Scam Watch: Smart Phone And Tablet Apps That Are Convenient. But Should Be Avoided. Due To Security Concerns.

December 13, 2012

Dear Readers,

Today, I am writing about a very HOT topic “Smart Phone And Tablet Security Concerns.” What apps are best left alone for the sake of your overall security ? Now, I’m very aware that this is a topic. Which has been talked about a lot in both the media as well as financial institutes and privacy advocates.

Now I know. A lot of people out there figure that with the proper security precautions. That they are all good and safe by taking the very basic precautions such as having your mobile device locked via “4 digit pin code” “Facial recognizing” “Gesture Passwords” and of course the all might “Anti-Thief Apps.” That often come bundled in Apps such as AVG or Avira (just to name 2 of the more common Apps).

But you’d be both wrong and surprised. Why do you ask ? Well here are some very common free apps. That can cause all kinds of havoc if your mobile device is stolen or lost.

Here are a list of a few apps to consider avoiding:

1. Your main financial institutes branded app – Regardless of  your bank and regardless of how you use it. If your mobile device is lost or stolen. Your device info is up for grabs. Because if someone deliberately stole your mobile device. Then you should expect they are going after your data.

1A. How to avoid this risk:  It’s best to avoid this app and keep you banking in person, over the phone or via your much better protected PC or Mac computers.

2. Paypal app – This is easy they have your bank and credit card details. And often people forget to sign out. Or they asked for their password and username to be saved.

2A. How to avoid this risk: It’s best to avoid this app and instead keep Paypal transactions. On your much better protected PC or Mac computers.

3. eBay app– Again this is easy. If someone uses your eBay profile to buy something. You are bound by the eBay “ToU” (Terms of Use) to pay up if you are the winning bid.

3A. How to avoid this risk: It’s best to avoid this app and instead keep eBay bidding, buying and selling. On your much better protected PC or Mac computers.

4. Amazon Account App – Again with this one. The person can gleam a lot of your personal information. Such as credit card numbers, your home address and your purchase history.

4A. How to avoid this risk: It’s best to avoid this app and instead keep your Amazon transactions to the Amazon websites.

——————————–

** Now you have to understand your always going to be at an elevated risk of ID theft and other types of fraud. Just based on the fact you have your Smart Phone or Tablet with you everywhere you go (I realize this may not be the case for everyone. But there are enough people out there that it does. So it is very important to note.). So that leaves you at a lot higher risk of your personal information to be compromised. Due to being lost or stolen.

***Now your also not out of danger of theft or fraud by using only your laptop or desktop. To process the above transactions or to keep tabs on your personal or financial data.  But at this point in time unless you are doing your financial dealings in person. Your gonna remain at some level of risk.

So, it is best to be vigilant. Keep your security software up to date and change your passwords on a regular bases.

——————————–

****Now the above apps are by no means the only apps. That have a certain level of risk associated with them. But I have to leave off with saying “Just because an app is convenient. Does not make it safe. Nor does the fact that you downloaded said app automatically cause you an instant or immediate threat to your personal or financial data.”

——————————–

Later Dayz,

Remy “Se7en”


Scam Watch: What Is The 3wPlayer Scam / Virus ?

March 15, 2012

3wPlayer – is a rogue media player software application bundled with trojans that can infect computers running Microsoft Windows. It is designed to exploit users who download video files, instructing them to download and install the program in order to view the video. The 3wPlayer employs a form of social engineering to infect computers. Seemingly desirable video files, such as recent movies, are released via BitTorrent or other distribution channels. These files resemble conventional AVI files, but are engineered to display a message when played on most media player programs, instructing the user to visit the 3wPlayer website and download the software to view the video.

The 3wPlayer is infected with Trojan.Win32.Obfuscated.en According to Symantec, 3wPlayer “may download” a piece of adware they refer to as Adware.Lop, which “adds its own toolbar and search button to Internet Explorer”.

A Perl script posted online can reportedly decrypt 3wplayer files back into AVI. This claim has been tested with mixed results, as the intended AVI file is rarely the desired video file.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3wPlayer 


Scam Watch: Why Bluetooth Is A Security/Privacy Threat To You ?

February 23, 2012

Dear Readers,

How many of us use some type of Bluetooth devices ? and how many of us don’t even have any idea at all of type of how these devices work ?

