Tag Archives: internet

More than one bug can be caught while traveling: Hotel wi-fi dangers

Business travelers won’t leave home without it.   Families take it with them like they would a wallet.  What is it?  It’s a laptop (netbook, tablet, or even an iPad.).  There are many reasons for taking it with us when we travel.  For some it’s staying on top of work and being available to at least respond to emergencies.  For many they can’t leave home or work without it.   Carrying our laptop, just like carrying our wallet comes with it’s own set of dangers.

While visiting my father he asked me to take a look at his laptop.  Ever since they went on vacation it just hadn’t “worked right.”   I asked him if he had his antivirus on “high” and did he use the hotel internet.   Finding out he used the free wi-fi at the resort where he and my mother were staying I knew that the search for a nasty little bug (and I don’t mean a bed bug) was going to take some time and possibly even the help of a professional.

The FBI recently released this statement about  hotel Wi-Fi dangers:

Malware Installed on Travelers’ Laptops Through Software Updates on Hotel Internet Connections

The FBI warns that “malicious actors are targeting travelers abroad through pop-up windows while they are establishing an Internet connection in their hotel rooms.”

How does this work?  Simply speaking, you are trying to connect to the wi-fi system in your hotel room.  For many that still means a cord (Ethernet) for others it is simply detecting the network of where you are staying.   The next step usually involves connecting to the hotel’s network by providing a password at a prompt on screen or on the internet browser window.  While you are doing this a screen pops up and says something like “you must update your …. (insert program here) in order to use this system.”   A click or two later and your laptop is going to encounter a “bug” or two.

The most convincing part of this program is, as the FBI warns, “The pop-up window appeared to be offering a routine update to a legitimate software product for which updates are frequently available.”

We’ve talked before about the dangers of internet use while traveling, especially when it pertains to wi-fi services.  Maybe the hotel wi-fi service is “spotty.”  Maybe your USB drive is stolen .  Maybe your restaurant or coffee shop that you are working from, like Starbucks, experiences a security breach.  Avoid putting your computer at risk by using your own hot spot connection.  Make sure to put your anti virus and malware programs on high.  Avoid third party cookies.   Check digital certificates before downloading any software program. Perform updates on your system before you leave and in most cases you shouldn’t have to do one again until after you return home.

If you have been a target of a malware “attack”  the FBI asks that you report it to IC3’s website at www.IC3.gov. The IC3’s complaint database links complaints together to refer them to the appropriate law enforcement agency for case consideration. The complaint information is also used to identify emerging trends and patterns and to help protect us from every emerging tech type scams.

Find out what other steps you can take to keep your computer safe, from Kapersky Labs.

The Real Deal: PayPal Phishing Scam

Do you ever check you “spam” mail box before deleting it?   I do, if nothing else it’s good for a laugh as I am promised long lasting sexual experiences and beautiful brides from Russia, not to mention the millions of dollars I’ll receive just for helping some poor soul out with a money laundering scheme where there really is no money to be laundered.   I also find some things that never should have made their way in there, so it’s nice to know there is a place where I can check in and judge for myself.

Yesterday I found a message which appeared to be from PayPal.  And, wow it was GOOD!  This was quite possibly the most well done phishing scam message I have ever gotten.   It includes the images from PayPal, the mailing address, the correct grammar and punctuation and even the correct domain name.  It warned me of an impending problem with my account and that I needed to log in to resolve it, while providing a helpful link to use.

I didn’t panic, but I did wonder.   First, why DID this go to my Spam mailbox?  Other PayPal notices came to this email address and I receive them.   Did the email service detect something that I didn’t?  Next, I realized that, I never receive official PayPal notices at this email account. It’s a secondary one set up for things like ebay purchases and sales.  While I may receive notice of a payment, I never receive official statements about my account. Those all go to my primary email address.

I thought, what’s one more day. If there is something wrong with the account, I can fix it tomorrow.  But in the meantime I’m going to report this to PayPal and tell them why.  I sent the message to spoof@paypal.com (I have the address saved in my address book but you can also get questions answered online).

Today here’s my response:

Hello xxxx xxxxx,

Thanks for forwarding that suspicious-looking email. You’re right – it
was a phishing attempt, and we’re working on stopping the fraud. By
reporting the problem, you’ve made a difference!

