Saturday, July 09, 2005

Favorite new word: Typosquatting

This from the Associated Press today:
Back to Print Edition - Chicago Tribune Saturday Business

GOOGLE INC.: Firm awarded rights in `typosquatting'

SAN FRANCISCO -- An Internet arbitrator has awarded Google Inc. the rights to several Web site addresses that relied on typographical errors to exploit the online search engine's popularity so computer viruses and other malicious software could be unleashed on unsuspecting visitors.

The National Arbitration Forum, a legal alternate to litigating in court, sided with a Google complaint alleging that Sergey Gridasov of St. Petersburg, Russia, had engaged in "typosquatting" by operating Web sites named, and

Former Stanford University graduate students incorporated the search engine in September 1998 and Google registered its domain name a year later. Gridasov registered his Web sites in December 2000 and January 2001, Google said.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Summer Phishing Safety

Don't relax this summer when it comes to keeping your data safe online. Media reports of unauthorized access to sensitive personal data are taking a toll on consumers' confidence in online commerce, according to research and analysis firm Gartner Inc.

A Gartner survey of 5,000 U.S. adults showed that phishing attacks grew at double-digit rates last year in the United States.

Consumers reported receiving more than 50 phishing e-mails in the past year, an increase of 28 percent over the prior year. when an estimated 57 million U.S. adults reported that they definitely, or think, they received a phishing attack email. In both surveys, 5,000 participants were selected to match demographic characteristics of the U.S. online population.

2.4 million online consumers report losing money directly because of the phishing attacks. Of these, approximately 1.2 million consumers lost $929 million during the year preceding the survey. Survey participants indicated most of the money stolen was repaid by banks and credit cards.

Gartner analysts said most online consumers do not open e-mail from companies or individuals they do not know from prior experience. Three of every four online shoppers said they are more cautious about where they buy goods online, and one of three report buying fewer items than they otherwise would because of security concerns.

While companies are rapidly increasing security, this level of online theft is unprecedented. If businesses can't keep data safe, their efforts to lower cost by pushing consumers to online transactions will be thwarted.

More than 80 percent of online consumers said their concerns about online attacks have affected their trust in e-mail from companies or individuals they don't know personally. Of these consumers, more than 85 percent delete suspect e-mail without opening it.

Phishing attacks are not slowing down. More than 40 percent of the adults who received phishing attack e-mails received them in the two weeks preceding the survey; another 23 percent of respondents said they received these e-mails two weeks before that - so more than 63 percent of consumers who received one of these e-mails did so in the month prior to the survey.

Concerned consumers are logging in less frequently, and becoming reluctant to pay bills online.

Stay safe online --- Don't click a link in an email directing you to a web site, use a browser with certificate verification, log out promptly when finished, and keep a record in the computer of your online transactions. Use a firewall, and good protection software that can detect phishing, rerouted links, and third-party redirecting of links.