Posts Tagged identity theft

Use Dodoname to Stop Phishing Attacks. | phishing, privacy, email

Use Dodoname to Stop Phishing Attacks. | phishing, privacy, email

“A woman in the UK has been scammed out of her life savings through a simple phishing email orchestrated by cyber criminals.” Yahoo June 29, 2015.

On March 19 I wrote a blog – ‘Identity theft and who has the keys to your virtual house?’ It was inspired by a story about a neighbor of mine who was about to make the same terrible mistake as this unfortunate woman in the UK.

Creating a Dodoname account and using a Dodoname email address could have eliminated the phishing problem in both cases. Phishers endeavor make themselves look like a legitimate enterprise that you would normally transact business with – such as your bank or eBay. The first key to the phisher is to get your email address. Once they have your email address they can try to insert themselves into your daily communications by mimicking the legitimate business and eventually trying to gain your trust and trick you into handing over money or private information.

Using a Dodoname email address would have gone a long way to stopping the risk of these phishing attacks – and other invasions of your privacy. Your first line of defence against phishers is to use a Dodoname email address whenever you register for any online service. Because of Dodoname’s ‘matched sender’ feature, a phishers’ attempt to use this email would simply fail. A Dodoname email address is of no use to phishers, spammers, and scammers. Not only does Dodoname give you have privacy and freedom on the Internet but your inbox gets dramatically cleaned out of spam.

Remember, never give out your real email address again – use a Dodoname email address. Dodoname is you personal privacy manager.

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9 Dodoname Privacy Protection Tips for Online Daters

9 Dodoname Privacy Protection Tips for Online Daters
  1. Never share your first or last name, telephone number, address, place of work, or any other personally identifiable information.
  2. Share information about yourself without providing specifics that could allow somebody to identify you.
  3. Ensure that any digital photos that you post do not have metadata in them.
  4. Always pick a different username between different dating sites and never reuse a username between personal/business sites and a dating site.
  5. Always read the privacy policy.  Leave the site if you don’t like what you read.
  6. Always review and change the default settings and filters on the dating site and set up the controls that meet your needs. Assume the default settings are never they way you want them to be.
  7. Never ever send money.
  8. Fabricated information on a resume is an unfortunate fact and the same happens on a dating site. Do whatever you can to validate or background check before you meet someone.
  9. Always use Dodonames. Never use your regular email address.

Posted in: Anonymity, Identity, Online Dating, Privacy

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Focus your email to protect your privacy and stay safe online.

Focus your email to protect your privacy and stay safe online.

If you are concerned about identify theft and other privacy/security concerns there is a simple email precaution you can take to protect yourself. How about – never give out your personal or business email to someone or business you don’t know?

Sounds like common sense, does it not – yet, we do it all the time! Every day we sign up for newsletters; give our email to a point of sale clerk; register for online dating; use it to get WiFi at the coffee shop or airport; register for coupons, daily deal sites and freely hand out our email address in many other situations where we don’t know the people or business. Don’t do it! Protect your privacy and stop identity theft.

Never give your personal or business email address to people or businesses you don’t know. Privacy invasions and identity theft, in most cases, start with an email address. Your personal or business email address is the key to the front door of your digital house.  Why would you ever share that key with every supplier you can think of and risk identity theft?

Little Known Fact About the Selling of Email Addresses.

Many companies have no problem selling email addresses while at the same time agreeing not to spam you. You unsubscribe from their mailing list but not from their selling list! Conclusion: Protect your privacy, don’t let your personal email get on their list in the first place

However easy it is to say, ‘never share your email with people and businesses you don’t know’, in reality we actually need to maintain a digital communications with many of these folks. Many of us simply create another email address, ‘our spam address’, in gmail, yahoo or hotmail.  We end up with another inbox that is full of spam and also contains lots of legitimate communication.

Dodoname – Privacy by Design.

Enter Dodoname, which was designed specifically for when you don’t want to use your regular email address and also want a way to start, manage and stop all these ‘other emails’.

