Don’t Get Scammed While Shopping This Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us. That means Black Friday, Cyber Monday, online shopping, deliveries, special emails, etc.

With all of that going on, the chance of being scammed increases. It was this time last year that Target’s checkout registers were hacked and millions of customers had their credit card information stolen. That was followed by Home Depot and preceded preceded by TJ Max and others. You avoided the stores and decided to shop online? That’s fine until you get the emails from UPS, FedEX, USPS letting you know that the item you’re expecting can’t be delivered, but click this link to find out why….VIRUS. So, what do you do? These tips should help.

Use a Credit Card, Not a Debit Card

Credit cards are much more secure than debit cards. You are protected for fraudulent purchases over $50. Additionally, your debit card is usually connected to your checking account so if someone steals your debit card information, they also have direct access to your checking account. A credit card protects you from that as well.

Another option is to get a prepaid or single use credit card. You can talk to your financial institution to see if they offer single use credit cards. They are great for shopping online. You use them once and no one can use them again.

Watch Out for Emails

This is the time of year where your email is getting bombarded with special offers. Incredible deals abound, just click this link…Don’t do it. Emails have an amazing way of looking like they’re coming from a reputable store but when you click the link, you’re taken to a website that just wants to steal your data.

If you see something you really like in an email, don’t click the link. Open your browser and go to the store’s website to see if they’re really offering that special. If so, use your credit card and order it. If not, delete the email. It was spam.

If you get an email from UPS, FedEX or USPS, be wary. They’ll tell you that your package was returned because it couldn’t be delivered and prompt you to click a link to find out why, or download and open an attachment. Don’t do it as that attachment or link will most likely contain a virus. 

The Top Sites in a Search Engine Are Usually Ad Sites

When you do a search for an item, the top sites that come up are usually ads or links that people pay for so that they come up first. Some of those people who pay for placement will put virus links on their site. Scroll down a little on the page to get  to the real sites that have the products for sale. 

Keep Track of Your Purchases 

Keep accurate records of your transactions. If you order online, print your receipts and keep them in a file. If you’re shopping in stores, keep your receipts and keep them in a file. That way you’ll have everything you need if a dispute arises, and it’s much easier to check your statements against the receipts when the statements come in the next month.

 

25 “Worst Passwords” of 2011 Revealed – Yahoo! Finance

25 “Worst Passwords” of 2011 Revealed – Yahoo! Finance.

If you see your password below, STOP!

Do not finish reading this post and immediately go change your password — before you forget. You will probably make changes in several places since passwords tend to be reused for multiple accounts.

1. password

2. 123456

3.12345678

4. qwerty

5. abc123

6. monkey

7. 1234567

8. letmein

9. trustno1

10. dragon

11. baseball

12. 111111

13. iloveyou

14. master

15. sunshine

16. ashley

17. bailey

18. passw0rd

19. shadow

20. 123123

21. 654321

22. superman

23. qazwsx

24. michael

25. football

Users report Microsoft Security Essentials removes Google Chrome

By Ed Bott | September 30, 2011, 9:14am PDT – Full Article from ZDNet

Summary: Hundreds of users on Google Chrome Help forum this morning reported that Microsoft security products were identifying Chrome as a password-stealing Trojan and removing it. Update: Microsoft acknowledged the issue, posted a fix.

UPDATE, 10:00 AM PDT: Microsoft has identified the problem as being caused by a faulty definition file. This text has been added to the relevant page at the company’s Malware Protection Center:

On September 30th, 2011, an incorrect detection for PWS:Win32/Zbot was identified. On September 30th, 2011, Microsoft released an update that addresses the issue. Signature versions 1.113.672.0 and higher include this update.

PWS:Win32/Zbot is a password-stealing trojan that monitors for visits to certain Web sites. It allows limited backdoor access and control and may terminate certain security-related processes.

UPDATE 2, 11:15 AM PDT: A Microsoft spokesperson provides the following response via e-mail:

On September 30th, 2011, an incorrect detection for PWS:Win32/Zbot was identified and as a result, Google Chrome was inadvertently blocked and in some cases removed from customers PCs. We have already fixed the issue – we released an updated signature (1.113.672.0) at 9:57 am PDT – but approximately 3,000 customers were impacted. Affected customers should manually update Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) with the latest signatures. To do this, simply launch MSE, go to the update tab and click the Update button, and then reinstall Google Chrome. We apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused our customers.

The response does not provide any guidance for Forefront customers who have been affected by this issue. I’ve also asked for clarification on the “approximately 3,000 customers” figure. If a Forefront installation covering hundreds or thousands of users is counted as a single customer, the actual number of affected PCs could be considerably higher.

Windows AntiVirus 2011 or Fake AntiVirus

There have been a lot of fake antivirus infections lately. I’m getting several calls  a week from people telling me that while they were searching the internet, windows started popping up all over their screen telling them they have viruses, trojans, etc. I used to spend hours cleaning computers with various antivirus programs, but then found that I could do it much quicker by using the following method.

When this problem comes up, I ask what the user has or hasn’t clicked on. What they say next is what determines my next course of action. The way these programs work is that they “offer” to clean up your computer if you buy their software. If you choose not to buy their software, and try to click out of the windows by clicking cancel or the red x to close the window, you’re faced with more windows because these options have been set up to download the fake antivirus program and install it on your computer.

