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Five last articles
  • Building a Web Store on Shoestring Budget in less than Four Hours

  • Thursday, May 12, 2005
  • Effective Web Search with Google's "My Search History" Tool

  • Monday, April 25, 2005
  • Beware of Spyware

  • Thursday, April 7, 2005
  • How to Build a Business Website

  • Tuesday, March 22, 2005
  • Effective use of your online time

  • Saturday, March 5, 2005
    Your Daily Dose of .NET From India

    This is more like a Business Blog. Rusbiz.com is a B2B portal with features that cover a wide range of online business activities. As the CEO of Rusbiz.com, it is my obligation to be in touch with e-business related issues that concern Rusbiz members. I am planning to write about some of these topics over here. I hope that subjects that personally interest me will not go unattended either.
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    Be Aware of Phishing Scams! Sunday, June 20, 2004
    Be Aware of Phishing Scams

    If you use emails actively in your communication, you must have received various messages claiming to be from Ebay, Paypal and a number of banks. A recent email as if from U.S. Bank Corporation that I received contains the subject “U.S. Bank Fraud Verification Process” and in the body of the mail it says “We recently reviewed your account, and suspect that your U.S. Bank Internet Banking account may have been accessed by an unauthorized third party. Protecting the security of your account and of the U.S. Bank network is our primary concern. Therefore, as a preventative measure, we have temporarily limited access to sensitive account features. To restore your account access, please take the following steps to ensure that your account has not been compromised:”. It continues with a link to a webpage, which looks very similar to original web page of the bank.

    The misleading web site appears authentic with familiar graphics and logos. The wordings are professional right down to the legal disclaimer at the bottom of the page.

    If you happened to be holding an account of the claimed bank, followed the instructions of the email and input your account, pin, password, etc. you are doomed. You just have handed over access to your account to a con artist, who, in a matter of days, will drain off all the money available in that account.

    This new scam, which is proliferating in a very rapid pace, is called “Phishing”. Phishing is a form of identity theft, where a con artist with the help of official looking email containing link to phony web pages capable of harvesting information, tricks an unsuspecting victim into divulging sensitive personal data. Scammers use these data to bilk victims out of their savings.

    One of the most common phishing campaigns being waged has targeted users of Web auction giant eBay and its PayPal division with financial services giant Citibank serving as another popular target. However, recently, every major bank has been hit with this scam. Crooks send out huge amounts of emails with an expectation that some of these email address owners may have online access to their accounts at the bank.

    The term “Phishing” is a deviation of the word “Fishing”. In hackers’ lexicon, in many words, “F” becomes “Ph”. The term derives from the fact that scammers use sophisticated bait as they “fish” for users’ personal information.

    According to Gartner, a research firm, illegal access to checking accounts gained via phishing has become into the fastest growing type of consumer theft in the United States. Roughly 1.98 million people reported that their checking account was breached in one way or another during the last year and US$ 2.4 billion were defrauded from the victims!

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    Gartner also estimated that 57 million U.S. Internet users have received phishing emails and 3 percent of them may have fooled into revealing their personal sensitive information.

    The Anti-Phishing Working Group has also spotted a dramatic increase in reports of phishing attacks in recent months. Since November, 2003 phishing scams increase by about 110 percent each month. In April alone, the group identified 1125 unique phishing scams, a sharp lift of 178 percent from the previous month.

    MessageLabs, a company that watches phishing scams closely, has noted an even more dramatic increase in number of phishing emails. It claims to see phishing messages jump from just 279 in September, 2003 to a staggering 215,643 in March of 2004.

    The scammers also started to use more sophisticated technologies in recent months. The latest generation of phishing scammers uses several methods to trick users, including pop-up graphics to mast the true web URL of the phishing site and the installation of Spywares and Trojans on victim’s computer. The perpetrators also take advantage of security bugs in web browsers, in which the URL in the address bar appears to be for one site but is, in fact, a link to a totally different site.

    A new Windows worm under the name “Korgo” is able to infiltrate into victim’s system with a key logging Trojan, steal information that the victim input in web forms and secretly transmit to designated server. There are a number of variants of this worm and they are spreading rapidly. However, Microsoft in April came up with a patch to seal this glitch. Many computers without the patch are still vulnerable to this potentially dangerous worm.

    A U.S. Treasury report provides consumers with steps to prevent and report phishing scams:

    • Do not respond to or open any e-mail that warns that an account is about to be closed. Contact the company directly by phone and inquire of this e-mail.
    • Do not submit financial information unless there is a symbol for a locked padlock on the browser's status bar. Also look for the https:// at the beginning of the Web address. If both of these signs are absent, the Web site is not secure.
    • Always review your bank statement and credit card statements immediately upon receipt.
    • Verify the domestic telephone number listed on the Web site through directory assistance or other reliable sources and call the number. Many phishing attacks have originated outside the U.S. and don´t have a domestic number.
    • Report suspicious activity or if you have been defrauded to the FTC and the FBI.
    • Phishing e-mails can be forwarded to uce@ftc.gov. Complaints can be filed at www.ftc.gov. Phishing attacks can also be reported to the Internet Fraud Complaint Center at www.ifccfbi.gov.

