In 2009, there were a reported 140 million records compromised, compared to 360 million in 2008. In 2010 there have been almost 13 million records stolen. But don’t have a party just yet. Criminals are fine-tuning their craft and getting better. The industry just isn’t making it as easy. 97% of those records were stolen using malware – malicious software designed to attack the target’s existing systems and software in place.
A reported 50% of the malware was installed remotely. Almost 20% came from visiting infected websites and almost 10% was installed when employees clicked infected links that conned or “socially engineered” them.
A recent Verizon report stated, “Over the last two years, custom-created code was more prevalent and far more damaging than lesser forms of customization, the attackers seem to be improving in all areas: getting it on the system, making it do what they want, remaining undetected, continually adapting and evolving, and scoring big for all the above.”
This may be also attributed to an inside job. A rogue employee on the inside always has the advantage of knowing exactly how to remain undetected.
The report further stated that organized crime rings may “recruit, or even place, insiders in a position to embezzle or skim monetary assets and data, usually in return for some cut of the score, the smaller end of these schemes often target cashiers at retail and hospitality establishments while the upper end are more prone to involve bank employees and the like.”
In the past three years that’s a total of 513 million records. On average, every citizen has had his or her data compromised almost twice. Where’s your Social Security number in that mix?
To ensure peace of mind, subscribe to an identity theft protection service, such as McAfee Identity Protection, which offers proactive identity surveillance, lost wallet protection, and alerts when suspicious activity is detected on your accounts. For additional tips, please visit http://www.counteridentitytheft.com
Robert Siciliano is a McAfee consultant and identity theft expert. See him discuss another data breach on Fox News. (Disclosures)