Remember, stop identity theft, never give out your regular email address again to someone to don’t know – use a Dodoname.

Posted in: Anonymity, Data breach, Email, Fraud, Identity, Privacy, Uncategorized

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The Right to Know When I Am Not Left Alone – Is Not Enough.

The Right to Know When I Am Not Left Alone – Is Not Enough.

Our online privacy is continuously compromised with the scanning, skimming and scraping of our emails and our browsing behavior.

A recent study concluded that 92% of the population believes “that collecting the content of emails is unacceptable”. How many consumers understand that virtually every email is scanned, skimmed and scraped for information and their privacy is breached every day? A recent article in The Economist describes how people do not protect their right to privacy and anonymity.

Google scans the content of all emails on its servers as well as all emails sent or received by a gmail account. Google considers that users have no ‘reasonable expectation’ of privacy. This stance flies in the face of the predominant and consistent research about consumers’ ‘privacy expectations’.

Rami Essaid recently wrote in TechCrunch that, “The truth is, people will never achieve true privacy and anonymity online.” He concludes that tracking is here to stay and that it is getting more pervasive and sophisticated. His main thesis is that our discussion should not be about absolute the right to privacy or anonymity but about transparency.

If Essaid is correct, the horse has left the barn in terms of protecting our privacy and anonymity. Instead, he proposes focusing on making it visible and transparent about how our online privacy will be accessed or ripped off.  It is OK to to invade our privacy as long as it is transparent! Should consumers simply give up that they have any expectation for online privacy? This is almost Orwellian in concept – a dark road that we must not travel as this means that others have the right to observe us without our consent!

The Right to Privacy

In 1890, Warren and Brandeis wrote The Right to Privacy and their key argument was the “right to be let alone”. Here we are 100 years later. Do we really want to change the right to be left alone to the “the right to know when I am not left alone?” Transparency is an important need but we must not give up the fight for the right to privacy.

Posted in: Anonymity, Data breach, Email, Fraud, Identity, Phishing, Privacy, Uncategorized

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The week in review: international cyberwarfare, the cost of data breaches and the future of privacy

The week in review: international cyberwarfare, the cost of data breaches and the future of privacy

By Don Dobson

In our weekly roundup, we draw your attention to selected news and articles that highlight issues relating to invasions of your online privacy and threats to the security of your personal data, including problems that Dodoname can help solve. The Sony hack was catching everyone’s attention this week, banks and retailers are arguing about footing the data breach bill and there is some new thought provoking research on our digital lives and where we are going with privacy. For all our privacy, security and personal data related posts follow @MyDodoname on Twitter.

Truth is stranger than fiction

While “The Interview” is a screwball comedy based on a highly improbable scenario, even Hollywood could not have written the script we see playing out with the Sony hack. Reports indicate that the data breach of terabytes of all manner of data (including employee personal data) at Sony was, in fact, carried out by North Korea. While state-on-state cyberwar is certainly not the personal privacy milieu of Dodoname, there are some sobering implications of the Sony hack which are likely to reverberate across business, in what may come to be seen as a real turning point for how we look at cybersecurity.

North Korea’s Bureau 121 is certainly not the only hacker group out there. In previous weeks we shared posts about how criminal hacking was a major industry in some places. A Monday post by Robert Beckhusen and Matthew Gault suggested that it wasn’t cyberwar that we need to be worried about but cybercrime, since the U.S. — and the rest of the world, for that matter — aren’t ready to deal with cybercrime. As they point out, cybercrime is often stateless. Hackers operate across borders.

When we get to the point where Crimeware-as-a-Service Threatens Banks, The Economist notes in regard to cybercrime that the growth in general wickedness online is testing the police, and underground hacker markets are peddling complete kits for hackers monetizing every piece of data they can steal or buy and are adding services, it starts to feel like, whether we like it or not, 2015 will be a watershed year for cybersecurity. With polls reporting that almost half of Americans say their card details have been stolen in a data breach, it is also no surprise to see observers suggesting that protecting consumers’ data should be at top of new Congress’ agenda.

