Experian Report: Soaring Password Thefts
Hackers and Cybercriminals are trading stolen information at an astonishing pace this year. Swapping and selling of personal information has soared 300% alone in the first four months of 2012. Many security companies predicted that we would see skyrocketing figures of Cybercriminal attacks using malware or hacking network systems and they are being proved correct.
Experian, an expert in credit evaluations and market research reported these alarming facts and figures. They concluded that “12 million pieces of personal information were illegally sold during the four-month period, 90% of which consisted of login details and passwords. The figures dwarf the credit agency’s data for last year, which totaled 9.5 million.”
“The reason password and login combinations make up nine out of ten illegally traded pieces of data is because they give access to a huge amount of other valuable information, such as address books and related accounts,” said Peter Turner, managing director at Experian Consumer Services in the UK and Ireland.
IT departments have been put on alert and are scrambling to update security infrastructures for their network environments. Companies and organizations are getting smarter and investing more resources into understanding and combatting the reality of security breaches that have the potential to bring them down.
Now, is the time for the individual consumer to also get on the bandwagon and become aware of the urgency of using unique passwords and logins. In fact, there is now unique password generating software available for purchase, which can be a good solution for many users.
Recently, we have witnessed large enterprise companies, such as, Yahoo.com and LinkedIn, being hacked with the resulting unauthorized disclosure of user account passwords being published. It goes to show you that even large companies are not completely immune to such breaches and that everyone should be aware of and invest in their IT security infrastructure.
Most users choose a single password for their online accounts. This is a very dangerous and insecure practice. Although users should make sure that they have different passwords with most of their online accounts, the real problem remains that it is the business that must protect the consumer. Businesses are frequently the targets of cybercriminals who obtain highly sensitive information from the business, resulting in bigger “paydays” for the cybercriminals.
Consult with your IT service provider about securing your IT environment and educating usersof the need to become aware of their responsibilities when it comes to security. Let’s hope business will do the same and protect us – the average consumers as well!