Well, sadly I would probably have to say there are a lot of us out there. The main issue with “Bluetooth technology” is these devices work on a wide range different frequency’s. This range is measured in hertz (MHz) and depending on the frequency / level. You can determine how strong or weak the signal is and how clear your reception will be. The range of Hertz can be from 0 mhz (No signal at all) to 1000’s of mhz (Very clear and long range think law enforcement or military use). Depends where you are in relation to the device and what the weather is like where you are.

So you are asking me. What are the the security/privacy issue then ? Well the issue arises mainly because of the general design of Bluetooth devices.

The main problem is anyone with a Bluetooth enabled device has a program on their phone called scan or search for a network or a Bluetooth enabled device with in range. The range or distance that can be achieved can be anywhere from around 1 foot away to as much as 100’s of feet away.

When using a “Bluetooth search” and or “Network search” in a public area (such as a park or office building). You yourself may even be able to pick up a stray signals. It might even be possible in some cases to be able to listen in on others peoples communications.

I found that any Bluetooth enabled phone and other hands free devices (such as Bluetooth ear buds) maybe able to do this to some degree. Some phones and some hands free devices (such as Bluetooth ear buds) now even have a scan feature were your phone (or hands free device) will randomizes the signal from 1mhz to 1000’s mhz every few seconds. The problem being as long as the person is with in the devices range and there is no password or number lock on that signal (also know as wireless channel).

There is a risk of someone could be listening in on your phone call without you even knowing it. There are no clicking or chirping noises. Like the very old school wire taps and no signal interruption like a cloned or hacked phone and or other wireless devices.

Just be aware that just because it is cool looking and easy to use, DOES NOT MAKE IT SAFE. Plus a lot of highly sensitive Corporate and Government jobs are not allowed using Bluetooth and other wireless devices. Mainly because of the fact it is one of the easiest hacked communication device on the market. Plus these devices are only getting cheaper and easier to hack or compromise everyday.

Till The Next Scam Watch Feature,

Danny


Scam Watch: Is Hotmail / MSN Really Going To Delete My Account. If I Don’t Reply To This E-mail ?

November 12, 2011

Dear Readers,

I just received a bunch of people asking me this question about the Hotmail scam/hijacking attempt (That is going around) So here is yet another Scam Watch.

Q: Is Hotmail/MSN Really Going To Delete My Account. If I Don’t Reply To This E-mail ?

A: No, Hotmail/MSN will not delete your account. Unless you are found to be doing something that are illegal. But even that is a very slim chance, because a lot of scams are being done in some part threw Hotmail. Then again Hotmail/MSN would probably just suspend your account. Which I have seen plenty of times and they say that. When you try to log-in there will be ether a certain number of days says “30 day suspension” or a harsh “Life Ban”. (ie. Your account has been deleted)

——————————————————————

Return To The Main Features Page

——————————————————————

Till The Next Scam Watch Feature,

Remy “Se7en”


Scam Watch: 6 Ways To Safeguard Your PC Online -SUPER Noob Edition-

November 9, 2011

RR 4.0

Here are some precautions you SUPER Noobs can take to keep your PC safe from the many online hazards out there. Such as viruses, spyware, adware and trojan’s:

1. Install an up to date Anti-Virus software on your PC. It can be the free version such as AVG, AVIRA  or AVAST. But make sure the version you download is current. Often the anti-virus will have the year somewhere in the title. So look for say AVG Free Anti-Virus 2012 (Not 2011 or earlier)

2. Be suspicious of any e-mail attachments. That you receive from unknown sources. E-mail is the main source of viruses, spyware, and trojans.

3. Be suspicious of downloads and short links sent to you via chat applications (such as Windows Live Messenger or Skype).

4. Scan all files and downloads for viruses before running them.

5.  Be picky about where you download files from on the Internet. Many virus and trojan writers use free software such as P2P programs to disguise malicious applications.(For instance utorrent is way safer then say Frostwire or other database heavy P2P programs. There are not many left out there, but be very weary of them.

6. Make sure that your PC has all the latest Windows patches and updates installed (For Windows users, run “Windows Update” at least 4 times a month -This is just a precaution your Windows Vista and Windows 7 should have no issues. Provided you did not change the setting yourself.-

6A. If you are running Windows XP. It is highly recommended you don’t allow Windows to update and install updates to your computer automatically. There have been a few very major security issues in the last few years that have caused many users to turn off automatic updates.