Who pays the bill?

As the cost of data breaches starts to explode, there is mounting tension between retailers and card issuers. Banking and Credit Union association officials Jim Nussle and Camden R. Fine note the instant criminal hackers gain access to consumer financial data, they sell the information to the highest bidders. Protecting the consumer then becomes the duty of financial institutions—leaving banks and credit unions on the hook for fronting the bill. Their industry feels it’s time for retailers to join efforts to put a stop to data breaches and protect the consumer. Current U.S. laws on data protection for retailers are not as strict as financial institutions and as a result there is little incentive to address their security flaws, because financial institutions are responsible for cleaning up their mess. We expect that retailers will face increased liability as laws are almost certain to change, highlighting the potential value to retailers of participating in a privacy marketing platform like Dodoname.

The future of privacy

The Pew Research Center Internet & American Life Project aims to be an authoritative source on the evolution of the Internet through surveys that examine how Americans use the Internet and how their activities affect their lives. They canvassed thousands (2,511) of experts and Internet builders to share their predictions on the future of privacy and released the results of those efforts this week.

In theintro to the report, Pew notes “The terms of citizenship and social life are rapidly changing in the digital age. No issue highlights this any better than privacy, always a fluid and context-situated concept and more so now as the boundary between being private and being public is shifting.

We recommend the entire report as a fascinating read. It reveals that, while we all can see benefits in our ever increasing digital lifestyle, privacy does mean something. However, it’s moving so fast that all parties are struggling to decide what it does mean and where it is going. Lots of food for thought for sure, but you won’t find a simple consensus. A taste of what we mean follows and do check out the full report.

We are at a crossroads,” noted Vytautas Butrimas, the chief adviser to a major government’s ministry. He added a quip from a colleague who has watched the rise of surveillance in all forms, who proclaimed, “George Orwell may have been an optimist,” in imagining “Big Brother.”

An executive at an Internet top-level domain name operator who preferred to remain anonymous replied, “Big data equals big business. Those special interests will continue to block any effective public policy work to ensure security, liberty, and privacy online.”

John Wilbanks, chief commons officer for Sage Bionetworks, wrote, “We have never had ubiquitous surveillance before, much less a form of ubiquitous surveillance that emerges primarily from voluntary (if market-obscured) choices. Predicting how it shakes out is just fantasy.”

An information science professional responded, “Individuals are willing to give up privacy for the reasons of ease, fastness, and convenience… If anything, consumer tracking will increase, and almost all data entered online will be considered ‘fair game’ for purposes of analytics and producing ‘user-driven’ ads. Privacy is an archaic term when used in reference to depositing information online.

Joe Kochan, chief operating officer for US Ignite, a company developing gigabit-ready digital experiences and applications, observed, “I do not believe that there is a ‘right balance’ between privacy, security, and compelling content. This will need to be a constantly negotiated balance—one that will swing too far in one direction or another with each iteration… Public norms will continue to trend toward the desire for more privacy, while people’s actions will tend toward giving up more and more control over their data.”

Posted in: Data breach, Privacy, Spam, This week in review

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Millennials: generation privacy?

Millennials: generation privacy?

By Michael Gaffney

Sometimes called generation Y or millennials, this group is a digital native powerhouse that is rewriting how goods are sold and purchased. There’s no exact science to defining a generation, but researchers and marketers generally put people born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s in this category.

Whereas the previous generation’s young people spent every waking moment at the shopping mall, millennials are speeding the online shopping revolution, eschewing brick and mortar retail to shop how, when and where they want, using the mobile and online tools that they’ve grown up with.

So, if these consumers are shopping online so frequently, collectively they must have an opinion on online privacy. Are millennials less concerned about privacy than older generations? Are they willing to share their personal information or cooperate with businesses online if there is an advantage for them such as a deal?

In truth, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Millennials think differently about privacy compared to older generations. ‘Millennial Rift’ is the term coined by researchers at the USC Annenburg Center for the Digital Future that refers to the differences in perceptions and value of privacy between the generations. Jeffrey Cole, in a 2013 survey, goes so far as to say that “Online privacy is dead – millennials understand that while older users have not adapted.”

