Scams, Shams And The Phishing Hook

BLOG VIEW: How safe is your company's Web site? I am asking because a few of my favorite Web sites have recently come under attack by various miscreants who seek profit and havoc by disrupting the Internet. I am not aware of any great damage created by such shenanigans, but the incidents helped to remind me that it is too easy to be lulled into false security about cyberspace's safety levels.

One site that I visited was infected with malware. This created some PR problems when Google decided to list the site – an extremely prominent entertainment resource – as being a potentially dangerous place to visit. It took about a week before the site's webmaster was able to clean out the problem, which was later traced to a Chinese origination point.

Another site that I came upon – an influential e-commerce pioneer – was infiltrated by a phishing scheme that tried to sneak in some peculiar screens designed to seek out my Social Security number, checking account PIN and the three-digit security code on my primary credit card. Incredibly, the phishing pages insisted that this information was required in the name of protecting me from thieves!

If you don't know what I'm talking about when I mention ‘malware’ and ‘phishing,’ I might recommend brushing up on your high-tech lexicon. But if you understand my jargon, let me repeat my earlier question: How safe is your company's Web site?

Later this month, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will be hosting its National Technology in Mortgage Banking Expo. The show's focus is aimed at using technology to better enable the internal workings of a mortgage banking operation. There will be some very familiar topics being discussed – including such perennials as the use of technology in fraud prevention and the implementation of e-mortgages – though a few new topics will be raised, most notably an overview of cloud computing (we'll be talking about that topic tomorrow on MortgageOrb).

In my view, however, the MBA's conference is looking too much on internal concerns without concentrating on your company's public high-tech face – in this case, your Web site. Let's take a quickie quiz – see if you can answer these questions:

  • What is your company's Web site traffic?
  • Where is your company's hosting server located?
  • When was the last time that your company's Web site was updated?
  • Have there been any previous attempts to hack your company's Web site?
  • What security measures are in place to ensure that the Web site's security cannot be breached?
  • Do you have a contingency plan in place if your company's Web site were to be hacked?

If you do not know the answers to some or all of these questions, you may want to consider spending some quality time with your IT team. If you know all of the answers but do not feel satisfied with your responses, it might not be a bad idea to ring your IT team, too.

Considering that a steadily increasing number of financial services companies use the Internet for receiving loan applications and mortgage payments, it might not be a bad idea to focus on that aspect of the equation.

– Phil Hall, editor, [b][i]Secondary Marketing Executive[/i][/b]

[i] (Please address all comments regarding this opinion column to[/i]


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