The assistant director of the of the FBI's Criminal Cyber Response and Services Branch stated that “you are going to be hacked” and that you need to “have a plan”. This was in the second paragraph of an article recently posted on USA Today. The article was discussing the warning put out by federal officials that over 500 million financial records have been hacked in the past year. This includes the headline making attacks on Target, Home Depot, JPMorgan Chase, as well as many other financial institutions.
The statistics on the infringement of peoples financial identity
The FBI is aware that, in the past year, nearly 519 million records were stolen with 439 having been stolen in the past six months. According to the president of the Financial Services Roundtable the equivalent to about 50% of U.S adults have had their personal data exposed in some form in the past year. About 80% of the business hacked did not even know that they were hacked until they were told by customers, venders, or they became part of an investigation.
- 35% of the identity thefts were from website breaches
- 22% of the thefts were from cyberespionage
- 14% occurred at the point of sale when someone bought something at a retail store
- 9% occurred when customers swiped their credit or debit cards
The assistant director of the FBI's cyberdivision went on to say that “We're in a day when a person can commit about 15,000 bank robberies sitting in their basement”. The discussion was a push to get business to reach out the FBI and Secret Service for tips in helping to protecting their data and customers. Instead of business trying to keep the attack quiet and dealing with it internally, company officials need to contact government agents. The FBI said “No one is going to solve this problem on their own”.
To read the original article in it entirety click here
What can I do to help protect myself from identity theft
Every three seconds there is a new victim. Unfortunately as a consumer there is little that can be done to stop or prevent the kinds the cyber crimes reported in the article above. However there are some positive steps to take which will decrease your risk. Being aware and a little precaution go a long way in preventing identity theft.
- Review bank and credit card statements carefully. Be aware of billing cycles and contact companies right away when bills fail to show up.
- Don’t ever give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you initiated the contact.
- Keep virus and spyware software programs updated on your computer.
- When using public Wi-Fi, encrypt your connection by renting a VPN. Click here for more info on VPNs.
- Reduce the number of preapproved credit card offers you receive call: 888-5OPT-OUT
- Order and verify your credit reports. By law you can get them free yearly by clicking here annualcreditreport.com or calling (877) 322-8228
- Some states will allow you to “freeze” your credit. To find out how to do this please go to your state page for more information.
- Purchase additional eyes and ears to help keep you protected or help should you become a victim. Click here to read our review of Identity Guard.
It has become increasingly important for people to play an active role in protecting their identity. Between the almost daily breaches in the security of financial institutions, the growing number of social networking and blogging sites that can create public records of your personal information, and the increasing use of virus, spyware, and Wi-Fi sniffing software it is only a matter of time before you are going to be hacked.