Criminals Wish-lists Mar Christmas Fun

The holiday season brings with it the joy of exchanging gifts and sharing joyous moments. But some try to exploit the auspicious occasion for personal gains. Every year during this time millions of Americans become victims of online theft, as crooks take exploit the shopping spree by copying down or stealing credit card numbers.

Security experts point out this time again Criminals are making wish-lists of financial information to sell them to other criminals. According to Raimund Genes, CTO of anti-virus company Trend Micro, there is an increase in the number of lists containing credit card numbers and their PINs.

Genes cited FBI statistics that estimate a financial loss of $62 billion to businesses in the U.S. from spyware and other computer crimes in 2005. As more and more threats are being created with objectives of financial gain, the attacking methods are becoming more and more sophisticated.

The online booking process is one of the major reasons of financial loss. With its blatant holes, both businesses and consumers are at risk. Often when a consumer submits the credit card details on any website, it effectively allows others to see them. This increases the chance of hacking the person's credit card information.

The present day criminals take advantage of the uninterrupted broadband connection by downloading updates to remain ahead of anti-virus programs. Then they surreptitiously pass on someone else's personal information to third parties.

Stealing bank account or credit card numbers and passwords through phishing and keylogging are the most common cyber crime activities. After gathering the information the miscreants sell them on. The buying and selling of stolen personal information is commonplace in IRC (Internet Relay Chat) channels.

This trading is happening almost daily, said Genes. Criminals either as organized groups or as amateurs are paying the price tag for new or modified malware, which installs keyloggers and steals information.

According to Genes, credit card companies need to think how long they will reimburse affected customers, for sooner or later the banking industry will be unable to afford such losses. He said governments are planning to enforce E-identity systems to ensure right user authentication. The Middle East has already taken the lead in implementing stricter user authentication.

Related article: Criminals Hack With More Evil Tactics

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