Phishing and Other Concerns about Internet Security



Phishing as a bait used by cybercriminals began the mid-1990s. But we really didn’t become concerned about phishing until 2010, as a result of three studies. Two of the studies involved Facebook.

It’s been quite a roller-coaster ride for Facebook.

On one hand, Facebook has more than 1 billion+ users, and is enjoyed a huge increase in display advertising impressions. That’s more than either Yahoo or Microsoft enjoyed.

ID-100303074 (1) Stuart MilesHowever, Facebook has faced increasing scrutiny over its privacy controls from Congress and European data protection authorities. Indeed, many users in the U.S. have dropped their Facebook memberships as a result of these and other developments.

In mid-2013, Facebook finally admitted e-mail addresses of millions people had been hacked.

As a result, Facebook users have been getting phishing e-mails on a weekly or often daily basis.

Facebook users were shocked when they learned that their questionable posts showed up on a Web site, www.youropenbook.org, which is now defunct.

Their embarrassing messages ranged from results of their HIV tests to playing hooky from their jobs. The site showed their posts because the users didn’t turn off their privacy settings.

The three studies:

Buzz Score. The so-called buzz score by YouGov BrandIndex survey for Facebook for people over 35 is down. The buzz index dropped to 21.2 from 26.7. The assumption was privacy concerns was a factor among those 35+. But it jumped to 44.8 from 26.7 for the 18 to 24 demographic.

Phishing targets. Facebook jumped to fourth place as one of the top phishing targets, according to a CNET report on a study by Kaspersky Lab. The article was written by Elinor Mills.

Phishing, of course, is the fraudulent attempt by e-mailers to get your sensitive information – credit cards, passwords and usernames – by posing as an e-mail a trusted Web site.

The highest number of attacks masqueraded as organizations in e-mails, including:

  1. PayPal – 52.2 percent
  2. eBay – 13.3 percent
  3. HSBC – 7.8 percent
  4. Facebook – 5.7 percent
  5. Google – 3.1 percent
  6. IRS – 2.2 percent
  7. Rapidshare – 1.8 percent
  8. Bank of America – 1.8 percent
  9. UBI – 1.6 percent
  10. Bradesco – 1.2 percent
  11. Other – 9.2 percent

“Facebook popped up unexpectedly in fourth place,” the report said according to CNET. “This was the first time since we started monitoring that attacks on a social-networking site have been so prolific.”

“Just last week, Facebook board member Jim Breyer, of venture capital firm Accel Partners, found that his Facebook account was spamming his contacts because of a phishing scam,” wrote Ms. Mills.

“The report also found that spam represents about 85 percent of all e-mail traffic and that Asia remains the leading source of spam by geographical region, while the individual countries serving as the top sources are the U.S., India, and Russia,” she also mentioned.

Worst phishing may be yet to come. They were awful, but the worst attacks were being planned, according to a study reported by Tim Greene in NetworkWorld. Mr. Greene wrote about a study by Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) entitled, “Global Phishing Survey: Trends and Domain Name Use 2H2009.”

The report proved to be prophetic. Phishing attacks got so bad by October 2012, the American Bankers Association asked small businesspeople to partner with banks to combat cybercriminals (See: Small Business Tips to Protect Your Bank Accounts)

From the Coach’s Corner, for tips on Internet security, including the expertise of a Los Angeles security specialist, Stan Stahl, Ph.D. see these Biz Coach articles:

How to Protect Yourself from the Internet Crime Wave — For Citibank customers and millions of other consumers who enjoy the convenience of online banking, a headline about Internet crime was alarming.

Web Security Checklist and Warning about Mobile Banking — Here is an online security checklist and a stern warning about using mobile online services at your bank or credit union.

5 Safety Measures to Thwart Mounting Social-Network Attacks — An epidemic of social-networking attacks represents unprecedented dangers to companies. Here’s how a Facebook user cost her company a $1 million loss.

“Distrust and caution are the parents of security.” 
-Benjamin Franklin  

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.