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Take a bite out of cyber crime

Discussion in 'Technical' started by -06, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    5 ways are listed at the bottom:

    On assignment: How to steer clear of cybercrime hackers

    Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:14 PM EDT

    By Richard Engel
    NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent

    We all know the drill: Don’t open those suspicious email attachments, oroddly impersonal or out-of-character messages that seem to be from friends oryour mom.

    OK, but it’s hard to avoid. We read so many emails and type and click andlink and cut and paste so quickly, sometimes it just happens.

    What then? What if you open a nasty email? I’ve learned that really badthings can happen. It can wipe you out.

    Before I was assigned to Wednesday night’s Rock Center story on cybercrime,I was oblivious to cybercrimes and cyber threats. My life isn’t that technical.I’m often more worried about finding gasoline for a generator than downloadingthe latest application. Perhaps because my relative Internet isolation, I wasshocked at how pervasive hacking has become and how rampant and insidiouscybercrime can be.

    <hr align="center" SIZE="3" width="100%">

    To research this story, we met the top cybercrime officials at the FBI,leading computer scientists and numerous victims of hackers.

    I learned the hackers are much better than I suspected. Take the example ofa malware (basically a software that’s been maliciously designed to hurt you)with the imposing name of Zeus.

    Zeus gets into your computer through emails, links and attachments. You opena link that doesn’t look suspicious, even by accident, and Zeus gets in. Thehackers who use Zeus disguise the emails as updates to software you need orfake notes from friends or family. “Check out this new video.” “Did you seethis?” “Download the latest update for (insert your favorite software).” Theemail might even look like it has come from your best friend.

    You can’t assume you’ll spot them all. Zeus has loaded itself onto millionsof American computers. Once it’s in, Zeus watches you. Technically, the hackeruses Zeus to watch you, but in reality the two can’t be distinguished. Zeuswatches what you type. It copies your keystrokes, and it waits. Zeus willbaby-sit your computer until you type something really important, like thepassword for your bank account. When Zeus notices that you’ve gone to yourbank’s website and start typing, it gets very excited. It alerts its boss, thehacker, that he or she might want to pay attention. It’s like a pager servicefor thieves. You type in your bank details. Zeus copies it, then tells thehacker it’s got something good.

    Did I mention Zeus is on millions of American computers? Armed with Zeus,the hackers steal so many bank passwords that they sell them to each other on asecondary market. You can buy bundles of personal information, which mightinclude the password for Judy the Deadbeat who’s in debt, or Warren Buffet’spersonal accountant.

    With so much information, the hackers have the luxury of picking andchoosing their targets. They like small businesses. They like small-townAmerica. They like church groups or retirement homes or bakeries or deliverycompanies or any business or organization they think won’t be overly suspiciousand pays its bills and salaries online, preferably thought automatic payments.They love automatic payments.

    As I said, I’m not a computer expert, but after interviewing specialists andFBI officials, the best advice they gave me can be summed up in a few simpletips. But they’re only simple if you do them.


    1. Have a separate computer for online banking. Buy a cheap out-of-the-boxnew laptop and only use it for banking. It doesn’t have to be powerful orslick. A simple “net book” costs a couple hundred dollars. It does have to benew to ensure it’s not already compromised. Once you have the computer, don’tuse it to surf the Internet. Don’t load any software onto it. Don’t send emailsfrom it. Turn it on, do your banking, turn it off, unplug it, and put it in adrawer. Don’t let your kids order music on it. Think of it like a key.

    2. Have different passwords and change them frequently. Your bankingpassword should be unique. It’s easier to rip off a password from your localgym than your bank. If the passwords are all the same, you’re making a hacker’sjob easier.

    3. Another way to increase security is to cut-and-paste passwords, insteadof typing them in. Some people do this to protect against keylogger programs.

    4. Don’t leave the computer on all the time. It’s like leaving a doorunlocked.

    5. Think before you click. You can’t always win, but don’t blindly openattachments or links. Do you really need to see that video? Do you need to seeit on the computer that you use to send sensitive information? Be wary.

    There are also many antivirus or protective software applications which canadd an extra layer of security.

    The online world has been compromised. There are more thieves online than inyour neighborhood, and they want to get into your life though your computer.

    Editor’s note: Richard Engel’s full report, ‘Easy Money,’ airs Wednesdayat 10pm/9c on NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams.

    ]f you take the criminals off the street,you cannot have a gun problem."

    —Colonel Jeff Cooper<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" />
    weegrannymush likes this.
  2. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    Good piece of information. Thanks for your effort
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