This month's topic is phishing (identity theft). But first, the latest on Windows latest major design flaw.
Affected: Windows NT/2000/XP/2003
Microsoft ASN.1 Library Integer Overflow Vulnerability in a nutshell is by far one of the most serious vulnerabilities that I have seen due to the mechanisms that depend on it.
The problem is centered around the parser library (msasn1.dll) that is used by the Windows services for both authentication and cryptography. These services includes NTLMv2 (challenge/response), Kerberos and ISAKMP/IPSec. All applications that use digital certificates are also affected.
eEye Digital Security is credited with not only discovering this flaw, but also 7 more with 3 rated as "high". Some of these have been labeled as remotely exploitable allowing the "highest possible level of access". eEye estimates that the number of machines that this vulnerability could affect may range between 90 and 300 million.
To find out more please visit:
The patch from Microsoft is KB828028 and can be found:
PLEASE APPLY THIS PATCH IMMEDIATELY!
Now let's move on to this months topic..
"phishing" - Internet scam artist, casting about for people's financial and personal information to lure in unsuspecting victims.
Phishing, also called "carding," is a high-tech scam that uses spam to deceive consumers into disclosing their credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security numbers, passwords, and other sensitive information.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the emails pretend to be from legitimate businesses that the potential victims deal with for example, their Internet Service Provider (ISP), online payment service or financial institutions. The e-mail tells recipients that they need to "update" or "validate" their billing information to keep their accounts active, and direct them to a "spoofed" web site of the legitimate business, further deceiving consumers into thinking they are responding to a legitimate request. Unknowingly, consumers submit their financial information, not to the businesses but to the scammers, who use it to order goods and services and obtain credit.
To avoid getting caught by one of these scams the FTC, the nation's consumer protection agency, offers these suggestions:
If you get an email that warns you, with little or no notice, that an account of yours will be shut down unless you reconfirm your billing information, do not reply or click on the link in the email. Instead, contact the company cited in the email using a telephone number or web site address you know to be genuine.
Avoid emailing personal and financial information. Before submitting financial information through a web site, look for the "lock" icon on the browser's status bar. It signals that your information is secure during transmission. Also consider using data encryption such as GnuPG or PGP.
Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to determine whether there are any unauthorized charges. If your statement is late by more than a couple of days, call your credit card company or bank to confirm your billing address and account balances.
According to the FTC, nearly one in 10 Americans has been victimized by identity theft in the past five years. Of 27 million who reported this in the last five years, nearly 10 million have occurred in 2002 alone. Overall identity theft cost American business and financial institutions nearly $48 billion dollars in 2002 and cost consumer victims $5 billion.
If you believe you've been scammed, file your complaint at http://www.ftc.gov, and then visit the FTC's Identity Theft Web site: http://www.ftc.gov/idtheft to learn how to minimize your risk of damage from identity theft.
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