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Advice for forum participants from FaceTime Security.

FaceTime Communications : 05 December, 2007  (New Product)
After discovering trade auctions for stolen credit card information on public forum, FaceTime Security issues advice to users who exchange innocent information on such web sites.
Research experts at FaceTime Security Labs have discovered a considerable collection of stolen credit card details posted on a "Warez Forum," a discussion group frequented by hackers trading pirated media and video games. The authorities have been notified.

Some of the exposed credit card details included PIN numbers as well as an email "receive address" indicating that information had been obtained directly from a back-end on-line payment system. Further details about this incident can be found at the spyware guide blog and on researcher Chris Boyd's personal blog. Boyd, senior director of malware research for FaceTime Security Labs, discovered that the credit card data had been published.

"The odd thing about it was that the person who posted the details didn't really come across as a professional carder - more like someone who happened to stumble across a stockpile of sensitive information and was now trying to distribute it as quickly as he could," said Chris Boyd. "This is a case of stupid criminals at work. The poster happily included all of this information with a photograph of himself as well as his location listed under his forum avatar."

FaceTime Security Labs researchers, including Boyd (aka Paperghost), are constantly searching for malware, botnets, spyware and incidents of hacking of social networking sites that can compromise personal as well company data. While this research is conducted and used to protect FaceTime's enterprise network security customers, occasionally the FSL team uncovers incidents - such as this one - that are more widespread and affect a wide variety of consumers.

"Everyone takes a security risk when they shop or hang out online, but we can reduce the risk with some common sense and specific moves," said Boyd. "A company would never stop using email just because they get SPAM, but everyone needs to balance the benefits of the Web with ways to avoid the risks."

FaceTime offers the following tips for safe Internet use:.

* Update your browser and your computer with the latest security patches.
* When entering your credit card data online, be sure that your browser is showing a closed padlock in the lower right, to show that the site is secure.
* Be very cautious when you receive an instant message with a link to a Web site or a download, even from a friend. Many threats spread quickly through IM messages and then steal personal data. Ask your friend if he or she actually sent you a link or file before clicking on it.
* Be wary when installing something from a social networking site. Many credit card numbers are stolen through spyware applications that people download without realizing the danger. If you are unsure, go to the official website of the company that makes the application you need.
* Before posting anything on a social networking page, consider if you would be happy handing that information to a stranger.
* Keep a careful eye on your bank statements and credit report. Call your credit card company if you see suspicious transactions.

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