Google Strengthens its Security Position

Google has been known for its attention to keeping their user’s information secure. Now Google has added a new security acquisition to their portfolio. Google purchased Postini for $625 million.

Postini, is a company that specializes in “protecting businesses worldwide from a wide range of email, instant messaging (IM) and web threats, and provides message archiving and encryption – all in one unified platform.”

Postini has a client base of over 35,000 companies, with the likes of Hormel Foods Corporation, Johnson Controls, Jenny Craig, inc., LSI Logic, Circuit City, and Merrill Lynch just to name a few of their clients.

With their software, businesses rout email and other forms of online communications through Postini data centers. This helps filter out the spam and malicious content before it ever gets to a customer’s network.

Google plans to make available the Postini products for use through the Google Apps. Enterprise customers will now have even more secure communications tools without the expense of having to support in-house solutions.

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Dateline NBC Goes Hunting For ID Thieves


Dateline NBC aired a report on Tuesday, April 3, to catch an ID thief
This in-depth article goes into the details of how the Internet is used by thieves around the world. The crime is International in scope and is very difficult to track down the actual thieves. There are online chat rooms where stolen credit card information, bank account passwords, and personal information is sold for as little as $5.00 dollars apiece. Once the information is bought, the use of the information occurs in just a few minutes online.

Dateline did an investigation using bait cards provided by credit card companies and placing the card information for sale on underground chat rooms. The bait is taken in minutes. Then, the credit card monitoring firm shows actual charges with in minutes of the card information being sold. The thieves start out by seeing if the card will go through for a small charge donation at a charity. Once this is accomplished, then just a few minutes later the card is used at various places around the country with the $1000.00 limit maxed out in no time. Other cards were also used and maxed out around the globe in minutes and seconds.

This form of ID theft is estimated to cost the US economy to the tune of $5 billion dollars a year.

The surprising aspect of this crime is that it is being orchestrated by individuals or groups from outside the United States. This makes it extremely difficult to prosecute, let alone track down the thieves.

The thieves prey on single moms and people looking for love in all the wrong places. Many of the men and women become unsuspecting accomplices and are thinking that they are helping their future spouse set up a business in another country. These men and women seem to have fallen for the love connection. They collect the products that are shipped to them, and then re-ship the products to other countries including: Africa, Australia, and others. With the promise of love, these men and women are many times using their own money to ship the products out of the United States. The reason for the middle man operation is because many of the companies refuse to ship their products overseas.

Dateline was able to track down some of the places being shipped to in Africa. However, this did little in the way of being able to stop the thievery. Once the final destination drop spots were discovered, the authorities did nothing to shut down or prosecute the perpetrators. Many times the perpetrators would use an Internet Cafe in a downtown Africa nation and simply do their buying, selling, and communications online with their middle men right there.

So, what’s the answer for this global crime? Many countries don’t have any laws on the books to stop it, and the thieves know it. The International criminals take the attitude of so what if they are stealing, they know nothing will happen to them. The world lives in an ethical vacuum today.

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IT Professionals Play Key Security Role

Information technology professionals provide a key role in eBusiness

Ethical and security concerns arise that need to be handled immediately instead of pushing it off to human resources department.

An area related to eBusiness ethics is the handling of information that IT comes in contact with on a regular basis. Issues arise quickly with-in an organization where the appropriate action needs to occur immediately when it comes to ethics or security of data related to privacy. Employees
do not have the luxury of waiting to speak with Human Resources. See story
A Question Of Ethics, Information Week, 2/19/01

Information technology folks are at the very core of the data that is key to our lives, and as such it is extremely important that management realize this fact, and have an ethics policy which includes more than a one hour training session. Ethics needs to be at the core of the company; a way of life.

In addition, it is a good idea to have a “checks and balances” system in place for all aspects of the business. There have been instances in which employees have had access to private information collection in which the data was sold in the market place. See stories on Out-Law.com.

Companies need to incorporate tighter controls with-in their own organization. For instance, with USB memory sticks and flash drives available to anyone, an unethical employee could copy the information on a memory stick, CD, or DVD and walk right out the door with out anyone knowing. Or, they could send an E-mail outside the organization, with a list of names or private and confidential information. Imagine all the mortgage, banking, and broker companies that have key data on individuals such as: social security numbers, names and addresses, drivers license numbers, credit card numbers, and bank accounts. Think how easily information could fall into the wrong hands.

Is it any wonder we have heard of US institutions that use other countries for customer service issues, and then find out later that there was a security breach with hundreds of thousands of personal data being sold for identity theft and credit card theft.

So, no matter what the size of your company, implement a standard of ethics that is more than one hour long. Make it a way of life!

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Can I Trust My Email Address With That Website?

The Internet is like the Wild Wild West. It is the final frontier, with lots of landmine hazards to watch out for.

Consumers are signing up for free information by email, downloading freeware programs, and buying products and services online. How do you know if a website is secure or if they are going to release your email address to the spammers?

One of the ways in which people are fighting the online fraud is with disposable, temporary, dedicated email addresses specific for online sign ups. When someone sees or reads something that they are interested in, a person may have one or several email addresses to use when they sign up for something online. However, many websites are requiring more information, or permanent email addresses, and herein lies the problem.

The trust issue is the main ingredient when dealing with any company. If a company’s online privacy policy states that they share information with other advertising members or a conglomeration network has hundreds of other websites, will I then get tons of spam if I sign up for something? Then, even after reading privacy policies that supposedly do not share information, how can I be sure the company can be trusted?

McAfee is one company that has come out with a very cool automated tool that can give you a quick check of what is going on. The program is McAfee SiteAdvisor. The program can tell you before you even go to a website from the search engine results pages if a website is good or bad. With indicators of green, yellow, or red flag warnings of what to watch out for from each website.

It is an excellent program that works in tandem with your browser. It can be used for both Internet Explorer or Firefox.

The automated system for checking websites is very unique. The program checks for all types of Internet threats. “They built a system of automated testers which continually patrol the Web to browse sites, download files, and enter information on sign-up forms. They document all these results and supplement them with feedback from their users, comments from Web site owners, and analysis from their own employees.” Go to McAfee SiteAdvisor to download the software.

While you are at their website you could take the McAfee SiteAdvisor Spam Quiz (McAfee recently updated their website and the quiz page has been moved). This quiz test would have given you an indication to see if you could spot the websites that will produce the spam. It was very interesting to see for yourself. McAfee also provides the privacy policies from the websites to read and you can analyze the privacy information based on what McAfee says. I have to say that I read lots of privacy policies on the Web. Many of these policies are opened ended invitations to share your email address with virtually everyone. So, I fully expected to get a 100% on my grade. I missed one. After you take the test look at the results for all of the people that have taken the test so far. I think you will be surprised at the numbers of people that got it wrong.

While reading a privacy policy is important for a consumer today, the legal mumbo jumbo, and the length of these policies can be difficult to overcome. That is where having this program can be a great benefit for everyone. Check out your favorite websites. Can you trust them?

Look for a privacy policy that is easy to read and understand, and one that specifically states the company keeps your information private today.

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Email us today for professional Internet marketing services to get your business discovered online by new prospects and customers. Search engines will love your Business to Business, B2B or Business to Consumer, B2C website.

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