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Experts Caution against Conspicuous Growth in ID Theft

The expectation that cyber crime will take a downturn in the period after Christmas has remained unfulfilled.

The Malware Research Center of leading software security company PC Tools has found a conspicuous rise in virus and spyware threats; therefore warns of a possible online ID theft.

Statistics from PC Tools show that malware operations made a spike beyond 50% in January 2007 that was in addition to the 41% increase during the Christmas season.

The research finds similar results as those of the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) that web users in U.K. are strongly susceptible to fraudsters stealing their identities because they slack in taking adequate precautions online.

The ICO attributes this vulnerable position of U.K. web surfers to a combination of insufficient personal document handling and poor online awareness. A shocking 35% of Britons fail to check the security of a site before performing an online credit transaction. A whopping 88% are unhesitant to click on e-mail links to visit sites.

In the views of Mike Green, vice president of product strategy at PC Tools, as online banking takes over phone banking in popularity in the U.K., the consumers' vulnerability escalates everyday. Bcs published Green's statement on February 2, 2007.

It, therefore, naturally raises ICO's concern.

However, Green feels consumers are still confused and complacent about the security level they need to acquire to be safe from online attackers. It is not correct for an individual to think that it will never happen to him. All Internet users must adopt protection and keep it by deploying anti-virus and anti-spyware programs and by regularly updating them, said Green in a company press release. So is an updated firewall essential as precautionary measure.

As Green compares, earlier the weapon of anti-malware vendors was to collect threat samples to develop 'honey pots' and 'malware crawlers'. Whereas now with massive virus and spyware problems the fight is to process the data and provide instant solutions to end users before damage happens.

According to a recent research by e-mail security company MessageLabs, phishing attack for the first time jumped ahead of trojans and viruses during January 2007.

Related article: Experts Find Two Vulnerabilities in Firefox

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