Monday, March 19, 2007

Your Identity Is Worth $18 To Online Crooks

The most recent Internet threat report from computer security firm Symantec states that "the current Internet threat environment is characterized by an increase in data theft, data leakage, and the creation of targeted, malicious code for the purpose of stealing confidential information that can be used for financial gain". Symantec is the company that makes and sells the Norton Anti-Virus program.

The scariest finding is that complete identities, in the United States at least, including personal banking and credit card info, date of birth and government social security data, can be purchased for between US $14 - $18. Stolen identities are openly traded on Internet chat rooms.

Among the other findings:
  • There were more than 6 million distinct bot-infected computers worldwide during the second half of 2006, representing a 29 percent increase from the previous period. However, the number of command-and-control servers used to relay commands to these bots decreased by 25 percent, indicating that bot network owners are consolidating their networks and increasing the size of their existing networks
  • Trojans constituted 45 percent of the top 50 malicious code samples, representing a 23 percent increase over the first six months of 2006
  • Underground Economy Servers are being used by criminals and criminal organizations to sell stolen information, including government-issued identity numbers, credit cards, bank cards and personal identification numbers (PINs), user accounts, and e-mail address lists
  • For the first time, Symantec identified the countries with the highest amount of malicious activity originating from their networks. The United States had the highest proportion of overall malicious activity, with 31 percent.

More from the March 19th Ottawa Citizen front page article entitled You're worth $18 on identity market: Stolen banking, credit and personal information sells online for paltry sums.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:37 pm

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