Episode #: 99
Show: Regional 11
Airdates: July - Jan '01 (see Programming Schedule for specific airtimes)

Firewalls - Who do they really protect?


  • Information theft is rising to troubling levels. Brady & Associates, a fast-growing Data Security firm out of Dinuba, California has created personal firewall and intrusion detection systems that allow users easier access to their data in order to more accurately assess the severity of intrusion attempts and report those attempts to the proper authorities.
Broadcast Excerpts

News Desk:

Do you know where your credit card is? Safely tucked inside your wallet, you say. But how safe is your account, never mind the card? These days, a credit card number is a valuable commodity to thieves. And you don't need the plastic to use somebody's credit card number, particularly in this era of Internet and catalog shopping. The same applies to debit cards. A thief armed with a debit card number can go on a shopping spree, financed by your checking account.

That's right, Mark, and the big concern nowadays is how careful you are when it comes to guarding your personal information, especially information like the pin number to your ATM card? And you're probably are very careful. But what about your social security number and other critical personal data about yourself? By now, most of us know how important it is to protect that too. Yet, you'd be amazed at just how easy it is for someone to get hold of it. In the wrong hands, your ATM number can wreck your bank accounts, but a thief with your social security number can wreck your life. Well today we look into the world of information security. Correspondent ••.. reports.

On Camera:
Tech-savvy criminals are devising new ways to get their hands on card information. They've figured out that card fraud beats holding up someone at gunpoint. Instead, they're hacking into Internet databases filled with customer card data and copying account details encoded on a card's magnetic stripe. And Credit card fraud is quickly becoming the bank robbery of the future. Criminals today have realized that credit cards and the banking system are easy pickings.

Not surprisingly, the Internet is fueling such fraud. It not only helps criminals retrieve account data quickly and efficiently, but it allows them to perpetrate scams from anywhere in the world. Thieves can E-mail account information overseas to cohorts, who then produce counterfeit cards. Or items can be purchased from an Internet merchant, allowing the fraudster to cloak his identity and leave few clues to track him down. 

On Camera:
Well today, we've decided to give you, the consumer and business owner, the tools with which to defend yourself and your information.



The astounding growth in electronic-commerce sites provides criminals with a world of merchants to patronize for products that are easily fenced. And no matter how somebody might get a hold of a consumer's financial information, the ability to abuse it on the Internet is huge. 

On Camera:
According to the U.S. Secret Service, the fastest-growing ploy used by criminals­particularly organized groups overseas­is to nab card data by "skimming" them off a genuine card. 

The magnetic stripe on the card's back is encoded with a cardholder's name, account number, expiration date­and a code unique to each piece of plastic. Without the last number, the card cannot be counterfeited. But thieves are buying magnetic stripe readers­available for about $400 on the Internet­and altering them to record all of the data on a magnetic stripe with a mere swipe of the card.

On Camera:
If you've never heard of BlackICE Defender, ZoneAlarm and WinRoute Pro, you soon will. You'll want to find out as much as you can about these products and the latest edition to the market, Firewall Prism. By using discreet 'plug-in' modules you can tailor your firewall and reporting needs to provide yourself with the most reliable information from your firewall. 

Brady & Associates, a Data Security firm, out of Dinuba, California, says that information theft is rising to troubling levels. They've created a marketing & distribution system incorporating personal firewall and intrusion detection systems that allow users easier access to their data in order to more accurately assess the severity of intrusion attempts and report those attempts to the proper authorities.



On Camera:
Your data is literally just a hack away. Hackers take Web site security measures as a challenge. And they're stealing passwords and credit card numbers every day.

In January, 2000, hackers stole 250,000 credit card numbers from an online CD store. They tried to blackmail the store, and when the store didn't pay they published 10,000 of those passwords to the world. And your email is also an open book. Anyone with an email "sniffer" program can jump into the flow of email traffic, targeting email with your name or your company's name.

On Camera:
"You deleted your email so that nobody can read it?" This is what Bill Gates heard as his email was read out loud in open court. Corporate espionage is going on worldwide. And Governments are aiding their national corporations in this endeavor.

Governments are continually intercepting electronic communication all over the world, and sifting through it using a technology called Topic Spotting. The program ClearICE Report Utility was created to meet the needs of users of BlackICE Defender in order to support the reporting of data and the notification of the alleged intruder's Internet Service Provider and produce hardcopy reports. 



On Camera:
An even less sophisticated method of filching card numbers is found free on the Web. It generates numbers using the same algorithms as those used by banks. Anyone with modest computer skills can produce up to 999 card numbers from one card. Early last year, the Federal Trade Commission charged several individuals and businesses with illegally billing 783,947 credit and debit card accounts for Internet services. How did the companies get the information? From a bank, which sold them the numbers.

Still, the experts say no detection system is foolproof, and the industry has attempted several new fixes. Visa and MasterCard have introduced validation codes and other solutions, which include technology that will read the properties of the magnetic stripe.

These associations are also working with merchants to help detect fraud in phone and Internet transactions. And while the industry is pushing for widespread adoption of a secure electronic transaction protocol, Brady & Associates says that the only real way to secure yourself is to be proactive and wrap your information with the proper firewall protection systems. ClearICE, they say, is one that seamlessly integrates into the BlackICE Defender using the ClearICE plug-in to gain the upper hand on serious hackers and "script kiddies" as well.

On Camera:

Brady & Associates says that their solutions are perfect for adding protection to additional computers on your network or providing protection to your home or small business.

Those of you who have become victims of hacker onslaught know how frustrating it is when you try to figure out who is attacking your machine and why. The attacks may have stopped, but there is no easy way to track down the offenders. The ClearICE Report Utility is said to let users of BlackICE Defender produce reports and provide access to the data created by BlackICE Defender. ClearICE can print out a report on an attacker that BlackICE Defender identifies as a real attack. It shows you the mac address, the name, the IP address, and can send an e-mail notification automatically to the attacker's Internet Service Provider (ISP).

On Camera:
And these info defense programs are now the leading download on the Internet. Touted as the best tools available for reporting attacks to ISPs that are detected and intercepted, these programs are said allow you to analyze the log file and alert ISPs of malicious activity. 

Used in conjunction with other personal firewalls these programs allow users easy access to their data in order to more accurately assess the severity of intrusion attempts and report those attempts to the proper authorities.



On Camera: (Close)
In the future, many worry that more card fraudsters will go a step further. Identity theft is a huge problem, and a clever con artist can use your personal or account information to establish a parallel identity. Victims of fraud are quickly learning the trade-offs of whiz-bang technology. Privacy is a rare bird these days and becoming much more rare every time we invite someone to access our personal information for the sake of convenience. Something to think about. From Dinuba, California, I'm •••. Reporting for Business World News 




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