    Other cautionary measures you should take in order to protect yourself are:

    • Since most of the phishing emails come through spam, get a spam filter and install on your computer.
    • If you suspect a phishing attempt, report immediately to the bank. Every bank web site has a link or a toll-free number to report scams. Don't be ashamed if you were tricked into divulging account information. If you report it immediately, your account will be protected until you receive a new PIN.
    • Change your password and PINs regularly. Banks advise that you use separate PINs and passwords for different accounts, that way if one gets compromised, your entire financial life won’t be revealed.
    • If you are a frequent user of EBay, download its Web browser toolbar, a small program that runs with a user's Web browser. It flashes red when the user visits a possible spoof site. The toolbar uses a database of spoof site URLs, submitted by customers and is updated quite often.
    • Check your computer frequently for possible Trojan virus.


    Why Suppliers should use B2B exchanges Saturday, June 5, 2004

    Why Suppliers should use B2B exchangesBusiness to business e-commerce is on the rise! Worldwide B2B e-commerce revenues are estimated to reach around US$ 2 trillion in 2004. This is a significant leap from last year’s US$ 1.4 trillion. However, according to a recent survey, although, more than 70% of companies have already used Internet as a purchasing channel, a mere ten percent of their overall spending is directed via the Internet! Contrary to popular believe, this means, B2B e-commerce has still large potential to grow.

    Internet has the capacity of changing the conventional way of doing business. Today, you can not only buy and sell your products and services on the Internet, you can, virtually, shift all your business processes to online solutions as well. If you take advantages of new Internet based technologies, the outcome would be tremendously beneficial to your business. How to do this without spending a fortune and not putting a huge pressure on scarce corporate resources? The possible answer could be B2B exchanges!

    A B2B exchange is an online marketplace, where buyers, sellers and intermediaries form communities, exchange views, offer products and services, and conduct business transactions.

    By becoming a member of a B2B exchange you can benefit in both cost-saving and revenue increase – two primary requirements of productivity increase.

    New sales channel

    By becoming a member of a B2B exchange, you open a low cost, highly functional and easy-to-use sales channel for your company. You expose your company to a new targeted audience that otherwise would have been untapped. Prospective customers can buy products and services from you, using various venues and features of the B2B exchange, where you are a member.

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    Marketplace: All B2B exchanges include a marketplace, where suppliers can post sales offer of their products and services. Buyers, looking for specific products, can easily find best suppliers that suit them from the marketplace. A populated marketplace can easily become a good sales channel for a supplier.

    Electronic catalog: As a member of the B2B exchange, you are allowed to add all your products or services to the consolidated online repository of the exchange. Adding your products to the repository helps to create online standardize electronic version of your product specification – if you don’t have that before – and use the same catalog with other electronic sales systems – even with other B2B exchanges using XML interface.

    You can publish sales offer of your entire catalog to the marketplace, eliminating a need for other web presence. You can add products or services to the repository one by one or you can use XML interface to upload your whole electronic catalog.

    Web Store: Some B2B exchanges allow you to convert or integrate your website to their exchange. This helps you to handle sales conveniently from your website and the marketplace of the exchange seamlessly. You can make a web store from scratch with the help of integrated website builder of the B2B exchange as well.

    Auctions: One of the great features of many B2B exchange is their auction systems. As we all know from the immense success of Ebay, auctioning is a great way of selling products online. Some exchanges boast reverse auction system, where suppliers bid for a deal posted by a buyer.

    As a supplier, you can participate in those tenders without any extra cost involved.

    Low customer acquisition cost

    Your mere presence in the B2B exchange might bring you new customers! Since the buyers come to the exchange themselves; your cost of getting customers through this channel is relatively low in comparison to other traditional channels. You can even increase your visibility by advertising in the key places of the exchange, where your prospective buyers frequently visit. Being highly targeted, these ads produce incredible results.

    Improve customer service

    Ability to have constant interaction through the B2B exchange allows you to serve your customers better. You can track the whole ordering process from payment to delivery and bring greater efficiency in customer service. The integrated functions of an exchange such as sales management, internal messaging service, lead management, etc. also help you managing customers service process effectively.

    Efficient information sharing method

    When needed, you can instantly update your catalog and inform customers about changes. Whether you are launching a new product or having a web seminar, through the B2B exchange you can share the information more efficiently. Some B2B Exchanges use sophisticated knowledge management systems to create, capture, reprocess and reutilize information intended for specific group of audience. These contents or information can be displayed on demand or in time to a member – when needed.

    Business processes management

    One of the primary objectives of using B2B exchanges for you should be their ability to handle, run and administer various business processes. These solutions assist you to streamline your business, reduce overhead costs and reduce documentary errors.

    Using technologies in a bid to streamline business processes like supply chain is nothing new. Companies have been using various solutions to support product development, customer service, procurement and other integral processes for many years. Before the Internet era, many companies have invested enormous amount of money in infrastructure building to automate supply chain process. Today, thanks to the Internet, even small companies have opportunity to use highly sophisticated supply chain solutions for a small cost. Many B2B exchanges, such as Rusbiz.com, allow small companies to use supply chain management solution for a small fee. The major benefits of using supply chain solutions include:

    1. Reduced sales time
    2. Better inventory control
    3. Lower overhead
    4. Reduced manufacturing cycle time
    5. Reduced cost of goods

    Business to business e-commerce is evolving very fast. The fact is, at one point, most of all business transactions will take place via the Internet. B2B exchanges are a way of building cost-effective e-business environment on the Internet, which is capable of producing concrete and quantifiable business benefits to the participants.

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