Social Engineering Techniques – Pretexting

Social Engineering Techniques – Pretexting

Pretexting is a social engineering technique wherein a hacker uses false pretenses to engage with with his/her intended victim in order to get information from that target. Basically it’s a lie with a made-up story to go along with it. Pretexting is often used to gain trust, and when trust is gained by the pretexter, data and privacy are in danger.

A classic example of pretexting in the offline world is someone pretending to be a pizza delivery guy (or gal) to gain access to the front door of a house. Once the door is open, the would-be criminal can peek inside, look for valuables, guard dogs, and the layout of the home. Pretexting in the online world tends to be electronic, such as IMing with someone over a long period of time and gaining their trust on a social networking site by pretending to be someone they aren’t.

Pretexting can be found anywhere sensitive information or privacy issue are a concern: your home, your work, or even you local cable company.

It would be virtually impossible to steer clear of a master pretexter, but you can keep your eyes (and ears) open (figuratively speaking) for someone online or offline who seems relatively innocuous at first, but then gets a little too nosy. Just remember that loose lips sink ships and you should be fine.

Image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/flipmovie/.

If you're looking for great anti-virus software that won't break the bank, try StopSign. You don't pay extra for tech support for difficult malware, and our web protection software just works. Download & install StopSign to find out why our members choose us over the other options.

January 28th, 2011 is World Data Privacy Day

January 28th, 2011 is World Data Privacy Day

Friday, January 28th, 2011 is World Data Privacy Day. With a New Year comes a new time to stop and think about how data privacy affects you and your family. Whether you’re accessing information online by a mobile device, social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook, or if you’re using other online services, information you type in, request, or log in with is being captured and acted upon by others.

As a Digital Citizen, it’s up to you to watch the watchers… to ensure that your data is being handled properly by the sites and services you choose to use. As such, you should educate yourself on how sites are tracking your information, storing your data, or processing your logins. If you don’t, who will?

For more information about data privacy, you can visit our blog posts tagged with “Privacy“, or the Washington State Attorney General’s page on Internet safety. Feel free to also check out the StopSign privacy policy for details on how we deal with privacy issues. You can also leave a comment below with any questions if you like.

If you're looking for great anti-virus software that won't break the bank, try StopSign. You don't pay extra for tech support for difficult malware, and our web protection software just works. Download & install StopSign to find out why our members choose us over the other options.

Internet Privacy and Internet Safety Tips for 2011

Internet Privacy and Internet Safety Tips for 2011

A New Year brings in a lot of new things to everyone… New hopes. New dreams. And yes, sometimes it brings in some new bad things, too. Such is life. But while we can’t help make your favorite sports teams win, and we can’t do anything about that crazy co-worker in the cubicle next to you, but we can give you some tips on how to stay safe online in 2011.

You can bet your bottom dollar that Internet privacy concerns, identity theft, malware distribution, cyber attacks, and a host of other technology-related problems are only going to rise and morph over the course of the year. (They always seem to, don’t they?!) Keep yourself, your family, your information, and your money safe by following the tips below:

  • Change your passwords:

    Yep. All of ’em. I know I mentioned it last year, but if you didn’t change your passwords then, you really should change your passwords right now. The safety and security of the information on your PC is literally a password away from being grabbed and abused by unscrupulous characters on the web.

  • Patch it up:

    You’ve got a computer. You’ve got software. And you’ve probably got patches you can apply to them all. Unpatched machines and software leave holes open that hackers can take advantage of, so patch your PC today. Doing so will not only keep your machine secure, it might make a program or two a bit more peppy or give it a few more features.

  • Desocialize your network:

    Look, I love Twitter, Facebook, an LinkedIn just as much as the next guy or gal, but every now an again you should review and do a little housekeeping on your social networking profiles. Think about it: Do you really need Jake, formerly of accounting, on your friend list now that he’s gone and you only added him because he was a co-worker in the first place? I didn’t think so.

  • Geolocation in moderation:

    Our blog post “Stranger Danger: Geolocation Features and Internet Safety” still stands, in my personal opinion, as one of the most important blog articles written in 2010 from both a personal safety and Internet safety standpoint. If you haven’t seen it, please read our article on geolocation safety tips now, especially if you’re using any of the location-aware features of Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, or any other service or device.

I sincerely hope these tips help you stay protected. Happy New Year, and I hope you have the best of luck with all of your Internet privacy and Internet security concerns in 2011.

If you're looking for great anti-virus software that won't break the bank, try StopSign. You don't pay extra for tech support for difficult malware, and our web protection software just works. Download & install StopSign to find out why our members choose us over the other options.

StopSign – Virus Removal Made Easy

StopSign – Virus Removal Made Easy

If you’ve ever been hit with a computer virus, you know that the actual act of the virus removal isn’t always the easiest part of the process. In fact, it can be the longest, most time-consuming portion of dealing with the removal of an infection, depending on your security software and the nature of the malware that takes up residence in your PC.

Any decent antivirus product will clean you out pretty well, but every now and again a particularly nasty infection rears it’s ugly head and there are leftovers that, at best, clutter up your PC and at worst re-infect your computer. It’s enough to make your head explode.

