What was new in the world of cyber stuff in 2009?
Scam and Viruses seem to be as important during Christmas time as publishing games or making cookies. Anyway, apart from the Chinese people suffering from a virus called ‘Panda virus’ (how cute is that?) and Twilight fans who are aroused by emails reading ‘Watch New Moon Full Movie’, Social Security errors should be examined carefully.
Three years ago, the first version of the Panda hit millions of computers. It, which is actually more a worm than a virus,: ‘blocked a victim’s PC from restoring infected files, turned off active antivirus software, and directed the machine to Web sites to download Trojan horses and other malware, the center said’ (DHS).
Not very kind. The Twilight scam is not as far as dangerous if you possess at least some common sense. An email or website promising to watch the new movie for free after downloading a stream viewer does not sound very secure. Who knows what people think that admire vampires who glow in the sunshine instead of disintegrate into dust… .
The virus designed to steal Social Security information is far more dangerous because still a lot of people think that important emails must be true (will never understand why, but okay..). So after being redirected to a faked page and ‘correcting’ their Social Security form they got tricked by the virus into entering they bank account details. Word of wisdom: ‘expert reminds that savvy computer users should never trust an email to update an account’ – easy but efficiently.
Why is the last point important? Well, as just mentioned, people who receive emails which actually concern them (the right bank or a platform where they just ordered something) seem far to trustworthy. What does happen if a country introduces federal email addresses for everyone – and this is one part of Germany’s eGoverment strategie? More people are likely to think that emails sent by a ‘faked’ official institution to their official email address (e.g. Sven.Herpig@Egovernance.Germany.de) have to be correct and no scam. The level of trustworthiness increases and we have a lot more victims than before. Look at the bright side: Our lovely government can save money by facilitating bureaucracy via eGovermnment projects such as an ‘official’ federal email address. The problem here: Most of the time security breaches spearhead patches. Security most of the time seems to be reactive instead of pro-active, unfortunately that is the way it is. Linked to this discussion a hole in the security wall is patched after hundreds of our citizens lost personal information to the scam. Subsequently we either have to enhance security in the way that there will be no breach or abandon the program of federal email addresses. We are left only with one option: abandon the email project. There are several other reasons to do so… especially privacy concerns of citizens towards the state-hosted email provider.
Words of wisdom: If you are a Chinese vampire who receives an error notice to your federal email address concerning your social security form – don’t answer!