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Can viruses really steal ID information?


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5 replies to this topic

#1 of 6 OFFLINE   cs0khunter82

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Posted November 29 2008 - 02:02 PM

I have been using my computer to watch broadcasts of shows from websites. A friend told me that some viruses and trojans that you get, can actually find confidential personal ID information on you computer like SSN or credit card info, and send it to scammer who then can rip you off.

Is this true? What can be done about it?

I have and anti-virus program called Cyberdefender on my computer, is that enough protection?

#2 of 6 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted November 29 2008 - 03:03 PM

There's no connection between TV show websites and viruses, unless you're using software and websites of dubious quality which might actually be vectors for a virus.

So, if you're using Hulu.com, no worries. if you're using illegitimate sources for media...well, you're on your own there.

If you're using a Mac, there's still no malevolent viruses in the wild for OS X.

As for stealing person ID, the specific concern are phishing scams. You receive an email that appears to be ebay of paypal telling you to follow a link and update your login info to resolve an urgent account problem. The link takes you to what appears to be ebay or paypal, and you enter your account info. However, this is a scam, the email is bogus and the site is too, mimicking the real one. And when you "login", you've given away your account info to the bad guys and they can then access your account and do whatever with it.

The lesson is to use common sense. Don't install programs from unknown and dubious sources. Don't ever give login info to website linked from an email asking for "urgent" responses. If in doubt, go to the website yourself and login in your normal way. Keep yur computer updated with all system updates, especially security patches. Use current browsers (IE 6 or newer or Firefox 3 or Safari).

#3 of 6 OFFLINE   Christian Behrens

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Posted November 30 2008 - 04:42 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveF
There's no connection between TV show websites and viruses, unless you're using software and websites of dubious quality which might actually be vectors for a virus.
Hate to burst another bubble, but these days it doesn't really matter anymore which websites you visit, even highly reputable ones can infect you.

The keyword is SQL injection. What happens is that basically every bigger website out there is more than just a page of text, it's actually an application, driven by underlying infrastructure like databases that build the page you're reading on the fly. Unfortunately, sometimes that infrastructure is not fully secured and allows malicious third parties to compromise them.

Here is a nice write-up of where exactly this scenario happened on the website of Business Week:
Not a good time to become a Merchant Banker

What makes matters even worse is the fact that often times websites include content (ads for example) from third parties they have no control over themselves. When one of these ad networks gets infected (which has happened), hundreds or thousands of legitimate websites all of a sudden can be carriers for malicious software (malware).

Unless your Windows is always patched up to the latest available security fixes, even looking in your browser at a manipulated JPG (i.e. any kind of embedded graphic on a page) can infect your computer. Same for PDFs, looking at some from dubious sources with an older viewer can infect your computer without you knowing it.

What makes it worse for IE is that ActiveX is often times enabled, which opens up even more holes on your system for a complete takeover of your machine without you knowing it, making it part of a botnet, basically part of a Borg-like system to steal data from your system and/or send out spam. Make no mistake, other browsers have their share of security flaws as well, but I would avoid IE at all cost.

Once your machine is infected, anything goes. It could be a keylogger that takes note of everything you type on your machine. That would include the usernames and passwords for all the websites you use; your banking information, maybe even your SSN.

To give you an idea of what's out there, check out this website that lists all kinds of security incidents. Go back a month or two and see how many areas of everyday computing have had security problems:
US-CERT Current Activity

-Christian
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." (Benjamin Franklin)

#4 of 6 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted November 30 2008 - 08:08 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christian Behrens
Hate to burst another bubble, but these days it doesn't really matter anymore which websites you visit, even highly reputable ones can infect you.
My point is that video websites aren't a problem per se. It could be any website.

And one expects especially major websites to be more protective of their site that the "fr33 v1dz" sites, that may be a specific front for viruses, etc. This expectation is not always met, but I'll still expect on safer browsing through Hulu or Amazon than something found via non-sanctioned sources.

#5 of 6 OFFLINE   cs0khunter82

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Posted December 01 2008 - 03:14 AM

Wow, but websites are a possibity. Yikes. I like that cyberdefender looks for trojans, malware and sypware - not just viruses. I liked it enough, that I paid for the upgrade, cuz I wanted the 2GB back-up and support since I seem to get all kinds of evil on my systim.

So would Cyberdefender be enough protection?

#6 of 6 OFFLINE   spicy14lingo

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Posted January 06 2009 - 03:17 AM

I use Cyberdefender anti-virus. I got the free anti-virus scanner first off there website (Spyware Removal from CyberDefender Internet Security: offering virus scan and anti-spyware downloads) which found a lot of stuff on my system and got rid of the spyware and Trojans. I also had viruses, so I bought the upgrade which got rid of everything on my system. I also found that the paid one came with 24/7 computer help, which I used twice and they were very helpful. So, for me, Cyberdefender works great.





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