Friday, September 2, 2011

Beware of Phishing while doing online transactions

There has been increasing incidences of phishing recently which targets the customers of leading banks throughout the world .

The modus operandi of the attacks, how they are perpetrated to get the personal credentials from unsuspecting customers and also how to avoid becoming victims to such attacks are given below .

Phishing Fraud

What is Phishing?

Phishing pronounced "fishing" is an act undertaken by fraudsters to gain your private and sensitive information through emails that appear to be sent by your Bank. Such fake emails encourage you to click on a link in the email which leads you to a fake website with a similar look and feel as that of the Bank's authentic website. It is designed so, to capture your personal confidential account information such as Customer ID, IPIN, Credit/Debit Card number, Card expiry date, CVV number, etc.

Customers’ email addresses are obtained/purchased by the fraudster through non-trusted sites where the customer would have revealed his email ID by means of casual browsing or shared it on chat rooms, blogs or mailing lists, etc.

How do the fraudsters operate?
  1. Fraudsters send spoofed emails, appearing to be sent by the customer's Bank, to large number of recipients with an urgent tone that calls for quick action to verify, update or reveal your confidential account information by clicking onto a link in the email .
  2. Once the recipient clicks on the link in the email, he is diverted to a fake website with a similar look and feel of the Bank's original website.
  3. The customer is presented a web form to divulge his confidential account information i.e. customer ID, IPIN, Credit / Debit Card numbers, Card expiry date and CVV number, etc.
  4. Once the unaware customer reveals his confidential account information on the fake website he may be directed to the authentic website of the Bank to suppress any suspicion arising in the customer's mind. This is how the customer’s identity is compromised .
  5. This customer confidential account information or identity credentials are then used by the fraudster to gain access to the customer's account to commit fraudulent transactions

How do you identify a fake / phishing email?
  1. The fraudster may use the customer's Bank's email address, domain name, logo, etc to give an authentic look to the fake email
  2. Do not rely on the name and source in the "From " field of the email address as it may be easily manipulated by the fraudster to a valid email account of Customer's Bank.
  3. Such fake emails will always address you by a generic salutation or address you by "Dear Customer" or "Dear Net Banking Customer" or "Dear xxx Bank Customer". "
  4. Very often, such fake emails are poorly drafted and may have spelling or grammatical mistakes.
  5. Such fake emails will always encourage you to click on to a link to verify or update your confidential account information.
  6. The links embedded in such fake emails may sometimes look authentic but when you move the cursor/pointer over the link, there may be an underlying link/url to a fake website.

Security Guidelines for safe online banking

    1. Keep your passwords confidential
    2. Avoid using simple passwords and use strong passwords
    3. Change the passwords periodically and whenever you feel that your password has been compromised or made known to anybody accidentally
    4. Destroy the password/pin mailer after changing the password/pin
    5. Use the virtual keyboard displayed on the login screen to enter passwords
    6. Avoid accessing online banking websites from cybercafés/shared networks
    7. Upgrade the Operating System (OS) of the computer system promptly as newer/upgraded versions would help make your system more secure.
    8. Use newer/upgraded versions of browsers as they are regularly updated to block and alert you from accessing the phishing sites
    9. Install Antivirus software on your computer systems and update them continuously as this will reduce the risk of virus attacks
    10. Installation of personal firewall would provide added level of security
    11. Any potential risk caused through pop up windows may be eliminated by removing spy ware or ad ware installed on your system by using spyware/adware removing tools.
    12. Avoid downloading from unknown/unfamiliar sources. They may contain Trojans/malicious programs or worms/viruses that may compromise your system security.
    13. Disconnect your internet connection when not in use. This would avoid unnecessary access to the information on your systems and help protect yourself even if you have a personal firewall installed in your system.
    14. Logout completely after using the online application, i.e., by clicking the logout button and closing the browser windows.

Top 10 healthy breakfast options

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so it’s essential that you make the most of it. But really it’s not that difficult to get a good deal of nutrition from your morning meal. We’ve put down 10 healthy breakfast options to help you prepare a nutritional feast that will keep you going all day.

Porridge and berries

Use oats and skimmed milk to make your porridge, then add any berries such as strawberries, raspberries or blueberries and honey. This is a great way to start the day as the oats have a low GI(Glycaemic Index) this tells us that oats do not raise the blood glucose level very quickly, which is good as it can help stabilize the appetite. Just go easy on the honey!

Beans on toast

Beans (whether they are just ordinary baked beans or kidney, borlotti or black eyed beans) also have a low GI like oats. They are full of soluble fiber, which helps keep you full for longer and can therefore help you manage your weight. Serve the beans on granary toast and pass on the butter; a great, low-fat breakfast.

Bagel with reduced fat cream cheese and smoked salmon

Bagels are high in starchy carbohydrates, which help kick start the body into action for the day after a fast of at least eight to 10 hours. The smoked salmon provides the body with omega-3 fatwhich is essential for the body. Many of us eat far too much saturated fat (which is bad for us) and not enough omega-3 fat that is vital for our health.

Fruit and yogurt
Try adding your favourite fruit to a small pot of low-fat or diet yogurt for breakfast. A small pot of yogurt counts as one of your three portions per day of dairy foodsessential for the teeth and bones.

Bacon, tomatoes, beans, mushrooms and toast

For those of you who can’t resist a cooked breakfast at the weekends try this. It really is a healthy twist on a traditional fried breakfast; grill the bacon, tomatoes and large, flat field mushrooms.

Crumpets and fruit spread

Crumpets are a starchy food (they should be the basis of every meal). The only problem with crumpets is the tendency to add lots of butter to them. Try a fruit spread, a great way to top them without adding all the calories and fat in butter.