Identity thieves try to trick you into revealing your password or other
personal information through phishing emails and fake websites. To learn
more about online safety, click “Security Center” on any PayPal webpage.

Every email counts. When you forward suspicious-looking emails to
spoof@paypal.com, you help keep yourself and others safe from identity

Your account security is very important to us, so we appreciate your
extra effort.



This email is sent to you by the contracting entity to your User
Agreement, either PayPal Ince, PayPal Pte. Ltd or PayPal (Europe) S.à
r.l. & Cie, S.C.A. Société en Commandite par Actions, Registered Office:
5th Floor 22-24 Boulevard Royal L-2449, Luxembourg RCS Luxembourg B 118

So if it looks suspicious it probably is.  It doesn’t hurt to think about your emails before you click that link, open that image or pass it along.   I caught it this time.  Hopefully by being aware of what’s out there I will catch any attempts at a phishing scam again.

Bodacious babe caused FBI to nail alleged Anonymous hacker

They are nameless, faceless and anonymous.   They are hackers extraordinaire.   Some refer to them as a modern day “Robin Hood” as they steal from the data wealthy and give to the poor.”  Others disagree and say there is nothing heroic about their efforts.   But recently one of them turned “traitor” to stay out of jail and another one was “nailed” by the FBI all thanks to one “bodacious” babe.

Higinio Ochao III, was recently charged as one of the Anonymous, CabinCr3w, that hacked into law enforcement databases, collecting and releasing the names,  addresses and telephone numbers of police officers across the United States.  This could have put a number of law enforcement officials, as well as their families in danger.

This Linux administrator is also being accused of hacking the websites of the Alabama and Texas departments of public safety in February in support of the occupy movement.   This  criminal complaint alleges that Ochoa, who went by the Twitter handle @Anonw0rmer and that while hacking in the County of Houston’s website in Alabama  Agent Scott Jensen says,

“The attacker created fake events on their online calendar, posted images representing Anonymous and CabinCr3w, deleted all the administrator accounts except the one created by the attacker. All of this was accomplished by gaining unauthorized administrator access to the site’s control panel.”

Ochao strongly denies working with the FBI and other law enforcement officials, but seems to have no problem sharing his disdain for their organization and their interrogation techniques.   You can find what appears to be his full statement on PasteBin.

So how did this protestor extraordinaire get busted for hacking?   It’s a tale as old as the Bible.  Some would say it’s a modern day version of Samson and Deliliah.  It’s hard to tell if it was a beautiful woman that caused him to be busted, but law enforcement officials are claiming it to be one great big “bust” based on a bodacious babes boobs.  Yes, that is some of the evidence against Ochao.

Apparently Ochao tooks some pictures of his Australian girlfriend and posted them on his Facebook account, Twitter feed and on his websites.  If you can look past her size to the sign you will see the statement “PwNd by w0rmer & CabinCr3w <3 u BiTch’s !” 

The Twitter account directed followers to a website on which they could find more information about the  ”oppression by police departments around the world … EVERY police department is at risk and will remain that way …”  Another featured a picture of a woman with a sign stating ”We Are ALL Anonymous We NEVERForgive. We NEVER Forget. <3 @Anonw0rmer”.

You can not see the woman’s face in any of the photos but that doesn’t stop the FBI, which claims in the affidavit, that the same woman seems to be appearing in all the photos. (Photos available at Daily Mail News)

Most of us aren’t hackers, but we have been warned of the dangers of our location being found as we take, upload and share photos taken from our Smartphones and iPhone.   For most of us the danger of doing so probably won’t lead to an arrest, but for many it could lead to it’s own set of problems.


Cell phone tracking becomes common practice by law enforcement

Geotagging dangers 



Don’t play games with your online and mobile banking

Last month the FBI warned consumers about a new online backing hoax as warning consumers about, called “Gameover.”  Gameover is a malware (software designed to hurt your computer and to steal information) that comes to you via an email message, supposedly from National Automated Clearing House Association, the Federal Reserve or the FDIC.

How does Gameover work?

The message attempts to trick you into logging into “your account” or a reasonably, believable fake site, and basically handing over your information as you log in.  Gameover takes over your computer and is able to obtain usernames, addresses, passwords and then of course, your money.  But that’s not the best part of this “game.”   The “bad guys” then attempt to make sure you can’t head over to bank account in a new window or tab and use their link instead by creating a Denial of Service attack.  a DDOS attack shuts down a business or person’s website using a botnet at the server so the link “in” maybe the only way you see to handle your personal finance emergency.

