Wednesday, December 8, 2004
Internet Accelerator May Read Your Credit Card Numbers
IMesh is a popular file-sharing application that has recently started to bundle a piece of software inside its P2P tool called Marketscore.
Marketscore is a privacy nightmare: What this program does is akin to monitoring each and every possible activity you carry out on your computer. Marketscore in fact routes all of a user's surfing destinations through its own servers. There it analyzes the data to "create research reports on internet trends and e-commerce activities," according to Marketscore itself.
Even data entered on secure websites -- such as passwords, credit card numbers and bank account numbers, information that is supposed to be viewable only by the sender and the intended recipient -- is accessible to Marketscore, as the company has developed a technology that allows it to view encrypted information.
But the most interesting part is that some users don't seem to be concerned about this, and consider such practices part of what is to be expected by Internet companies that offer free services.
For example, users at the iMesh forums stated to those who were complaining that "without spyware there's no such thing as free software."
The iMesh software is, like many other file sharing tools, very popular on university campuses and last Thursday, Columbia University issued a warning to students whose machines harbor Marketscore. The warning said: "To protect campus systems against further spread of this threat, we have blocked connections from our networks to the spyware's home servers. If your ability to view web pages on the internet has stopped, it may be because you were infected with this spyware". Cornell and half a dozen other universities posted similar warnings and have also blocked Marketscore servers.
"This sucks," said a Pennsylvania State University student in an e-mail interview. "I can't surf the web and I can't trade files if I uninstall the spyware. Why can't the college let me do what I want to do with my computer? The school computer security guys are being way more annoying than the spyware was."
Marketscore offers a free "Internet Accelerator" that the company says speeds up downloads by up to 100 percent, along with a free e-mail virus-protection service that uses Symantec's CarrierScan Server antivirus technology.
What I suggest you do, if you are interested in researching this story deeper, is to look at this Google search results page, and to give a good look at both the main results as well as at the interesting ads appearing on the right column.
click to enlarge
Excerpted from "Spyware on My Machine? So What?" from Wired News - Dec. 6th 2004
Reference: Wired [ Read more ]
I think that we are all at risk with our credit card info. being snatched by any attachement that can worm it's way into our computers. However, I have also seen this phenomina bolstered throughout the universities also as I deal with students quite a bit.
This segment is seeing an increase in their student credit cards being fraudulently utilized via electronic traps.
Lets legislate this more and get in some safeguards.