4 breach trends to beware of

Published: April 26, 2011 by ofonseca

As the doors closed on 2010, the windows opened for new data breach trends in 2011.  According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, there were 54 banking-related data breaches in 2010, down from the 62 breaches reported in 2009 but nevertheless accounting for 4,853,708 exposed records.  Most breaches were related to insider theft, cyberattacks, and card skimming stacks; other top breaches related to missing paper documents, stolen or missing hardware and accidental breaches.

So far, 2011 has brought us five banking related breaches, with 3600 exposed records, and a new raft of trends in data breaches.  How to protect your business from being victimized?  Chief Security Officers reports the following as the top data breach trends to be keenly aware of:

  1. Crime Rings – Personal identity theft is going beyond the local into the global, with well-organized teams of crooks working in tandem to steal personal information and use it for illicit means, including drug and human trafficking.  For example, a 2008 global phishing operation entailing at least 38 scammers encompassed the U.S., Canada, Portugal, Pakistan and Romania, targeted thousands of consumers and hundreds of financial institutions with spam messages that lured victims to seemingly legit websites; the thieves reeled in millions of dollars before finally getting caught.  Experts believe that these sorts of sophisticated operations are on the rise, so while the FBI is actively working to thwart international organized crime, businesses should be their own best breach protectors.
  2. Corporate Account Takeover – Thieves realize that the big loot is not just in the coffers of large businesses, but also non-profits, municipalities and government agencies.  A Fraud Advisory for Business report detailed how employees can easily be tricked into letting fraudsters quickly empty company accounts.
  3. Socially Engineered Scams – No matter how many firewalls you have, social engineering scams play on human behavior to walk right through the front door.  Expect new forms of phishing, vishing, and smishing to try to steal money from your business, including fake live chat agents, sometimes even linked to fake antivirus software.  Educating employees about common and emerging tactics is key to your company’s protection.
  4. Cybertheft  – Newer technology such as Bluetooth and card skimmers that are attached to point of sale devices, ATMs and network servers are fresh avenues for hacking and cybercrime.  Skimming at point of sale devices, in particular, is becoming increasingly troublesome, and some experts believe that the US is at a “tipping point” with the magnitude of this scam.

Fraudsters are always searching for new and improved ways to pulls off scams.  The only surefire way to fortify your business is by keeping up with emerging security weaknesses and turning to experts for protection.