What is Identity Theft – identity stolen? How? Defenses ?
Two prong… the old fashioned way of “dumpster diving” for account information, sifting your trash for statements etc. The other half is through your computer, generally via spyware threats and some viruses such as a ‘password stealing virus’ – hacking accounts, account break in, impersonation, phishing email threats. Just think of your PC as a great big database and you need to protect it as it moves around the Net in communicating.
Install quality known high detection rated antivirus, antispyware (with Real Time Protection – only ! – free stuff does not do that), and a personal firewall. That is how to protect your computer system and files and communications from snoops. Pretty simple. There are some additional utilities and it is imperative now to finally upgrade to the latest version of Internet Explorer – versions 7, and latest 8, have the latest state of the art Microsoft anti-phishing technologies which block going to phishing sites that steal identities. Another to add is to check any accounts like the credit report scenario for new accounts being opened in your name and criminals maxxing out the account – the other half of stealing info, impersonation. That’s why they highly recommend monitoring all accounts and your name.
How on PC ? Spyware threats and certain crafted viruses as a “password stealing virus”. Spyware threats can add “keyloggers” which transmit everything you type and can add taking screenshots of anything you are looking at on the screen and is transmitted like when transacting, logging into accounts etc.
News … (scope) :
Identity theft costs a record $56.6 billion
Identity Theft Daily – San Diego,CA,USA
Deloitte says that 51 percent of external attacks on financial institutions were
phishing followed by spyware at 48 percent. Recent laws in eight states let …MORE
Numbers are about even at 54 Billion a year in the USA – 3 years running ! – and went down to about 45 Billion last year, 2009. About 4 percent of Americans have become “un-people” (Orsin Wells book ? right author ?) as never being able to get credit ever again. These accounts/persons were not able to be fixed to satisfy or prove ID Theft etc. to repair their name and credit. It is a mess and highly scary. Keep diligence online to avoid infection (even with the best of quality security defense products) – dubbed “Safe Practices” (search). Try US CERT for some good help.
Here is a good link to become familiar with the actual threats (malware) that do this…..
Threats FAQs http://bluecollarpc.us/threatsfaq.php
Even more ways they do it are check washing and they have your blank check with signature. Banks, others, sell the anti-water washing checks that cost just a tad more. They even sell the special pens now that block that too, that deeply imprint writing that can’t be check washed. (Check washing is taken a check made out to anything and then put it in a special little tub of chemical that erases the hand written stuff only and then they fill it in again to some amount).
Another way even more are the “phisher emails” that are fake emails that look like any financial type communication but are actually fake and have some lead line like “your account needs to be updated, changed, new password reset, etc.” When you hit the link they provide to go to that (you’ve been phished) it generally leads to a data colecting site invisible to the eye. See Pharming too. Internet Explorer Version 7 and newest 8 both have the Microsoft anti-phishing technologies that block almost all of this to aid the community and is why it has always been mandatory to have the latest greatest version of any browser because the newest has the top tech available in browser security.
Always set all browsers to delete all “temporary internet files” every time you close it. These areas are hacked into by badware to retrieve info in. These show all the graphics of every where you go with the browser and also cookies so that they know what site you actually logged into. Java should be set to not store temporary internet files because it is the area trojans hack into to avoid detection. Various Java applications will reveal your browsing history as well. Access Java settings at Start / Control Panel / Java… and double click it or right click – open… click the “Do Not Store temporary files on computer”.
“Social Enginneering” means they hunt around social networking destinations and forums and boards for “chatty cathys” blabbering away about these sensitive personal things to figure out how to trick a User into clicking something to infect with the above mentioned crimewares and scenarios.
http://www.microsoft.com/protect/terms/socialengineering.aspx (Obviously Facebook is now the largest target with over 400 million users and is too, too public for this)
A plague right now has been the fake security products (scareware) which are actually the above infections doing the same but tricking into buying it from fake pop ups of “Your Computer is infefected with such and click here to buy this super duper malware removal to clean the infection” etc.
Keep Windows Updates on Automatic for all critical and important Updates issued every second Tuesday of the month dubbed “Patch Tuesday” and currents…..
http://www.networkworld.com/news/2010/060310-microsoft-plans-gigantic-patch-tuesday.html?source=nww_rss (Windows Updates is your computer “lifeline” for latest programming vernabilities Updates/Fixes – blocking enabling hackers and crimeware to snoop and take over the computer itself. As well, top optimization and “make overs”, Upgrades/Updates, Service Packs, additional driver updates, etc. are retrieved here and available for installation. Use the “Custom Scan” option for these.)
More …. (current threat)
Keep all software up to date fully patched and try popular recomended Secunia PSI (personal software inspector) from well known Secunia.com http://secunia.com/vulnerability_scanning/personal/ used by millions.
Just like Windows, all other outdated unpatched softwares can be hacked into by these crimewares – the new “soft target” for crimeware entry (crimeware – viruses and worms are illegal and spyware according to laws). PSI will scan fast all software and presents the links for the free updates issued by the software companies and makers – many times also posted at their product website. Many newer softwares have an Update button (not talking about buying Upgrades – but updates) and can be set to check for updates like daily, weekly monthly. This is how you know you have a higher quality software, and security attended, as opposed to some free do-dad thingy somewhere from off some download destination and become outdated and dangerous in this manner – spring clean ! Dump old outdated unattended softwares not used often or ever (forgotten installation) if you can live without it, as is an unattended potentially dangerous entry point. For instance, it may be a utility of software from way back in the decade and is completely dangerous as obsolete in current threats – the product coding security-wise was not even invented yet and is an easy target for break in and even take over the computer system eventually.
Happy and Safe Computing !
From our New Project ….
PC Security Helper
Posted by PC Security Helper Blog
Posted by BlueCollarPC.Org BlogCasts at 6/10/2010 4:22 AM
Categories: BlueCollarPC.Org Blog
Tags: riskware BlueCollarPC.Org Blog Windows Updates temporary internet files scareware stolen identity Security cyber crime crimeware ID Theft