Don't take the Bait

Hackers are getting smarter in their phishing efforts, luring more and more unsuspecting suckers on the ‘net every day. Luckily there’s a very simple way to avoid getting hooked… If ANYONE sends you a link that leads you to a site that’s fishing for private information, be it your login information, credit card, or whatever, drop a line to the person or group who supposedly sent it. Find out whether they really did send it, and if they did, what its about. If everyone did this, such evil schemes would completely flop.

I realize that wading through the fishy language in this article is probably making you want to walk the plank. Sorry to go overboard. I just hope it’ll help concept sink in. Besides, if you know my dad*, you know I can safely blame it on my the gene pool I crawled out of.

In all seriousness, I realize most of you who actually read this site regularly have known what phishing is for years. But alot of my clients have heard the term, but don’t get what it means, so I hope this’ll help the concept. Just today, I’m afraid, one was caught by a neat little trick on MSN… His account sent me a link while he was offline. The link had his full name in it, so I thought it might be legit. So I followed step one of this anti phishing technique: “drop a line” .. and he wasn’t around. Obviously he didn’t send it.

And when I cilcked the link to see what it was, it asked me to “log in to MSN” to access some pics he’d left me. Hmm, yeah. In other words “Hand over your username and password so we can access your contact list and spam all your friends and colleagues.” Or worse. The TOS, posted by one TST Management, Inc, claimed that by entering my login information I’d agree to help them spread the news about their “100% real and upcomming Messenger Community Site”. They even go so far as to assert that they’re not a phishing site, and they are harmless because they reveal their intentions in their TOS. Does any well meaning, legitimate business need to send mail and messages from YOUR account? Thanks but no thanks.

* Lest you think I’m dissing my dad about the punny business, here’s a great joke he made up the day, though you have to say it out loud for it to work. I can’t quite remember how he introduced the joke, but I do remember that I fell for it hook, line, and sinker: “Did you know George W Bush was named an honorary member of the Audubon Society? (…) Oh yes, he’s a world-famous Word Botcher.”

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