Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Guest Blogger: BOLT Explains the Dangers of International Business Travel

BOLT is Your Business Owners Liability Team

Their extensive graphic might just help you to understand the Dangers of International Business Travel for business owners and their employees. It is the ultimate free resource for helping to protect your business and your future against dangers abroad by understanding the very real risks you can be taking without proper protection.

Dangers of International Business Travel Infographic
Via: Bolt Insurance

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Have You Been a Victim of Identity Theft?

Below is an excerpt of a helpful guide provided by Privacy Rights Clearinghouse to get your identity back.

The guide provides victims of identity theft with instructions on how to regain their financial health and who to contact for more help. You must act quickly and assertively to minimize the damage.

If you want to stay protected in the future, be sure to sign up for iDefend and let our identity specialists manage everything for you. To learn more about the 25 + resources mentioned in the guide, click here.

Identity Theft: What to Do if It Happens to You

You apply for a credit card and are turned down because of a low credit score, yet you know that you've always paid your accounts on time.

A debt collector calls to demand payment on a six-month overdue account for a credit card you have never had.

You receive a credit card in the mail that you've never applied for.

What's happening? You could be the victim of identity theft, where an imposter is using your personal information to obtain credit. Then when the thief does not pay the bills, the company itself or a debt collection company contacts you to demand payment. As a result, your credit report is likely to contain negative information about your bill-payment history, and your credit score has probably been lowered considerably, making it difficult or impossible to obtain new credit yourself

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hackers Target USB and Other Removable Media . . . Again

Written July 19, 2010 by Joel Harrison,
INVISUS Senior Technology Analyst

The world was recently attacked by malware that installed itself through the AutoPlay feature, and it is happening again. The previous attack placed a second AutoPlay option in the window that pops up when you insert a flash drive. Clicking on the wrong one would infect the computer. This new threat attacks shortcut icons. It targets USB sticks and other removable drives.

A security advisory issued by Microsoft warns users of targeted attacks against Windows Shell (that is the main interface that Windows uses to organize the desktop and file system). The attacks work on virtually all versions of Windows and could enable a hacker to take complete control of a victim’s machine.

The attack targets the way Windows parses shortcut icons on a user’s system. Microsoft said disabling AutoPlay makes it more difficult for the attack to work. The attack can be carried out remotely through network shares or remote WebDAV shares.

As usual, make sure that the INVISUS security software on your machine is updated and running scans regularly. Do not plug in USB flash drives that you find or were given to you by someone you are unfamiliar with.

Note: Whether your computer is at your home, church, or small business, you owe it to yourself, your family, congregation, customers, and employees to ensure that it is safe and secured from hackers and cybercriminal attacks.

Thus, I encourage you to test your PC right now by clicking on the test button in the upper, right column. After you've tested it, why not also take a moment to see if your small business is PCI compliant?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Beware of Job-Search Scammers Who Will Steal Your Information and Money, Part I of IV

If you’re looking for a job, you may see ads for firms that promise results. Many of these firms may be legitimate and helpful, but others may misrepresent their services, promote out-dated or fictitious job offerings, or charge high fees in advance for services that may not lead to a job. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a new crackdown on con artists and scammers who are preying on unemployed Americans with job-placement and work-at-home scams, promoting empty promises that they can help people get jobs in the federal government, as movie extras, or as mystery shoppers; or make money working from their homes stuffing envelopes or assembling ornaments.

Visit the FTC’s Web site at
or write to the FTC at their
Consumer Response Center, Room 130,
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20580.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. Their Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.

To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).

The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,700 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Criminals and Spies Swamp Cyberworld

The following is an article written by Mr. Sebastian Smith that he published on Wednesday, August 4, 2010 online at 09:19 am ET. It presents a current state of affairs in the cybercriminal world that we are exposed to every time we go online.

NEW YORK (AFP) – Finally the world has a hacker-proof communications device. The bad news? It's a brick in a glass case. The joke, told to a cyber conference Tuesday in New York, illustrates what top US experts describe as the dire state of online security.

"Threats today are basically not preventable," said Amit Yoran, a leading IT (Information Technology) security consultant and CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of NetWitness Corporation. "There's basically no way to defend any large-scale environment today."

The spoof brick really exists -- right in the lobby of the secretive US National Security Agency, Yoran said. And that's to remind America's top cyber spooks how limited their powers really are.

Yoran described a world where hackers operate mostly with impunity, since they are rarely caught -- or extradited when found -- and at great profit. Nor are they all lone teenage computer geniuses playing for kicks.

Organized gangs and government-sponsored spies are the real threat, making cyber crime a bigger sector even than drug trafficking, he said. "It's a very complex set-up."

The gloomy diagnosis from the FBI-sponsored conference at New York's Fordham University comes when the Internet and society are becoming more integrated by the minute.

