Sunday, December 31, 2006

My Space is also "Their Space"

Dec 2006 - Associated Press repoted this.
  • "MySpace bills itself as a "place for friends. Increasingly, it is also a place for unfriendly attacks from digital miscreants on the prowl, luring users to sexually explicit websites, clogging mailboxes with spam messages and playing on the trust users have when speaking to "friends" to obtain passwords that could lead to identity theft."

In November of 2006, MySpace passed Yahoo Inc. in U.S. page views, recording 38.7 billion, according to comScore Media Metrix.

I keep telling my students to be careful and not trust anyone they don't know too much. And don't trust on-line messages asking for confidential information even if it is from a friend!

Here is the problem. Many, many communication tools makes it easy to send messages to one person or a whole list of friends. Those communications are used by Cyber-Gangstas. Spammers and ID Thieves can easily take advantage of some of the most popular features on MySpace. Apparently one of the most popular is the "friend request," where one user asks to be added to another user's list of buddies.
  • According to the AP story "One recent scam works this way: A spammer posts a number of phony profiles featuring pictures of cute women, often promising nude photos. A "friend request" with the woman's photo is sent to hundreds of users. Once the fake profile loads, a blue screen descends, saying the profile is protected by the "MySpace Adult Content Viewer." Unsuspecting users who try to download the viewer instead get a worm that installs adware on their computers."
The danger of the Internet is magnified by the innocence or carelessness of so many users and MySpace is especially vulnerable because the MySpace folks cannot monitor the billions of transactions that take place. Also, the whole idea of MySpace is information sharing. So there is only one way to avoid MySpace disaster - EDUCATION!

That's why we we exist!

Our blog and our partnership with Iowa State University Continuing Education is designed to sustain a vast and complex (and ever expanding) program of Identity Awarness Education as well as training for corporations on safe identity behavior.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Common Sense Can Solve A Lot?

It is true Boeing Co. is the newest victim of a stolen laptop containing personal information on nearly 400,000 workers and retirees. The company reports this personal information includes employees’ names, Social Security numbers, home addresses, phone numbers and birth dates. WOW, what else would anyone need?

The good news is that the company is taking this loss seriously, they are firing the employee who left the computer vulnerable to theft and providing credit-monitoring services for three years for those affected. This is a start but not nearly enough.

Chairman and CEO of Boeing Co. Jim McNerney writes in a memo “… the best policies, procedures, encryption software and awareness-raising in the world can’t force people to use them” and he is correct, but maybe simple policies of not being able to store such data on a portable device could. Is that such a difficult concept? There is no work in the world that is important enough to take home with you if it means risking the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

A little common sense can go a long way.

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