Illegal Data Trade Sees Massive Growth
Almost 20 million pieces of personal data illegally traded in the first six months of 2012
The illegal data trade market is set to grow fourfold in just two years, figures released by Experian revealed today.
Almost 20 million pieces of personal information were illegally traded in the first six months of 2012, more than in the whole of 2011, when a little over 19 million records were bought and sold by fraudsters. Earlier this year, Experian reported 12 million pieces of data were illegally sold online between January and April of 2012, compared to 9.5 million over the same period of 2011.
Looking at current data, the black data market is set to grow fourfold compared to figures from 2010, Experian said, claiming the problem was partly caused by people’s carelessness with their online accounts.
Illegal data trade… with Steve
An experiment involving a test subject, Steve, proved Experian’s point. Given a laptop for a week to carry out certain simple challenges, like signing up for web services and social media sites, Steve showed how complacent he was, using the same password across various sites and failing to update his browser. He also failed to check where SSL was being used to encrypt his transactions.
Experian brought in an ethical hacker to see what they could do to Steve. The security consultant was able to steal Steve’s passwords, address, credit card number and phone number.
“It’s a wonderful life online, and it is now second nature to many of us. We’re more confident and more comfortable than ever – but that also means that, like Steve, we can be complacent,” said Peter Turner, managing director at Experian Consumer Services in the UK and
“Although fourteen per cent of Britons admit to being concerned about the risk of online ID theft, many more – 43 per cent – have no such worries.”
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