Monday, July 20, 2009

Beating the Cyber Bullies

Recently the BBC News interviewed Cisco fellow Patrick Peterson and ran the findings in a story titled ‘Cyber Crook gets business savvy’, Patrick Peterson said cyber criminals were increasingly acting like virtual MBA (Master of Business Administration) students.

He also pointed out that big news stories are a gold mine for Cyber Crooks and used Michael Jackson as an example, stating that when everyone was searching for stories of his death, the cyber crooks are busy creating news copy or video memorabilia to trick the users onto the infected sites.

He noted a huge increase in spam email messages recently and has concerns of spam coming in via mobile phones (‘smishing attacks’), suggesting that phone users will trust a message from their bank via SMS (text message) more than receiving an email with links to verify account ownership.

As we are moving to a more open, simple communication structure of the web, where trust is encouraged in new social network communities, it is important that we all follow some key tips to help beat the Cyber Crooks, then we can stay one step ahead of the fraudsters:
Please find our tips for internet security below:

Ten tips to beat the cyber crooks in no particular order:

1. Make sure you use hard-to-guess passwords, not ones with obvious personal links, such as your birthday or the name of your street. Good passwords include a combination of upper and lower-case letters, numbers and other characters.

2. Change your passwords often and use different passwords for different accounts

3. Make sure that you use an up to date browser and update security patches in your operating system. For Windows users there is a quick and easy way to update your system, click on 'Windows Update' from the programme directory or point to this link, which will take you straight into updates currently available for you to download:

4. Make sure you turn your computer's firewall on and, if you are using Windows, set up your computer to automatically download new security patches from Microsoft.

5. Install and update anti virus software regularly. Use a programme which will scan all files on your system once a week and delete the infected ones.

6. Never download email attachments from people you do not know or trust. Avoid attachments that you were not expecting, even if they are from a known source.

7. When receiving an email, look at the destination URL before you click it, here is an example if you scroll over this link: Rocktime Twitter and look in the status bar at the bottom of the browser, you will see that the link above is actually going to and not our Rocktime social twitter account.

8. Never click on links sent via SMS text messages if you are not certain that you have received a valid text from a valid company.

9. Back up your data regularly

10. Log off when you’re done for the day (Remember you are most vulnerable when you are connected to the Internet, if there is not a good reason to remain online then disconnect).

Final note from our Technical Manager at Rocktime, Andy Clarke

There are many factors we (Rocktime) take in to account when creating web sites and web applications. Some of these include making sure that the site is protected from SQL injection or cross-site scripting attacks. These are mechanisms that malicious users could use to either manipulate data stored in a database or to trick users in to submitting data to a different website than the one they think they are visiting.

One of the ways we protect our sites from these types of attack is to make sure that all user entered data is properly filtered to remove any potentially halmful code before it is stored or shown to a user.

Rocktime are not an Internet security company and if you do need additional assistance in securing your corporate network we would advise you contact Blue Chip Data Systems on +44(0)845 034 7222


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