Tips & Tricks: How to prevent hacking?

 

On your email account
On Facebook
On your smartphone

 

On Your Email

 

How do you know that your email was hacked?

-You can’t log into your email account.
-Your sent folder contains messages that you never sent.
-Your email contacts inform you that they have been receiving spam messages from your account.

 

What can you do if your email has been hacked?

-Change your password
-Check all your other accounts: email, social networks, blogs, etc. Especially if you use the same password for all your accounts
-Delete all accounts that you don’t use If hackers get into email accounts that you don’t use anymore, it takes longer time before you discover it and the hacker will have more time to do damage.
-Send an apology to all your email contacts.

 

How can you prevent hackers from getting into your email account?
-Don’t choose a typical password. Many people use easy-to-guess passwords such as their own names with their birthdates at the end. It is better to combine upper case and lower case letters along with numbers and symbols.
-Change your password at regular intervals.
-Change your password every one to three months.
-Give only your email address to websites that you trust

 

On Facebook

 

Make a strong password and change it regularly
Keep your PC protected against virus and spyware. By installing a safe antivirus package (e.g. like our Gold antivirus that we have on offer in this newsletter) you keep out spyware and other malicious software that can steal your confidential information like passwords, bank info, contact info, and private files by sending them to the hacker.
When you use a friend’s computer or computer café, make sure to log out properly and never click the ‘remember me’ option.
Fine tune Privacy Settings. Make sure your privacy settings control what information is visible to the public. The more information you allow people to see, the greater the risk for this information being stolen. 
Keep in mind that if you have photos or information that can potentially ruin your life and dignity, do not put them on the internet.
Be careful with applications. Every time you install any of Facebook applications you allow the creators of the application to access your personal information. It is advisable to use a different Facebook account to play games just to make sure your personal email or other information will not be abused.
Beware of the Timeline feature. As we wrote earlier, the feature Timeline can make it easier for hackers to collect information about you, so be careful if you chose to install it on your profile.
Delete information that you think would help hackers answering your security questions or guessing your password. Try to look at the information about you with a hackers eyes and get rid of any data that could be used against you.

 

On your smartphone

 

The two most common types of phone hacking are voicemail hacking and data hacking. Data hacking has increased due to the growing use of smartphones, where hackers can access emails, bank accounts etc. Here we give you some advice to prevent both types.

 

Change the default voicemail pin code. Most mobile phone networks offer a generic remote access telephone number that you can call from a landline telephone to hear your own mobile’s voicemail. For security you need to enter a pin code before being able to listen to your voicemails, but the default code is often the same across all phones – often 1234 or 0000. It is therefore important that you change your voicemail pin code, mostly by calling voicemail from your phone and selecting the “voicemail security” setting.
Install security software. By installing an efficient antivirus app on your phone you will increase the general security level on your phone which will make it harder for hackers to access it. In this newsletter we have a special offer on MYMobileProtection, an application that protects your mobile against viruses, theft or accidental loss, credit card and identity theft, unwanted calls and SMS spam messages. It also provides privacy control to keep SMS and other services secret.
Be careful using public Wi-Fi. Be careful when checking emails, logging into mobile banking sites and accessing private information when your phone is connected to public wi-fi such as those in coffee shops – as these are often unsecure.
Turn off auto-complete. Some phones save usernames and passwords automatically to help you log-in faster next time, but this makes life easier for hackers. Check your phone’s “Settings” menu to see if it is automatically storing information.
Set a phone password. If your phone’s lost or stolen, a password could stop a data hacker in their tracks. Turn off Bluetooth. Hackers could use the wireless connection to gain remote access to your phone. Delete your browsing history. Deleting your mobile phone’s internet browser history, cookies and cache will make it more difficult for hackers to access your data.

The world´s most famous hackers

 

Hackers can generally be divided into two groups: black hats and white hats. Black hats are criminal hackers, crackers, and white hats are hackers that use their talents constructively, often working for big companies as security consultants.It is likely to see black hats becoming white hats, as it has happened with some of the world´s most famous hackers we have picked out. Find out who they are and what they have accomplished here.

