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  #11  
Old 02-21-2010
NH Bill's Avatar
NH Bill NH Bill is offline
1983 FC 35 "Casa Billisa"
 
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Jim,

There is always some risk involved when allowing others to have access to your information whether it be online or over the telephone. Human factors are the source of most security breaches.

For the most part, the technology is safe enough (for me) if used properly. As Stephen and David point out, secure shopping sites and online banking and the like provide 128 bit encryption over SSL (secure socket layer) connections. This is a pretty good way to lock stuff down.

http://www.inet2000.com/public/encryption.htm

Check with the credit card issuer. Pretty sure the consumer is not on the hook for charges to your account resulting from a fraud the issuer is.

However, we have to watch ourselves and practice good computing. The quickest way to determine if you are on a secure web site, is to look in one of the corners of the browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari) for a little gold paddle lock icon. In Internet Explorer and Firefox its usually in the lower right corner. In Safari its in the upper right.

Again, human factors are the source of most security breaches. Many people don't use "strong passwords" (see link in my above post) and easy ones can be cracked. So, even though vendors are providing 128bit encryption, using a three or four letter password can effectively reduce that to the equivalent of an unlocked screen door. At least eight characters using numbers, upper and lower case letters and a "special" one like a & or # is best. Use a pass phrase and it will be a lot easier to remember. Here is an example $littleRedWagon27.

Lots of people still write down their passwords and leave them in places like under the keyboard or taped to the monitor!

Likewise, it is important to have a strong password to log onto your computer (not just the web sites). This is not only to prevent someone from physically accessing the computer if they should get to it, but also to help prevent online attacks. Lots of us have systems that are hooked up to the internet all the time or for extended periods. Its better if you create and use a profile different than "administrator". Typically, Administrator is a default profile and it has access to everything.

BACK UP BACK UP BACK UP.... its really important to back up the stuff you don't want to loose. Hard drives fail and computers are lost and stolen all the time. Digital storage is pretty cheap these days and there are a number of different ways to do it. I mentioned the encrypted flash drive above as an example. Always keep your back up in a different location than your computer. Ideally, you update the backup on a regular schedule and have two; one is rotated off site. This can seem like PIA but the alternative is a lot worse if we loose our stuff.

As far as having a back up laptop this is a good idea, but it needs to be updated on a regular basis. If you have one that has been sitting around for some time, the operating system needs to be brought up to date. Most use some variety of the Windows or Mac OS. Security patches are issued regularly and these operating systems (particularly Windows) have a practical life span of about two to maybe three years. In addition to keeping the OS up to date, a current anti malware (anti virus, anti spam, anti adware) program is essential and this too must be kept up to date.

Think about it as if you were to have a spare Wanderlodge sitting around in case your primary one broke down. Unless all maintenance and lots of other stuff were up to date and it was exercised regularly, it would not be a dependable back up.

It is often said, the safest computer is one that is unpluged and locked in a vault and monitored by armed guards.

Hope this helps.

NH Bill
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83 FC-35 SB "Casa Billisa"
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Last edited by NH Bill; 02-21-2010 at 10:53 AM. Reason: typos
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  #12  
Old 02-21-2010
davidmbrady
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NH Bill View Post
Jim,
Again, human factors are the source of most security breaches. Many people don't use "strong passwords" (see link in my above post) and easy ones can be cracked. So, even though vendors are providing 128bit encryption, using a three or four letter password can effectively reduce that to the equivalent of an unlocked screen door. At least eight characters using numbers, upper and lower case letters and a "special" one like a & or # is best. Use a pass phrase and it will be a lot easier to remember. Here is an example $littleRedWagon27.
Bill,

Thanks for the very thorough writeup. The above passage could use some clarification. AFAIK, the SSL encryption doesn't rely on end-user created passwords. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding what you were saying?

Last edited by davidmbrady; 02-21-2010 at 11:29 AM. Reason: Corrected a typo.
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  #13  
Old 02-21-2010
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NH Bill NH Bill is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidmbrady View Post
Jim,

Thanks for the very thorough writeup. The above passage could use some clarification. ASFIK, the SSL encrypition doesn't rely on end user created passwords. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding what you were saying?
David,

Thanks for picking up on this. Your point is well taken and you are correct. Once the SSL connection is established it is secure.

The point I am making is pretty basic and that is simply that poor passwords can be the weak link in an otherwise secure environment and these invite trouble.

I am not a systems engineer (SE), so if my comments fall short on the technical end of this stuff please step in.

Thanks,

NH Bill
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  #14  
Old 02-21-2010
Stephen Stephen is offline
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we could have a complete record of your credit card number is we choose to
it is a simple switch answer yes or no
we have to keep a record of a partial number to identify a customer for refunds and charge backs and fraud

We recently had a purchase on our website that was slightly off kilter
The customer ordered some products that did not make sense.It turns out that the delivery address was in the Bronx with a false address and telephone number
the credit card owner was in California
the order was placed from Indonesia

You be surprised at the customers that call or email us and tell us to place purchases on their account because they think that we have their credit card number. We DON'T

Our sales are tracked by IP number as well as credit card number and address

We also have to be vigilant for the unscrupulous people in this world
as well as protect the customer for this I pay big bucks every month
Our site is constantly probed from around the world and we have several
layers of protection to try and stop Fraudulent activity

SSL and passwords are only the beginning of trying to stop Fraud
as of 10.00am there were 17 attempts to order stuff on our website
that was the last ten hours and they were all bogus

I think that all the layers of protection and security are warranted

and by the way if somebody is using a key logger on your computer you got a problem not the merchant that you are trying to buy from
because it is certainly not the merchant I have no reason to grab your number and use it besides thier is a couple of reasons not to do it the police and jail
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  #15  
Old 02-21-2010
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Gray Eagle Gray Eagle is offline
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Thanks for the info, Stephen. It is good to know that there are reliable dealers like you watching for these kinds of anomalies.
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  #16  
Old 02-21-2010
Jim Harvie Jim Harvie is offline
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Thank you.
I know nothing is 100 percent failsafe, and you always run some type of risk. I'm just trying to manage the risk as best as I can.
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Lancaster MA.
1982 35 FT. FC, SB
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  #17  
Old 02-22-2010
fxdwg fxdwg is offline
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There's a "scam going on out there that the credit card vendors a pushing on the merchants called PCI. It's supposed to be a security checkup or system that is done by an outside vendor (which is simply another arm of the cc vendor) to ensure you (as a retailer) don't have security issues with your credit card acceptance systems. I accept cards and do not store any personal info relating to the card. I only log that it's a visa or mastercard and the amount paid. I'm being told I have to pay this outside vendor (previously mentioned) $25/yr just to tell them I'm not keeping any info. Confused yet? It purposely designed to be extremely convoluted, thus my thoughts on it being nothing but a scam.
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don't waste your time with a usa-spec ipod adapter- poor products with poor support
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