security

Scammers On The Prowl

Warning – If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the “Software Maintenance Department of Online PC Care“, do not give them any information and do not give them access to your computer.

I’ve been receiving calls from these India based scam artists and identity thieves for a while now. And the routine is generally the same.

They call you at random from an VOIP site based in the states and with an Indian accent claim to be calling people in your city in regards to software that is alledgely downloading material without your knowledge or consent.

They ask you for five minutes of your time and ask to gain access to your computer remotely to correct the alledged issue. Then they proceed to install malicious software on your machine, in essence creating the issue they claim to be correcting whilst gaining access to sensitive financial and/or personal information on your hard drive.

Basically they peddle anti-virus software that they first ask you to install and then later demand renewal fees for, which is usually upwards of $150. And they can claim you consented to all of this nonsense because they’ve recorded you, if they happen to have charged your credit card using information they got from your hard drive.

An online version of this scareware scam can also be found at certain sites, that install software through your internet browser. But of course there are plenty of more reasonably priced anti-virus programs out there, some of which i’ve listed under “Consumer Security” on my Consumer Links page.

Not only do these programs address the issue alledged by the con artists but Microsoft itself issues patches against these problems via their web site. And no, Microsoft does not call people over these issues.

They will of course alter their pitch at will in their attempts to gain access to your computer. But in the end the results are the same if you allow these people access ; An infected computer and a large credit card bill, at least.

Meanwile, you can address any concern in regards to any infection by using Microsoft Safety Scanner, which costs nothing and does not conflict with your existing anti-virus software.

Security Warning Issued

On Wednesday information relating to the jailbreaking of Apple devices the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch had been published online resulting in a warning that this information could be used maliciously.

This hack of the iOS operating system takes advantage of a security flaw that Apple is currently working to patch for an upcoming update. And security experts through-out the world are warning the users of these devices to be careful opening PDF files, which could contain malicious code.

Sony Offers Additional Security

American Playstation Network and Sony Online Entertainment users are now being offered additional security from Debix.

This service, which will protect users from identity theft, is offered free for twelve months. But no news in regards to a Canadian service has been issued yet.

Update On Playstation Network Breach

It appears that Playstation Network and Qriocity users can breathe more easily when it comes to their credit card information.

Sony has stated that a vital piece of information related to purchases, the card security code, was NOT stored or archived by their system.

This code, which is usually three or four digits long, is used to confirm purchases online and by phone. It is printed on the back on Visa and Mastercard credit cards, next to the signature strip, and in the front of many American Express cards, just above the credit card number.

This card verification code expires with the credit card and another code is issued whenever new cards are sent out. So if the credit card you used on the above mentioned networks was about to expire, you should have no problem.

Furthermore, with the introduction of chip cards and services like Visa‘s Verified by Visa and Mastercard‘s Securecode services, information gathered from the security breach would not likely be useable. But I would definately advise vigilance in regards to purchases, just in case.

Canada’s major credit card companies had adopted Zero Liability programs years back for unauthorized purchases so i’m guessing the issue wont cause many problems, though it should be noted that Sony will NOT be asking people to provide personal or credit card information via email or by phone.

BTW, Sony has stated that some of the services will be reactivated this week and some of their users will be eligible for a free month of Playstation Plus. Details can be found on their official blog.

Planning a trip to the U.K ?

Then it’s time to update your laptop’s security.

The Digital Economy Bill enables the British government to fine individuals whose computers have been used to download pirated material in the United Kingdom. And this includes computers that have been hacked.

According to Times Online a dozen people have already been served in regards to this law, which is expected to pass and become active on Wednesday.

This means that travelers to the U.K will need to disable their file sharing software on their laptops and use higher wireless security settings, WPA2, to access the internet in the U.K.

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