No mystery to these mystery shoppers

The newest investigations have uncovered that once the money is stolen Continue reading Don’t play games with your online and mobile banking

Nothing Anonymous about this take down of child porn sites

This summer the hacker group Anonymous lost a great deal of whatever support their organization had as they allegedly took down the online payment and invoicing service PayPal  hitting the average user hard as they tried to transfer funds or access money on deposit.

(Read PayPal Cyber Attack Arrests)

But the latest news about them is that they used recently used their talents to fight the forces of evil online.

Anonymous is taking credit for taking down more than 40 child pornography websites.   Their campaign “Operation Darknet” began mid October when they decided to enter the dark forces of the web world called “darknet” and bring the actions there to light.

Darnet is a part of the Internet that is hidden, deliberately concealed, offering services like fake ID’s, steroids, prank calling and ironically hacking tips.

Finding a site titled “Hard Candy”  while browsing the Hidden Wiki we noticed a section called Hard Candy which was dedicated to links to child pornography. We then removed all links on the website, within 5 minutes the links were edited back in by an admin. For this reason, we will continue to make the Hidden Wiki unavailable. (taken from their timeline of events) They then decided to dig deeper into the dark underworld of the Internet and found “Freedom Hosting.”

Freedom Hosting “free” no more 

The hackers affiliated with Anonymous warned the Freedom Hosting to take down the child pornography and issued a deadline.  When they failed to do so, the hackers did it for them.  Several hours later, the site was back up again only to be taken down again.

Anonymous issued the following demand statement of which this is an excerpt

“The owners and operators at Freedom Hosting are openly supporting child pornography and enabling pedophiles to view innocent children, fueling their issues and putting children at risk of abduction, molestation, rape and death,” the message said. “For this, Freedom Hosting has been declared #OpDarknet Enemy Number One. By taking down Freedom Hosting, we are eliminating 40+ child pornography websites, among these is Lolita City, one of the largest child pornography websites to date containing more than 100 GB of child pornography. We will continue to not only crash Freedom Hosting’s server, but any other server we find to contain, promote, or support child pornography.”

See the full timeline of events and their demands in this Pastebin post. 

Apparently Anonymous doesn’t take child pornography lightly, because not only did the take the sites down but they also released the names of  of some 1500 registered users in a Pastebin post, on these sites. This isn’t the first time that this organization has hackattacked a website contrary to their agenda.  Among those they have accessed are the New York Stock Exchange, the Westboro Baptist Church, the Recording Industry Association of America and government sites in Malaysia, Egypt, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.

Let’s just hope they continue to don their “white hats” as they hactevate across the web.  I don’t think anyone would like to encounter another holiday season where they had to worry about what they may do next to popular online service and shopping sites.

(Read  WikiLeaks may be spilling into your online holiday shopping and bill paying plans)

Their parting “shot”

We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
Expect us.
What do you think?  Are they the "good guys" or the "bad guys"  or the new online anti-hero?

First Person: My experience with credit card fraud and theft

I had a chance to talk to someone first hand how a credit card theft affected their life.  Find out what she did to find who did what and how and what she did to get the money back.

Here’s single parent/freelance writer Amy’s story:

Recently, I got my credit card numbers stolen online and the thief used it to charge almost $300 worth of flowers and subscriptions. I used to think that identity theft only happened to those people who went on risky sites and should have known better.  Now I know better.

I have used online banking since 2001, and have never had a problem with someone out of my household using the card for unauthorized purchases. It simply goes to show that everyone is at risk.

I am a single mom and have been for years. In 2007, I began working as a freelance writer to support my three children and myself. My ‘paycheck’ comes from an assortment of websites and funnels into an online banking place. Typically, it stays on the card so I can pay the bills that I need to pay.

I noticed some money missing and I began to question my kids. Sometimes they use the card but they always put the money back. They never borrow much, so when I saw hundreds of dollars missing, I got very mad.

Continue reading First Person: My experience with credit card fraud and theft

Internet Privacy Eraser Free Download

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Hey, came cros your web and saw u have coupons n stuf. Can I erase my surf history on internet for free? Sum program I kan download free?

Tks, plx b sur to email bak.