 

George Hotz, (1989)

 

George Hotz, also known as “geohot”, is one of the hackers, that became world famous most recently. He infamously rose to stardom when he was sued by Sony for breaking through the operating system on the PlayStation 3 in 2009. He shared his PS3 intrusions with others on the Internet who were looking to run their own software on the PS3 and run it like a standard computer. Hotz was also one of the first people that hacked into Apple’s iOS. Sony and George Hotz came to an agreement earlier this year and now George Hotz is employed with Facebook. After he published his jailbreak on PS3, the console has experienced a lot of other hacker attacks. In April this year a group of hackers broke into Sony's database and stole personal data from 100 million users, which forced Sony to shut down the PS3 console for nearly four weeks. Sony has estimated that the huge hacker attack will cost them at least 1,6 billion dollars.

 

Jonathan James (1983 – 2008)
He was the first teenager who was imprisoned for hacking in the U.S. Jonathan James aka “c0mrade”, was sentenced when he was 16-years old for breaking both into one of the U.S. Defense servers (Defense Threat Reduction Agency server) and into NASA's computers. Through the latter he stole software for $ 1.7 million. Had James been over 18 years when he committed the crimes he would have been sentenced to 10 years of prison, but because of his young age, he was instead sentenced to six months house arrest. He committed suicide as a 25-year-old.

 

Kevin Mitnick, (1963)
Mitnick has been called the most wanted computer criminal in U.S. history by the American Department of Justice. He started his hacking career breaking into Los Angeles bus pass system to travel free by bus. Mitnick was responsible for numerous criminal hacker attacks, he hacked into several companies' computers, stealing confidential information, broke into telephone networks and hacked the U.S. defense warning system. Mitnick was sentenced to five years in prison for hacking and stealing software from Digital Equipment Corporation's computer network. Mitnick's criminal activities were filmed in the two films Freedom Downtime and Takedown. He was released in 2000 and currently operates his own IT security company.

 

Kevin Poulsen (1965)
Kevin Poulsen, also known as “Dark Dante”, became famous for hacking into Los Angeles radio KIIS FM phone lines, where he made the attractive call number 102, which produced him a brand new Porsche. Kevin Poulsen was hounded for years by the FBI and got arrested in 1991. He pledged himself guilty of various hacker attacks on computers, money laundering and of acquiring information about the FBI's undercover operations. He was in 1994 sentenced to 51 months in prison; at the time the longest prison sentence given for cracking. Kevin Poulsen, currently works as a senior editor at U.S. magazine Wired News, where he writes about internet related topics. In 2006, Poulsen released information about an investigation he had made on MySpace, where 744 paedophiles had created profiles to get in contact with children.

Phone hacking caused media scandal to roll

 

Hacking of mobile phones are becoming a bigger and bigger problem, because it's still only a minority of people who are concerned about improving security on their phones. One of the most extreme examples of phone hacking was unveiled when the News of the World scandal broke out earlier this year.

 

It was the beginning of the end, when it came out that journalists from the newspaper News of the World had used phone hacking to get information for their news stories. An outcry over the journalists' unfair methods reached unprecedented heights, when it was revealed in July this year that mobile phones belonging to relatives of deceased British soldiers and victims of the London terrorist attacks in 2007 had been hacked.

 

Also the murdered 13-year-old schoolgirl Milly Dowlers cell phone was hacked, so reporters could listen to her voice mail messages. Journalists even deleted messages, to make room for new ones, which made the police and relatives think she was still alive. The media empires owner Rupert Murdoch saw himself forced to close down the News of the World on 10th of July this year, having been one of the leading British media for 168 years.

 

To learn more about what you can do to protect your smartphone from hacking, read our Tips and Tricks and take advantage of our special newsletter offer on the security app MYMobileProtection.
 

New hacker trick: Hang up if Microsoft is calling you

Be aware of a new scam that has been making the rounds recently scammers calling through the phone and posing as people from Microsoft, scaring victims into paying for bogus services and stealing their credit information.