So even thou it takes a lot more time to do it manually. It is well worth the time so you know the update is a legit Windows update. By this I mean what patches are being installed and so useless crap that you don’t want to be installed. Won’t be.

I highly recommend actually reading the short description before installing the update. Just to be on ht safe side. Some updates may hit you as really odd or are unrelated to what programs you have installed on your PC.

—————————-

DISCLAIMER: Your overall online safety will dramatically vary based on your Internet footstep. The security programs you have installed and the risks you take online. So again this means all you SUPER P2P FILE SHARING JUNKIES and RANDOM LINK CLICKERS out there. Will have a much higher risk of PC virus infection and in turn the possible need to re-format your PC (Due to said virus).

—————————-

——————————————————————

Return To The Main Features Page

——————————————————————

Till The Next Feature,

Danny


Scam Watch: The Problem With Privacy Track Erasers

February 1, 2011

Dear Readers,

I came across an issue that I never thought was even an issue. And so I gave the question to some of my team to mull over for a bit. And so I just received the results So here they are.

Now people are gonna say that track erasers are a necessary evil with computers and the Internet taking up more and more of our lives these days. And even more necessary with shared or public computers and I understand that.

But then people are gonna ask me. So what is the problem with erasing your tracks from prying eyes ? Well nothing other then the obvious it will completely erase said data. You won’t be able to get it back with out special software that can be pretty expensive. But that is not the only issue your computer stores files called temp files that make your computer load web pages and recently used programs like WORD, Way faster. So yes, in the short term your computer will speed up. But after a PC re-start normally done after such a track erase is done on your computer anyways. It will load those web pages and programs slower and in some cases a lot slower.

I just wanted all you guys to remember to pay attention to what you are doing with such programs. They can cause all sorts of chaoses to your computer and waste your tine.

Remy Recommends The Following :

* Like deleting passwords from websites you can’t remember ( make sure you know your password or have it somewhere you can check )

* Remember that when deleting cookies sometimes when you do online banking. The cookies will store preferences and even your debit and or credit card numbers, information in the cookie not the password or username section ( a lot of people forget that IE and even FireFox 3.6 will remember passwords and usernames. Sometimes in a COOKIE and sometimes in the PASSWORD section of tools )

* If you do a track erase and you want your WEB PAGES and PROGRAMS to load up like they did before the ERASE. Just start up the program fully, the same for Web pages then close it down fully make sure it no longer appears in the task manager. Then start your computer up again or load up web page again. Close the program or webpage again then when you open up the program or web page it should load up like it did before..ENJOY

Till The Next Time,

Remy “Se7en”


Scam Watch: The Many Dangers Of E-cards Explained

January 11, 2011

Dear Readers,

I’ve been receiving a lot of e-mails and comments regarding this issue and more then 65% of the infected computers I cleaned up. Were because of accepting e-cards from people posing as friends, family, and other from unknown sources (This can also includes sites like Facebook and other such sites)

So in this I’ll explain..what an e-card is and why it is more trouble then it is worth.

What is an E-card ? E-cards or Electronic cards – is a compressed file that is sent normally via e-mail from sites such as FaceBook, MySpace, and birthday/event reminder sites, and many many others. And once you open up the card it will de-compress (Open up) really really fast. Then display a funny sayings, animation and a whole slew of other things are possible.

So what is the problem with e-cards ? Well main issues is because e-cards are generally just a compressed files containing a really small program. That will run once the card is opened (clicked on). Some e-cards are just simply a links that will ask you to click to activate/open it. In any case anything that contains a small compress program of any kind. Is begging the question, Well if it is a small program COULD IT CONTAIN A VIRUS ? and in some cases it is a perfect and unexpected place to put some really nasty code/viruses. That will be sent straight to you via your very own inbox. The best example I can give is a year or so ago. There was a HALLMARK CARD VIRUS. That would cause a catastrophic failure of your hard-drives and worst THERE ARE NO FIXES…just kiss your COMPUTER GOODBYE….

Sure it is nice to receive a card on your birthday or on other important occasions. But really think hard because IS IT REALLY WORTH THE RISK ?

——————————————————————

Return To The Main Features Page

——————————————————————

Till The Next Post,

Remy “Se7en”


%d bloggers like this: