Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Protect Your Password

Identity theft and theft of personal information is on the increase and hackers are becoming more technically advanced all the time. That's why it is more important than ever that computer users create theft proof passwords to avoid identity theft.

Two of the most common ways passwords can be stolen is through thieves skimming information on social networking sites as well as bots trolling sites and automatically trying the most commonly used passwords first.

Imperva were able to compile the following list of the most common and worst used passwords,

1. 123456
2. 12345
3. 123456789
4. Password
5. iloveyou
6. princess
7. facebook, or twitter
8. 1234567
9. 12345678
10. abc123
11. Nicole
12. Daniel
13. babygirl
14. monkey
15. Jessica
16. Lovely
17. Michael
18. Ashley
19. 654321
20. Qwerty

Tips for Creating Safe Passwords

  • Regularly change your passwords - ideally several times a year
  • Use different passwords for every site you use
  • Keep your passwords random
  • Mix up numbers, letters, and capitalization
  • Don't use actual words, make a password from a sentence for example: I love my wife and two children - ilmwa2c
  • Do not use letter or numerical sequences for example: abc123
  • Don't use the name of the service in your password for example: facebook123

Friday, June 18, 2010

Selling Your Car? Don't make life easy for the Fraudsters!

Still on the subject of Identity theft - a few security issues to consider when selling your car.

Does your car have an inbuilt GPS/Satellite navigation system.(SatNav) You could be surprised at the number of people, who, when selling their vehicle forget to erase the personal information contained on the SatNav.

This information may include names and addresses of family and friends - as well as your own, but also perhaps your bank and work location? This could be damaging for you if it fell into the wrong hands - obviously the same advice applies if you are selling a portable satnav device.

Also check carefully the car boot, side pockets and down the back of the car seats for any forgotton receipts, statements, letters.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Losing face online?

Would you give your personal details to a stranger on the street?

The last decade has seen rapid growth in the area of internet fraud – crimes range from stolen identity to access bank accounts and use credit cards – to creating new identities altogether.

Often people are “tricked” into supplying personal data and financial information via spurious emails claiming to be from authentic sites, such as banking institutions or auction sites.

There are steps one can take to avoid the nasty business of identity theft online; many are basic “common sense” approaches – simply checking before you give information out – “would I normally do this? Or would I do this in a non-internet scenario?”

The simple fact of online theft is: these “thieves” are trying to steal money from the individual or steal the identity of the individual for another purpose such as a loan application or mortgage. Can you imagine how you’d feel if you received a demand for a mortgage or loan you’d never applied for? Worse still, what if your savings or current accounts were emptied by some hacker?

In addition to the horror of these potential situations, victims of such theft can spend hundreds of hours trying to clear their names with banks or credit agencies.

So, how do you avoid falling foul to these internet gangsters? We recommend following some simple guidelines; including the straightforward rule of “if I wouldn’t give this to a stranger, why am I putting it on the internet?” There are other key considerations such as: where you keep your driving license and other forms of I.D. and how you store or destroy bills and statements. It is imperative that you don’t (albeit accidentally!) leave a trail of information for any willing identity thief to collect. Most importantly, don’t be fooled into thinking “it won’t happen to me”.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Everything you didn’t know about the world of PI!

Hands-up who thinks of “Magnum” or “Jessica Fletcher” ... even good old “Poirot” (complete with perfect moustache and mincing steps!) when they hear the word “PI”?

The private investigation industry is synonymous with television and literary characters, probably due to the intrigue and secretive nature of the business. However, the truth of the matter is that private investigation was conceived of in the mid nineteenth century, and is utilised by many different professions and individuals to provide services and information on a wide-range of issues.

One of the first known PI agencies was founded by Eugène François Vidocq, a French soldier. Vidocq is credited with having introduced record-keeping, criminology and ballistics to criminal investigation; along with creating indelible ink and unalterable bond paper. Vidocq’s career was almost curtailed entirely when he was arrested on charges of unlawful imprisonment, among other things, in 1842. However, he successfully appealed the sentence and was released, having created a platform for a brand-new industry.

