In 2021, 5.7 million fraud reports were received by FTC and Identity Theft was the top fraud category followed by Imposter Scams. In an alarming survey, it has been reported that Americans incurred a loss of $5.8 billion from identity theft in 2021. (Source: https://identitytheft.org/statistics/)
What is Identity Theft & Why has It Emerged as A Big Threat?
Identity Theft or more popularly known as ID Theft is when someone steals the identity of victim and uses it to commit a fraud. This is very commonly linked with financial frauds such as taking credit or loans while there might be other reasons as well. Threat actors may also use stolen identity to hamper victim’s reputation.
There are many types of Identity Thefts:
- Financial Identity Theft is the most common type of identity theft where threat actors use victim’s identity or financial information to buy products or take credit.
- Social Security Theft is when threat actors get access to victim’s Social Security Number and use this information to apply for loans or receive benefits such as disability, free medical care, etc.
- Synthetic Identity Theft is an advanced type of identity theft where the fraudsters combine information from stolen identity with fake information to build a new identity. This identity is then used to commit crimes such as money laundering.
Some other reasons for identity theft include filing fake tax returns, avoiding criminal conviction, etc.
Although identity theft has been a problem since long, but the threat has escalated many folds in recent times. There are many reasons that contribute to the increase in the number of identity theft cases.
- Rise in Cyber Attacks: In earlier days, identity theft was made possible by stealing wallet, credit cards, or physical documents. But with increasing use of internet and digital resources, identity thieves now employ cyber attack techniques to gain access to personal & financial information of the victim. Phishing is one of the most commonly used methods where fraudsters send an email or message to the victim, posing to be a bank or tax official. The email or message is personalized to motivate the victim to click on the malicious link contained in the message. The link then navigates the victim to a spoof website where the victim is asked to provide personal and financial details. These details are sent to the threat actors. The ease of stealing the credentials has contributed to the rise in number of identity theft cases.
- Social Media: Social media has become an alter-universe as more than 4.48 billion people use social media around the globe. It has become an inherent habit for users to share photos and videos from their daily life on social media. While this helps in staying connected with your friends & family, over sharing on social media has become a problem. The fraudsters track and analyze the social media posts of their victim to draw a daily activity map. Social media tags also let the fraudsters know about the victim’s friends, family, place of work, etc. This makes it very handy for them to build a fake identity of the victim and use it.
- Saving Financial Information Online: Online shopping has become the new normal! While it is easy, it also adds to the threat of identity theft. It is common for users to save their credit card details, address, & personal information online to avoid the hassle of filling in the details every time. However, in case the server of online store is hacked, it can lead to the theft of these details.
For businesses, it is important to safeguard their customer and vendor information to prevent financial repercussions in case of data theft.
To know more about identity thefts and how to protect your business from cyberattacks, you can contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 - 4740, Dallas (972) 375 - 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 - 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454.
18. November 2019 15:24
Companies accumulate large amount of data every year. The data may include important information like trade secrets, customer information, client database, product/service information, marketing strategies, etc. It is important for the companies to keep this data secured to prevent financial, trade and reputation loss. However, an increasing rate of data breach incidents indicate that most companies fail to secure their data.
Here are some common mistakes that the enterprises make leading to loss of data:
- Lack of Security Testing: New security features are launched at regular intervals. While it is recommended that businesses should update their security features with newer versions; the switch should be made after proper testing. The companies make the mistake of skipping the beta phase of testing (a testing phase where vulnerabilities of a new security feature are detected and rectified by the technical team of organization). Implementing any new security feature without thorough testing puts the business data at the risk because hackers get the chance to exploit the vulnerabilities and launch a data breach.
- Forgetting To Map Data: Data movement is an essential component for managing the operations of any business. As the use of online resources is increasing, data movement forms the basis of marketing/ sales strategies, collaborative meeting of on-shore & off-shore employees, process handling between different teams, etc. As the data is regularly moving, it becomes important to keep a track of it. Mapping data is the process of marking the origin, journey and destination of data flow. It also involves keeping a track of every person who interacts with the data, and the changes made to it. This helps the data monitoring team to detect data handling patterns and recognize unexpected interactions at an early stage. However, companies usually commit the mistake of neglecting this important process.
- Relying Solely On Anti-Virus: Although it is important to install anti-virus software into the computer systems of the organization to detect the malware; it should not be treated as the backbone of the cybersecurity strategies of the organization. Businesses make the mistake of relying solely on anti-virus software instead of installing other security measures that can detect and flag potentially malicious incoming data before it enters the network.
- Using Outdated Versions Of Security Networks: When considering security networks, companies have to pay attention to three aspects namely security software, security hardware and internal network of company’s systems. Companies often update one or two of these aspects which leaves them at the risk of improper integration of security networks. The outdated versions lead to vulnerabilities in the system which can be exploited by hackers.
It is advisable for the businesses to focus on proper cybersecurity strategies to prevent data breach instances.
For more information about ways to secure data, call Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.
With the increasing use of technology, there has been a rise in problems such as cyberbullying. Cyberbullying also known as cyber-harassment & online bullying, is the display of inappropriate behavior or influence in written, verbal or physical form with an intent to intimidate, threaten, harass & embarrass someone over internet.
Cyberbullying is usually common between teens, however adults are equally vulnerable to it. Following are the most common forms of cyberbullying:
- Outing: It is a deliberate act to embarrass or harass someone publically by posting his confidential & private information online without his consent. Revelation of personal information by someone can have a major impact on the victim.
- Fraping: In this form of cyberbullying, your social media account is hacked by someone. They log into your account and post inappropriate content by impersonating you. Posing as someone and posting unsuitable content online can have a serious impact as it ruins the reputation of the victim.
- Dissing: It is the act of posting or sending information about a person with an intent to criticize him, damage his reputation, hamper his relationships, etc. It can be done by posting personal pictures & videos or sharing certain screenshots to put the other person down. Dissing is usually done by a victim’s friend or acquaintance.
- Trolling: It is a deliberate act of insulting someone on social media & other online platforms. A troll usually posts unwanted comments & material to incite the victim for a response. Trolling attacks are usually personal and are carried to instigate anger among the victims in order to make them lash out & behave improperly.
- Trickery: Cyberbully often pretends to be the victim’s confidant by giving him a false sense of security. They gain the victim’s trust to an extent that the victim reveals his secrets & private information to them. They trick the victim and gather sensitive information about them which is then posted on social platforms to embarrass him publically or is either sent to a third party.
- Cyberstalking: It can have serious effect on a person’s emotional, mental & physical well-being. Stalkers make use of the internet or electronic media to gather information for the purpose of harassing an individual or group.
- Catfishing: A catfish is a person who wants to hide his identity. They usually steal the victim’s information available online such as photos to create a fake profile. This could be used for deceptive purposes where the impersonator might post rude or hurtful comments, indulge in sexual and racist activities, chat with other people while posing as the victim, etc.
It is important to know about different forms of cyberbullying in order to avoid falling prey to them.
For more information, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 - 9654.