I find Cole’s use of the word ‘dead’ a rather poor choice of words as the word dead is typically understood as lifeless and not coming back. Based on survey results in that same report (and similar findings elsewhere), I find it difficult to believe that millennials espouse that privacy is dead and not coming back. In fact the same study found that 70 percent of millennials agreed with the statement “No one should ever be allowed to have access to my personal data or web behavior,” compared to 77 percent of older generations. Doesn’t sound to me as though privacy isn’t valued by this group, instead, other data points would indicate that the giving up of personal data needs to be incentivized for this generation to participate. Millennials surveyed were much more likely to share personal data, such as location, in order to receive coupons or deals from nearby businesses.

Marketers need to better understand how millennials perceive privacy differently and how that information should impact digital marketing strategy. A strikingly different tone from the 2013 USC study was the 2014 study, ‘Millennials Care More about Privacy than any Other Generation,’ conducted by Contagious and Flamingo, two trends and insight consultancies. There were three key findings in that study: one, millennials are 28 percent more likely to switch products or services because of privacy concerns than the rest of the population; two, 54 percent of millennials in the U.S., and 48 percent in the U.K., have stopped using a product or service because they were worried about the way it was using their personal data; and three, millennials are more likely to pay a premium to protect their privacy.

If marketers want to attract and keep millennials as customers, they will have to balance that generation’s willingness to share information for deals or coupons that are relevant to them with both the conviction and actions necessary to protect that shared private information.

(Image: Flickr, Gonzalo Díaz Fornaro, link)

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Data brokers: a threat to your online privacy

Data brokers: a threat to your online privacy

By Don Dobson

Two facts have collided in the early days of this millennium: one, much of our lives has gone digital and two, digital security measures have not kept pace with technological advancements and adoption. This is a huge problem.

Our commerce, work, social life, entertainment, information consumption and personal communication have all become digitized. Much of everyday life has either moved online or is touched in some way by our online activity, creating a stream of data coined by Google as our “digital exhaust.”

Secondly, not just laws and regulations but even broad social consensus around issues of security and privacy are falling behind the technological curve and the ever increasing collection capabilities for our data.

Consumer advocates and organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union are sounding the alarm on an industry many consider out of control. Its new video, Invasion of the Data Snatchers, paints a scary, dystopian view of our personal lives under scrutiny by governments and corporations. The intro to the video on their YouTube channel notes New technologies are making it easier for private companies and the government to learn about everything we do – in our homes, in our cars, in stores, and within our communities. As they collect vast amounts of data about us, things are getting truly spooky!

So, who is vacuuming up this so-called digital exhaust? One set of players in that business that few people know about and fewer still understand are “data brokers.” Pam Dixon is the executive director of the World Privacy Forum and her December 18, 2013 testimony before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, titled What Information Do Data Brokers Have on Consumers, and How Do They Use It?, sheds full light on a growing industry with somewhere around 4,000 companies. Dixon asked:

What do a retired librarian in Wisconsin in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, a police officer, and a mother in Texas have in common? The answer is that all were victims of consumer data brokers. Data brokers collect, compile, buy and sell personally identifiable information about who we are, what we do, and much of our “digital exhaust.” 

We are their business models. The police officer was “uncovered” by a data broker who revealed his family information online, jeopardizing his safety. The mother was a victim of domestic violence who was deeply concerned about people finder web sites that published and sold her home address online. The librarian lost her life savings and retirement because a data broker put her on an eager elderly buyer and frequent donor list. She was deluged with predatory offers.

[Consumers] not able to escape from the activities of data brokers…until this Committee started its work, this entire industry largely escaped public scrutiny… Consumers have no effective rights because there is no legal framework that requires data brokers to offer consumers an opt-out or any other rights.

