Monday, May 21, 2007

Advisory for travelers; MySpace under fire again

Multiple media reports have recently warned that travelers should be wary of logging on to personal financial, banking, or especially securities trading websites from hotel computers or computers in public places, which may have sometimes been bugged by thieves. Administrators of 401K and similar plans for federal employees and military servicemember have warned that money lost to thieves from web activity may not be recovered, as security for an account is the "strict liability" responsibility for the site owner.

People should make a habit of checking financial sites frequently, and, when on the road and not in a secure location, calling 800 numbers rather than using websites to check balances. This might be an issue for people whose jobs require them to travel frequently. Likewise, frequent travelers should consider subscribing to secure wireless services rather than using free unsecured wireless often available in motels.

In other developments, is cooperating with authorities to close down profiles of persons convicted of certain offense, although they are not yet able to identify sites registered with pseudonyms. In the future, it might even be possible that sites of suspects (as well as convicted offenders) or persons in certain civil situations could have sites pulled (as with a recent law in Ohio). The Associated Press story May 21 2007 by Margaret Lillard is here.

For a particularly troubling incident involving a misidentification by Myspace over a name similarity, see this story on ABC News May 24 by David Schoetz.

Update: May 22

There is a related story about McAfee SiteAvisor (and Plus) on my content labeling blog, here.