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One Step Ahead: Almanac Security Tips - 2014

In each issue, Penn's Journal of Record, The Almanac publishes helpful tips and hints for dealing with information security and privacy matters. This page is a collection of all those published thus far.
New! You can now receive new One-Step-Ahead Security and Privacy Tips automatically!
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Table of Contents (view all)

Heartbleed OpenSSL Vulnerability
Security and Privacy Tips for World Travelers
Filing Taxes Online This Year? Take Steps to Protect Your Information!
If your computer runs Windows XP, you must update it now!
Why Should You Report Security Incidents? And How Do You Report One?
Photo and Video Privacy Issues
The Password is Dead, Long Live the Password!
Data Privacy Month: NSA Surveillance Panel at the National Constitution Center
Protecting Your Finances During This Year’s Holiday Shopping Season
Beware of Phishing E-mails in the Wake of Typhoon Haiyan
No E-mail from Penn Will Ask For Your Username/Password or SSN
The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act: Does It Apply to Your Website?
October: National Cyber Security Awareness Month; Free Secure Disposal of Paper and Electronics
What Basic Rules Protect Student Information at Penn? (September 2013)
Protecting Privacy and Security on Penn + Box

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Tagged with privacy , phishing , spam

Tuesday, October 16, 2007 - Almanac Vol. 54, No. 8

“Phishing” and “Domain Tasting”

“Phishing” has been the subject of previous “One Step Ahead” articles, but “phishers,” like “spammers,” are continually coming up with new wrinkles in their ongoing efforts to separate you from your confidential, personal information—and your money—so it’s worthwhile to keep up to date on the latest trends.

“Phishing” in its basic form arrives as an e-mail message purporting to be from a reputable online business or financial institution. The message instructs you to click on a link to a website where you will be asked to enter information about yourself and your account in order to fix a “problem.” The website is phony, of course, and is intended to harvest this personal information for purposes of identity theft and other crimes.

A recent report by the Anti-Phishing Working Group ( investigated the relationship between “phishing” and the practice known as “domain tasting.” Domain tasters are domain registration companies that register large numbers of names (such as “”, “”, “”), sample the amount of traffic to those names, and use the 5-day “grace period” to cancel registrations that seem unattractive. Many of these “tasted” domain names are intentional common misspellings of widely known names, e.g., “” instead of “,”and it has been suspected that “phishers” have been exploiting this type of activity to make their phony websites appear more genuine.

The report concluded that those who engage in domain tasting do not necessarily engage in “phishing,” and vice versa, but noted that the sheer number of names being registered by domain tasters is making it more difficult for anti-phishing groups to keep track of genuine “phishing” domains. For those of us who use e-mail and web browsers, however, the basic lesson here is: pay close attention to each URL you visit - if it’s looks “phishy” due to incorrect spelling or otherwise, chances are it is.


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