Think Information. Think Security.
 
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There have been a number of high-profile security breaches in the last few months that have exposed the email addresses of millions of users. In December, Gawker Media's servers were hacked, and over 500,000 email accounts were compromised, and in April, Epsilon, one of the largest email marketing companies announced that its database had been breached. Epsilon said the breach was limited to only 2% of its clients - only about 50 companies. But those 50 companies include Citigroup, Capital One, Walgreen, Best Buy, Target, Hilton, Kroger, Tivo, Disney, The College Board and Marriot. 

In other words, it's pretty likely if you've ever purchased anything online, signed up for a mailing list, or left a comment on one of Gawker's many websites, your email address may well be one of those stolen. If so, you've probably received an email to that effect, notifying you of the security breach and probably reassuring you that while your name and email address might have been stolen that the rest of your information (including financial data or passwords) remains secure.

That doesn't mean you're necessarily in the clear as someone armed with your email address and your spending habits -- or at least the brands with which you have some sort of relationship -- can easily craft a targeted and sophisticated phishing attack.

f scammers know that you have a credit card with Capital One, for example, they may send you emails asking you to log into a website and provide credentials that will give them access to more data, including financial information. People often do fall for these targeted attacks, because they appear to come from a site they have a relationship with.

Phishing attacks are not uncommon, but if you keep your guard up about where you click and what information you provide, you'll probably be safe. Incidents like the Gawker and Epsilon security breaches are good reminders to change your email password and to not use that password on other websites.

When you receive an email from a company now, make sure you scrutinize it fully. Look at the email address and verify the sender. Don't click on attached files. Look for typos and strange URLs. But don't click on those links, as these phishing attacks will often construct elaborate ruses to make websites look similar to the site they're mimicking. Navigate to the website directly instead.
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If you do get a suspicious email -- particularly one with an urgent tone asking you to update your personal information -- pick up the phone and call the company in question. Remember: most companies aren't going to ask for sensitive information via email.

With the Epsilon and Gawker security breaches in the news recently, users may be more vigilant now about these sorts of phishing attacks. The important thing to remember, however, is to be vigilant always. Just because your email address was stolen in recent months doesn't mean that phishing attacks will happen now. They may happen anytime. Whether or not you've received a notice that your email address has been compromised, it's important to always be vigilant.


Source: RWW
9/18/2012 03:08:27 am

You have really helped several of individuals like me, who have been searching internet from past quite a long time to find detailed information on this particular topic. Thanks a ton.

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