Muesli and soya milk or low-fat milk (such as semi-skimmed or skimmed milk)

Swiss-style muesli has milk powder added to it, which increases the calcium content of this breakfast cereal. Add calcium-enriched soya milk or semi-skimmed milk and you have a bone-friendly breakfast!

Pure fruit juice and iron-fortified breakfast cereal

Next time you are in the cereal aisle at the supermarket, spare a few minutes to check out the labeling on the packets. Not all cereals are equal when it comes to the vitamins and minerals that are added to them. Iron is a mineral that is added to many cereals, try sultana bran or bran flakes, drink a glass of pure fruit juice such as orange or grapefruit and the vitamin C that the juice contains helps your body to absorb the iron more easily.


If you really can’t face breakfast try to have a smoothie instead. If you fancy trying to make one yourself (easy if you have a hand blender) then fruits such as berries, apples and bananas are great with some milk. All those antioxidant vitamins in the fruit help boost your immunity.

Scrambled or poached egg on granary toast

Eggs are not bad for us! It is what you do with them … Poaching or scrambling eggs with a little milk is a good way to incorporate them into your diet — they provide valuable protein. Scrambled eggs on toast is a much better choice over a fried egg sandwich.

Other Links:
Visit this site for Indian Breakfast Recipes:

Hindu Festivals-Part I.. Ganesh Chadurthi

All festivals in Hinduism are predominantly religious in character and significance. Many festivals are seasonal. Some celebrate harvest and birth of God or Heroes. Some are dedicated to important event in Mythology. Many are dedicated to Ganesh, Shiva & Parvati, Vishnu & Lakshmi and Brahma & Saraswati

Details of the important Hindu festivals are given here in different Parts.

In Part I of the series the details of Ganesh Chadurthi are given as below

Ganesh Chadurthi (Vinayagar chadurthi, Pillayar /chadurthi)'

Ganesha Chaturthi (Devanagari: गणेश चतुर्थी, Kannada: ಗನೆಶ ಚತುರ್ಥೀ), also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi is the Hindu festival of Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati, who is believed to bestow his presence on earth for all his devotees in the duration of this festival. It is the birthday of Ganesha who is widely worshipped as the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.
The festival is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the shuklachaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period). The date usually falls between 20 August and 15 September. The festival lasts for 10 days, ending on Anant Chaturdashi (fourteenth day of the waxing moon period).
While celebrated all over India, it is most elaborate in western and southern India. Outside India, it is celebrated widely in Nepal and by Hindus in the United States, Canada and Fiji.
File:Lalbaughcha raja.jpg

Two to three months prior to Ganesh Chaturthi, artistic clay models of Lord Ganesha are made for sale by specially skilled artisans. They are beautifully decorated & depict Lord Ganesh in various poses. The size of these statues may vary from 3/4 of an inch to over 25 feet.
Ganesh Chaturthi starts with the installation of these Ganesh statues in colorfully decorated homes and specially erected temporary structures mandapas (pandals) in every locality. The pandals are erected by the people or a specific society or locality or group by collecting monetary contributions. The mandapas are decorated specially for the festival, either by using decorative items like flower garlands, lights, etc. or are theme based decorations, which depict religious themes or current events.
The priest, usually clad in red silk dhoti and shawl, then symbolically invokes life into the statue by chanting mantras. This ritual is the Pranapratishhtha. After this the ritual called as Shhodashopachara (16 ways of paying tribute) follows. Coconut, jaggery, 21 modakas, 21 durva (trefoil) blades of grass and red flowers are offered. The statue is anointed with red unguent, typically made of Kumkum & Sandalwood paste . Throughout the ceremony, Vedic hymns from the Rig Veda, the Ganapati Atharva Shirsha Upanishad, and the Ganesha stotra from the Narada Purana are chanted.

For 10 days, from Bhadrapad Shudh Chaturthi to the Ananta Chaturdashi, Ganesha is worshipped. On the 11th day, the statue is taken through the streets in a procession accompanied with dancing, singing, and fanfare to be immersed in a river or the sea symbolizing a ritual see-off of the Lord in his journey towards his abode in Kailash while taking away with him the misfortunes of his devotees, this is the ritual known as Ganesh Visarjan. At individual homes the Visarjan is also done on 3rd, 5th or 7th day as per the family tradition. All join in this final procession shouting "Ganapati Bappa Morya, Pudhachya Varshi Laukar ya" (O lord Ganesha, come again early next year). After the final offering of coconuts, flowers and camphor is made, people carry the idols to the river to immerse it.
The main sweet dish during the festival is the modak (modagam or modakam in South India). A modak is a dumpling made from rice flour/wheat flour with a stuffing of fresh or dry-grated coconut, jaggery, dry fruits and some other condiments. It is either steam-cooked or fried. Another popular sweet dish is the karanji (karjikaiinKannada) which is similar to the modak in composition and taste but has a semicircular shape.
Public celebrations of the festival are hugely popular, with local communities (mandalas) vying with each other to put up the biggest statue & the best pandal. The festival is also the time for cultural activities like singing and theater performances, orchestra and community activities like free medical checkup, blood donation camps, charity for the poor, etc.
Today, the Ganesh Festival is not only a popular festival, it has become a very critical and important economic activity for Maharashtra. Many artists, industries, and businesses survive on this mega-event. Ganesh Festival also provides a stage for budding artists to present their art to the public. The same holds true for Hyderabad and Chennai too. In Maharashtra, not only Hindus but many other religions also participate in the celibration of Ganesha festival like Muslims, Jains, Christian and others. This festival has managed to re-establish the unity among the Indians during British Era.

                                                        WORSHIP OF GANESH

                                                Immersion of Ganesh Idols