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December 30, 2009


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Just wanted to note that Pay Pal has a tool bar that will generate a one time use credt card number and also fill in the form for sites that don't accept Pay Pal. I have it and love it.

Pl. make sure in Address-bar of your browser, it is 'https', not just 'http' ('s' stands for secure site). You may user one-time use CC (many bank or Discover offer that).

Very common rule is don't shop around on many eCommerce websites for few cents of price difference...

The thing about common sense (#10) is that it is constantly and fairly easily exploited online. Things that, if they were to happen in the offline world, would usually alert us to something bad, or would simply not make sense. But when they happen online, we tend to think differently for some reason. It's like all reason/logic goes out the window.

For example, in most cases, someone that wanted to break into your house and rob you would not announce their arrival and their intent. They would try to rob you without alerting you (if you weren't present, maybe they would ransack your place and not care..but for purposes of this example we won't go there).

It's no different in the online world. If you were to come across malicious websites (e.g. a site running a full page flash program designed to get you to download and install bad software), as I have myself, and a website is telling you that you are currently infected or in the process of getting infected by viruses, trojans, ect... it would be the same as a robber coming into your house and warning you that he's gonna steal from you. Why would he do that? He wouldn't. Just as a malicious piece of software would not want you to know it is operating on your computer.

If the software can keep itself from being detected, then it can cause the greatest damage.

And there lies the "trick." The point is to get you to panic or to confuse you and have you download the bad software, because your brain is telling you what you are seeing on your screen is not good (flashing graphics and animations, ect) and you should fix it right away.

I know all of this may sound elementary, but some of these malicious websites are quite sophisticated and look very real, and I have had to help more than a few people with this problem. I have also ran into the websites myself, and I have been very impressed each time with the level of sophistication.

Just stay alert. And in addition to safe online-specific behavior, it won't hurt to filter things through the offline B.S. meter... ask yourself, would this make sense offline?

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