The hackers say they are from Microsoft Customer Service and that you have a virus or a system failure on your PC. And that the error can be fixed immediately, if only you pay a small amount for repair. Besides that, they also try to get you to install a virus on your PC so they can abuse it in the future. Microsoft has therefore listed the following procedure for their PC users, in order for them to know what to alert themselves to:

 

This is how the hackers do it:
– The person claims he or she represents Microsoft, one of their brands as Windows / Office or one of their partners
– The person says they are investigating a computer problem or a virus that is registered at Microsoft on your computer
– He or she tells you that they can correct the error if you go to a specific website
– When entering the site, hackers try to take control of your PC
– The false representative would, as a special "service", show the alleged problems by taking remote control of your PC
– Throughout the process they will persuade you to pay a fee to "repair" your PC

 

Microsoft never calls
Be aware that Microsoft hardly ever calls their customers unless you ask them to,and if they do so, they will never call to identify viruses or ask for personal information. So if you are exposed to that, the best advice is to hang up immediately. There is no doubt that we will see more scams using the same approach in the future – it may be a phone call from your bank or even IT support. “The best thing is to have the proper security protocols in place so you can verify the identity of the people who are calling you, says Marion Williams, Customer Service Manager at MYSecurityCenter. “Ask them for some personal data on you. Can they provide you with a customer number? Which department are they calling from? What is the address and phone number? Can you call them back? That gives you time to look up the information to see if it actually belongs to the company.” It is also important to keep your system safe by having a good security program installed. “With a good security program your PC will check if the websites are safe or not”, she says. Please feel free to contact support@mysecuritycenter.com if you wish to discuss how to protect your PC the best way.

Watch out for hackers like Lisbeth Salander!

 

Are there Internet criminals out there? And is it just as easy for them as it is for Lisbeth Salander from Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy to hack your computer? Read founder at MYSecurityCenter Janus R. Nielsen’s article.

 

This article is about whether the Internet crime that we have all been reading about is out there, and if it is really that dangerous. Are there hackers who are as talented as Lisbeth Salander from the movie trilogy Millennium? Is she really out there, and does she exist in a nasty criminal capacity with sinister intentions, or is it just pure imagination that companies like my own have created to sell a lot of security software?

 

 

Lisbeth Salander is out there
The Millennium series is without doubt one of the most popular films from Europe ever. The movies are based on the bestselling books, written by the late Stieg Larsson. In the movies Lisbeth Salander is a hardcore super hacker. Smoothly she attacks computers, stealing whatever suits her. Imagine if it was your computer? But is she out there? – Yes, very much indeed, but probably in a male version. And you can be absolutely sure that he is exactly as good as Lisbeth, he would even be able to give Lisbeth Salander a serious fight. He can successfully break into your email address, access your online banking. Or the most frightening scenario – steal your identity!

 

It only happens to other people
Most of us do not think about the risks we take every day when we are online. It is often only when it is too late, that we begin to think about installing security software. It's really weird that quite often when reading through the news media we see stories about people getting viruses or having their credit card details stolen. But maybe it is just like with serious diseases. It does not happen to me, but only to my neighbour. But the reality is that only about 30 percent of the PCs in private homes have adequate and updated security software installed.

 

Who bothers hacking me?
One can be fascinated by the likes of Salander. She possesses skills, which very few of us have. And the movie has really made us aware that we have to protect ourselves against hackers. Although you may think "Who will bother to specifically hack my account?" Well, the hacker works based on the thinking “many small streams”. And while you don’t discover the fact that one pound is missing from your account, the hacker sits back and enjoys the fact that his account on Seychelles grows and grows. It is also very common that criminals are using unprotected computers for redistribution of, for example, child pornography. That is, if they have unlimited access to your machine, they can store a lot of child pornographic material on the machine and let their customers and contacts download it directly from your machine and not from their own. This phenomenon is actually very common nowadays.

 

What can you do about it?
To prevent intruders on your computer, you obviously need a good security programme. But you must also hold in mind that a security programme alone will not be sufficient. But with a good programme, you are insuring yourself and your family. Most manufacturers now have a so called Internet security suite, which is an all in one solution, containing much more than just antivirus. It means that you are not only safe from hackers and viruses, but also credit card fraud, identity theft, Internet scams and spyware. In addition, most suites also include antirootkit and malware protection. All this is pretty standard today and beyond our own antivirus from MYSecurityCenter there are a whole range of good products on the market today.

