Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Imminent Danger!

An article on hacking in the New York Times upset me so much I decided to link to it for my blogger friends to read and heed.

Although about a very technical topic, I believe this article is understandable by all of us as the danger is emphasized, rather than the technical aspects of it.

What alarmed me most about this Chinese hacker was his skill in hacking into personal information including bank accounts and stealing passwords, which he uses or sells.

He accomplishes this by writing his own Trojan Horse code, creating a backdoor into your computer through web pages you unknowingly visit. Then he essentially "owns" your computer.

Least you think I am somehow biased to the Chinese, the article states Russians and Eastern Europe have legions of hackers. It is a equivalent to international sport.

Recently one of my bloggers was paralyzed by some Trojan Horse or virus and her computer has not yet been cleaned.

My personal concern is the financial aspect. Despite all my programs, like anti-spyware and anti-virus programs, regular deletions of cookies and temporary files, we have suffered identity theft twice through a debit/credit card clearing house, and hacking into the Veterans Administration database.

A third time my financial institution recognized an unusual pattern in their clients' accounts and cancelled our debit card, issuing two new ones with different numbers for husband and me, but same checking account.

Previously we had two cards, same account number, same checking account but my name on one card, and husband's name on the other card.

One of the compromised dealers was Barnes and Noble, probably unaware of the Trojan Horse infection at the time I made a small purchase.

I praise this financial institution for finding this pattern and taking action before there was wide-spread damage to their clients.

Further I am going to gradually have different passwords for everything. I hate that as I have a password rated moderately safe, but I use it everywhere allowed.

My financial institution, Medicare, TriCare for Life use a password creation program which does not allow me the luxury of easily remembered passwords. TriCare requires the password be changed every 3 months. I have elected to not have access to TriCare's website, as I still receive paper EOBs.

Yes, I have a written list, but it is not stored on my computer. This list will become longer. My tired brain can only retain and retrieve so much.

Finally, you will note Google is a frequent victim of this hacker. Google and China are having some difficulties, the details of which I am unfamiliar. However, if you use blogger.com you are using Google. I have a Google e-mail account but it is not my main account.

This hacker targets Microsoft and Google for what is known as "zero days." Microsoft is issuing so many security fixes, I lose count of them! The hacker declined to comment on the meaning and importance of "zero days."

Too bad, I can't afford an Apple product or use Linux operating systems, both of which are singularly immune from most hacker activities. a lot is due to the market popularity of Microsoft and Google.

Is it time to switch to WordPress??? or Linux.??? or save to buy an Apple? Probably not. My problem with Apple and Linux is available software is more limited, but this may also be a plus!!! Decisions, Decisions! There is always something to destroy our fun.


lakeviewer said...

I'm aware of these problems. We need to be constantly vigilant and keep important info/things under many locks.

Humans have always been deceiptive. Just a new phase, I guess.

Linda said...

Interesting. What's a person to do? I don't think it's possible to secure all our information these days. I've noticed some people are switching to Wordpress. I've worked with Wordpress and it's nice but to change is more hassle than I'm eager to do at this time.

Renie Burghardt said...

I've heard about this in the news earlier this morning. I have different passwords for different accounts, and I don't store any financial info. on my computer. None! And I have pretty good protection with my new pc. But I am still cautious. Thanks for the heads up about it.

faye said...

Interesting article.
If only hackers would use their
talents for good... instead of seeking something for nothing.

Anonymous said...

I have a like new iMac by Apple and seldom use it but my son uses it when he comes up from Florida. I have not been hacked on it that I know about but then it sets on a shelf for weeks at a time without being plugged in.

I have a router from the cable company and our moden plugs into that. It is a good firewall. We use that as our first line of defense and then we also use the virus protection that came with Windows 7 and that works well. While we sometimes think we have been hacked, we haven't.

The biggest problem is that people are led into opening emails that sound too good to be true. I have noticed now that my email has many emails in it where they have seen the names people used to send genuine email to me (my kids names for example) and will use the name to lure me into opening their email. But there is always some thing not right with the subject line or when I click, "Display All" of the address, I see it is from some crook or crooked outfit or something I don't need like a dose of Viagra.

I have enough problems without enlisting the aid of that.

I enjoyed your post and read it through. I always read the tech news from the major newspapers online or from PC Magazine or CNET.

Arkansas Patti said...

Hum that was wierd. I got an error 503 when I tried to post my comment.
Thanks for the heads up. I am careful not to open any attachments and don't store any info. Toes are crossed.
So sorry you were violated.