Interswitch Website Hacked; How to Secure Yourself Online

Editors Note: Contributor: Tech Mistress is not a so young ‘eccentric’, tech loving lady. She likes to share information in funny and witty ways, to inform but yet motivate. You can follow her on twitter - @AbiikeBlogger, and check out her blog - Mumuocrats.

Last week, magazine giant, Time announced its 100 most influential people with Nigeria’s president and a somewhat strange addition to the pack, Anonymous! The hacker gaining a lot of notoriety with its conquests.

Today at 10.25 am, the web sites of Interswitch, a Nigerian-based electronic transaction switching and payment processing company has been hacked by a group named TiGER-M@ate, allegedly from Bangladesh.Interswitch has stated that there’s no cause for alarm as customers’ card information are safe in the bank and not on its website.The Ugandan website was also defaced. This brings to mind what was done to the sesame street site which was replaced with porn.

Interswitch is a Nigerian success story led by a superb marketing team with foresight innovation and support . It has been at the forefront of the development and growth of the e payment sector in Nigeria and the leading processor for Mastercard.

Interswitch has a secure, reliable, and scalable platform for electronic transaction processing in a multi-institution, multi-functional, Online/Offline environment. Their systems accept transactions from a diverse range of delivery payment channels, intelligently switching them to a variety of external networks.

The company provides shared integrated message broker solutions for financial transactions ecommerce telecoms value added services, e billing payment collections and also administers Verve.

However, with news like this being heard everyday, how safe are you on the internet? There are different types of hackers, some are daring and just want to mess with you while others have the sole purpose of stealing your identity and in some cases, your money. We wait to see what will unfold as Interswitch tries to get control of its site.

Safety Tips

Find below safety tips for you on the internet to protect you,  your identity, your family and your hard earned cash.

Most of us worry about letting a card out of our sight for a short time but funny enough sometimes your physical card is not needed.

When you give your credit-card number or any sort of personal information to a Web site, you are taking a much more serious chance on identity theft.
If a site requires registration, fill in only the required fields. Look closely for at any checkboxes relating to sharing your information — depending on how they’re worded, you’ll need to check or uncheck the box to deny sharing permission.

If the registration isn’t part of an important ongoing business relationship, consider filling the required fields with, shall we say, truth-challenged data. In other words, LIE.

There is a lock symbol in your browser’s Status Bar and “https” in the Address Bar which will show that you’ve got a secure connection. MAKE SURE you look for it any time you’re about to engage in a financial transaction. The lock isn’t a guarantee of security, but its absence is a guarantee of NO security.

Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox 2 include built-in detection of fraudulent Web sites using a combination of blacklisting and web page analysis.

Upgrade your browser if you get an e-mail about a problem with your bank or other financial institution, NEVER click any links. Go directly to the bank’s Web site (or not) and research the problem there. If there is no problem, inform the bank about this fraud attempt.

But besides the Internet — worry about a colleague or neighbour-kid who sits down at your system and copies off your personal files.

Do not visit financial sites while you are in a cybercafé.

Use strong passwords, we are fond of using just one password for all our accounts and tend to use very easy to guess passwords,  be sure to lock the desktop when you step away from the computer.

Check with your credit card company online — they may offer an option to create one-shot credit card numbers. When you exercise this option to make a purchase online, the number received by the merchant will be valid for just that transaction or better still get a prepaid card which you will only fund when needed.

For additional help avoiding dangerous Web sites, consider installing one (or more) of the helpful site-safety add-ons.

Though these tips are not fool proof as hackers tend to always be a step ahead, it may help minimize the risks listed above.