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Let's Fight Back Against Scammers and Spammers

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  • #46
    Government Fights Back Against Cyber Attackers

    The government has been surprised by the level of Internet attacks on government systems, the defence industry, the NHS and on critical business such as the electric companies, water companies etc. and even attacks on household names such as Tesco.

    It can be hard to pin down who’s to blame for these attacks but they say there are basically 3 groups involved – government sponsored cyber specialists, criminals and people who just take up the challenge of hacking.

    The obvious guess as to the state sponsored cyber hackers is China and more recently Russia. Both countries deny this of course.

    The British government has employed cyber specialists for some time to prevent these attacks from succeeding but the time has come for a big increase in spending on this and to officially warn the cyber attackers that the UK will not only defend itself against such attacks but will respond aggressively to any such attackers.

    Philip Hammond confirmed that UK security services would cause “damage, disruption or destruction” against those that attack the UK. These “offensive” capabilities would include proactive cyber attacks as well as the ability to defend against incoming disruption attempts.

    This seems to be a significant ramping up of the country’s ability in this arena and in particularly that they will go on the offensive where required.

    This is a five year strategy and effectively doubles the current spending on cyber defence.

    The government claim it is making progress in cyber defence

    e.g.1. where it used to take a month to shut down a website spreading viruses it now can be done in 2 days

    e.g.2 websites pretending to be government departments can be shut down in hours where it used to take days.

    There's lots more the government needs to be but this is a good start.
    You can read my blog on scammers, spammers and time-wasters at https://fightback.ninja

    And you can hear me on Brooklands Radio every Tuesday and Friday morning at 11:30 at http://www.brooklandsradio.co.uk

    The Fightback Ninja
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    • #47
      As always, stable door, horse bolted... lol. Still better late than never I guess.
      Common Sense .... if in doubt, use it !

      “We may not win by protesting, but if we don’t protest we will lose. If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.” Hetty Bower

      Any support I provide is offered without liability, if you are unsure please seek professional legal guidance.

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      • #48
        Trading Standards Take Down Wyvern Media
        Cops
        Trading Standards recently carried out its biggest ever investigation, into a group operating as Wyvern Media group.

        This group sold advertising space in their publications by cold calling. Sometimes they would claim the company had won a prestigious industry award and must advertise the fact. At times they would call every hour pressurising companies into buying more adverts or at other times they simply charged the clients account for non-existent adverts.

        Sadly for the victims the advertising sold was worthless. It was either non-existent or in a back water publication with very low readership but claimed to be a major national publication.

        Jonathan Rivers was head of Derby-based Wyvern Media group and led a sophisticated operation employing up to 250 people in 12 offices across the UK and had a turnover of around £7 million.

        The Nottingham Crown Court heard he admitted fraudulent trading after more than 500 complaints were lodged.

        He was jailed for six years. Four other members of staff were jailed, with a further five given suspended sentences.

        Rivers, 55, of Coleshill, Warwickshire, was described by Judge Stuart Rafferty as the “head, heart and soul” of the company, which had about 18,000 customers per year and an estimated annual turnover of £7m.

        Several small businesses (including charities) were bankrupted by the actions of the group stealing money from them

        These scams leave a trail of misery and broken people and businesses behind them.

        Well done Trading Standards in stopping this group.
        Attached Files
        You can read my blog on scammers, spammers and time-wasters at https://fightback.ninja

        And you can hear me on Brooklands Radio every Tuesday and Friday morning at 11:30 at http://www.brooklandsradio.co.uk

        The Fightback Ninja
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        • #49
          Project Honeypot
          Honey


          This is about systematically identifying spammers and hence being able to block their activities.

          Project Honey Pot (www.projecthoneypot.org) is a system for identifying spammers and the spambots they use to copy addresses from people’s website. Spambots are automated pieces of software that can read websites and find and copy any email addresses.

          Website administrators have few resources able to tell them whether a visitor to a site is good or malicious. Project Honey Pot was created in order to provide this information to website administrators in order to help them make informed decisions on who to allow onto their sites.

          Project honeypot is a set of software you can install on your website and it will enable the project honey pot team to track spammers and provide lists of repeat spammers.

          To do this, webmasters install the Project Honey Pot software somewhere on their website. Project Honey Pot Â*handle the rest — automatically distributing addresses and receiving the mail they generate. As a result, they anticipate installing Project Honey Pot should not increase the traffic or load to your website.

