Thursday, November 18, 2004

Top 10 Cyber-Security Urban Legends

Have you heard that answering your cell phone can give you a computer virus?  This and other fanciful tales make up a list of urban legends compiled by Secure Computing Corp. Without further ado, we offer the list:


1.         Hackers can legally break into Web sites that lack “warning” notices.  (Untrue — breaking into Web sites is illegal whether they carry warning notices or not.)

2.         Some Windows system files are really malicious and should be deleted.  (False!  This myth is perpetuated by the several e-mail hoaxes.)

3.         Hotel card keys secretly record personal information.  (Nope.  The information on these cards is limited to room number, check-out time, and other non-identifying information.)

4.         Including a fake entry in your e-mail address book will prevent e-mail Trojan-horse attacks.  (Simply untrue.)

5.         A digital cell phone can be infected with a virus merely by answering a phone call.  (There’s no evidence that any virus can be spread this way.)

6.         Search engine “crawlers” perform security checks and notify you of vulnerabilities.  (No search engines do this – but it’s a nice idea.)

7.         Thieves use lists of “out-of-office” auto-replies to target homes for burglary.  (There are no such reported cases, but this is indeed feasible.)

8.         Free patches e-mailed to you will protect your PC from the latest worm or viruses.  (This is a sneaky “social engineering” trick employed by hackers.)

9.         Signing up with a Do Not Spam registry will stop you from getting spam.  (There is no such registry.)

10.       “E-cards” from Elf Bowling and Blue Mountain Greeting Cards contain viruses.  (This is a bogus charge, but you should always be skeptical about e-mail unless you know who sent it and why.)



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