In 1850, the Pinkerton National Detective Agency was established in the USA by Allan Pinkerton, becoming famous when the agency foiled a plot to assassinate then President- Elect Abraham Lincoln. There have been some claims to suggest that, at one point, Pinkerton employed more agents than the USA army.

Pinkerton agents were hired to track western outlaws Jesse James, the Reno brothers and the Wild Bunch, including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. In fact, they also inspired the term “private eye” with their logo – an eye embellished with the words “we never sleep”.

While there are obvious tasks involved in PI work; there are also many types of job which the public would not normally associate with a PI. Often a PI will be responsible for carrying out process-serving for the legal profession, background-checking an individual, tracing (of various types) and investigation of spurious insurance claims.

The role of a PI is a varied one; and as such it attracts a diverse audience to its career-path. Nowadays PIs prefer to be known as “professional investigators” as opposed to “private investigators” or “private detectives” – in response to the image that is sometimes attributed to the profession and an effort to establish and demonstrate the industry as a proper and respectable profession.

Do you have a query we could help you with? Please feel free to contact Bluemoon Investigations for a no-obligation consultation 01 2311033 or

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Can a woman forgive an affair? Not if the man gave her his heart

After pop star Ronan Keating's affair was exposed, his wronged wife Yvonne has come out and said something many other betrayed women have felt before her.

The reason she is finding it so hard to forgive him is that 'it wasn't just sex, it was emotional'.

In other words, a one-night stand is one thing - in time a woman can forgive a sexual betrayal - but a prolonged liaison is different. You see, if there's one thing a woman can't bear, it's having her emotional security threatened.

Interestingly, when it comes to divorce, the majority of men sue on the grounds of adultery - whereas women sue on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour.

Men can't stand the idea of another man laying claim to his woman's body, while women can't stand the idea of another woman laying claim to her man's heart.

What a woman really minds is discovering that her man is whispering sweet nothings to another woman and bestowing on them the kind of attention that he used to reserve for her.

Attention and affection is what a woman really wants, even if they've been married for ever. So the fact he's giving it out elsewhere is a betrayal amounting to high treason.

As an agony aunt, I receive letters from women who have discovered that their husbands have been having an affair. They almost always say that if it had just been a one-night stand, they could have forgiven it (we're all human).

But it's the length of the relationship and the betrayal involved they can't tolerate. As one woman put it: 'If he can lie straight to my face, day after day, for months, what else is he capable of?'

Again, it is not so much about the sex as the emotional attachment they care about: 'I don't think I can ever trust him again.'

Many women are terrified by their own responses. Would they ever be able to truly feel safe in the relationship again?

As a friend of mine said, after she had discovered her partner had been having an affair for years, not only did she feel like an idiot for not seeing it - and for trusting him completely - she was terrified that she would turn into a suspicious, jealous bitch (her word).
'I'd constantly want to punish him and I don't want to be that sort of person,' she said.
'I would end up not only hating him, but hating myself, too.'

At the same time, if a woman strays, it tends not to be for the lure of a pair of buff biceps and a six-pack, but because she is feeling ignored at home.

The letters I receive as an agony aunt from women secretly confessing to affairs are never about sex. They are, without exception, about their husband treating them like a piece of furniture.
'He doesn't even notice I exist,' is one complaint. The other (most common) is: 'He doesn't talk to me.'

So when the bloke in the office takes them out for a drink, hangs on their every word and treats them like the most fascinating creature that ever walked the earth, they fall hook, line and sinker. It is the talk that really matters. The sex usually comes later.

Talk, as far as women are concerned, is not cheap. Intimacy is about communication, whether it is verbal or physical and, if the letters I get from women are anything to go by, once verbal communication goes out of the window, sex goes out of the bedroom.

Women need to know they have a unique emotional connection with their partner: that is why they can't bear to have it shattered by another woman.

A friend of mine who is in the feverish honeymoon period of a new love affair, goes into freefall if a day goes by when she doesn't get a text from her boyfriend - no matter how great the sex they have is when they are together.

