Archive for June, 2010
Well, you may or many not take precautions when it comes to your private information, but what do you need to do if your computer is hacked into and/or you are the victim of a computer virus?
To continue alerting consumers of helpful tips during National Internet Safety month, we have found more helpful information from OnGuardOnline.gov.
Computer virus’ make it close to impossible to use your machine properly, so it is possible that you will need to get software that will erase your entire hard drive, forcing you to start over. This is where having a back up of your files would come in handy, however, if they were not backed up to a device other than your hard drive, you have lost that data forever and have to start over.
It is also important to alert your internet service provider that you have become a victim. If you are able to determine the internet service provider of the hacker, report the incident to that company as soon as possible. They will want to know and take action to prevent the virus from being spread or the hacker from continuing to look for victims.
Here are other helpful resources:
-You can alert the FBI at www.ic3.gov
-If you have become the victim of internet fraud or have given out your personal information in response to a scam, inform the Federal Trade Commission at http://ftc.gov and http://ftc.gov/idtheft
-Spammers often use “phishing” emails to bait consumers into providing information in response to an email that looks like it came from a reputable company. You can forward these deceptive emails to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
In years past, LifeLock has been announced as a finalist and winner in several categories at the Annual American Business Awards. This year was no different.
The winners for the 2010 Stevie awards were announced yesterday at a banquet held at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York. At the ceremony of the 8th Annual American Business Awards, LifeLock was chosen as the winner of the Best New Product or Service of the Year Stevie award for the LifeLock Identity Alert System.
“It is an honor to be a Stevie Award winner for the fourth year in a row,” said Todd Davis, LifeLock Chairman and CEO. “This award exemplifies how LifeLock has become a leader in the identity theft protection field and further proves to consumers that LifeLock always has the consumer’s best interest in mind.”
Over 200 executives participated in the nationwide judging.
LifeLock has previously been awarded: Best Radio Ad or Campaign (2007); Best Magazine Ad/Campaign and Best Radio Ad/Campaign (2008); Best Overall Company of the Year – Up to 2,500 Employees – All Services; Best Copywriting and Favorite Service/Favorite New Products (2009).
The next tip offered to our readers for National Internet Safety Month involves password protection. Passwords are your personal and secure way of entering into websites that contain sensitive, personal information. However, when not carefully protected, those passwords can fall into the wrong hands and prove to be a way of blocking your entry into those same websites.
Your passwords should be kept somewhere that is secure and that is not easily accessible by others. Never share your passwords on the internet, via email or over the phone.
Make it hard for identity thieves to gain access to or guess your passwords by using the following tips:
-Use a minimum of eight characters. Don’t limit your password to just letters and numbers. Include symbols or characters and make the password as long as is allowable. For instance, 12 characters is a very strong password.
-Avoid using a commonly used word. There are programs used by hackers that will try every word in the dictionary, so be careful of what you choose!
-Passwords you want to avoid include anything that contains your personal information, adjacent keys on your keyboard or your login name.
-You need to change your password at least every 90 days. Every 30 days would be better.
-Use different passwords for different websites. Sing the same password for every account you access online can be a security risk.
Keep in mind that strong passwords can be created by coming up with a phrase that you can easily convert to letters, numbers and symbols using upper and lower case. View this post, for more ideas.
The internet is buzzing with news stories of iPad owners being affected by a recent data breach. The data of owners of this AT&T device was hacked into and over 100,000 email addresses are at risk. It is reported that this data alone won’t give thieves access to the devices, but it will make it much easier for them to be able to access sensitive information.
The most recent news stories reflect that influential individuals, such as the Mayor of New York City and the White House Chief of Staff were affected by this recent data breach.
The breach is a result of a flaw with a web site owned by AT&T, not with the iPad itself. This breach was found by a private security expert who personally owns an iPad and was toying around with the device. By Tuesday of this week, AT&T reported that the issue had been fixed.
“AT&T was informed by a business customer on Monday of the potential exposure of their iPad,” AT&T spokeswoman Susan Bell said. “The only information that can be derived from the ICC IDS [customer identification system] is the e-mail address attached to that device. This issue was escalated to the highest levels of the company and was corrected by Tuesday; and we have essentially turned off the feature that provided the e-mail addresses.”
Both the FBI and the FCC have responded to this recent data breach by increasing their investigation into any threat this might pose.
With criminals growing more and more technologically advanced, combating identity theft has become “one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century,” LifeLock CEO says.
