consent, especially on the Internet.

Outcries by the public have resulted in legislative attention brought to the issue, both on the federal level and in individual US states.

The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act (18 USC 1028) was signed in 1998. This law made identity theft a federal felony. That is, when someone deliberately uses the identification of another person with the purpose of committing any unlawful activity, this infraction falls under federal and state law.

For those who violate this law, they will be placed under close investigation by federal agencies such as the U.S. Secret Service, the Social Security Administration, the FBI, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Such crimes are prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

This law also allows for reimbursement for victims. It established an identity theft clearinghouse within the Federal Trade Commission.

In the following years, 40 states have criminalized identity theft. Most of them have also made it a felony.

In 2000, Senate Bill 2328 was signed by Senators Feinstein, Kyl, and Grassley. This bill is called the "Identity Theft Prevention Act of 2000." This law emphasizes more on the prevention that should be taken to combat ID Theft crimes.

The latest addition to these laws is the Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act (ITPEA) signed by President George Bush.

What are the provisions of this identity theft law?

Theft determined to be of the IDENTITY THEFT type (a felony) is given a mandatory two-year prison sentence.

If the identity theft is directly related to any terrorist activity, the penalty is an additional five-year prison sentence.

This law also orders the U.S. Sentencing Commission to strengthen the penalties to be given if the act of theft is found to have been committed during the course of employment.

Lastly, it gives the judges the authority to give out soft punishments like probation and community for the offenders.

A lot of people are more than happy that this crime has been criminalized by the laws, finally. But one must note that, in order to put a hold on identity theft, drastic changes have to made in the credit industry.

Also important - these laws should continue to address what identity theft victims have gone through. There should be a way for consumers to know when certain individuals have a wrongful criminal record.

Some of the bills already passed include a provision for making it possible for individuals to acquire information on questionable individuals - from information compiled by proper information brokers, employment background check services, or individual reference services.

If wrongful information is reported in any background check for employment or other purposes, it is vital that the persons involved in these investigations know the precise information that has been made available, including the source from which the information came.

For those persons who have wrongful criminal records, they must be able to clear their records through an expedited process involving the law enforcement agency that made the arrest, the Court System where the warrant was issued, and other avenues that affect the individual and his/her reputation wrongfully. Presently, no such procedure is available.

Identity theft laws should not be the only and single answer to this ongoing problem. It is also vital that credit card companies, reporting and statistics industries, and any related industries should make an effort to assist consumers in stopping fraud altogether. These industries should also help victims recover from identity theft.

No matter how many identity theft laws are created and passed, this crime will still continue if additional efforts to alleviate this crime are not added. It is important that both the general public, as well as the government, work together in order to stop identity thieves in their tracks.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Winning Notification SCAM

I'm posting a recent 'notification' that I received in my email (late July). I have disregarded the email and chalked it up to another SCAM:

Please don't respond to links - I'm just posting to show you what many SCAM emails look like.

Here it is:

VIRGINIA LOTTERY Ref: VG/lo/3681Batch: 08125

Dear Lucky Winner,

We the board and management of Virginia lottery Sweepstakes wishes to inform you of the E-mail address ballot lottery international program hold on day 28th July 2007. It's yet to be claimed and you are getting the final Notification as regards. Your email address as indicated was drawn and attached to ticket number 08-17 20-23-50-17 with serial numbers VG/01-08-10-23-34 and drew the lucky numbers 8-17-20-23-50 (17) which subsequently won you (One Million USD) as one of the 10 Mega winners in this draw. You have therefore won the entire winning sum of $1,000,000.00 The draws registered as hold in London United Kingdom on the 28th of July 2007. These Draws are commemorative and as such special.

Please be informed by this winning notification,to file your claims,you are to make contact with your claim agent who shall by duty guide you through the process to facilitate the release of your prize to file for your claim
Please Contact your fiduciary agent with this details below
( 1 ) Name in full:
( 2 ) Address:
( 3 ) Country:
( 4 ) State/ Provence:
( 5 ) Sex:
( 6 ) Age:
( 7 ) Maritual Status:
( 8 ) Next Of Kin:
( 9 ) Occupation:
( 10 ) Phone/Fax:
( 11 ) Current E-mail:
Executive DirectorVIRGINIA LOTTERY
Contact your fiduciary agent: Governor Tim KaineEmail:
Phone: +447024096041
You are advised to contact your fiduciary agent with your details to avoid unnecessary delays and complications.

Best Wishes,Executive Director, Ms. Hill Christian.

The sender address from this SCAMmail was

Sorry - but I don't think that a legitimate Virginia Lottery organization would be using a hotmail account if they were informing me that I just won 1 MILLION DOLLARS!