It was difficult to go anywhere this week without hearing about the flurry of activity surrounding the Wikileaks data dump. A slew of denial-of-service attacks followed soon after, while new ransomware and attacks on open-source software filled out the rest of the week’s news. Read on for the week in review.
Browsing Author: Chris Brook
The Federal Trade Commission introduced a framework today that aims to address privacy issues raised by consumers that directly affects how our activity is tracked online. The agency went on to advocate the creation of a “Do Not Track” mechanism that could help shape the future of browser security.
Not to sound like a luddite but – to
paraphrase “Joshua,” the supercomputer from War Games –
the only way you can be sure you’ll win in the war against hackers and
cyber criminals is not to play. Which is our way of
saying that if you can’t make peace with the security implications that
go along with the convenience of online shopping, there’s always cash. Its
fast, simple and – provided you don’t get mugged – alleviates any concern about
security, let alone identity theft.
life in general, if something works, you stick with it. How else to explain the
continued popularity and prevelance of e-mail based spam and phishing attacks,
even though everyone knows that e-mail is so “1998”? Alas, the truth
is that attacks embedded as links or malicious attachments in e-mail messages
are a big threat this year, as they have been every holiday season since the
turn of the Millenium. Likewise, so-called phishing Web sites dressed up to
impersonate legitimate sites continue to be a problem for those
Mobile payments have been going strong in countries like Japan and
Finland for years now. In the U.S., however, its taken longer for mobile
payments to get a hold on consumers. That’s all about to change. Late model mobile devices like Apple’s iPhone and Google Android-based
phones now offer consumers a host of applications for sending electronic payments
to friends and merchants.
When you walk into a doctor’s
office, you like to see those frames hanging, right? The degrees from the
prestigious medical school and certificates of completion from a reputable
hospital residency program? The license from your state’s Board of Registration
in Medicine, maybe? They don’t mean your doctor’s a good clinician, mind you.
They just mean that she or he has attained a level of competency and been
evaluated by professionals who know. And that, at the very least, gives you a
measure of comfort in the quality of care you get.
Social networks like
Facebook and Twitter are fabulous platforms for sharing information and
news. Retailers of all stripes have tapped into this and are using them to get the word out – virally – about discounts, sales and
in-store events. Unfortunately, mechanisms for vetting online reputation
haven’t quite kept up with the marketplace, which can make social networks an ideal platform for
social engineering attacks.
as we like to blame cybercriminals or unscrupulous merchants, much of the
responsibility for security is in our hands. In particular: we’re
responsible for the security of our computers and mobile devices. That’s
especially true when we’re planning to use those systems to go shopping online,
banking online or to transact other sensitive personal or financial business. Still,
consumers and even businesses are often slow to apply patches for core Windows
components, browsers and tools like Java, Adobe Acrobat Reader and Flash.
Browsing a Web site
for offers is one thing. Actually buying merchandise is another matter entirely. Online transactions should be carried out securely, using encryption to scramble
the sensitive financial data you’re sending to the merchant’s Web site and that they’re sending to you. Before
entering your credit card information or clicking on “Send,” check to
make sure the e-commerce site you’re using has employed encryption, with a URL
that begins with “https://” indicating that SSL (Secure Sockets
Layer) encryption is being used.
With much of the
world in the grips of a recession, coupon clipping is suddenly in vogue again. That’s true for online
shoppers, as well, where the hunger for e-coupons has spawned legions of Web
sites, including CouponSherpa.com, Ebates.com and the like.