Friday, February 13, 2009

Threats of Online Security - How safe is Our Data?

Are you safe online? Find out what are the Top 5 threats to internet security and how to protect yourself. The Internet is a very scary place. If you don’t have internet security software, you are playing a risky game. That’s a very simple and direct statement but a powerful one. I am sure most PC users have had some form of malware on the PC. We all have been the victim of a virus, spyware, adware, phishing or spam mail. All these have the potential to cause crippling damage to your PC, threaten your privacy or expose to your personal information.

Since 2004 online shopping, banking and digital trading has increased 25% each year. If you are performing any of these actions without the aid of internet security software, you are being very foolish and making hackers very happy. It has never been more risky to shop online. The Spam/Spyware industry alone has become a billion dollar underground network. Your information is valuable. Hackers are will to invest time and resources to obtain. Therefore, it is more important than ever to learn how to combat these threats with internet security software and educate yourself on safe surfing techniques. Here are the top five threats to your internet security.

1. Spyware

Spyware is an all inclusive term that includes most malware such as Trojans, adware, pop up ads, modified cookies, keyloggers etc. This term does not include virus which is engineered to replicates itself, not spy or steal. Spyware is usually engineered to watch your online activity and uncover security flaws. This is usually the first step in setting you up for some time information theft. Hackers have developed sophisticated tools such as keyloggers that can record every key you type. Yes that means passwords, banking information, and email entries can be uncovered using this software. A quick tip is to avoid free anti-spyware. This has been proven to be ineffective and sometime can be spyware itself. Remember that spyware works by exposing flaws in your internet security. So search for the anti-spyware program with a major magazine endorsement.

2. Identity Theft

Hackers can steal your information by a variety of methods. Once this information is gained, it will be used to make online purchases using your credit card data, divert paychecks and create false documents. Usually the top internet security software comes with some protection against this problem. An internet security suite may be your best bet to protect your online information. Quick tips to protect yourself against online ID theft are never provide your credit card info to any site that does not offer multiple forms of internet security to protect your transaction. Another key factor to search for is a major secure payment processor logos and information. And last but not least, please read the internet security warning before the payment is processed. It only natural that you protect yourself against this internet security threat.

3. Spam Mail

Spam Mail itself is not dangerous. However Spam mail can have malicious links that can do everything from cause your PC to be infected by a virus, introduce spyware, and attract more spam. A good internet spam filter is usually a good option. Using internet security software and some common sense will help you avoid be inundated with spam mail. Quick internet security tip: When typing your address into the net. Try using a combination of 13 letters and numbers. This will make it very difficult for address to be added spam mail list.

4. Phishing Mail

There is not doubt that you may have heard the term “phishing”. If you haven’t, you soon will because it’s a major internet security threat. This method has become one of the more popular ways to stealing vital information such as user names and password. This works by sending messages to your email account pretending to be trusted sites such as eBay, Paypal or your bank. The links redirect you to a fake site that mimics the trusted site. You type in your personal information and hacker using it to make online transactions with your info or your money. This is real threat to you internet security. The best way to avoid this is to update your web browser with phishing detection. Also other internet security software packages have great phishing detection systems such as Webroot’s Spysweeper and ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite.

5. You!!

That’s right maybe the factor of the possess the biggest threat to your internet security. Social engineering such as clicking on obvious spam mail links, downloading freeware and sharing files is a very dangerous practice on the net. By just investing in the best software and updating regularly, could save you from frustration and identity theft. This is the one category where the bargain bin should be avoided. Also, never download anything that is sent to your mail unless you have scanned it for spyware and viruses. However, in the age of digital sharing people often buck internet security by trading pictures, movies and files without hesitaion.

Are you surprised that computer viruses didn’t make the Top 5 internet security threats? There are several reasons for this is not considered the number one internet security threat. One is that the hackers have been shying away from the use of viruses because the technology is mint to disrupt and destroy your internet security. However, spyware is easier to develop and much more effective. Also, most computer users and Windows developers have taken the steps to protect themselves. Anti-virus programs are quite good and can usually respond to new viruses by updating the signature databases daily.

All in all you are responsible for that steps you take online. However, there is no need to risk loosing your valuable data or money because of lack of PC maintenance. Upgrade your computer by increases the amount of internet security measures. Feel confident that you done everything to protect yourself and enjoy everything the net has to offer.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Application of Pre-paid Cash Card for Consumers

The prepaid cash card is from a new idea which the concept is basically same as mobile phone SIM card or prepaid gift card. It is a reloadable debit card that allows people to only spend up to the amount they have pre-deposited into the account. A prepaid cash card look like a credit or debit card, it allows consumers to purchase products and services through a card but with a difference which means a person can limit their spending with only spend the balance that has been preloaded onto the card rather then borrowing. This means there is no risk of running into debt as it has no credit or overdraft facility. It benefits consumers in their day life and allows them to have a better control over their finance.

One can simply start using prepaid cash card when money has been loaded on to a prepaid card by cash at a bank, Post Office, at Payzone or PayPoint terminals, bank transfer, through your employer or even by credit card.

