Thursday, December 22, 2011

Think before you click

 A Washington Post article on spear-pfishing illustrates the problem with not paying attention when you are on the Internet.  Evidently Chinese hackers gained access to U.S. Chamber of Commerce accounts through planting a link within an email or on a social media site for the viewer to click on -- which in turns led to code being installed on the viewer's computer.  It's very difficult to detect that such code has been installed and the results can be quite damaging.

The third chapter of my book is devoted to high impact risks when you are online.  One of the most remarkable statistics I note is from a Reuters article indicating that only 13% of Facebook users vett requests to be friends.  The Post article points out that the easiest locations for hackers to plant links is within social media accounts like Facebook or Twitter.  And if it's this easy to "friend" someone, it's equally easy to plant that code.

Most who bank online know by now -- sometimes through hard experience -- that their bank will never ask them to provide their login or password information via an email request.  Now we need to apply that same standard of care to other types of communication, where who or what is being asked are unknown.

Like with most other risks, being alert to this risk now that it's been identified should help us avoid becoming a victim of this type of attack.


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