          Using the Project Honey Pot system you can install addresses that are custom-tagged to the time and IP address of a visitor to your site. If one of these addresses begins receiving email we not only can tell that the messages are spam, but also the exact moment when the address was harvested and the IP address that gathered it.

          They collate, process, and share the data generated by your site with you. They also work with law enforcement authorities to track down and prosecute spammers. Harvesting email addresses from websites is illegal under several anti-spam laws, and the data resulting from Project Honey Pot is critical for finding those breaking the law.

          Project Honey Pot is free to use.

          There are also Â*“comment spammers”

          Comment spammers do not send email spam. Instead, comment spammers post to blogs and forums. These posts typically include links to sites being promoted by the comment spammer. Project Honeypot can identify these comment spammers. Resources

          Project HoneyPot publish various useful information in the battle against spammers.

          A list of theÂ*top IP addresses being used by comment spammers.

          A list of the topÂ*URLs,Â*domains, andÂ*keywordsÂ*being promoted by comment spammers.

          A list of theÂ*top IP addresses used by dictionary attackers.i.e. scammers who use every word in the dictionary to try to crack someone’s password. Statistics

          Project Honey Pot is monitoring 235 million addresses and 124 million IP addresses and has identified 267 thousand harvesters and 28 million dictionary attackers.That’s a great record.
          Â*Â*
          Â*
          You can read my blog on scammers, spammers and time-wasters at https://fightback.ninja

          And you can hear me on Brooklands Radio every Tuesday and Friday morning at 11:30 at http://www.brooklandsradio.co.uk

          The Fightback Ninja
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          • #50
            Defending FightBack Ninja Blog Against Online Attacks

            The Fightback Ninja blog uses standard WordPress technology for the creation and management of the blog online.

            WordPress is very good and free to use and there are many thousands of templates and addons available, so you can use it to create a wide variety of blogs, websites and more.

            However, the fact that it is so well known also makes all WordPress installations a target for scammers and spammers.

            Attack type 1 – the attackers try to access specific files that normally exist in WordPress installations, with the intention of amending those files to give themselves scammers complete access.

            Counter action: I had installed iThemes addon for WordPress and it gives a good level of protection against the common sorts of attacks. It blocked access and will lockout any IP address or login that tries constantly to access specific files.

            Attack type 2 – password guessing

            All WordPress installations have an admin login with the ability to create new logins and do anything on the installation.

            Counter action: After nearly 10,000 attempts to crack the password, they gave up. Good job I had picked one that cannot be guessed.

            Attack type 3 – comment spamming

            This is not directly an attack but is simply morons trying to post entries (full of links) on the comments of the blog. This is usually to increase the ranking of some website by having as many backlinks as possible.

            Counter Action: I had Installed a spam comment blocking addon called Akismet. This puts all comments in a holding area till I chose to approve them or delete them. So far nearly one hundred such spam comments have been blocked. The sort of comment they typically try to post is anodyne e.g. “Good writing but have you checked out this list of good links?” This is just rubbish to be deleted. As their attempted posts never appear on the blog – they give up for a while then try again.

            Also, Google ignores post comments where the post is less than 3 months old so these comment spammers always go for old posts.

            If you allow these comments onto your blog then you will be inundated with more as they are produced automatically.

            Attack type 4 – A deluge of comment spam

            Counter attack: I had to install an addon that let me turn off the comment facility completely for a while.

            It is a nuisance that all WordPress sites get attacked in these ways, especially the popular ones. But the right precautions make it difficult for the scammers to cause any damage.

            No doubt, the morons, scammers and spammers will continue attacks at some time but hopefully will never succeed.

            You can read my blog on scammers, spammers and time-wasters at https://fightback.ninja

            And you can hear me on Brooklands Radio every Tuesday and Friday morning at 11:30 at http://www.brooklandsradio.co.uk

            The Fightback Ninja
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            Comment


            • #51
              What is Spam Email?

              This is a little like trying to define which plants are weeds. Spam emails are mass emails that you don’t want to receive.

              The big emails services such as Google Gmail, Microsoft Hotmail, Yahoo email and others automatically delete as much spam mail as they can be sure of, but huge amounts still gets through to us It is estimated that 50% of the world’s email is spam. That’s a lot of billions of emails per day.