Everything from countries' military maneuvers to ordinary citizens' grocery shopping is increasingly organized online. In fact the entire US economy, White House cyber security coordinator, Howard Schmidt, told the conference, essentially rests on safe Internet facilities.

Last year saw 10 trillion dollars in online business, a figure forecast to hit 24 trillion in another decade, he noted.

Yet, incredibly, the business world has yet to grasp the threat that online thieves and vandals pose. Almost half of small businesses don't use anti-virus software and even fewer use it properly, Schmidt warned.

"There has been enough exfiltration of personal property in this country in the past years to fill the Library of Congress over and over again. So we must do more." But chasing cyber criminals is a task that can exasperate the most powerful sleuth.

"Cyber criminals are not constrained by geographic borders," said Michael DuBose, head of the computer crime section at the Department of Justice. "A Romanian hacker sitting at his kitchen table can penetrate a US network within seconds and exit just as quickly."

The hackers' "world has become a lot smaller," he added, but "they prey on what is essentially a global victim pool."

Another hurdle, according to the FBI's cyber division deputy assistant director, Jeffrey Troy, is outdated legislation, combined with the usual complications of cross-border probes.

"We need to be operating like one global law enforcement agency," he said. Instead "a lot of countries don't have laws that fit the crime... We're using laws that were written when no one even had thought of the crime."

Experts at the conference also lamented what they said was the failure of private software companies to come up with adequate defenses.

In the end, they said, all that can be done is to mitigate the problem and make the hacking business -- ranging from theft of bank details and spam advertising to espionage and terrorist sabotage -- less easy.

Gary Gagnon, from the IT security firm MITRE, joked the biggest problem was people -- "users who just can't help clicking" on infected files. But he said no one should ever feel smug about security levels. "If (hackers) are determined to get in our network, they'll get in. The odds are stacked in their favor."

The bottomline? Please stay vigilant whenever you go online, especially when you send Comments and warning alerts encouraging your friends to send to everyone on their list.

Monday, June 28, 2010

FTC Halts International Scheme of More Than $10 Million In Unauthorized Credit and Debit Cards Charges

At the request of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a federal court has halted an elaborate international scheme that used identity theft to place more than $10 million in bogus charges on consumers’ credit and debit cards, pending a trial.

More than a million consumers were hit with one-time charges of $10 or less, and their payments were routed through dummy corporations in the United States to bank accounts in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

The defendants, using phony company names resembling real companies, and information taken from identity theft victims in the United States, opened in excess of 100 merchant accounts with companies that process charges to the credit and debit card accounts of c
onsumers, according to the FTC complaint.

The FTC believes the defendants may have run credit checks on the identity theft victims first, to be sure they were creditworthy. The defendants also cloaked each fake merchant with a virtual office address near a real merchant’s location, a phone number, a home phone number for the “owner,” a Web site pretending to sell products, a toll-free number consumers could call, and a real company’s tax number found on the Internet.

The FTC alleged that with spam e-mail, the defendants recruited at least 14 “money mules” – people in the United States they paid to form 16 dummy corporations, open associated bank accounts to receive the card payments, and transfer the money overseas. The defendants used debit cards linked to these bank accounts to set up telephone service, virtual addresses, and Web sites that helped deceive the card processors, according to the complaint.

The “money mules” responded to spam e-mail pretending to seek a U.S. finance manager for an international financial services company. The FTC has not determined how the defendants obtained the stolen identities or consumers’ credit and debit account numbers. Consumers’ payments were sent to bank accounts in Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Kyrgyzstan.

None of the consumers affected by the scam had contact with any of the defendants. Most consumers either didn’t notice the charges on their bills or didn’t seek chargebacks because of the small amounts – charges ranged from 20 cents to $10. Consumers who called the toll-free numbers that appeared on their bills either found them disconnected or heard recorded messages instructing them to leave a message, but no calls were returned.

The defendants are the 16 sham companies – API Trade LLC, ARA Auto Parts Trading LLC, Bend Transfer Services LLC, B-Texas European LLC, CBTC LLC, CMG Global LLC, Confident Incorporation, HDPL Trade LLC, Hometown Homebuyers LLC, IAS Group LLC, IHC Trade LLC, MZ Services LLC, New World Enterprizes LLC, Parts Imports LLC, SMI Imports LLC, SVT Services LLC – and one or more persons who are unknown to the agency at this time. The FTC charged them with making unauthorized charges to consumers’ credit cards in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act. The court froze the defendants’ assets and ordered them to stop operating, pending final resolution of the case.

The Commission vote to file the complaint was 4-0. The preliminary injunction order was entered by Judge Ronald A. Guzman in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.

NOTE: The Commission authorizes the filing of a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendants have actually violated the law.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,800 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

The FTC’s Web site ( provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.