McAfee’s Twelve Scams of Christmas

by Vincent Sammons 7. December 2009 01:26

McAfee’s Twelve Scams of Christmas

Scam I: Charity Phishing Scams – Be Careful Who You Give To

During the holiday season, hackers take advantage of citizens’ generosity by sending e-mails that appear to be from legitimate charitable organizations. In reality, they are fake Web sites designed to steal donations, credit card information and the identities of donors.

Scam II: Fake Invoices from Delivery Services to Steal Your Money

During the holidays, cybercriminals often send fake invoices and delivery notifications appearing to be from Federal Express, UPS or the U.S. Customs Service. They e-mail consumers asking for credit card details to credit back the account, or require users to open an online invoice or customs form to receive the package. Once completed, the person’s information is stolen or malware is automatically installed on their computer.

Scam III: Social Networking – A Cybercriminal “Wants to be Your Friend”

Cybercriminals take advantage of this social time of the year by sending authentic-looking “New Friend Request” e-mails from social networking sites. Internet users should beware that clicking on links in these e-mails can automatically install malware on computers and steal personal information.

Scam IV: The Dangers of Holiday E-Cards

Cyber thieves cash in on consumers who send holiday e-cards in an effort to be environmentally conscious. Last holiday season, McAfee Labs discovered a worm masked as Hallmark e-cards and McDonald’s and Coca-Cola holiday promotions. Holiday-themed PowerPoint e-mail attachments are also popular among cybercriminals. Be careful what you click on.

Scam V: “Luxury” Holiday Jewelry Comes at a High Price

McAfee Labs recently uncovered a new holiday campaign that leads shoppers to malware-ridden sites offering “discounted” luxury gifts from Cartier, Gucci, and Tag Heuer. Cybercriminals even use fraudulent logos of the Better Business Bureau to trick shoppers into buying products they never receive.

Scam VI: Practice Safe Holiday Shopping – Online Identity Theft on the Rise

Forrester Research Inc. predicts online holiday sales will increase this year, as more bargain hunters turn to the Web for deals. While users shop and surf on open hotspots, hackers can spy on their activity in an attempt to steal their personal information. McAfee tells users never to shop online from a public computer or on an open Wi-Fi network.

Scam VII: Christmas Carol Lyrics Can Be Dangerous – Risky Holiday Searches

During the holidays, hackers create fraudulent holiday-related Web sites for people searching for a holiday ringtone or wallpaper, Christmas carol lyrics or a festive screensaver. Downloading holiday-themed files may infect one’s computer with spyware, adware or other malware. McAfee found one Christmas carol download site that led searchers to adware, spyware and other potentially unwanted programs.

Scam VIII: Out of Work – Job-Related E-mail Scams

The U.S. unemployment rate recently spiked to 10.2 per cent, the highest level since 1983. Scammers are preying on desperate job-seekers in the poor economy, with the promise of high-paying jobs and work-from-home moneymaking opportunities. Once interested persons submit their information and pay their “set-up” fee, hackers steal their money instead of following through on the promised employment opportunity.

Scam IX: Outbidding for Crime – Auction Site Fraud

Scammers often lurk on auction sites during the holiday season. Buyers should beware of auction deals that appear too good to be true, because often times these purchases never reach their new owner.

Scam X: Password Stealing Scams

Password theft is rampant during the holidays, as thieves use low-cost tools to uncover a person’s password and send out malware to record keystrokes, called keylogging. Once criminals have access to one or more passwords, they gain vast access to consumers’ bank and credit card details and clean out accounts within minutes. They also commonly send out spam from a user’s account to their contacts.

Scam XI: E-Mail Banking Scams

Cybercriminals trick consumers into divulging their bank details by sending official-looking e-mails from financial institutions. They ask users to confirm their account information, including a user name and password, with a warning that their account will become invalid if they do not comply. Then they often sell this information through an underground online black market.

McAfee Labs believes cybercriminals are more actively scamming consumers with this tactic during the holidays since people are monitoring their purchases closely.

Scam XII: Your Files for Ransom – Ransomware Scams

Hackers gain control of people’s computers through several of these holiday scams. They then act as virtual kidnappers to hijack computer files and encrypt them, making them unreadable and inaccessible. The scammer holds the user’s files ransom by demanding payment in exchange for getting them back.

McAfee advises Internet users to follow these five tips to protect their computers and personal information:

1. Never Click on Links in E-Mails: Go directly to a company or charity’s Web site by typing in the address or using a search engine. Never click on a link in an e-mail.

