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Stolen Data Increased Three Times in 2007 over 2005-06

Cyber crooks are systematically stealing confidential personal data stored with colleges, hospitals, companies and government agencies in margins as never before. Records numbering beyond 162 Million reportedly got stolen or lost in 2007, tripling from 49.7 Million in 2006, according to analysis by USA Today relating to data theft reported during 2005-2006.

At the website of Attrition.org, a tech security company, a database indicates that data losses in 2007 were from 98 businesses, 85 schools, 80 government agencies and 39 hospitals. However, only a small 19% of the cases led to arrests and court trials.

Volunteers at Atrrition.org monitor the incidents in the US and made many of them public to bring them in contact with new disclosure laws on data loss. Of around 300 cases identified and tracked this year (2007), the number reported in the US was 261, while 16 were reported in Great Britain, 15 in Canada, 6 in Japan, 2 in Australia and one each in Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. According to security experts, this is not the exhaustive database and only moderately indicates the rate of cyber crime.

The practice of keeping more amount of data by agencies and companies in a single repository opens large opportunities for thieves to make a big gain, said Vice President of technology at Cryptography Research, Benjamin Jun, in a statement that United Press International published on December 10, 2007.

Data on names, account numbers, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers are like gold reserves in the underground of cyber crime. Meanwhile, organizations run the risk of exposing such data because of conversion of hard documents into electronic records. According to researcher IDC, business data around the world are likely to expand to 988 Billion Gigabytes by 2010, an increase from 161 Billion Gigabytes in 2006. USA Today reported this on December 10, 2007.

The USA Analysis study of 87 cases in 2007 revealed that many thieves succeeded in breaking into databases of various organizations. In some instances, they fled with 28 personal computers and 63 laptops, and infiltrated 54 websites. Overall, crime rings are in search for laptops left unattended and mails that carry tapes and discs.

Related article: Settlement Reached in Lawsuits over Hacked Data

» SPAMfighter News - 12/20/2007

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