The potential for you or me to become the next victim of cybercrime is something that we both need to think about. I’ve been a victim a few times and I can tell you that it is frightening to be on the short end of the cybercriminal stick.
Late one afternoon (in early 2011) my bank balance appeared to be dropping fast, and the only connection I could see was that it involved Megaupload Limited and PayPal. I contacted both PayPal and the 800 number to my bank, but I honestly did not feel as though they were doing enough to resolve my situation. The theft was happening in real time! So I did the next best thing and jumped on Twitter and tweeted that an account using Megaupload Limited was draining my bank account via paypal! (At that time my main bank account was still back east in New Hampshire).
Twitter can be used as a powerful forum to get your point across if you know who to tweet to and the correct hash(#) tag(s) to use. It wasn’t long before I was on the phone with managers from PayPal and the bank and all was made good again. A story like mine does not always end as sweetly.
The victims of cybercrime suffer…
For victims like Michelle Marsico who owns a small business based in Redondo Breach, California; logging into her bank account one day turned into her own personal horror flick when she realized that half a million dollars was hauled off by money mules. Cybercriminals will stop at nothing to get what they want and they do not care if they take your grandparents life savings or rob your child’s college fund. If the money is there and they can find a weakness in security, a vulnerability in a web app, or an open door that lets them in – your money will become their money.
According to Bloomberg Businessweek: Online banking fraud is primarily carried out in two ways. In a phishing attack, criminals impersonate bank websites in order to get unsuspecting users to provide their login credentials. The other modus operandi of online banking frauds is to install keystroke-logging malware.
Of course there are other banking attack vectors such as man-in-the-middle attacks, man-in-the-browser attacks, cross-channel attacks and pharming (Trojan horse/virus on the victim’s computer). At times Internet threat possibilities can become quite overwhelming.
Time for the geek-gal stuff…
I use desktops with Vista and Windows 7, an iMac, a laptop (Win 7), a Linux server, an iPhone and an Android. I find myself layering different operating systems with whatever flavor works for me. On Windows and iMac I generally use Cocoon in varying capacities and also use Cocoon on my iPhone as my primary browser of choice. On my Linux machine I am mainly inside my terminal and rarely use a browser. If I am on public Wi-Fi – Cocoon is my top choice for browsing the Internet.
I also find times that I use other services such as TorProject, Abine, and Hotspot Shield. It all depends upon the nature of what I need to do online when I am away from home or traveling. I am a very strong advocate of Internet security and privacy and appreciate having a multitude of online tools to choose from!
In a nutshell…
There is no all-in-one solution for online privacy and security. 2012 is the year of layering. We are at a point in our digital lives where we need to steer the ship away from the hacker-reef. We need to take account of all of the solutions that are currently available to us for online security and privacy and utilize them via layering so that we can enjoy our online experience instead of fearing it.
A little bit of Cocoon history…
Cocoon began in 2008 with co-founders Jeff Bermant and Brian Fox. Jeff had a really bad experience when his server was toasted by a virus that spammed friends and colleagues with 30K messages a day. CTO, Brian Fox – (we all know him as the original author of the GNU Bash shell) teamed up with Jeff and founded GetCocoon from Virtual World Computing (VWC). In October, 2011 – Vernon Irvin, became the President and COO of VWC – and continues to nurture and lead the Cocoon service into avenues that will protect us and the most vulnerable among us- our children, teenagers and grandparents.
How did ‘Teksquisite’ enter the mix…
The VP of Marketing, David Washburn approached me on Twitter in early 2011, possibly around the time I was tweeting about my PayPal account dilemma! I agreed with their company vision and have consulted with them since January 2011. They are a great team and work really hard to bring online privacy and Internet security to everyone. It is not always an easy endeavor.
Stay tuned for more cybercrime blog posts soon
My question to you: How do you stay safe online?