2. Use Updated Security Software: Protect your computer from malware, spyware, viruses and other threats with updated security suites. McAfee® Total Protection software provides fully-featured protection from current and emerging threats. It also comes built in with McAfee SiteAdvisor® technology, a safe search toolbar to warn consumers of a Web site’s safety rating as well as phishing protection. It uses intuitive red, yellow and green checkmarks to rate potentially dangerous Web sites when searched on Google, Yahoo! or Bing.

3. Shop and Bank on Secure Networks: Only check bank accounts or shop online on secure networks at home or work, wired or wireless. Wi-Fi networks should always be password-protected so hackers cannot gain access to them and spy on online activity.

Also, remember to only shop on Web sites that begin with https://, instead of http://, and seek out Web sites with security trustmarks, like McAfee SECURE.

4. Use Different Passwords: Never use the same passwords for several online accounts. Diversify passwords and use a complex combination of letters, numbers and symbols.

5. Use Common Sense: If you are ever in doubt that an offer or product is not legitimate, do not click on it. Cybercriminals are behind many of the seemingly “good” deals on the Web, so exercise caution when searching and buying.

If you think you may be a victim of cybercrime, visit McAfee’s Cybercrime Response Unit to assess your risks and learn what to do next at

About McAfee, Inc.

McAfee, Inc., headquartered in Santa Clara, California, is the world's largest dedicated security technology company. McAfee is relentlessly committed to tackling the world's toughest security challenges. The company delivers proactive and proven solutions and services that help secure systems and networks around the world, allowing users to safely connect to the Internet, browse and shop the web more securely. Backed by an award-winning research team, McAfee creates innovative products that empower home users, businesses, the public sector and service providers by enabling them to prove compliance with regulations, protect data, prevent disruptions, identify vulnerabilities, and continuously monitor and improve their security.


General | Technical

Automation - Marketing

by Vincent Sammons 30. January 2009 01:28

Imagine having a resource that is always working 24-7 for your business. Many companies have these type of resources in the form of a "Smart Website". These "Smarter Websites" help promote thier products and / or services 24 hours a day as most website do and has the ability to automate processes such as customer newsletter email database, ecommerce, and many other propriatory back end funtions that may be needed to help automate business processes.

VSS Business Solutions is a company that can help with all aspects of these type of "Smarter Websites". We will work with you to understand your business model and help come up with an automation process that will help streamline your business.

We have currently been working with local townships in our area in order to help facilitate information to and from the community in a timley cost effective manner. We can do this for other townships and businesses even if they are not local as well.

Please contact us for more information:
VSS Business Solutions
(610) 910-4018


General | Technical

FREE New London Township Website

by Vincent Sammons 22. January 2009 01:31

FREE New London Township Website

Last night VSS Business Solutions was on the New London Townships agenda to discuss the informal proposal of re-designing and hosting the Townships current web site. This proposal would allow the Township to utilize all of VSS Business Solutions resources that are available for "FREE". We are located in the township and want to give something back to the community. We also want to have 2 rotating advertisement on the bottom of the page displaying local business including ours in order to offset some of the costs.

The current web site is being maintained by one of the township office workers part time and is VERY difficult to find any information on it due the lack of organization on the site. The navigation is not consistent and even non-existing on some of the pages and it is time to have the site re-designed by a professional the community is long overdue for a better communication system as well as automation of service by the township.

The new Web site would include the use of style sheet as well as an ASP.NET Master page in order to keep the look and feel consistent throughout the web site. Easy to find Menu Navigation, Downloadable documents, Post Agendas for meeting to the public, Updateable back end system that will allow the township members to log in and update the site from anywhere. Built in EMERGENCY information in case of a disaster or other events that may effect the township. We also discussed other features we could develop as the need arises.

After the presentation to the township we were quite suprised on the initial response we receive. After the board members agreed: the site was difficult to navigate, missing pertinent information to the community, hard to locate information and the fact that majority of the members did not really know what was on the website; they were very reluctant to adopt a FREE solutions that would help the community.

After further arguments over long term cost saving, long term time savings, Easy to update site that any of the members could do if there was and emergency and so forth they agreed to have the proposal in writing for review by the township solicitor.

Here is the current township web site:
Here is the sample proposed township web site:


General | Politics

Credit Card Scam (Phone)

by Vincent Sammons 2. March 2008 01:34

This scam is pretty slick since they provide YOU with all the information, except the one piece they want.