'I don't ask for much,' she complains. And she is right. It doesn't take much to keep us happy. Which is why some women are prepared to forgive a sexual betrayal - if only their husband still loves them and is willing to work for her forgiveness.

I have even known unusual couples who have an agreement (for whatever reason) that their partner - and that usually means the man - may have sex with other women.

It all works perfectly until their man becomes emotionally involved - because after that it's not actually the exchange of body fluids that matters to us (although we don't much like that, either) it is the exchange of affection.

Perhaps that is why Hillary famously forgave Bill 'I did not have sexual relations with that woman' Clinton - not because she didn't mind a spot of out-of-hours canoodling, but because it was obvious that her husband had no feelings for Monica Lewinsky other than lust.
'That woman' was never any threat to Hillary because she may just as well have been a blow-up sex doll. But what of the reasons for these differences between the sexes?

Why can women forgive sex whereas men can't? The thing is, like it or not, as far as evolution is concerned, we really are built differently.

Men are made to spread their seed as far and wide as possible to ensure the continuation of their genes, while female survival means securing a mate to protect her children.

When there are a few hundred predators stalking the landscape outside the cave, you had better be sure you have got a hunter-gatherer by your side.

What he does when he is out on one of his late night forays is his business, as long as he brings home the bacon. But when he stays out scattering nuts and berries outside another woman's cave, your very existence, as well as that of your children, is in serious danger.

For women, love is not simply a question of champagne and flowers. It serves as a bonding process to keep men by their side, so for them it's an urgent matter of survival.

There is a science to all this, too. Dr David Goldmeier, lead clinician at the Sexual Function Clinic at St Mary's hospital in London, says: 'It's easier for men. We have 15 times the levels of testosterone, so if we see the right female, we're off.'
Whereas women have, what he calls, 'responsive desire'.
In other words, women need to feel an emotional connection to the man in their life - and if they feel that connection has been broken because of another woman, they can struggle to ever forgive their man.

So when Yvonne Keating (or any other woman) says she is more devastated about her husband's emotional than sexual infidelity, she's got science - and evolution - on her side.

By Sally Brampton
Source: Mail Online

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"Tab Nabbing" - a new online scam

Watch out for this new online phishing scam which uses 'tab napping' to attack your computer - and your finances...

As internet users we’re all vulnerable to online scams. Unluckily for us, as soon as we become pretty good as spotting one type of attack, another more sophisticated version comes along in its place. In fact, technology company Mozilla - which developed the Firefox web browser - has recently warned against a possible threat from a new scam known as ‘tap napping’ which takes phishing one step further.

What is tab napping?

Tab napping is essentially a new kind of phishing scam. Until now phishing has involved sending hoax emails in an attempt to steal your usernames, passwords and bank details. Often the sender will claim to be from your bank and will ask you to verify your bank details by clicking on a link contained in the email.

The link actually directs you to a fake website which looks just like your bank's own website. Once you have typed in your login details they can be accessed by the criminals who set the fake site up.

But we’re beginning to wise up to phishing attacks like this, and many of us know we should be very wary of clicking URLs even if they appear to be in a legitimate email.

With awareness of phishing on the up, making it more difficult for scammers to succeed, tab napping could be the scam to watch out for next.

How does tab napping work?

Tab napping is more sophisticated than the phishing scams we’ve seen so far, and it no longer relies on persuading you to click on a dodgy link. Instead it targets internet users who open lots of tabs on their browser at the same time (for example, by pressing CTRL + T).

How does it work?

By replacing an inactive browser tab with a fake page set up specifically to obtain your personal data - without you even realising it has happened.

Believe it or not, fraudsters can actually detect when a tab has been left inactive for a while, and spy on your browser history to find out which websites you regularly visit, and therefore which pages to fake.

So don't assume that after you have opened a new tab and visited a web page, that web page will stay the same even if you don’t return to it for a time while you use other windows and tabs. Malicious code can replace the web page you opened with a fake version which looks virtually identical to the legitimate page you originally visited.

How might tab napping work in practice?