Hi Jes,

Not to be insulting, but please enroll in a school that will help you with your communication skills. I know English may be your second language (or if it’s not, you really should head back to school to download a lot of new information), but it’s hard even to understand what you’re asking.

My guess is that you are looking for a way to erase your Internet browsing history from your computer, and you’re asking if there’s a program that you can download for free?

I’m also judging (though it may be an unfair judgment), that what you want is not really to protect your privacy, but that you really just want to download something to make sure your wife/mom/dad/kids (oh help us all if you’re educating little ones), don’t find out what you’ve been doing on the Internet.

There are programs that you can download for free. However, we don’t recommend most of them as they come filled with scams and spam and other junk.

One program that is pretty good though is Internet Privacy Eraser. They have a free trial download which you can see links for above and below, and this will let you erase your browsing history so that you can protect your privacy.

In your case, you can also erase all those porn sites you’ve been visiting.

Internet Privacy Eraser also has a free trial download, but if you know you will be using it a lot, we recommend you go ahead and buy Internet Privacy Eraser’s Pro version. We’ve gotten a 40% off coupon code below.

So, link 1 below goes directly to the trial download. If you want to test it before you use it, click that link.

Otherwise, click link #2 and get the coupon for 40% off when you buy Privacy Eraser Pro.

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Privacy Pro: Best Anonymous Surf Proxy For The Internet?

Privacy Pro Lets you Surf the web anonymously
Free Trial of Privacy Pro Anonymous Surf Software

From a personal security and personal liberty standpoint, many people don’t realize is the implications behind the Internet being a 2-way connection.

Surfing the web gives you the ability to have a window on the world, choosing what you want to see while you surf.

However, in that process, you’re giving your ISP and/or toolbar/browser companies the ability to gather information about who you are and what kinds of information you like to surf.

You don’t have to be doing something illegal or be a professional criminal to want more privacy while surfing the web.

And let’s be clear that wanting to be able to surf the Internet anonymously is okay.

There’s no reason that your Internet Service Provider, Google, Microsoft, the government, or anyone else needs to know everything about your surfing habits or what you look at on the web.

More problematic, however, is that thieves can mask themselves as legitimate businesses or enterprises and collect information about you, the computer, your location, and your operating system

In addition to knowing what kinds of information you like to surf the web and look for, all of this information becomes pieces of a puzzle which can be aggregated into a complete picture of you.
Continue reading Privacy Pro: Best Anonymous Surf Proxy For The Internet?

F-Secure: Save 20% on F-Secure Through This Promotional Coupon


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F-Secure says that the promise you get when you purchase one of their anti virus or Internet Security packages is that they will secure the things that are irreplaceable.  Based on our experience with free trials of F-Secure software, we would say that F-Secure lives up to this promise.

Google and Yahoo used to have competitions about who had indexed more of the Internet.  Today those discussions are dead.  The Internet grows every week at the same rate it grew for the entire 1996 year.  The rate of growth for unique pieces of malware (and the sheer number of web sites) online today is also simply staggering.  The Internet is growing so fast that it doesn’t matter who has indexed more pages.

From a security standpoint, this means that if you’re running old software, and old protection, protection that is based solely on getting a copy of a malware file or analyzing a unique URL, you are simply asking for trouble.

F-Secure Internet Security 2011 makes sure that you are protected against modern and complex threats by the concept of Kaizen.  Kaizen is constant and never-ending improvement.  FSecure uses this philosophy to always be growing their ability to detect problems and secure computers. Continue reading F-Secure: Save 20% on F-Secure Through This Promotional Coupon

Stop Sign Antivirus: Discount Coupon for Antivirus from Stop Sign Internet Security

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Looking for a US-based internet company that’s been around for a long time and produces quality anitivirus software, but really isn’t known?

StopSign Internet Security comes from a company called eAcceleration Corp.  They have been in the software development business since 1987.

In 2001, Stop Sign Internet Security created Stop Sign Antivirus.  With the development of StopSign Internet Antivirus, eAcceleration created a program that’s fast, effective, and easy to use.  StopSign’s Internet Security software combines state of the art detection.

Their antivirus program also comes with great support.  This is important in any product you use to protect your computer(s) from viruses and spyware. Continue reading Stop Sign Antivirus: Discount Coupon for Antivirus from Stop Sign Internet Security