So, what to do when one of these programs shows up on your computer? Don’t panic and start clicking things. Recognize that even though it may look like a legitimate Windows warning, if you have a virus, your own antivirus program will pop up telling you so. What you need to do is to press CTRL-ALT-DEL to bring up the Task Manager and then end the browser process. Once you’ve ended the browser this way, you can safely reopen the browser and continue your surfing.

If, however, you have clicked an option and these windows are just continually taking over your screen, reboot your computer. Just as it starts to come up and you see the opening text on the screen, start pressing the F8 key until you get a menu on the screen. Choose to boot into Safe Mode. The screen will look different from what you’re used to, but that’s okay. Once you are at the desktop, click your start button, bottom left of the screen. Go to Programs, Accessories, System Tools, System Restore. When System Restore comes up, choose to restore your computer to a point prior to when you experienced the problem. This could be earlier that day or even a day or two past.

This will not remove any files or data you have worked on or created in that time period, but will restore your Windows system back to a healthy state. Your computer will reboot once and tell you whether it was restored successfully or not. If it was successful, run a virus scan with your antivirus program, but you should be all set at this point.

I think my e-mail has been hijacked…

Lately it seems more and more e-mail accounts have been hijacked and are being used to send out spam. Most of these e-mail accounts have been web based accounts, like Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail and AOL.

What happens is that someone gains access to an e-mail account and begins to send spam to everyone in the address book. It doesn’t just appear to come from you, it actually is coming from you.

How do you know it’s happening? Well, first you might have a lot of undeliverable messages coming to your inbox. Then, you’ll have some people in your address book ask you if you meant to send what they just received from you. If this happens, what should you do?

First, don’t assume you have a virus on your computer, especially if you do your e-mail over the internet. However, that being said, it’s not a bad idea to do a malware scan with Malwarebytes and SuperAntiSpyware. Then you should change the password to your e-mail account. This should stop the spam coming from you.

One of the big dangers of passwords is that most people use the same password for all of the websites they log into. If someone stole your password, they’d have access to every site you log into with that password. Always use different passwords for each and every site you sign up for. Fortunately, there are password programs, like Roboform and Keepass which will let you store your passwords on flash drives or locally on your computer and will also generate passwords for you for different sites and remember them so that when you access that site again, it will autofill the login so you don’t need to remember the password.

In general, it’s a great idea to change your password for various sites a couple of times a year anyway. These sites include e-mail accounts, social networking sites and banking sites. It may seem like a hassle, but compared to trying to clean up after someone has stolen your data, it’s a quick way of protecting yourself online.

Critical Security “Fixes” from Microsoft and Adobe

Microsoft plans to release fixes for twelve security bulletins tomorrow, three of which have been deemed “critical”. Those who don’t bother with the update could find themselves vulnerable to several remote execution threats. Security experts are referring to this Patch Tuesday as an important bit of “spring cleaning” on the part of Microsoft, but it’s not alone in providing vital fixes this week. Adobe will also be releasing security updates for its Reader and Acrobat ns on Tuesday.
If your computer doesn’t automatically do system updates, you’ll have to manually download and install the updates. To do that, in Internet Explorer, go to http://update.microsoft.com. You should be prompted to install critical updates.

In addition, Microsoft has issued a formal warning that all versions of the Windows are vulnerable to a new exploit. The vulnerability could allow attackers access to sensitive data (such as passwords) after a user unknowingly clicks on a malicious web link. The flaw is related to the way online content is viewed via the web browser Internet Explorer (IE) but not Firefox or Chrome. Microsoft late last week admitted that the vulnerability exists and that it affects every version of Windows, from Windows XP to Windows 7. For those committed to using Internet Explorer, Microsoft has posted a temporary FixIt solution. Microsoft has assured IE users that the workaround will not dramatically affect the way the browser performs.

Adobe is planning to release updates for Adobe Reader X (10.0) for Windows and Macintosh, Adobe Reader 9.4.1 and earlier versions for Windows, Macintos, Adobe Acrobat X (10.0) for Windows and Macintosh, and Adobe Acrobat 9.4.1 and earlier versions for Windows and Macintosh to resolve critical security issues. Adobe expects to make updates for Windows and Macintosh available on Tuesday, February 8, 2011.  You should be prompted by your program to do the update.

 

Chrome is up in the air, in the clouds, literally

By Paula Rooney | November 8, 2010, 7:59am PST

Google has teamed up with three major airlines to make Chrome and the Internet available free on flights through the holidays.

On Monday, the web services giant’s browser team said it has deals in place with AirTran, Delta and Virgin American to provide Gogo inflight Internet access at no cost to passengers from Nov. 20 through Jan 2, 2011.

The service — which will reportedly allow passengers to check e-mail and surf the web –n will be available on more than 700 planes.

I’d give this a 9.5 on the PR campaign scale. Business passengers have dreamed of in flight access for years and consumers are now just as hooked. Nearly every surfer knows about Internet Explorer and Firefox (the reincarnated Netscape Navigator) and Chrome has made a huge dent over the past year. This will only heighten awareness of the open source browser.

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/open-source/chrome-is-up-in-the-air-in-the-clouds-literally/7738?tag=nl.e550

 

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