              So, how do you block this stuff?

              Your email provider will have a series of settings available that let you choose whether to accept all email or automatically filter out anything suspicious. It’s your choice – block everything and risk losing important emails or put up with the spam to ensure you get all relevant emails.

              Your email service will learn from your actions – as you mark emails as spam or not spam it learns which ones you do want. Spam Blocking Services

              There are specialist services that can filter your email and only allow through the ones you want. This can be a little hit and miss as the service has to learn which ones you want.

              Here are some of the most popular spam blocking services:- Mailwasher (www.mailwasher.net)

              This is a free service and is used by several millions of people. It claims to work with Windows Live Mail, GMail, Hotmail, Yahoo, EM Client and every other email program. Unsubscriber (www.getunsubscriber.com)

              After you sign up, an Unsubscribe folder is created in your inbox. Drag in unwanted email and Unsubscriber will block email from those senders from entering your inbox. Spamfighter (www.spamfighter.com)

              This is a free service and SPAMfighter claims to work with Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail, Windows Live Mail and Thunderbird. SpamHero (www.spamhero.com)

              This one gives a 30 day free trial then you need to pay for the service. SpamTitan (www.spamtitan.com)

              This has home and business versions and there are free trial periods.

              Good luck with your choice.
              You can read my blog on scammers, spammers and time-wasters at https://fightback.ninja

              And you can hear me on Brooklands Radio every Tuesday and Friday morning at 11:30 at http://www.brooklandsradio.co.uk

              The Fightback Ninja
              sigpic

              Comment


              • #52
                How to protect Yourself Against Online Scams

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                The points below can help you to be safer online – but stay cautious, especially where money is concerned.

                1. Don’t buy anything or agree to anything that seems too good to be true.
                The offer of riches or a bargain or some reward may tempt you, but be careful. If something seems too good to true then it almost certainly is.
                2. Always check and confirm the identity of individuals and websites you are dealing with, both online and offline. Do not give away any personal information unless you are sure of who they are and why they need the information.
                3. Don’t fall for an advance fee scam. That is do not pay upfront for a job application, a reward, a lottery win or anything else similar.
                Any work-at-home scheme where you have to pay upfront is likely to be a scam and anything else where you pay up front for something where you don’t expect a charge is also likely to be a scam.

                This applies, for example, to lotteries, other supposed competition wins or inheritances, and people claiming they want to share money they inherited or won.
                1. Don’t buy (or rent) from someone you don’t know or haven’t checked out. This is a difficult one as it’s the business model for Internet business Airbnb and many people around the world have benefited from renting out their home to strangers or renting the home of a stranger. If you are going to do this, make sure to read the reviews carefully looking for anything suspicious and if there aren’t enough reviews on the property then find another one.
                2. Protect your confidential information. Don’t give out private information in response to an inquiry you didn’t initiate.
                3. Buying Online. Use services like PayPal to limit your exposure to card fraud. Once your card is registered on Paypal you can use it on most websites to make secure payment without those websites having sight of your card details.

                When buying online, check for “https” in the address line and a closed padlock symbol . If they are missing then the site isn’t safe for confidential information such as login and password.
                1. Don’t be pressed into taking precipitate action. The scammers will try to make you do things quickly – so you don’t have time to figure out that it’s a scam. They will make things appear urgent or set a deadline.

                No matter how persuasive an offer seems or how much an agent pushes you to agree on a deal now to get a discount, don’t do it!
                1. Do not respond to charity emails as these can be fake – only donate to charities you know or have checked out and send your money directly to the charity.
                2. Use reputable Internet security software on your PC and keep it up to date. Choose products with “Internet Security” or similar wording rather than simple anti-virus programs as they have more comprehensive features and protection.

                Regularly check that you’re using the latest version and that it automatically updates its malware definitions.

                Ignore pop-ups and other warnings that your machine is infected that don’t come from this program. And never pay money in response to such warnings.
                1. Don’t click on links and attachments in unsolicited, unchecked messages or social networks.

                This may be difficult for some people used to such messages from friends, but it’s your choice to take the risk or not. At Christmas time many people send e-cards and scammers know this and send their own malware versions, so be warned.
                1. Don’t use Cash Transfer companies such as Western Union or Moneycorp as if the transaction proves to be fraudulent you cannot recover your money.
                2. Be wary about downloading software from unfamiliar websites or using torrent sites that share files. These might install malware on your PC.
                3. Set strong passwords and ideally use different logins and passwords for each website.
                4. Never reply to spam messages – there’s no point and you would only end up with more spam messages.