Note, the callers do not ask for your card number; they already have it. This information is worth reading. By understanding how the VISA & MasterCard Telephone Credit Card Scam works, you'll be better prepared to protect yourself.

One of our employees was called on Wednesday from "VISA", and I was called on Thursday from "Master Card".

The scam works like this: Person calling says, "This is (name), and I'm calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA. My Badge number is 12460. Your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I'm

calling to verify. This would be on your VISA card which was issued by (name of bank). Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for $497.99 from a Marketing company based in Arizona?" When you say "No", the caller continues with, "Then we will be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching and the charges range from $297 to $497, just under the $500 purchase pattern that flags most cards. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address), is that correct?"

You say "yes". The caller continues - "I will be starting a Fraud investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 1- 800 number listed on the back of your card (1-800-VISA) and ask for Security.

You will need to refer to this Control Number. The caller then gives you a 6 digit number. "Do you need me to read it again?"

Here's the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works. The caller then says, "I need to verify you are in

possession of your card". He'll ask you to "turn your card over and look for some numbers". ; There are 7 numbers; the first 4 are part of your card number, the next 3 are the security Numbers' that verify you are the possessor of the card. These are the numbers you sometimes use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller will ask you to read the 3 numbers to him. After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he'll say, "That is correct, I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have your card. Do you have any other questions?" After you say No, the caller then thanks you and states, "Don't hesitate to call back if you do", and hangs up.

You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the Card number. But after we were called on Wednesday, we called back within 20 minutes to ask a question. Are we glad we did! The REAL VISA S ecurity Department told us it was a scam and in the last 15

minutes a new pur chase of $497.99 was charged to our card.

Long story - short - we made a real fraud report and closed the VISA account. VISA is reissuing us a new number. What the scammers want is the 3-digit PIN number on the back of the card. Don't give it to them. Instead, tell them you'll call VISA or Master card directly for verification of their conversation. The real VISA told us that they will never ask for anything on the card as they already know the information since they issued the card! If you give the scammers your 3 Digit PIN Number, you think you're receiving a credit. However, by the time you get your statement you'll see charges for purchases you didn't make, and by then it's almost too late and/or more difficul t to actually file a fraud report.

What makes this more remarkable is that on Thursday, I got a call from a "Jason Richardson of Master Card" with a word-for-word repeat of the VISA scam. This time I didn't let him finish. I hung up!

We filed a police report, as instructed by VISA. The police said they are taking several of these reports daily! They also urged us to tell everybody we know that this scam is happening.



Phishing Protection

by Vincent Sammons 7. May 2007 01:35

We support Macafee and Symantec Anti-Virus solutions. Prevention is one of the the keys to keep your PC fast and safe.

How They Attack (Phishing):
Phishing is essentially an online con game and phishers are nothing more than tech-savvy con artists and identify thieves. They use SPAM, malicious Web sites, email messages and instant messages to trick people into divulging sensitive information, such as bank and credit card accounts.

How Do You:
Known Phishers, pretending to be legitimate companies, may use email to request personal information and direct recipients to respond through malicious web sites.
Phishers tend to use emotional language using scare tactics or urgent requests to entice recipients to respond.
The phish sites can look remarkably like legitimate sites because they tend to use the copyrighted images from legitimate sites.
Requests for confidential information via email or Instant Message tend to not be legitimate.
Fraudulent messages are often not personalized and may share similar properties like details in the header and footer.


General | Security

SPAM Removal and Protection

by Vincent Sammons 7. April 2007 01:36

We support Macafee and Symantec Anti-Virus solutions. Prevention is one of the the keys to keep your PC fast and safe.

How They Attack (SPAM):
Email SPAM is the electronic version of junk mail. It involves sending unwanted messages, often unsolicited advertising, to a large number of recipients. SPAM is a serious security concern as it can be used to deliver Trojan horses, viruses, worms, spy ware, and targeted phishing attacks.

How Do You Know:
Messages that do not include your email address in the TO: or CC: fields are common forms of SPAM
Some SPAM can contain offensive language or links to Web sites with inappropriate content

What To Do:
Install SPAM filtering/blocking software
If you suspect an email is SPAM, do not respond, just delete it
Consider disabling the email’s preview pane and reading emails in plain text
Reject all Instant Messages from persons who are not on your Buddy list
Do not click on URL links within IM unless from a known source and expected
Keep software and security patches up to date


General | Security



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