Frank Pasquale, a professor of law at the University of Maryland, is the author of the forthcoming book, “The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information.” He writes, Every day, corporations are connecting the dots about our personal behavior—silently scrutinizing clues left behind by our work habits and Internet use. The data compiled and portraits created are incredibly detailed, to the point of being invasive. 

In a October 16th, 2014 op-ed in the New York Times entitled, The Dark Market for Personal Data, Pasquale suggests, We need regulation to help consumers recognize the perils of the new information landscape without being overwhelmed with data.

Media investigators are starting to inform the public that the personal data being brokered can be very personal indeed. Reports from Bloomberg indicate Tapping social media, health-related phone apps and medical websites, data aggregators are scooping up bits and pieces of tens of millions of Americans’ medical histories. Even a purchase at the pharmacy can land a shopper on a health list…People would be shocked if they knew they were on some of these lists…yet millions are.

According to the Data-Driven Marketing Institute, the data-mining industry generated $156 billion in revenue in 2012. Technology CEO and Harvard professor Nathan Eagle offers up his insight on the matter … it is just the first step for the data economy. By 2020, the global Internet population will reach five billion; ten billion new machine-to-machine connections will be created; and mobile data traffic will rise 11-fold. Given the dramatic growth in the amount of data being generated, together with ever-expanding applications across industries, it is reasonable to expect that…within ten years, the data-capture industry can be expected to generate more than $500 billion annually.

The World Privacy Forum has compiled a list of 352 consumer-focused U.S. data broker sites. Check out the list and see if you’re on any of these sites. Many of the sites offer the ability for those included to opt-out; might be a good use of your time to go through that process and engage in more privacy-centric online practices in future.

With these nefarious, data grabbing institutions at large, the urgency to protect your online data, including through use of a tool like Dodoname, has never been more real.

(Image: Flickr, Simon Cunningham, link)

Posted in: Blog, Data breach

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This week in review: this machine eats privacy, malware, ApplePay retailers pay the piper, and more

This week in review: this machine eats privacy, malware, ApplePay retailers pay the piper, and more

By Don Dobson

In our weekly roundup, we draw your attention to selected news and articles that highlight issues relating to invasions of your online privacy and threats to the security of your personal data, including problems that Dodoname can help solve. Catching our attention this week were posts about technology advances that further erode your privacy, new payment system hacking, the continuing cyber-security battle for retailers and as always, lots of phishing and other email scams. For all our privacy, security and personal data related posts follow @MyDodoname on Twitter.

The privacy killing machine

We had seen previously Facebook’s move into direct competition with Google with its advertising exchange Atlas. The platform leverages your unique Facebook identifier tracking you across the web and multiple devices. ISP Verizon is also using what they call a “Unique Identifier Header.” Some critics are saying “…it’s also a reckless misuse of Verizon’s power as an internet service provider—something that could be used as a trump card to obviate established privacy tools such as private browsing sessions or “do not track” features.”

The ol’ Backoff sneak attack

We’ve previously noted many retail data breaches that compromise consumer data including personal and financial information. Retailers can be infected with at least one piece of malware and be unaware for long periods of time. Unfortunately, it appears to be getting worse as we discover in a report that says the ‘Backoff’ malware used in retail data breaches is spreading. Apparently some  recent breaches, like that at Home Depot, are resulting in credit card charges coming out of Brazil.

Hackers give CurrentC no quarter

Apple’s new payment system, ApplePay, was announced with much fanfare a couple of weeks ago. However, some retailers abruptly stopped using the system this past week. Apparently they forgot agreements they had in place to support an alternate system that precluded them for using ApplePay. The payment system, called CurrentC includes partners CVS and Rite Aid among others. It vacuums up (and promises to share) lots of personal data and has been signing up customers. However, it actually hasn’t been released for use yet and already it has been hacked and criminals managed to grab the email addresses of anyone who signed up for the program.

Phishing for Apple

The Apple ecosystem has traditionally been noted as being less subject to security concerns than its competition but that has been changing. News was revealed this week via the CYREN Internet Threats Trend Report that phishing scams targeting Apple rose 246%.

