Wednesday, April 6, 2011

"Let the buyer beware" in Internet/retail transactions

Consider this my effort to educate the public on the matters as they are in in the internet realm of existence, thinking you might not read I.T. reports and or Security newsletters [but I do]. In the first three months of 2011, these companies, and governments have had their computer systems broken into by cybercriminals/other governments/bad people:
1) Sony Corp & their Playstation Network
2) LiveJournal blogs [newest report of attempt to destroy that platform in today's news]
And working backwards on the dates hacks were discovered/reported:
3) Epsilon Data Management had 50 of their client accounts broken into and those clients are:
-Best Buy
-Food 4 Less
-Fred Mayer
-Home Shopping Network {HSN}
-Jay C
-McKinsey Quarterly
-New York & Co
-Capitol One Banks
-Barclays Bank
-JPMorganChase Bank
-Walgreen's Drug Stores
-US Bank
-College Board of 5900 Universities & Colleges & students
-Hilton Hotels
_Marriott Hotels
-Disney Destinations
-American Express
-Ameriprise Financial
4) March 29th -EU Parliament's computers
5) March 29th-Australian parliament's computers
6) March 27th- MYSQL -Oracle product used on Windows machines
7) March 25th -RIAA {Recording Industry Association of America]
8) March 24th- New Zealand Dept of Internal Affairs
9) March 24th- Trip Advisor [they know your travel plans & itineraries!]
10) EU Commission, & EU {European Commission] External Action Service
11) European Union in Brussels
12) March 17th- RSA\EMC 'security' firm that issues SecurID authorization token that generate one time passwords for sensitive /confidential accts including governments, banks, Paypal; financial services
13) March 17th- Hollywood
14) March 7th- French Finance Ministry
15) March 4th-South Korea
16) March 3rd-Wordpress blogs
17) Feb 24th- Westboro Baptist Church
18) Feb 22nd-Voice of America
19) Feb 18th-Canada's Treasury,Finance Dept & Defense Research & Development
20) Feb 11- Iran's government
21) Feb 6th-HBGary Federal in Washington DC supposedly a security company for US gov't but a scam;
22) Feb 5th- NASDAQ ;
23) Utah,Michigan,Albania, Italy, US Army's Communications & Electronic Command Center;Singhania Univ in India
24) Egypt's cabinet;Ministry of interior,Ministry of Communications, & Information Technology
25) Jan 2nd- Tunisia's government.
26) iTunes
27) Apple app store
28) Paypal.
The lessons to be learned are:
1)do not give your home address, email address, telephone number to retail stores or add them to any site not secure with encryption [which means most sites on web--few are encrypted].
2) Delete your Facebook acct since it gives your info to the US gov't,the many marketing companies and virtually every Facebook customer,and the Democratic Party.
3) Remember Paypal's security questions are not asked generally and the allow criminals to access your acct with your email address & telephone number. The security questions are to fool you into thinking they are secure.
4) Remember iTunes captures your card info WHETHER OR NOT you are signed into your iTunes acct and applies the info where they want too--> NOT secure.
5) Remember that unless a site is encrypting your info if it is intercepted by any of the 2 billion people who have internet, it is in plain text--human readable and therfore usuable by criminals.
6) Remember that every university & college in the US and most abroad have what is required mandatory 'computer labs' that have no faculty in attendance, no rules, no ethics training in not stealing or breaking into computers, and no punishments for the students who do those things or for the so-called supervising faculty either.
7) Remember that there are at least two annual events whe big computer companies PAY people to break into computers to supposedly learn from them and then publish their names as the 'winner' of the contest,thus providing rewards,pay & public recognition for breaking into other's computers.
This info is intended to help you citizens,subjects in other nations wise up to the realities of using computers.
Gloria Poole;@my apt in Missouri; owner words that WORK missions;10:51am;6th April-2011
Update 7 -April-2011@8:08 am after reading today's news in the technology section. Add these companies to the list of those whose databases were hacked into recently:
- Ann Taylor
-Victoria's Secret
-Eddie Bauer
-TD Waterhouse
-AT & T
-Universal Citi Card
Please remember that criminals would not risk federal prison [cybercrime is a FEDERAL crime] to get worthless information. Though banks, financial companies, and marketing companies for retailers have tried to downplay the risk to consumers, don't be deceived by that. Think how you sign into online bank or financial accts--what login info? Think about how the US government and any government could find out your name , address and location of your email if they want too which means that criminal hackers could also do that. Think about how the US gov't allows telephone companies to allow 'third-party billing' and watch your phone bills for scams added to your bill. There are many ways that criminals could use email addresses long with your name and address and or telephone number e.g. they could apply for credit accounts with that info, or steal your name and accounts or hijacked your postal mail. I know from first-hand experience those events are possible because they have happened to me personally.
Don't be fooled by criminals just because they are on the web. Use common sense in answering phone calls, or responding to anything online. If you have any doubts about an email, delete it. If you find it to be an attempt to steal your info, report it to your isp and maybe the local law enforcement or FBI depending upon location of the sender of it. Do not open links in your email as a general rule--write down the info and type it into the browser to view it. Remember there is malicious code that when opened in your email could reveal your email login and password info to the criminals. Remember that some computers' operating systems store your password and all a criminal has to do to find it, is get past the firewall and know where to look. Look at your settings and set your computers to never save passwords and to delete the cache when browser closes; and to use https where possible. When logging into secure sites [https] make sure a golden padlock is showing as locked before logging in. If it seems someone is fighting with you for control of the mouse log out! Quick! And shut down your computer. Delete the downloads to make sure no script [hidden download] is waiting there; delete your browsing history so criminals won't know you logged into your online bank acct when they break through firewall. And block javascript,popups,cookies and plug-ins as a general rule,only enabling them specifically when needed for known trusted sites. Remember that what you add as 'trusted' gets past the built in firewall and may have bad stuff piggy-backing onto it into your computer. Criminals on the internet are rampant--the sheer numbers of them overwhelm Police and cybercrime units so you sort of have to police your own computer. Pay attention to the tech sections of the news who tend to report cyber-attacks and during those times, don't log in to online accts except in emergency.
This advice is from my personal experience gained in 20 yrs of using computers to write, create websites, and personal study of computers' OS, and security {I.T. news etc] and some official study with Microsoft seminars and at University of Georgia years ago, I am not an I T expert but I have learned much the hard way from the school of hard knocks as it is sometimes called. It is intended to help you but I am not certified as computer expert or security guru, so keep that in mind.
Gloria Poole;@my apt in Missouri; 7th April-2011@8:30am
Update2 on 8-April-2011@10:12am:
I read last evening in the BBC news that the database for the well-known retailer Marks & Spencer was also broken into recently along with those companies already included.
Also, please read this blog for today's entry--it matters .
And though this is off topic, I think all Press writers who attempt to modify societal standards by writing op-ed pieces disguised as news about how it immorality is becoming acceptable in the UK or anywhere, do a huge disservice to the world and to human relationships. Because it's a lie. Women have not changed that much over time. Most women when married [and I think men too, though I am a woman writer] do not want their spouses sleeping around. And most women do not want to sleep with [and all that involves] with men who are sleeping with every woman in town. The medical implications and risks of that are tremendous. Most people in monogamous relationships want fidelity,trust,and mutually exclusive relationships. Sleeping around is not acceptable whether married or unmarried.

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