                You can read my blog on scammers, spammers and time-wasters at https://fightback.ninja

                And you can hear me on Brooklands Radio every Tuesday and Friday morning at 11:30 at http://www.brooklandsradio.co.uk

                The Fightback Ninja
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                • #53
                  Lorraine’s Battle Over Fridge Insurance

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                  Lorraine is retired. She has insurance against breakdown on her fridge and freezer and other items as it gives peace of mind. This is paid monthly by direct debit to Domestic General. Ltd

                  Then she received a call from the company about her insurance saying the company had changed ownership but they could start a new insurance policy to cover her fridge etc. and the best deal was to take 3 year cover.

                  Lorraine is a canny person and questioned to herself whether this was true, but the company knew about her fridge, the direct debit and that she had taken out the cover in 2003. So it all appeared correct and she agreed and paid in advance for the new 3 year deal (at the significant cost of £150).

                  She told her daughter Fiona about this sometime later and Fiona was suspicious when she found out the original direct debit was still in operation. She checked the documentation and found that the new cover was with Domestic Appliances.

                  She called them and realised it is a separate company nothing to do with Domestic General Ltd. Fiona tried to get the money back but Domestic Appliances refused to acknowledge the deceitful approach by their caller and refused a refund. They also denied having a recording of the telephone conversation and claimed their staff were well trained and would not engage in such subterfuge.

                  What to do?

                  Fiona cancelled the direct debit with the original company Domestic General Ltd. and explained to them what had happened. They couldn’t help but did say that this problem had happened before with Domestic Appliances.

                  The reputable company Domestic General Ltd offered monthly payment and a contract that could be cancelled whereas Domestic Appliances insisted on payment up front for a 3 year deal and no cancellation.

                  Unfortunately there seems to be no redress in this situation – no way to get the money back from Domestic Appliances.

                  Will they provide a good service if Lorraine has problems with her kitchen fridge?

                  We don’t know.
                  You can read my blog on scammers, spammers and time-wasters at https://fightback.ninja

                  And you can hear me on Brooklands Radio every Tuesday and Friday morning at 11:30 at http://www.brooklandsradio.co.uk

                  The Fightback Ninja
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                  • #54
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                    Nuisance Caller Prosecuted

                    Louis Kidd, 27, lives at home with his mother in Brighton but was the owner of Prodial – a company responsible for 46 million nuisance phone calls in the UK about PPI (Payment Protection Insurance).

                    Prodial’s computer systems would dial numbers and play a recorded message about claiming PPI. Anyone who responded would have their details sold on to Claims Management companies.

                    The automated calls, dialled from a computer server in the south east of England, hit homes across Britain at the rate of over 330,000 a day, at all times of the day and night between January 20 and August 21, 2015.

                    Complainants said they were called repeatedly and often there was no way to opt out even for people who had never had PPI.

                    The Information Commissioners Office estimated that Prodial was making as much as £100,000 per month and described the operation as ‘one of the worst cases’ they had ever come across.

                    The regulator has ordered Prodial to pay a £350,000 fine but the company was wound up before the prosecution and has no assets left. Liquidators are trying to determine where the money has disappeared to. Previous Companies

                    Mr Kidd and Mr Carrington (his business partner) both worked previously at Italk Affiliate Telecommunications, which is itself under investigation by the ICO for making between four million and six million calls a day using similar, technology to Prodial.

                    Italk was raided by the ICO in March last year and faces a possible maximum fine of £500,000. By then, Mr Kidd and Mr Carrington had jumped ship.

                    There appears to be a group of people who know how to abuse the system and some have got away with it for a long time as this has happened with other companies as well. The Result

                    Prodial has been fined and is out of business, but the people responsible are free to open more companies and able do the same thing again.

                    “There is a group of people who know how to abuse the system and some have got away with it for longer than others,” said a source familiar with the investigation.

                    You can read my blog on scammers, spammers and time-wasters at https://fightback.ninja

                    And you can hear me on Brooklands Radio every Tuesday and Friday morning at 11:30 at http://www.brooklandsradio.co.uk

                    The Fightback Ninja
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                    Comment

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