Why Do I Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me,

Spyware is one of the fastest-growing internet threats. According to the National Cyber Security Alliance, spyware infects more than 90% of all PCs today. These unobtrusive, malicious programs are designed to silently bypass firewalls and anti-virus software without the user’s knowledge. Once embedded in a computer, it can wreak havoc on the system’s performance while gathering your personal information. Fortunately, unlike viruses and worms, spyware programs do not usually self-replicate. Where does it come from, Typically, spyware originates in three ways. The first and most common way is when the user installs it. In this scenario, spyware is embedded, attached,

Continue reading »

What are Intrusion Detection Systems,

Intrusion Detection System (IDS) are a necessary part of any strategy for enterprise security. What are Intrusion Detection systems, CERIAS, The Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security, defines it this way: “The purpose of an intrusion detection system (or IDS) is to detect unauthorized access or misuse of a computer system. Intrusion detection systems are kind of like burglar alarms for computers. They sound alarms and sometimes even take corrective action when an intruder or abuser is detected. Many different intrusion detection systems have been developed but the detection schemes generally fall into one of two

Continue reading »

Surfing the Web Anonymously – Questions to Ask

When you surf the web it is possible to learn information about you even when you don’t want to advertise who you are. This is true even if your system contains no virus or malware software. Specifically information that is easily available online includes your IP address, your country (and often more location information based on IP address), what computer system you are on, what browser you use, your browser history, and other information. It gets worse. People can get your computer’s name and even find out your name if your machine supports programs like finger or identd. Also, cookies

Continue reading »

Website Security Rules of the Road

In 2004, online consumer spending was at a record $65.1 billion. More and more people are attracted to the ease of online shopping and are spending higher amounts. Unfortunately, the chances of becoming a victim of Internet fraud are also increasing. The Internet National Fraud Center Watch reported that the average loss to fraud victims for just the first six months of 2005 was $2,579. This is compared to the $895 average for all of 2004. Complaints relating to general merchandise purchases (goods never received or misrepresented) accounted for 30% of Internet fraud complaints, and auction purchases (goods never received

Continue reading »

Get Into the Zone

Malware. An odd sounding word created to lump all malicious software programs, including viruses, worms, trojans, spyware, adware, and other malevolent codes into one cause-your-computer-serious-hurt category. In 2005, Computer Economics released a report on malware. The good news was that for the first time since 2002, the total worldwide financial losses from malware actually declined to a mere $14.2 billion. The bad news was that the nature of malware was changing from overt threats to more focused, covert attacks. This definitely is not great news for the average computer user just trying to keep up with the hundreds of malware

Continue reading »

Protection You Can Afford

There are numerous ways you can lose the information on your computer. Your child decides to play Chopin on your keyboard, a power surge, lightening, a virus, or even simple equipment failure. Therefore, backing up the contents of your hard drive is an absolute MUST. By regularly making backup copies of your files and storing them in a separate location, you can typically get some, if not all, of your information back in the event your computer crashes. While a regular backup to floppy, CD, or zip drive will save your files, wouldn’t it be great if you could create

Continue reading »

The Advancement of the Keylogger

A keylogger is a program that runs in your computer’s background secretly recording all your keystrokes. Once your keystrokes are logged, they are hidden away for later retrieval by the attacker. The attacker then carefully reviews the information in hopes of finding passwords or other information that would prove useful to them. For example, a keylogger can easily obtain confidential emails and reveal them to any interested outside party willing to pay for the information. Keyloggers can be either software or hardware based. Software-based keyloggers are easy to distribute and infect, but at the same time are more easily detectable.

Continue reading »

Name, Rank and Social Security Number

Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the U.S. The U.S. Secret Service has estimated that consumers nationwide lose $745 million to identity theft each year. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, the average victim spends 607 hours and averages $1,000 just to clear their credit records. Identity thieves employ a variety of methods to gain access to your personal information. They may get information from businesses or other institutions by stealing it; by bribing an employee who has access to records; hacking into records; or conning information out of employees. Once identity thieves have your personal information,

Continue reading »

How many spyware items are infecting your computer,

I just had, by mistake, a plug-in called Intelligent Explorer attach to my browser. What a nightmare! I have another article on this topic, but this brings home a point. Spyware or adware items are continually infecting computers. Most computers have no protection from them. Most frightening is the frequency of them. From the InfosecWriters web site, “According to a 2004 survey by America Online and the National Cyber Security Alliance, 91% of users questioned were familiar with the term spyware. Only 53% believed their computers were infected, but a scan found that 80% of their PCs had some type

Continue reading »

Spam Buster

Spam. Nobody likes it. Nobody wants it. No, we aren’t talking about the canned meat, but those unsolicited, unwanted, irrelevant, or even inappropriate messages that hit our email in mass quantities. While most mailboxes have some type of spam filtering software built into their system, they never seem to do a very good job of catching what you want them to catch, and letting through what you want them to let through. Therefore, it becomes increasingly important to turn to some type of additional spam filtering product. One such filtering system, designed for Outlook and Outlook Express users, is receiving

Continue reading »