Hack Attack

Data breaches across a range of industries continue to compromise companies’ cyber defense systems and data and the personal information of their customers. This week’s headline news that more than 75,000 computer systems at nearly 2,500 companies and government agencies around the world have been hacked over the last 18 months is a reminder of this growing exposure. Perhaps even more concerning, in a February 18 Wall Street Journal article security firm NetWitness says that the hacking operation is still running and it isn’t yet clear to what extent it has been contained. The attack comes just a month after reports that the computer networks at Google and around 30 other U.S. corporations had been compromised. Latest reports suggest those attacks have been traced to computers at two educational institutions in China. Javelin Research & Strategy’s recently released 2010 Identity Fraud Survey Report noted that personal identification most likely to be compromised in a data breach continues to be full name (63 percent) and physical address (37 percent). Health insurance information is increasingly being targeted (up 4 percent in 2009), while the percentage of social security numbers compromised decreased to 32 percent in 2009 from 38 percent in 2008. In that same report, Javelin said the number of identity fraud victims in the U.S. increased by 12 percent to 11.1 million adults in 2009. Total annual losses increased by 12.5 percent to $54 billion. However, the report also found that proactive measures by financial institutions, businesses and consumers are helping reduce costs. More than 5,000 U.S. consumers were interviewed for the survey. Check out I.I.I. info on ID theft.

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