Lowell Deeds

The latest on real estate recordings and new technology from the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds in Lowell

August 11, 2008

Computer Security

by @ 12:32 pm. Filed under Technology

There seems to be rising concern about the threats posed by criminals to those who use the internet to do anything involving money. Just last week there was news that a major international credit card theft ring was broken up (they were selling credit card numbers, expiration dates and security codes for as little as 8 cents apiece). Over the weekend, a couple of MIT students were the target of an injunction requested by the MBTA when the T learned the students planned to give a presenation on how to hack the T’s Charlie Card system at a big computer hackers convention (DEFCON 15) in Las Vegas. But the news that concerned me most was a story about the weakness of passwords as a security measure. We’re not talking about simple passwords like “123456″ or “password” which might be easily guessed, but about sophisticated passwords that contain no discernable words and combinations of letters, numbers and punctuation marks. Instead, the risk in using a password is that you can’t be sure that the website in which you’re entering the password is authentic. Computer criminals now have ways of duplicating legitimate websites and diverting innocent computer users seeking real sites to the fake ones. The customer has no way of knowing that he’s at a bogus site until unknown charges start to appear on his credit card bill. It seems that the best way to protect against this kind of behavior is by having the customer’s computer and the correct internet server authenticate each other using advanced cryptography. Using this method, the only risk would occur if someone else got on your computer.

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