Sign up to our newsletter
You may have seen a headline about a huge identity theft ring being busted. http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSTRE57G4GC20090817
There are a lot of things people can do to be safer online, but in this case it wasn’t about your computer being hacked. Whenever you use a credit card or a debit card there is information that can potentially be stolen, and in this case that is what happened. The companies handing the credit card information were hacked. If yours was one of the stolen cards, you didn’t do anything wrong.
Doing things like using high quality antivirus software, a firewall, and using sound judgment as to where you surf the web can help reduce risk, but you cannot eliminate risk entirely. So do what you can, but realize that as long as other people have your data there will be some degree of risk.
Doing things like getting annual credit reports, which are free, is a great idea. It really is past time for legislators to require credit reporting agencies to provide real time access to credit records of ALL people whose data they hold.
The bust is a good sign. Law enforcement is coming around and international collaboration is on the rise, but there is still a long way to go.
Hopefully if these people are convicted the judge will be savvy enough to hand down a sentence that is significant and has at least some deterrent value, although it will take a lot more than one case to begin making a dent.
Director of Technical Education
Author ESET Research, ESET