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Posts Tagged ‘online security’

Malicious Facebook scam promises Whitney Houston “secret”

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Whitney HoustonSecurity firm Emsisoft says a new and highly malicious Facebook scam lures users to click on a link that promises to reveal a “shocking secret” found during Whitney Houston’s autopsy.

The famous singer was found dead in her bathtub in a hotel in Beverly Hills, prompting immense media coverage around the circumstances of her untimely death.

The text of this particular scam reads as such: “Whitney Houston’s autopsy reveals a shocking secret that explains her death” or “Whitney Houston’s shocking cause of death revealed” and “The dark secret that ruled Whitney Houston’s life and tragically led to her death.”

Everybody who clicks one of the links that pretend to take them to a well-known American news site will in fact be redirected several times and end up facing a survey page that they are asked to take. This is the first of two methods that the scammers use to transform generated traffic into a mode of profit as they get paid for the survey results.

And finally, the user will see the YouTube video itself, which is of course nothing special, but a normal TV report about the tragedy of Whitney Houston. The more views the better for the scammer who uploaded the video. Every hit raises its ranking, thus subsequently attracting more viewers. Well-placed Google AdSense ads turn this into profit.

Christian Mairoll, CEO at Emsisoft, says, “The YouTube video has already had more than 1,000,000 hits thanks to this Facebook scam. This shows how easy it is to get many people’s attention using a current event for criminal purposes on Facebook. We advise all users not to blindly click a link, but to critically rethink content on Facebook – and in particular, not to immediately share it.”

Google, Facebook, wrestling with online privacy (infographic)

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Frugaldad bagOnline privacy is often more of a concern to Internet users than Internet services seem to realize. Facebook has banged up against that fact trying to make sharing a default setting, and Google stirred up blogger buzz when it announced its new policy of sharing information among its services, last week.

Frugal Dad created this infographic to look at the privacy issues the Internet community is dealing with and offer users some sound advice on how to manage their cyberspace privacy:


Survey says: Most consumers confused about online privacy

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

AnonymizerSAN DIEGO, CA – The majority of people responding to a survey by Anonymizer Inc. are relying on methods that may not be adequate to protect their privacy and security online, the company said.

Seventy-five percent of respondents believed a firewall and another 62% believed anti-virus software both offered protection for their identity online. While firewalls and anti-virus software are important for protecting a computer, these tools do not provide a complete solution for protecting a user’s privacy and identity while online.

“Online identity theft is much more common than we think and consumers are inundated with conflicting information about what they need to do to protect themselves as they surf the Web,” said Bill Unrue, president of Anonymizer. “Consumers need to realize that the steps they take to protect their computer system are not the same measures they need to safeguard their privacy and identity when they’re online. Firewalls and anti-virus software simply aren’t enough.”

We’re online continually, so we have had a few security breaches, but we follow much of the advice offered in the tips following the survey findings below.

Other findings from the survey include:

  • Identity theft (45%), privacy (41%) and computer viruses (45%) made respondents the most nervous about being online.
  • According to Consumer Reports, one in five people have been a victim of cybercrime(1). Despite this sobering statistic, 36% of respondents still believed their identity was secure online.
  • Consumers are increasingly aware that their mobile devices are also vulnerable to malicious cyber activity. Only 28% believed their identity was secure on a mobile device.
  • Who’s watching me: 85% of respondents were aware that they were being profiled by advertisers as they surfed the Internet, and 85% were aware that cybercriminals were stalking them without their knowledge.

Despite heightened consumer awareness of potential online risks, every three seconds an identity is stolen online(2).

During National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Anonymizer encourages consumers to rethink their approach to online safety with these tips:

  • Have a Plan: Complete Internet security requires a thorough, four-prong approach that must include: privacy and identity protection, computer system protection, browser protection, and a fraud alert service.
  • Hide Your IP Address: An IP address reveals seemingly harmless information – such as your city, state, Zip code, and browser type – which can be exploited by prying eyes. Install software that hides your IP address, and thus your identity and online activities, from criminals, search engines, and advertisers. (That’s what Annonymizer sells).
  • Use Wi-Fi Protection: Virus and malware protection do not protect you from cybercriminals who might be lurking on unsecure connections. When accessing the Internet through a Wi-Fi hotspot – whether through a computer or mobile device – use an online anonymity product that shields your identity by passing all of your searches and information through an encrypted VPN tunnel.
  • (For more information on Wifi security see:
  • Think Twice Before You Type: Social networking sites are prime areas for cybercriminals to mine for personal information so beware of what you post. And never post personal information on any site that you wouldn’t want just anyone to know. Even if you delete this information later, nothing ever truly disappears on the Web.
  • More online safety tips and information, including a detailed Internet security checklist, can be found in the Anonymizer Learning Center,