When using for purchasing at a high street store, they work in exactly the same way as a credit or debit card. When purchasing just simply hand over the card and then you will be asked to enter your PIN number (supplied with the card) on an electronic keypad or to sign a payment slip so your signature can be matched with that on the back of the card (if there is no Chip on the card). The total amount will be taken from your card immediately and the transaction is complete.

The examples of pre-paid cash card are General Spending Debit Card, Payroll and commission payout Card, Remittance, Affinity Group Card, Travel Card, and Student Card. There are several benefits by using those pre-paid cash card, such as:

1. The payment quickly and securely moves “Checking Account Like” funds without the hassles or risks involved with paper checks

2. Security features such as personal identification numbers (PINs) protect consumers against theft and fraud

3. Consumers prefer Prepaid Cash Cards because they act virtually the same as cash, only with much more security

4. Consumers who make debit card purchases are free of interest charges associated with credit cards

5. Funds Transfer – Consumers can conveniently and inexpensively transfer funds to friends and relatives everywhere

6. Bill Payment and On-line Purchases – Un-banked consumers can pay bills and purchase products and services on-line or through phone calls.

The application of Smarts Cards in Malaysia are:

1. Retail purchases (purchases using credit cards)

2. Transit fares (paying for bus and taxi rides, parking, and so on)

3. E-identification (smart cards storing personal info, for example Malaysian identity card and Malaysian International Passport)

4. Health care (stores health data about patients, allergies, pass medical records and etc)

Pre-paid Vista Cash Card is issued by Four Oaks Bank & Trust Company that given the opportunity for consumers with poor credit record and young children by not spending more than the balance on the card. It offers a secure, cost-effective, and convenient alternative to paying by checks or cash. These products enable many consumers to access their pre-funded pool of funds to make everyday purchases, pay bills, and even receive direct deposits with a Visa prepaid cash card. Visa also permits travelers access to money at automated teller machines in 65 countries and book the train tickets by offering prepaid cash card such as Metro Card in New York City.

Touch ‘n Go (TnG) smart card is used by Malaysian for electronic payment system to toll expressway and highway. It is expanding its business to retail purchase by starting with fast food industry that enables consumers to buy dough nut, burger or fast-food from 21 outlets such as Burger King, 7-Eleven, Dunkin’ Donut. It is imitating the success of Hong Kong’s Octopus Card by setting 5 to 10% of the card holders for retail purchase as current target of the company.

Octopus Card was launched in Hong Kong on year 1997, September. It is a rechargeable contactless stored value smart card to transfer electronic payments in online in offline system. It is widely used in payment system for transportation, supermarkets, fast food restaurant, car parks and other pint of sale application such as service stations and vending machines that have achieved good outcomes.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Credit Card debts: Causes and Prevention

Credit card debt is an example of unsecured consumer debt, access through ISO 7810 plastic credit card। (From Wikipedia)
Responsible use of a credit card does not exist। Credit card debt is major problem in America. There are about $962 million at US (July 2008).
There is NO positive side to credit card use. You spend more if you use credit cards. Even by paying the bills on time, you are not beating the system? But most families don’t pay on time. The average family today carries $8,000 in credit card debt according to the American Bankers’ Association.
When you pay cash, you can ‘feel’ the money leaving you। This is not true with credit cards. Flipping a credit card up on a counter registers nothing emotionally. If you use credit cards instead of cash you will spend 12-18% more. This is money you could have saved

Course of credit card debts

  1. Poor Money Management: Poor money management is one of the best reasons that why so many families have accumulated many credit card debts। It is because people are unaware to conduct a monthly spending plan and do not keep track of monthly bills. People have never realized their spending o the items that are useless and do not have any value in their life. Thus, it has lead to a rise in debts by using credit cards.
  2. Unemployment: Households are forced to use credit card for groceries, utilities and some expenses purposes to maintain current lifestyle when the main breadwinner of the household has loss his job and could not find a new job during short periods। This may lead to a rise in debt when expenses are not cut down in line with the reduction in income.
  3. Gambling: Gambling is popular entertainment। Everyone likes to gamble with the money they have. How many come back home with a bag full of cash? Very few. The guarantee in this game of chance is that will be definitely paying to the house. Gambling loans are also available which lead to debt.


  1. Budget: It is important to have a plan for your money so that you will know exactly where all if your funds are going। Many people believe that a budget will be constricting and not allow them any freedom. Really the opposite is true. A budget allows you the freedom of having peace of mind knowing that all of your bills are paid and the money has been allocated ahead of time for these expenses.
  2. Self control and discipline: One of the best practices is to have a direct set up so that able to pay back the full amount each month and use in emergencies। Thus, self control and discipline to keep these cards in wallet and would not overspend.
  3. Keep your credit limit low: A low credit limit will help you resist the urge to splurge। If you receive a congratulatory letter informing you your credit limit has been increased, you should call the credit card issuer and decline the offer. If the issuer would not do it, close the account.

The main prevention is aware of the causes of credit card debts and starts to spend less in order to stay with well financial situation।

The main prevention is aware of the causes of credit card debts and starts to spend less in order to stay with well financial situation।