 

Choose your software supplier with care
But beyond choosing a good all in one product I would also recommend that you choose a supplier that offers free and professional support in your language. Some vendors do that today, and some have also begun to offer free remote takeover of your PC if you have a problem you cannot solve yourself. This for instance is what we offer at MYSecurityCenter. With remote takeover, you can be sure sure that you always have a fully functioning machine, and that your security is properly set up. It simply gives an extra safety and security for you as a customer.

 

The new trend in private PC security
In the last film of the Millenium trilogy "The girl who kicked the Hornet´s Nest " Michael Blomqvist gets his computer stolen, and of course, it contains some very important files. This last year has brought some PC anti-theft programs on to the market. One of them is our own MY PC Theft Protection, which is on offer right now on our website. Naturally, there are also others on the market. Had Michael Blomqvist had a PC anti-theft software installed, and been able to quickly copy and download its files and then ensure that it blocks, and encrypts them, he would not have had a problem!. He would also have been able to locate the machine via the built-in "GPS" technology, and furthermore, would have been able to see who was sitting in front of his PC by using the built in web camera and much more besides. Those who have seen the movie will understand that it would have given him a great advantage against the bandits that he was up against. But one thing is well known – movies, are different to reality. Remember to secure your PC so you can enjoy the Internet with no worries!

Facebook makes it easier for hackers

 

 

Facebook's newest feature "Timeline" is like candy for hackers. With this feature, you can transform your Facebook profile into a virtual scrapbook that contains everything you've ever done digitally, either done by yourself or by your friends. Security experts predict that hackers will be in their element with access to everything they could wish for in personal information that can be abused.

 

Facebook has more than 800 million users and some of them have now closed down their accounts in protest over Facebook's new Timeline. With Timeline it becomes impossible to escape from your past, and many believe that this is both scary and problematic. In addition, the Timeline makes it much easier for hackers to access information about users. Tomas Bartkus, IT-manager at MYSecurityCenter says: “Hackers generally collect personal information together and use that information for criminal purposes. With this new feature their work becomes much easier. Many people use the personal information as part of their password or as part of creating the security questions that many network services require people to answer to get forgotten passwords resent to them. In my opinion, this is the main risk about using Timeline.”

 

Sarah Palin was hacked – are you next?
Using personal information was how a college student hacked into the U.S. Governor Sarah Palin's Yahoo mail account last year. He claimed that it only took him 45 minutes to find the information he needed to break the code. Hackers can also use the information they find on Facebook to piece together persuading emails to unsuspecting people who open the mail because they appear credible. The fake emails will then typically contain invitations to pay money, spam, malware, or links to malicious websites.

 

Data Protection keeps an eye on Facebook
Facebook is increasingly coming under the spotlight with many data protection establishments all over the world, this is because  the site has so many users' personal information, worth its weight in gold. Experts in social media have also mentioned that  Facebook in the future will use the more detailed information to increase advertisement, therefore consumers will suddenly see some campaigns tailored to fit the individual Facebook user.  Facebook is an American company not subject to European legislation with regards to privacy laws, which are more restrictive than those in the U.S. Meanwhile Facebook is facing a planned IPO, which is expected to bring a substantial sum of money to the company by virtue of its extensive database full of personal information on the users.

 

Voluntary so far
Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has at a press conference defended the new Timeline and the ability to accept a range of apps that can update in real time on your Facebook wall, what you are doing, reading or which music you are listening to. He assures us that none of the new features will be added before you choose them, and notes that the Timeline is now being  launched in a trial version. The Timeline will be voluntary at first, but several experts point out that everyone will be forced to use it, because Facebook will not be able to handle two different profile versions. In this newsletter Tips and Tricks you can find some useful advice on how to prevent hackers from getting into your Facebook account.

R.I.P. Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs death is headline news in all the media around the world today. His innovative way of thinking and willingness to take chances made Apple the most successful IT-company in the world. “He was a great inspiration for me and for the whole IT-industry”, says CEO of MYSecurityCenter Janus R. Nielsen. “The big question is now: will Apple survive without him? I look forward to seeing how Tim Cook will take leadership of Apple, and which stragegies the company will hold on to to ensure continuous growth and success”.