Other phishing activity noted this week involve Pizza Hut, a Michigan hospital, rocker Brett Michaels, doctors, architects, engineers and other white-collar professionals, and even Revenue Canada.

Malware hackers do seem to be more prevalent than ever so it comes as no real surprise to see a new Microsoft survey where 42% report weekly and even daily attempts to gain access to their PC or a @FindLawConsumer survey that shows 29% of U.S. adults say they’ve had their identity stolen and that 10% report being hit twice. Whether it’s a legitimate-looking invoice email hiding a data-stealing Trojan malware attack, banking malware that specifically targets sensitive user account credentials, or horse owners, unfortunately Pew Research sees a likelihood of major attacks in coming years.

Posted in: Blog, Data breach, Phishing, Privacy, This week in review

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Top five online privacy concerns

Top five online privacy concerns

By Don Dobson

In epidemiology, the means for the transmission of disease is termed a “vector.” In the world of online privacy, your personal email address is one of the prime vectors by which your privacy can be compromised. If you’re not using a Dodoname to interact with merchants, you’re leaving yourself open to these top five privacy concerns (which can have some very scary repercussions!)

1. Phishing

Wikipedia defines phishing as the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

Although not the only means, email is one of the main vectors for phishing. At Dodoname, we like to keep up to date on the latest developments in cybercrime through email phishing scams. We see that the scammers are relentless and that anyone can be a victim: criminals shamelessly exploit the latest news, such as recent attempts linked to the Ebola scare gripping the world or even attack children. It also a big problem for businesses as employees can be fooled and surrender corporate information or provide a pathway for hacking of retailer systems.

Phishing still thrives because it remains a simple game and the power of easily sending millions of emails every day allows the bad guys to fill their quotas. Old scams are still making the rounds and claiming victims. And the fact is, email remains a very popular communication channel. Unfortunately, it’s true that real dangers can place themselves in your inbox. Here’s a start on some help to stay out of trouble and also some advice if you have taken the bait.

2. Data breaches

Retailers in particular have shown themselves to be vulnerable to hacker attacks which result in a “breach” of security measures protecting customer data, as have financial institutions.

You may think “that’s their problem” but it could also be a problem for you. Depending on the nature of the data breach, personal information you have shared with companies, including credit card information, may become available for use by criminals and/or be re-sold in criminal markets. Ironically, this can result in even more effective phishing emails as criminals use information already stolen to become more credible to email recipients in what is known as “spear-fishing.”

There is nothing you can do to prevent these breaches, but they are the top of the list of concerns for company executives. Customers are striking back. Many consumers will stop patronizing companies who have had a data breach while some victims of these attacks  have joined lawsuits against retailers like Home Depot.

3. Malware

Email phishing can have many consequences. One of those is the installation of malware on your device. There are many varieties of malware “in-the-wild,” some malicious, some not so much, but none have any business on your device. Among the types of malware that can impact you are “key-loggers,” which send back everything you type online to criminals. This information would include details of all your online activity including banking website passwords.

And the thing is, you don’t always even need to click on anything. Just visiting some sites exposes you to these sneaky downloads through “malvertising.” You might think that staying away from seedy corners of the Internet would protect you, but the truth is even reputable sites can be hacked in these ways through ad exchanges.

4. Identity theft

Identity thieves have many different ways to strike: over the phone or through something as low-tech as criminals sifting through your trash, or through email phishing attacks. Online theft of personal identity and it has become a major problem worldwide. Criminals can use your identity and credit card information to make purchases, take out loans or conduct any illicit financial transaction.

Identity thieves can be individuals at the local level or international organized criminal operations. Even using free wi-fi at a coffee shop can open you up to identity theft. It’s clear that these types of cybercrime enterprises are a growth business.

