Before you spend that money, let's talk about history.Written by Kathy Burns-Millyard
Have you noticed all of advertisements on Internet from "gurus" and people who have "made it" with their Internet business? You know ones, they tell you how in demand they are. They tell you how they get several thousand dollars for each seminar they give. They tell you how they've made hundreds of thousands of dollars online. And they tell you they'll give you their secrets and formulas for "ridiculously low price of $99.95"!
These characters are all really slick. Their one page web site is designed to draw you in, convince you, and take your hard earned money. Some of them are written really well and product is very tempting to buy. But does a little doubt linger somewhere at back of your mind? Is there something holding you back but you just can't quite put your finger on it? There might be a valid reason for that.
Let's travel through history a bit and see if we can figure out why you get those tiny doubts....
Orson Wells. Heard of him? War of Worlds. Heard of that? I think almost anyone in U.S. knows both names, but for amusement I'll summarize story. The War of Worlds was a fiction radio story. I think it was broadcast in 1940's or 1950's era but I don't remember exact date. This story happened to be science fiction, and happened to involve aliens landing on Earth and starting a war. Now story was put on in full production mode -- just like fiction movies you see on TV today with professional actors. The only problem is, many people tuned into radio show while it was in progress, and they had no idea it was a fictional story! Panic and chaos ensued.
Jump to 1960's era. Did you know there was a book that was put on to best seller lists, even though book didn't actually exist? Yep. A radio DJ cooked up a plot to "fool" some people. He arranged to have listeners go to bookstores and request a specific book. The book didn't actually exist, and this was part of prank. To his and his listener's surprise: Their requests for this book stirred up interest across world. People were talking about book everywhere -- reviews were even written about it! And soon enough it showed up on a bestseller list. But book did not even exist. The non-existent book was called "I' Libertine", and due to furor created from prank, radio DJ went on to write a real book by that name later in life.
Now let's jump ahead about 30 years. In 1990's, some of you may remember computer communities called a "BBS". BBS stands for bulletin board system, and back then this was a computer that you dialed in to. Once connected, you could download files, chat with other members and play games. The public Internet was not available back then, so this was as close as you could get. One BBS was having a difficult time getting itself off ground. They had one major competitor, and they couldn't seem to win customers away from that competitor. So owners decided to entice customers. The customers were almost 100% male back then, and one thing they were all looking for was a friendly female. So one of owners of new BBS -- a man -- took on a BBS personality of a female. They set up a charade basically, with all trimmings. This man would pretend to be female and chat with all guys on competitor's BBS. During chats, "she" would make sure they all understood that she could be found more often on this other, newer BBS. So, if they wanted to talk to her more, they would have to go over there. And they did.
Are cyber-criminals "phishing" your identity from your computer?Written by Anti Spam League
Phishing (definition) (FISH.ing) pp. Creating a replica of an existing web page or HTML email input form to fool a user into submitting personal, financial, or password data. —adj. Today phishing seems to be one of most serious new scams on Internet. Now hackers and spamming companies not only bother you with thousands of unwanted emails each day but also, you might be victim of a phishing attack! Phishing refers to activity by hackers who simulate a legitimate organization and use e-mails to persuade people to share their personal and private financial data. No, this is not a bad joke: phishing attacks involve mass distribution of "spoofed" email messages with return addresses, links, and branding which appear to come from well known banks, insurance agencies, retailers or credit card companies. The result of these scams is that consumers suffer credit card fraud, identity theft, and financial loss.
So what’s deal here? Well, for starters, to most Internet users emails and web sites are indistinguishable from legitimate business communications. Secondly, trusted sources reveal that by hijacking brands of well-known banks, online retailers and credit card companies, phishers are able to induce up to 5% of recipients to respond to them. How far can these unscrupulous companies and individuals get? Farther than most of us would think. Last Nov. 8, a man in Sydney, Australia, was imprisoned for more than five years for duping people into sending him millions of dollars in a global Internet ruse known as Nigerian scam. He presented himself as someone who needed access to a Western bank account in order to transfer a large sum of money out of a politically troubled country. Criminals taking part in Nigerian scam would then promise innocent email recipients a share of money, but ask for a smaller upfront cost - in concept of an ‘administration fee’ - before larger sum can be transferred. This way they make millions! Although this man pleaded guilty at Sydney Court, chances are it will take much more than one guilty man imprisoned to get this problem under control.
According to APWG’s Phishing Attack Trends Report (July 2004), most targeted industry sector for phishing attacks continues to be Financial Services, both from perspective of total attacks and number of companies targeted. Retail is second, whereas ISPs are third. Citibank seems to be company whose brand was hijacked most often by phishers. Some other recent phishing targets include AOL, Suntrust, Earthlink, Wells Fargo, MBNA, Charlotte's Bank of America, Paypal, Fleet, Best Buy and eBay.
Although United States is top country in terms of total number of hosted phishing web sites, other nations engaging in phishing attacks include Russia, UK, Mexico and many Asian countries such as South Korea, China and Taiwan – among others. APWG’s report indicates that that approximately 35% of phishing web sites are hosted on exploited machines, unbeknownst to their owners. Because they are fake, phishing web sites normally do not have a long life span. The average life span for both phishing and fraud sites, measured by how long they continue to respond with content, does not go beyond a week.