Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Black Market For Stolen Data Is Thriving

Security firm Symantec Corp. reports a significant rise in the amount of data theft and data loss to the online black market. Dean Turner, director of Symantec's Global Intelligence Network, says, "If I had to guess, I'd say the losses could reach multimillions, if not billions, of dollars worldwide."

Steve Sakamoto-Wengel, the Maryland attorney general's consumer protection counsel for regulation, legislation and policy, agreed and said, "Remember the TJX Companies data breach last year? That was 47 million credit card numbers, maybe more, obtained by hackers just for those purposes."

"A lot of these chat rooms and Web sites are international, based in other countries," Sakamoto-Wengel said. "It's hard to track who is behind them."

Businesses need to continue to invest in digital security. Executives who say "it won't happen to me" or "who would want our information" are doing a disservice to their stakeholders.

Understanding where the "open doors" are and what vulnerabilities exist in your systems are the first steps in keeping malicious attackers at bay. Arms-length vulnerability assessments by certified security professionals should be a line item in every IT budget. Don't be penny wise and pound foolish!

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