Why Virus Removal is Important

That’s why the actual virus removal is such an integral part of the antivirus process. Making sure that the threat is identified is only one aspect; an entirely different, and equally important, part is cleanly, efficiently, and quickly removing all traces of the infection. The last thing you want happening is to have any remaining bits of malware cluttering up your computer once its been removed.

The StopSign Difference

At StopSign we pride ourselves on making sure that we not only find the infections, but that we clean and remove the viruses and other infections from your PC as well as possible. StopSign makes virus removal easy with 3 simple steps that anyone, and I mean anyone can follow:

  1. Install StopSign:Download the StopSign threat scanner and install it on your computer.
  2. Run StopSign:Once installed, run StopSign. At the end of your scan you’ll get a set of Scan Results that will tell you if any viruses or other infections were found. If you need help getting up and running you can check out our StopSign support and contact the StopSign support staff.
  3. Check Your Results:Review your Scan Results and see if you have any issues. If nothing was found, great; you’ve got a clean computer. But if something was found and you’re a StopSign member, it was most likely taken care of automatically, and if it wasn’t, then removal of the infection is a simple matter of clicking a button requesting a Custom Cure® which is a free service for active StopSign members where we remove persistent and/or “zero day” infections at no additional charge. Most other Internet security companies charge $80 or more per incident to remove those infections.

    If you’re not a StopSign member, visit our shopping cart and choose the best option for you. You’ll not only get all updates for free during the course of your active membership, but you’ll also be eligible for free Custom Cures any time you need them.

Find out why you should skip the status quo and give StopSign a try. We’re different, and that difference makes us better.

If you're looking for great anti-virus software that won't break the bank, try StopSign. You don't pay extra for tech support for difficult malware, and our web protection software just works. Download & install StopSign to find out why our members choose us over the other options.

Is That Picture Worth Downloading?

Is That Picture Worth Downloading?

It’s a well known fact that downloading certain kinds of material is more dangerous than others. Outside of any possible moral, philosophical, or comfort factors, there are security reasons that make the PG-13 (and higher) side of the Internet a hotbed of potential problems for your PC.

But adult sites aren’t the only ones that get targeted. Celebrity/gossip sites, thumbnail/graphic sites, video sharing sites, and even Harry Potter related sites are all targets; often without the knowledge of the site owner.

Once installed on your machine, spyware and Trojans can track your every move. Any link you click, site you visit, or text you read. There have even been cases of spyware creators blackmailing victims they’ve been spying on in an attempt to get cash from them.

Titillating, popular, and/or well-trafficked content on the Internet is big business, and the malware developers of the world know it. Because it’s content that get a lot of eyes looking and clicks happening, the malware folks take advantage of that fact and spread their wares on sites that cater to looky-loo’s. As such, every bikini-wearing beauty, her less-clothed sisters, and other video/picture/movie websites are a possible suspect for computer infection.

So before you head to that site, click that video, or download that picture, think about what you (or rather, your PC) could catch if you do.

If you're looking for great anti-virus software that won't break the bank, try StopSign. You don't pay extra for tech support for difficult malware, and our web protection software just works. Download & install StopSign to find out why our members choose us over the other options.

Holiday Scams for 2010

Holiday Scams for 2010

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… so they say. Right about now holiday scammers are ramping up their ho-ho-horrible trade and preying on unsuspecting folks who are trying to spread a little cheer to family, friends, and those in need.

Be on the lookout for people who are trying to take advantage of your generosity and your pocket book and you’ll be spending the holidays with friends and loved ones instead of on the phone with your bank or credit card company, trying to reverse the damage done by an online crook.

Here’s a sampling of some of the holiday scams you’ll find this year:

  • Gift Card Scams:

    There are all kinds of gift card scams, so your best bet is to actually buy gift cards from the actual store you get the card from versus buying them from eBay or off the guy on the sidewalk selling a (fake) $100 gift card for only $50. (Yes, that happens)

  • Charity Scams:

    This time of year is a traditionally popular time to give to charity, but no matter if you receive a phone call, an email, or a person knocking on your door, make sure they’re actually from the charity they claim to be. When in doubt, contact the charity yourself and give that way.

  • Name a Star Scams:

    My mom actually fell for this one. It was a sweet sentiment, getting our kids a “star” they can name, but the honest truth of the matter is that stars are only officially named, and recognized, by the International Astronomical Union, and they don’t commercially offer star names up to buy.

  • Wire Transfer Scams:

    One of the quickest ways to remove money from your bank account and get nothing back is through a wire transfer; especially if doing one overseas. Auction sites are especially notorious for these kinds of scams, so keep your money and don’t agree to a wire transfer, even if you did find that awesome toy from your younger days on eBay, still in the original package.

So with that, I hope you have a merry little Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, or whatever you celebrate. Just make sure you do it safely both offline and online!

If you're looking for great anti-virus software that won't break the bank, try StopSign. You don't pay extra for tech support for difficult malware, and our web protection software just works. Download & install StopSign to find out why our members choose us over the other options.