Phishers, Shoulder Surfers and Keyloggers

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Robert Siciliano

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Most Unwanted Criminals: Phishers, Shoulder Surfers and Keyloggers

McAfee’s most unwanted criminals have included pickpockets, Trojan viruses, and ATM skimmers, dumpster divers, spies, and wireless hackers and now phishers, shoulder surfers, and keyloggers.

Identity theft can happen online or on the ground to anyone with a pulse, and even to the deceased.

The key is awareness, vigilance, and investing in products and services that are designed to protect you.

Tony “Big Phish” Morgan sends emails that appear to come from a trusted source, soliciting login credentials or sending recipients to spoofed websites. Either way, he wants to take over existing accounts and gain access to more data on the server or your PC.

Phishing emails may look like a legitimate monthly statements or obvious Nigerian 419 scams laced with scammer grammar. Phishers have stolen over a quarter billion from victims and counting.

The first rule for protecting yourself from phishing is never click on links in emails. Use your bookmarks menu or manually type in the address of the website you’re looking for. McAfee Site Advisor software provides risk ratings for websites that come up when you do a search.

Wandering Eyes” Willie is a shoulder surfer, using his eyes, binoculars, hidden cameras, or more likely, a phone with video capabilities to peer over shoulders in Internet cafes or checkout lines, capturing account data and PINs.

If you are standing in a checkout line and someone nearby seems to be looking at his phone, which happens to be a camera phone pointed in the direction of your credit or debit card, he may be shoulder surfing.

Watch out for “wandering eyes.” Cover your phone’s keypad when entering usernames or passwords. In an Internet café, choose a seat with your back to the wall.  Use complicated passwords that are harder to crack.

Francis Scott Keylogger can smoothly infect your computer and track all your online activity, recording every username and password you type. An outdated browser is more vulnerable to picking up keylogging software when surfing an infected website.

Keyloggers can hide in hardware or software, so run antivirus and anti-spyware programs to eliminate viruses, but also check the back of your PC for devices that may be piggybacking on your keyboard.

To ensure peace of mind and have a fraud resolution agent assist in identity theft restoration, subscribe to an identity theft protection service, such as McAfee Identity Protection, which offers proactive identity surveillance, lost wallet protection, and alerts when suspicious activity is detected on your accounts.

For additional tips, please visit http://www.counteridentitytheft.com

Robert Siciliano is a McAfee consultant and identity theft expert. See him discuss identity theft on YouTube. (Disclosures)

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