Is Secure Internet Use Possible?

  Cyber Cretin 17:37 22 Sep 2006

Firstly, hello all. Having read issue 136 of PC Advisor (Protect your PC), I am feeling pretty uncomfortable about internet use especially in the light of my recent experience of online card transactions.

I was recently defrauded online and my card details were stolen and used by a third party to purchase products in my name to the tune of nearly £1000. Thankfully, I got the money back having reported the fraud but I feel burnt to say the least.

At the time my details were compromised, I was running a firewall, anti-virus software and anti-spyware all of which were updated daily and used for scans daily. I honestly thought I'd be OK. You hear the warnings and the horror stories, but you never think it will happen to you - until it does that is. I did a limited quantity of online shopping with trusted parties using page encryption. My best efforts weren't enough. I can honestly say it felt like coming home to a burglary. Sounds silly, but that's just how I felt.

Someone was still able to steal my details and defraud me even though I'd done all I knew of to guard my information. The name used by this party enabled me to conclude that the details must have been stolen using a direct attack on my machine rather than interception of information during a transaction.

Having read PC Advisor this month, I am now even more convinced that secure internet use is simply impossible now. The level of abuse is just mind blowing and reflects pretty bloody poorly on humanity - if something useful and positive like the net can be abused and exploited, you bet your bottom dollar it damned well will be! The hackers appear to be on equal footing with security companies and show every sign of moving into a position of dominance.

I do not feel comfortable using the net for any private or financial purposes any longer. Net shopping and banking makes life so much easier, but it seems to be literally impossible to hold back the ocean of criminals waiting to turn you over. Its incredibly disappointing. It now turns out that despite having updated anti-virus, firewall and anti-spyware, there could be software running in the background about which users will never know and which will soon be virtually impossible to detect let alone fight. As an everyday user of limited competence,I dispair. Is this the beginning of the end for the net?

  Cymro. 17:52 22 Sep 2006

No wonder no one has responded to this posting. It is over long and too depressing.

  ade.h 17:56 22 Sep 2006

You only posted it 15 minutes ago! I read it about 20 seconds ago and have since been cogitating about a response.

Firstly, are you certain that it resulted from a broute force attack? Or was it through a keylogger or similar?

Secondly, are you aware that no firewall can provide total defence against BFAs? Or that no single anti-malware scanner can detect, let alone remove, all known and unknown malware? Or that most AVs are incapable of finding rootkits or detecting API attacks?

  ade.h 17:56 22 Sep 2006

For "broute", read "brute"...

  Cyber Cretin 18:13 22 Sep 2006

It is a bit depressing, but I can't think of any way to brighten it up. Sorry!

The reason I think it was a direct attack is because the name used by the fraudsters was spelled incorrectly and I recognised this mispelling immediately as one held on the machine itself but used only by me personally. If a key logger had been used, I would have expected the details used for the transaction to have been correct.

I know that no security measure can ever be 100% bullet proof but usless I have got this wrong, security is now a big problem.

It is not my intention to depress you all on a Friday, but I would welcome any comments from you chaps to a relative novice.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 18:23 22 Sep 2006

There is a huge amount of cobblers talked about Internet security. There is virtually no chance of anyone hacking a home users' computer and stories of 'keyloggers' are greatly exaggerated. The only way that you are going to get scammed online is if you were at fault. No one is going to enter your computer and 'steal' the details. I have yet to see evidence of a keylogger, that actually works, on a home users' computer and I would be inclined to suspect that something else caused your loss.

I run AVG and Window Defender and have not run a firewall for over 3 years. A tiny bit of common sense and laying off the Pr0n sites has kept me free from any virus, Trojan or anything else. If I can be free using the bare minimum of programmes then rocket science it ain't. I tis very easy to get bank account numbers and sort code numbers or copy a credit card without any net use so I wouldn't worry too much about the net.


  rdave13 18:34 22 Sep 2006

You can only do so much for security.

Personally I use: firewall, AV,spybot,ad-aware,ewido, A2, spywareblaster, superantispyware,AOL's antispyware, Windows defender, CWshredder and finally Sophos Anti-Rootkit. Trouble is I only run scans when I remember and have a memory like the proverbial sieve.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 18:36 22 Sep 2006

'Personally I use: firewall, AV,spybot,ad-aware,ewido, A2, spywareblaster, superantispyware,AOL's antispyware, Windows defender, CWshredder and finally Sophos Anti-Rootkit.'...Ye Gods and little fishes!


  rdave13 19:20 22 Sep 2006

Yup, minnows..:))

  tenplus1 21:32 22 Sep 2006

So far <fingers crossed> I have been using the internet safely for some time and here is a list of software that helps me do this:

Sygate Personal Firewall (Free)

Avast! Anti-Virus (Free)

Ad-Aware PE (Free)

Opera Browser (Free)

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