Sunday, September 16, 2007

Gone phishin'

"Phishing" is the nefarious online practice of using someone's identity to obtain sensitive information from somebody else.

An example I'm pretty sure you know about is the e-mail you get every other day, allegedly from PayPal and/or eBay, asking you to update your account.

If you respond, some shady character just got your credit card number.

Some times these wicked individuals pretend to be your bank and ask you to update your account.

If you fall for it, say goodbye to your cash.

Another, most recent example is when some malicious figure hacks into your MySpace account to send pornographic solicitations to everyone you know, as it happened to me recently. Bulletins were posted in my name asking all my friends to visit some site to see some things I dare not write. I changed my password, which I know I should do more frequently. But, I must confess, I was tempted to kill the profile.

Thankfully for me, I personally know all of my MySpace "friends" (you could say they're my actual friends), so no damage was done, though most of them didn't alert me -- maybe because they weren't online or they think I'm a pervert.

Ironically, the Life section did a four-part feature on MySpace back in March, including a whole day of stories about its dangers. Unfortunately, the link with extensive tips we posted at the time is now outdated, things being as they are online.

So for information about MySpace safety, visit

And for more about phishing, visit On Guard Online, which is a must read.

And if you wan't to refresh your memory, read the story in Life.