Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Spyware Researchers Discover ID Theft Ring

Spyware Researchers Discover ID Theft Ring This story covers the already known problems with CoolWebSearch application, but offers comments expressing surprise at how extensive the spyware problem is on users PC's. When issues are so clearly identified by security researchers, it is inexcusable that PC makers and operating systems don't routinely block this threat and protect systems.

It's incredible that all PC manufacturers are not being sued constantly by victims of identity theft as they should be able to protect consumers from known threats, such as CoolWebSearch and similar types of spyware and malware. This is exactly why ecommerce numbers have dropped, instead of increasing for the first time in years. Buyers are becoming wary of online threats.

As they should.

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posted by RealitySEO at 4:15 PM 1 comments

Saturday, September 17, 2005

RFID chips track dead Katrina victims

RFID chips used to track dead after Katrina

Wow, what a concept. If you can't gain enough business among the living, Use RFID to track the dead! And hey! What about those prisoners while we're at it? The use of Verichip implantable RFID tags for tracking should be limited to pets and not used to monitor humans. Although . . . maybe it makes sense for the dead in disaster situations. Hmmm.

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posted by RealitySEO at 6:40 PM 0 comments

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

ID Theft Threat In Katrina's Wake

This story on a Texas television news site illustrates how identity theft is very strongly in the American public eye at the moment. Identity theft has always been a similar threat when personal belongings are strewn widely and land who knows where following hurricanes and floods. But because ID theft is fully in our awareness now, due to extensive data breaches and hacking incidents, the issue of privacy and financial security is tied to the latest disaster. It's not to be taken lightly, but it is interesting to see items like this in the news that have not been tied to disasters before.

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posted by RealitySEO at 3:36 PM 0 comments

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Identity theft ? AKA ID theft, identity fraud and ID fraud

Identity Theft is mushrooming, and according to the following article by Hamish Hayward, up to 25% of the population has been affected by some form of disruptive personal financial difficulty due to this dramatically growing issue. The methods of access by thieves is the most interesting among the many statistics mentioned here. Read on.

Identity theft ? also known as ID theft, identity fraud and ID fraud ? describes a type of fraud where a criminal adopts someone else?s identity in order to profit illegally. It is one of the fastest growing forms of fraud in many developed countries.

In the UK identity theft is increasing at the rate of 500% each year and, according to Which Magazine, 25% of the population have either suffered from identity theft or know someone who has.

In the USA, a report issued by the Better Business Bureau revealed that, in 2004, over 9 million Americans became victims of identity theft with the total sum defrauded being $52.6 billion.

With figures like this, it?s no surprise that there is a certain amount of concern regarding computer and internet security. After all, the internet is basically a mechanism for exchanging information and the possibility that some of the information exchanged may be more than intended is never far from many internet user?s minds.

It?s easy to imagine criminal masterminds worldwide using the internet to hack into computers in order to gain access to information with which to advance their devilishly cunning schemes. However, as revealed in the report, the facts of the matter are a little more down to earth and the internet, far from making you more at risk to identity theft, can help to significantly cut your losses if you do fall victim this form of fraud.

According to the Better Business Bureau?s research the main methods by which criminals gain access to information used for identity theft fraud are as below:

Lost or stolen wallet, chequebook or credit card. 28.8%

Accessed as part of a transaction. 12.9%*

Accessed by friend, acquaintance or relative. 11.4%

Don't know, refused, no answer. 11.1%

Information accessed by corrupt employee. 8.7%

Stolen paper mail or fraudulent change of address. 8.0%

Obtained some other way. 7.4%

Computer spyware. 5.2%

Information stolen from garbage. 2.6%

Computer viruses and/or hackers. 2.2%

Emails sent by criminals posing as legitimate business. 1.7%

* 12.9% due to transactions ? 10.4% offline transactions, 2.5% online transactions.

In total, when the instances where information was accessed during transactions are subdivided into online and offline transactions, only 11.6% of the information used to carry out identity theft fraud was obtained from computers.

Of this more than half was obtained by the use of spyware, viruses or hacking ? the risk of which can be greatly reduced by installing the appropriate protection software and ensuring that this is kept up to date.

Not only did the survey reveal that the internet was not a major source of illegally obtained personal information, but it was also found that those fraud victims who checked their financial records using the internet, ATM machines or other electronic methods suffered financial losses which were, on average, 8 times lower than those of victims who used traditional paper statements to monitor their accounts. This very significant reduction was attributed to the rapid discovery of the fraud due to ?real time? monitoring.

Of course, that?s not to say that you shouldn?t exercise caution when using the internet or take care to protect the personal information which you may have stored on your PC. However, as long as you install suitable virus, firewall and spyware protection, and keep this continually updated the internet can should be more of a help than a hindrance when it comes to avoiding identity fraud.

About The Author: Hamish Hayward - Don't become a victim of ID theft. Get the facts.

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posted by RealitySEO at 10:22 AM 1 comments