5. Data brokers

A much broader concern for personal privacy than the vector of phishing emails and malware criminals is an industry that operates “legitimately” but without much regulatory protection for consumers. Testimony by Pam Dixon, Executive Director, World Privacy Forum appearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, suggests that somewhere around 4,000 companies in the U.S. gather identity information left by the “digital exhaust” of your online activity. Dixon cites real harm to individuals resulting from these activities and notes “Despite the large and growing size of the industry, until this Committee started its work, this entire industry largely escaped public scrutiny. Privacy laws apply to credit bureaus and health care providers, but data broker activity generally falls outside these laws. Even a knowledgeable consumer lacks the tools to exercise any control over his or her data held by a data broker.” 

(Image: Flickr, Sebastien Wiertz, link)









Posted in: Blog, Data breach, Email, Fraud, Identity, Phishing, Privacy

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This week in review: malspace, old phishing tricks, ransomware, identity theft and more

This week in review: malspace, old phishing tricks, ransomware, identity theft and more

By Don Dobson

In our weekly roundup, we want to draw your attention to news and articles that highlight issues relating to invasions of your online privacy and threats to the security of your personal data: problems that Dodoname can solve. Catching our attention this week were posts about malspace, the oldest phishing tricks in the book, hack attacks, the weakest link and identity crises.

Word of the week: malspace

A new-to-us word this week, “malspace” was introduced by Steve Durbin in Wired who describes it as an online environment inhabited by hacker groups, criminal organizations and espionage units. Cybercriminals working from malspace are a growth industry where the returns are great and the risks are low, costing the global economy more than $400 billion, according to McAfee. They will grab any target of opportunity, as illustrated in a growing number of attacks on children under 18, which can cause a lifetime of credit problems for the child, as it may not be discovered for years.

Oldies but baddies

Some of the oldest and simplest email phishing scams are still circulating and creating new waves of victims, even though it would be fair to assume that users would be wise to these scams. A blog post from claimed that around 156 million spam emails make it through spam filters globally everyday and phoney links are clicked by around 5% who get them. Around 10% of that group are tricked into surrendering info. But consider their report on a “mock scam” security exercise by Canada’s Department of Justice where half of the 5,000 email recipients were lawyers. That test resulted in 1,850 or around 37% clicking a bad link. It’s not easy to tell what is legit and what’s a scam, even when the law is your livelihood.

We are not alone

We learned of a brave volunteer Sophie Curtis who set out to answer just how vulnerable we are. Her article in the Guardian reveals the anatomy of a hacker attack. Curtis summarizes; It’s a salutary tale, mitigated only slightly by the fact that it’s apparently something that could happen to all of us, with precious little that can really be done to prevent it.

Scams range from simple to handsome 

Threats can come from many sources including the advertising we view online, but simple email phishing cybercriminals can certainly wreak some serious havoc. It could be as simple as preying on hopeful job seekers through a “mystery shopper” scam. Or it could be a more elaborate scam, such as detailed in this update on “ransomware” from Bernie Lambrecht via the Solutionary blog, who notes; Ransomware is like Clark Griswold’s crazy Cousin Eddie in the movie National Lampoon Vacation. It just won’t go away, no matter how hard you try to get rid of it.

It’s not you (the credit card companies); it’s me (the retailer) 

Many U.S. consumers might be surprised to hear the U.S. credit card system described as a global “weak link”. Home Depot is feeling the pain as its recent retail security breach has already produced at least 21 class action suits. Unfortunately, retailers can also shoot themselves in the foot: take well known chain Aaron’s Rent-To-Own, which reached a settlement with the State of California this week. Attorney General, Kamala Harris said “Aaron’s concealed its illegal privacy and business practices from customers in a deceptive attempt to avoid California’s robust consumer protection laws and increase its profits.” It’s harder all the time to know who to trust with your personal information when stories continue to emerge like LinkedIn being sued for alleged illegal marketing of member data to employers for their own secret snooping.

Can I see some ID?

Million are victims of identity theft every year. In a case that is a combination of striking back and turning lemons into lemonade, artist Jessamyn Lovell mounted a solo exhibition this past week, based on ID theft, which she titled, “Dear Erin Hart”, after the perpetrator. “I base all of my work on a fact that I experienced,” says Lovell.

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