Imagine you open the login page for your online bank account, but then you open a new tab to visit another website for a few minutes, leaving the first tab unattended. When you return to your bank’s site the login page looks exactly how you left it. What you haven’t realised is that a fake page has taken its place, so when you type in your username and password, you have inadvertently given the fraudster easy access to your account.

Even if you have already logged into your bank account before opening another tab, when you return you might find you’re being asked to login again. This may not necessarily rouse any suspicion since you might simply assume your bank has logged you out because you left your account inactive for too long. You probably won’t even think twice before logging in for a second time. But this time round you have accidently inputted your security details into a fraudster’s fake page which have been sent back to their server.

Once you have done so, you can then be easily redirected to your bank’s genuine website since you never actually logged out in the first place, giving you the impression that all is well.

How can you protect yourself against tab napping?

This is pretty scary stuff but thankfully tab napping should be relatively easy to avoid. Here are five simple ways you can prevent yourself from falling victim:
• Make sure you always check the URL in the browser address page is correct before you enter any login details. A fake tabbed page will have a different URL to the website you think you’re using.
• Always check the URL has a secure https:// address even if you don’t have tabs open on the browser.
• If the URL looks suspicious in any way, close the tab and reopen it by entering the correct URL again.
• Avoid leaving tabs open which require you to type in secure login details. Don't open any tabs while doing online banking - open new windows instead (CTL + N).
• Finally, take a look at Online banking: How to stay safe to find out other ways to protect yourself from online scams.
By Jane Baker

Friday, June 4, 2010

Big Sister becomes Big Brother

Bluemoon Investigations evolved when its sister company, a financial institution, dealing exclusively with corporate clients, established an in-house team, to deal specifically with investigating the circumstances of defaulting clients.

Whilst some business had genuine cash-flow problems (we’re talking well before the current economic downturn and recession), others cited this as a reason, with no justifiable reason to do so. Perhaps comfortable in the knowledge that the expensive and protracted legal process of pursuing debtors through the courts, at the very least bought them time, and at best would result in the loan being written off by the creditor. Unfortunately some creditors, especially during the so called Celtic Tiger years, took the view that recovering the debt, was simply not worth the hassle or time, when they could be chasing new business. This approach compounded the problem for other creditors.

Therefore Bluemoons big sister became big brother and began to look into the financial position of not just the debtor in question but also the Directors who had provided personal guarantee’s. Armed with this knowledge the business could then prioritise the debtors it needed to vigorously pursue through legal channels.

There is no doubt that whilst more recently the economic conditions has led to an increase in defaulting debtors, it has also led to an increase in the number of debtors alluding to these circumstances as a convenient way to hold on to their cash. Bluemoon’s investigations led to some startling discoveries. In approximately 90% of cases where Directors metaphorically stuck up the two fingers, it transpired that their lifestyles did not match the poverty stricken tale of woe they pleaded. Quite often Mercedes and Jeeps littered the drives of their mansions and (requisite) holidays homes. It seems whilst these individuals are more than happy to enjoy the benefits of the boom, they now have trouble adjusting their living standards accordingly and expect their creditors to carry the can for their excesses.

Fortunately the Commercial Court is now becoming much less tolerant of this type of behaviour and it cannot be take for granted that assets previously protected such as family homes and pension plans, will continue to be afforded any protection. This is good news for Creditors.

Bluemoon Investigations now offers its services to Corporate clients, the legal profession and the general public, providing a wide range of investigative services. Annie Murphy of Bluemoon Investigations regularly engages in investigation into the backgrounds of debtors on behalf of Bluemoon’s clients. Annies advises that these “pre-sue status enquiries” are becoming increasingly popular as they provide creditors with invaluable information for a relatively modest cost. “Once the Creditor has been furnished with the facts they can make an informed decision on the action required”. Annie also welcomes the new hardline approach adopted by the courts “Creditors can be confident that when judgement is issued against the debtor and they know assets exist from which they can be repaid, the court will take these assets, if the debtor does not comply”. This sends a much needed clear message to debtors, which is long overdue”