Why are we allowing this to happen?

A few weeks ago I was instructed to look into a phishing website that was stealing personal information and credit card information of suspected customers.  You think you are ordering something and expect to have it delivered in a few days but what really happened was, there are no products being delivered and your credit card and personal information have just been stolen!  Most likely for creating new accounts under your name.    I have investigated many phishing and fake websites before but this one caught my eye because it was perfect, I mean it was one of the best phishing websites I have ever seen.

I provide technology consulting services for a company which manufactures holiday and seasonal products.  The customer demographics are primarily women between the age of 32 and 65.   Some of the products manufactured are actually collector items and can be resold for thousands of dollars.   So when I started investigating this phishing website, the products that were shown which people could purchase, were 50% off and highly collectible.  Not to mention the graphics and layout of the website looked extremely professional.  Even had an SSL Certificate.  Cheese for a hungry mouse!

So what do you do in a case like this?  File a DMCA? Report it to the FBI and FTC?
Because the website was using the manufactures logo and images which they clearly did not have the authorization to do,  I filed a DMCA copyright violation with Godaddy.  However, after many attempts with emails and phone calls, I never received a reply email nor could I even open a ticket with them to have someone call me back.

As for the FBI and the FTC, they are just as bad.  I submitted many requests about this website and never heard back, knowing every day they are stealing hundreds of identities and credit card numbers.  Guess they have bigger things to investigate.

Go after the hosting company some said?
My next approach was to contact the hosting company because one would think if you notified the right person or company about this fraud they would turn it off ASAP.  Not even close!!   The hosting company sits behind a company called CloudFlare.com, and CloudFlare.com is a  proxy / caching services for websites.  I  contacted CloudFlare.com to inform them that this website engaging and conducting online fraud using their services.  Cloud Flares response, “Sorry, but we do not police the content of our customers.  Please contacting the hosting provider to have them turned off. ”  The email they provided for the hosting provider was 123TakefromMe@hotmail.com.    Needless to say, they did not return my email.
The real problem is, as soon as I get the website turned off, it’s back up under a different domain name and hosting provider usually within an hour.

So how do you get a fake phishing website turned off?
Well, you would think that CloudFlare,  a company located in the U.S, would help protect people with identity and credit card fraud, but think again.   This company and CEO Matthew Prince know exactly what is going on, and they will not do a thing about it.   They really don’t care because they are making millions from sites like this.  Why would they want to turn away any customers?  Even if the customer is from North Korea, which is where this phishing website originates from and is where your stolen identity is going.  I am pretty sure there are hundreds if not thousands of these websites being hosted at CloudFlare and at another proxy/ caching service companies.

So, in the end, there is not much you can do to stop a fake phishing website like this.  The best thing for my customer to do was to put up a social media post notifying all of their customers/collectors not to purchase from this website. 

Companies like Cloud Flare that allow these fake phishing websites are just pushing people to sites like Amazon and Walmart.   Eventually, these large enterprise websites will be the only place where people feel safe to purchase from.    But in the end, we are just doing it to ourselves.  It is only a matter of time before cybersecurity is a ticket for a presidential hopeful. 

My Awakening.

With a 15-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter, I am smack dab in the middle of trying to figure out how to raise two kids in a world of technology.   I was amazed the other day when I logged into my router and noticed there were 47 wireless devices connected.  At first, I thought a few of my neighbors and their friends had connected into our router, but after looking at each device, I realized just how electronically connected my family was.  From TV’s and phones to tablets, watches and a few desktop computers, it hit me hard. If there was ever an awaking, this was mine.   I shall call this

          “My Awakening”.

Now I am no doctor nor a parental physiologist, but I do know from experience that these electronic devices have shaped me and my kids into something I am concerned with. I want my kids to be educated with electronic devices but I do not want them to become desensitized from reality. I want my kids to be a part of this electronic revolution, I just don’t want to see them die from it. Having a wife who works at Sony and specifically on the Sony PlayStation, I know it is not going away nor is it going to get any easier. But I do know I can do something about it and thus, I am.

My Awakening is to help parents find the rights tools to assist them in bringing up their teenage kids in a world of technology.   Yes, I found some great apps that limit the amount of time on an electronic device, however, some would call this bad parenting and in some ways, I agree.  There are many books to read about technology parenting and I will continue to post these on my blog.   Thanks to my good friend Rob, I am currently reading Queen Bees and Wannabes for my daughter, and Masterminds & Wingmen for my son.  Both books are written by Rosalind Wiseman and so far have really struck home.

Over the next several months I will be posting what I have learned from counselors and friends and the research I have done on my own.  My goal here is to really share the knowledge I am about to find.  However, I think my ultimate goal is to eventually start a new business that does just what I am looking for:   Providing the right tools to assist parents in bringing up their teenage kids in a world of technology.

So for now, I am going to kick off my awakening by re-sharing these two pages of house rules (shown below) on my refrigerator door and wait for my kid’s response and feedback, which is going to be awesome I assure you.   In the meantime, please start by reading this page called Cognitive Development in Adolescence from the University of Rochester Medical Center.    Cognitive development means the growth of a child’s ability to think and reason.    You first have to understand your child’s ability to “think and reason” before you can help a child.

Stay tuned.