Upsurge in identity fraud reflects mounting data attack numbers

by Charles Leaver

July 10, 2014

access_time 4 min read

A recent report points to the alarming fact that consumer data breaches are resulting in more and more identities being stolen.

The report - which was carried out by the National Consumers League - reveals that during 2013, roughly 33 percent of data breaches led to the swiping of an identity, which represents a tripling of that same statistic from 2010. There are many clear factors that explain this significant rise. Among them are the increasingly sophisticated tactics deployed by cybercriminals, the lack of suitable breach notification laws mandating businesses to reveal when they've been attacked, and, of course, a dearth of endpoint threat detection and response mechanisms used by companies. What these all add up to is a climate where customers more often than not find themselves at the mercy of unseen hackers.

John Breyault, a member of the National Consumers League, said breach notification legislation like the one on the books in California can help minimize the reverberations of a breach by mandating that attacked enterprises get the word out quickly.

"Among other things, it requires prompt notification, there's no cause of harm analysis before notification happens," he said. "There's a private right and the types of information that would trigger a notification is very broad."

But identity theft isn't the only cybercrime-related news making headlines. As a separate report revealed, malware is more prevalent now than ever.


One out of three computers infected with malware, report uncovers

A separate report carried out by the Anti-Phishing Workers Group found that malware was likely present in nearly a third of the world's computers in the last quarter of 2013, which represented a rise of several percentage points from the previous quarter, according to Tech News World. Accompanying this rise in malware is the revelation that new strains are being created at an extremely fast rate, according to Luis Corons, technical director of a security lab that investigates cyber incidents.

"The creation of malware samples is skyrocketing," he said. "It has doubled from the last quarter to the first quarter of this year."

All of this does not bode well for companies that choose to be lax when it comes to security. What these two separate reports illuminate is the acute need for businesses to firm up endpoint threat detection and response software or else face an enormous probability of attack.