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Introduction
 

Dear Reader;

Welcome back!  We received many emails with positive feedback. We will continue to bring you a monthly information page worth taking a look at. This months feature article "What Is Phishing?"

Free Lunch!  Everyone enjoys a free lunch. You may have heard the phrase "There's no such thing as a Free Lunch." Well, here it is. If you refer a new customer to us and that customer results in a minimum of one hour of computer service, YOU will receive a $10 gift card to spend at a local restaurant. Details

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Gregory Walther
Press-F1 Computer Service
 


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Feature Article
   

What Is Phishing?
 

Learn how to avoid phishing scams!

Suppose you check your e-mail one day and find a message from your bank. You've gotten e-mail from them before, but this one seems suspicious, especially since it threatens to close your account if you don't reply immediately. What do you do?

This message and others like it are examples of phishing, a method of online identity theft. In addition to stealing personal and financial data, phishers can infect computers with viruses and convince people to participate unwittingly in money laundering. In this article, we'll examine the common traits of phishing schemes and the technological tricks that phishers use to deceive people.

Most people associate phishing with e-mail messages that spoof, or mimic, banks, credit card companies or other business like Amazon and eBay. These messages look authentic and attempt to get victims to reveal their personal information. But e-mail messages are only one small piece of a phishing scam.

­From beginning to end, the process involves:
1.Planning. Phishers decide which business to target and determine how to get e-mail addresses for the customers of that business. They often use the same mass-mailing and address collection techniques as spammers.

2.Setup. Once they know which business to spoof and who their victims are, phishers create methods for delivering the message and collecting the data. Most often, this involves e-mail addresses and a web page.

3.Attack. This is the step people are most familiar with -- the phisher sends a phony message that appears to be from a reputable source.

4.Collection. Phishers record the information victims enter into web pages or popup windows.

5.Identity Theft and Fraud. The phishers use the information they've gathered to make illegal purchases or otherwise commit fraud. As many as a fourth of the victims never fully recover.

­If the phisher wants to coordinate another attack, he evaluates the successes and failures of the completed scam and begins the cycle again.

Phishing scams take advantages of software and security weaknesses on both the client and server sides. But even the most high-tech phishing scams work like old-fashioned con jobs, in which a hustler convinces his mark that he is reliable and trustworthy. Next, we'll look at the steps phishers take to convince victims that their messages are legitimate.



Phishing and Establishing Trust

Phishing Origins
The first documented use of the word "phishing" took place in 1996. Most people believe it originated as an alternative spelling of "fishing," as in "to fish for information".

Since most people won't reveal their bank account, credit card number or password to just anyone, phishers have to take extra steps to trick their victims into giving up this information. This kind of deceptive attempt to get information is called social engineering.

Phishers often use real company logos and copy legitimate e-mail messages, replacing the links with ones that direct the victim to a fraudulent page. They use spoofed, or fake, e-mail addresses in the "From:" and "Reply-to" fields of the message, and they change links to make them look legitimate. But recreating the appearance of an official message is just part of the process.


Most phishing messages give the victim a reason to take immediate action, prompting him to act first and think later. Messages often threaten the victim with account cancellation if he doesn't reply promptly. Some thank the victim for making a purchase he never made. Since the victim doesn't want to lose money he didn't really spend, he follows the message's link and winds up giving the phishers exactly the sort of information he was afraid they had in the first place.

In addition, a lot of people trust automatic processes, believing them to be free from human error. That's why many messages claim that a computerized audit or other automated process has revealed that something is wrong with the victim's account. The victim is more likely to believe that someone has been trying to break into his account than believe that the computer doing the audit made a mistake.

For more information, tips and resources visit http://www.lodicomputer.com.

I hope you will use this information to keep your computer running smoothly. If you have any doubt about an e-mail message, DON'T OPEN IT and absolutely DO NOT respond to it. Have your computer system checked regularly.. We can clean your computer of all infections and show you how to prevent future attacks. Call Today.

 

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