Clever Scammer Ploys Illustrate the Need for Caution

John Storts
Slide Show

Emerging Security Concerns in 2011

As the barriers to hacking are removed, the number of hackers will rise and the hunt will be on for the quickest route to the biggest payouts.

Hackers sure are a driven bunch; it's too bad that greed (or just plain mischievousness) is often the mother of invention. Not all hackers are "black hats"; I know that some hackers dedicate themselves to exposing security issues so that they can be fixed, some strive to satisfy intellectual curiosity and "hacktivists" have done some good when it comes to helping people communicate in times of crisis, but all too often, more nefarious and disruptive intentions are at work.


While the technical details of hacking techniques grow in complexity, so do the more low-tech methods of getting past defenses. We all know to avoid clicking on links in e-mails from people we don't know, and we should be suspicious of any unfamiliar site that asks for personal or financial information.


But these scammers are getting more subtle and effective, and you really have to stay on your toes. Just this last Friday, I received an e-mail that appeared to be from a publishing company that I've worked with in the past to bring book excerpts to our community of IT professionals. In retrospect, the tone didn't seem quite right, but everything else was to be expected. The e-mail mentioned new books that I might be interested in and included what appeared to be links to Amazon. I'm not sure what tipped me off, but the links seemed different. With a little research, I found out why-they didn't go to Amazon pages at all. Instead, they would have routed me to a site notorious for spreading malware, viruses and other bad stuff.


These kinds of spoofs are getting harder to spot. This one in particular was very insidious. We can't afford to get lax in our vigilance, no matter how many e-mails we sift through a day.


With avoiding malware, viruses, trojan horses, intrusions and other security risks in mind, I've put together this list of resources to help you maintain that vigilance in your organization:


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