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America, victimizing over 10 million people a year and costing consumers and businesses billions of dollars. Millions of people keep financial and personal information on their computers. Thousands fall victim to e-mail “phishing” scams each year. Social networking sites such as FaceBook and MySpace and peer-to-peer file sharing programs have opened up new avenues for identity thieves to access the personal and financial data of individuals more easily than ever.
Identity theft can happen anywhere to anyone. You can have your personal information stolen (and not even know it) while in line at the store, at the gas pump or even online at home. If your identity is stolen, you can spend hundreds of hours cleaning up your credit and struggling to get back your good name.
Todd Davis is the CEO of LifeLock, and he has purposely published his Social Security number in order to highlight the threat posed by identity thieves. Todd Davis relies on LifeLock to protect his name and personal information, just like it does for the approximately 1.7 million others who rely on LifeLock as well. Sure, he’s had his identity stolen and his information used illegally – 13 times in fact – a number which pales in comparison to the number of attempts that were foiled by the protections put in place by LifeLock. His story clearly illustrates the looming threat facing millions of consumers every day. And while LifeLock is doing their part, they cannot do it alone.
LifeLock, the industry leader in proactive identity theft protection, offers a proven solution that works. Although LifeLock has made it very clear that no service can stop 100% of identity theft, and although LifeLock has been leading the industry by continuously developing new and innovative proactive solutions, compromises do still occur – which is why in the last eight months alone LifeLock has provided more than 310,000 alerts to its members.
As a company, LifeLock is doing its best to protect consumers. As a country, a lot of work needs to be done. Unfortunately, identity thieves develop new technologies faster than legislation can be passed to stop them. We need to make combating identity theft a top national priority. Lawmakers at all levels of government must to take the ever-increasing threat of identity theft seriously. Identity theft is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century and it’s going to take a comprehensive public-private partnership to address the monumental challenges we all face.
LifeLock has been recently awarded the highest rating available from the website TopConsumerReviews in their category. This rating comes out during the same time period as their rating from TopTenReviews, another independent online review service.
“We are honored to receive TopConsumerReviews highest rating,” said Todd Davis, LifeLock chairman and CEO. “It is very well documented that millions of people become victims of identity theft every year. Once victimized, it can take months or even years to restore a person’s finances and credit. At LifeLock we work hard to help stop the abuse before it ever occurs. We are committed to offering the best service and the best value to our members and are proud to be recognized for our efforts in helping to protect consumers.”
The rating is definitely a sweet victory for the company. Davis has recently been the focus of negative press and comments, however, the company has proven that they do provide an effective and valuable service. Review our post “LifeLock CEO Responds To Recent Publicity” to view the positive efforts that the company puts forth to protect members and to see how well it has worked for Davis himself.
Millions who become victims of identity theft each year have to use their own time, energy and finances to get their credit back. LifeLock members have a service that will help to stop identity theft and offers support if their service were to fail (Restrictions apply. See LifeLock.com for details).
“You, your identity and your financial information are more vulnerable than ever before, and people need to protect themselves and their wallets” – Todd Davis, CEO of identity theft protection company, LifeLock.
Todd Davis knows what he is talking about.
In 2005, he started publishing his Social Security number on billboards, over the Internet, and in radio and television advertising in an attempt to raise consumer awareness of the growing threat posed by identity theft – and to promote a new way of combating that threat.
In an interview, Davis commented, “I decided to give out my Social Security number, which was a risk worth taking to alert consumers to the rising tide of identity theft. As my story illustrates, identity theft is real, and the thieves growing more and more technologically advanced.”
Amazingly, as a direct result of publishing his Social Security number and basically, “daring” identity thieves to use it, Davis has been a victim of fraud only 13 times. It is not difficult to imagine just how many times thieves must have attempted to use his personal information in the five years since the advertising campaign began.
Davis’ experience since 2005 is an illustration of the threat posed by identity theft that faces millions of consumers every day. And while LifeLock is doing our part to help protect consumers like Davis, the crime of identity theft will continue to grow.
The increasing sophistication of identity thieves is one of the reasons why LifeLock transitioned from relying primarily on fraud alerts to the LifeLock Identity Alert™ system. Not all creditors check with the credit bureaus to validate that the person opening a new account is who they profess to be. LifeLock Identity Alerts are designed to be more comprehensive in scope than fraud alerts. In the last eight months alone LifeLock has provided more than 310,000 alerts to its members.
For years, LifeLock has made it exceedingly clear that no identity theft protection service can stop all instances of identity theft, and although LifeLock has been leading the industry by continuously developing new and innovative proactive solutions, compromises do still occur.
