74% of Consumers Concerned about Security when Making Mobile Payments

October 4, 2011

New research by the Ponemon Institute paints a sobering picture of consumer concerns when conducting transactions via a mobile device.  In addition to the 74% who are concerned about their online security when making mobile payments, 72% were worried about becoming the victim of online fraud.

Other findings:

  • Of those polled, 29% said they used their phones to engage in mobile banking, while 67% believe they are either completely or partially protected when engaged in mobile banking.
  • 51% use mobile transactions for the convenience it offers, and 25% do so because they believe it provides increased security.

The research concludes that consumers attitude regarding their security in online transactions more to do with how active they are online – the more frequently they make online transactions the safer they feel when doing so. Yet the researchers admonish companies that they are not off the hook; noting that the best way to increase consumer confidence is to increase company spending and oversight on providing rigorous security.

6 things you can do to be safer when transacting online:

  1. Secure your computers and smartphones with anti-virus, anti-spyware, and tools.
    Keep them current and use them unfailingly-as automatically as locking your door when you leave the house. A computer that does not have security software installed and up-to-date will become infected with malicious software in an average of four minutes. That malicious software will steal your information and put you at risk for crimes.
    1. You must have anti-virus and anti-spyware software installed and up-to-date. If your computer or phone isn’t protected from Trojans, viruses and other malware, your financial information, passwords and identity will be stolen. This concept is so basic, yet only 20% of the US population adequately protects their computers. If the cost of security software is prohibitive, use a free service.
    2. Secure your internet connection – Make sure your computer’s firewall is on. If you use a wireless network it needs to be encrypted so someone who is lurking outside the house can’t collect your information. If you need a free firewall, click here. Never use a public WiFi service for any type of financial transaction or other type of sensitive information transfer.
    3. Use added protection on sensitive financial information with passwords or store on a flash drive, CD or external hard drive For added protection all year, keep your finances inaccessible to anyone who uses (or hacks into) your computer. You can do this by password protecting individual files or folders on your computer, or choose to keep this information on a flash drive or CD that you keep in your safe or other secure location.
  2. Use caution on public WiFi hotspots. Do not log onto sensitive sites (banking, shopping…) from an unsecured connection.  When using a public computer, uncheck the box for remembering your information.
  3. Use strong, unique passwords for every site. Creating strong memorable passwords is easy and can actually be fun – and the payoff in increased safety is big. The key aspects of a strong password are length (the longer the better); a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols; and no tie to your personal information. Learn how with my blog Safe passwords don’t have to be hard to create; just hard to guess
  4. Watch your surroundings. Pay attention to who is around you so that they do not see you type your passwords, credit card numbers, PIN’s, etc., or read sensitive information you may be sharing.
  5. Put a credit freeze on your accounts. Block ID thieves from opening new accounts under your name by freezing or blocking access to your credit files. Learn more about creating a credit freeze here.
  6. Check your credit reports. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you have the right to one free credit disclosure in every 12-month period from each of the three national credit reporting companies: Experian – http://www.experian.com/consumer-products/triple-advantage.html, Equifax – http://www.econsumer.equifax.com, TransUnion – http://www.truecredit.com/?cb=TransUnion&loc=2091
    1. Request a free credit report from one of the three companies for yourself, your spouse, and any minors over the age of 13 living at home to check for credit fraud or inaccuracies that could put you at financial risk. (Although exact figures are difficult to get, the latest data shows that at least 7 percent of identity theft targets the identities of children.) The easiest way to do this is through AnnualCreditReport.com.
    2. You can also pay for credit monitoring services that will alert you to any suspicious activity or changes in your credit scores.



New Entrant in Security and Safety Technology – Proactive Patrol

October 16, 2010

If you haven’t heard of Proactive Patrol and their anti-malware products, it may be time to check them out. Their AntiEverything product “protects and removes spyware, adware, trojans, rootkits, viruses, foul cookies and other malicious software programs with just one application” costs just under $5.00 a year – and it has just picked up several awards from:

  • Brothersoft.com
  • Top4Download BestSoftware4Download
  • Windows7Download
  • BestVistaDownloads

Plus, their User Reviews are great:

What makes this company different – in their own words:

Proactive Patrol’s Mission:  Provide unique options for keeping you and your family safer on the Internet.

Our Vision:  For Proactive Patrol to make contributions resulting in a better world.

Proactive Patrol, a company with a cause, has served more than 10,000 customers worldwide since its inception, including educational institutions, governmental bodies, national and international companies, small business, and personal use. Our fast growth rate has proven a platform of substance and effectiveness in our top antivirus, best spyware protection products, and mission at heart… Combined experience of more than 15 years in this field ensures a high level of quality in our production process. As a leading security specialist, Proactive Patrol has concrete experience in the development and support of its products…

Our products have been optimized for the Windows platform, and require minimal memory usage to accelerate our product effectiveness. Proactive Patrol thoroughly researches and adapts our products to meet the real time security challenges facing our world, while leading other vendors in the proactive protection field. Research is our specialty, and introduction of mobile security for iPhones, Android based, and Blackberry is forthcoming, in addition to a full range of Apple Macintosh security solutions to meet the need of the ever-growing threats facing these applications.

Proactive Patrol and the people that make us who we are, remain in full support for our mission at heart, and to provide effective and qualified online safety training for young children to grasp the concept and understanding of the importance of staying safe on the Internet through the K.I.D.S. Grant. The K.I.D.S. Grant was established by the founder of Proactive Patrol to provide this much needed and overlooked area of our society in the technology challenges facing our children today. Join us will you? Our software protects you, and your contribution protects children online.

Check them out.


Spam on Facebook Soon Worse than in Email?

September 4, 2010

Facebook Spam has a conversion rate of 47% – meaning that nearly half of the people who see a spam message clicked on the link to read it. That finding comes from Sean Sullivan, a security advisor at antivirus firm F-Secure who’s been researching social networking spam, as reported in an article in Information Week.

The good news? People are learning fast and becoming less likely to click on Facebook or Twitter spam. The bad news is that spam attacks will continue because it only takes a few people who fall for it to make it worthwhile for spammers.

The spam spreads through compromised or fake Facebook accounts, allowing the spam to spread through status updates, chats and private messages. Email spammers have figured out how to masking their emails so they look like Facebook messages in their efforts to increase their click-through rates, as variation of a phishing scam.

Facebook isn’t taking this lying down, they are seriously and aggressively filtering to prevent the scourge, but keeping a watchful eye on the 550 million Facebook users isn’t easy, and given end users role in spam distribution, it isn’t likely to be eradicated soon.

Another article by F-Secure suggests 3 ways Facebook could fight spam, including identifying behaviors that indicate a user has a tendency to spam, placing a “report spammers” link on every profile, limiting access to who can post to a “wall”, increased education to their users about identifying, deleting and reporting spam, and using image filtering technology to identify images that recur in spam to rout out the spam – and the spammers.

Are you part of the problem, or part of the solution?

Every user has a role to play in protecting the online ecosystem. Knowing how to spot spam and block it’s perpetuation is the responsibility of all users. Do your part, learn how to Spot the Spam.