Dangers of being on-line

Wednesday, June 19th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Internet security experts say logging onto the Web is like entering a dangerous neighborhood. At a nationwide forum on cyber-security this week, experts said we must do more to deal with web-related weaknesses.

They say hackers are constantly coming up with new ways to tap into your computer system, getting personal information. News on Six reporter Patrina Adger says on-line identity and credit fraud are big problems in cyber world. People trying to get information about you through your e-mail account and you'll be surprised how they do it.

A co-worker recently thanked me for an e-mail I sent to him last week. The strange thing is, I never sent it. Brent Johnson with Secure Agent Software tells me a hacker somehow gained access to my e-mail account, and may also have access to future email I send and receive. "In this case what they may have done is gained access to your machine, downloaded your e-mail list of all the people you send an e-mail to and then they turn around sending e-mail to those people showing your e-mail address as the return address."

And it doesn't stop there. Johnson says hackers can even click into your e-mail account when you open junk mail. And if you've been asked to "click here to be removed from a list” Guess what, you're not removed from anything. "They now have the address of your screen."

Johnson says cyber hackers are clever and have mastered the technique to an art. But there are ways to protect yourself. The most important thing is to "never" ever put personal information such as you credit card or social security numbers on anything unless the page has a padlock at the bottom of the screen. "Don't leave your internet computer.”

And don't open e-mail unless you recognize the sender and the subject line is legitimate and if you're not sure. “Hit the delete button and don't open it."