In order to combat the increasing technological advances employed by identity thieves, LifeLock has forged partnerships with AAA clubs, nonprofit organizations such as the National Organization for Victim Assistance® (NOVA), and law enforcement. Since 2008, a nationwide series of free training sessions has been offered through a partnership between LifeLock and FBI-LEEDA (FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association) to help increase law enforcement’s knowledge base of the crime of identity theft.
Recently, LifeLock has partnered with Symantec Corporation to provide both online and offline protection to consumers. LifeLock, has also forged a strategic partnership with the United States Census Bureau, a leading source of data about America’s people and economy.
“LifeLock is proud to support the 2010 Census,” said Davis. “The information being collected is critical to the country and all residents should feel comfortable providing the requested information. However, we want consumers to be wary of scam artists perpetrating identity theft crimes during this time.”
Without a doubt, identity theft is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century and it’s going to take a comprehensive public-private partnership to address the monumental challenges we all face. LifeLock is committed to educating consumers and working with other companies, organizations and government agencies in an effort to better protect personal information, especially during a time when identity thieves will attempt just about anything to ensure personal information is used illegally to their benefit.
The ABC News website has recently released an article that summarized the top 10 data breaches of the decade. When adding the total number affected together, along with the fact that these are only the top 10, it is easy to see why it is so critical to regularly monitor your credit and question or refute ANY discrepancies that you see.
1) Heartland Payment Systems
Number Affected: undetermined
Description: Hackers were able to access millions of credit card transactions via computer.
2) TJX Companies
Number Affected: 45 million
Description: Affected several companies, such as T.J. Maxx and Marshalls. 45 million customer records were stolen from years 2003-2004, however, the breach was reported in 2007.
3) U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Number Affected: 76 million
Description: A defective data drive containing data of veterans was sent for repair.
4) Card systems
Number Affected: 40 million
Description: This credit card processor exposed cards to potential fraud and it was reported that hackers did use many of those card numbers.
5) U.S. Veterans Affairs
Number Affected: 17.5 million
Description: A laptop containing personal information of veterans was stolen from an employee’s home. FBI did report that the laptop was found and the data was not compromised.
6) Bank of New York Mellon
Number Affected: 12.5 million
Description: A box of data tapes with personal information was lost while being transported to a storage facility. Those affected were offered credit monitoring services for 36 months, among other service.
Number Affected: 8.5 million
Description: An employee of this financial services firm, based in Florida, stole customer financial records. They did later plead guilty and were sentenced to a fine and jail time.
8) TD Ameritrade
Number Affected: 6.3 million
Description: The database of this investment company was hacked and customer records stolen. Information stolen included names and email addresses, resulting in spam to customers.
Number Affected: 5 million
Description: This online bill payment company, out of Atlanta, was also hacked into. The company domain name was redirected to a Ukranian hosted website that tried to install malware on the computers of site visitors.
10) Hannaford Bros. Chain
Number Affected: 4.2 million
Description: This is a supermarket chain based out of Maine. Stores affected were throughout the northeast and Florida. Over 1,500 cases of alleged fraud were reported as a result of this breach.
In addition to some tips that we listed in our post, Tips For National Internet Safety Month – Part 1, we are providing more tips that can help you to prevent your personal information from being accessed online. These tips come from OnGuardOnline.gov.
Install good anti-virus software onto your computer. There are many internet users that do not have anti-virus software installed and this is important to have. Computer virus’ can cause your computer to crash and destroy all the data you have saved. It can also give spammers access to your email which will send out a virus to your email contact list. Good anti-virus software will update automatically and scan your computer for virus’ daily. You can find this type of software in office supply stores or from trusted anti-virus websites that allow you to download and install the software.
In addition to anti-virus software, install some type of anti-spyware software as well. Spyware is malicious software that is downloaded to your computer, without your knowledge or consent. There are some ways to tell if this type of software is affecting your computer, such as your browser taking you to sites other than the website you type in or unexpected activity such as weird error messages and slow performance. Some operating systems offer free anti-spyware software or patches that you can use. Be careful that when you download anything to your computer, that you trust the website you are downloading from. People who often download music, games and other file-sharing programs are more susceptible to this.
Firewalls are also an important part of protecting your computer. These are used to keep remote users from accessing your computer and can alert you when another source is trying to gain access to your system.
Be sure that your web browser settings are as secure as possible. Some web browsers offer the option to use the internet with either low, medium or high security settings. Use the setting that best fits your needs and allows for the maximum amount of security. Also, disconnect your computer from the internet whenever you are not using it so that it doesn’t sit as a dormant window to your information.