Sound Bites: Cybercrime Trends and Stolen Digital Assets

As you know, USA today is one of my favorite sources of news.  Check out today’s article on Cybercrime and how the focus of cyberthieves is changing: – an excellent source of attention gripping sound bites for your prospects.

Three years ago we had the Iceman – the market leader in ID Theft with total world-wide revenues totaling $67.2 Billion.  This year earnings have topped One Trillion; right in line with predictions I cited three years ago.  Sound Bite:  ID Theft is commoditizing!  That doesn’t mean it’s going away – it’s become so easy that the serious criminals are turning to more profitable cybercrime activities, while amateurs continue the ID harvest.  Prices have come down from $100/ID number to somewhere in the $10 range.  Here are some important Sound bites:

  • 1. What is the new focus? Intellectual Capital; Data thieves are harvesting corporate data in anticipation of rising demand.
  • 2. Copycat ID thieves have saturated the market driving ID prices down – it’s so easy, almost anyone can do it.
  • 3. Primary targets are corporate users using free web tools such as instant messaging, web-based email, and social networking – Especially AOL, Yahoo, MSN, and social sites including MySpace and FaceBook.
  • 4. Most valued data includes; e-mail address books, instant-messaging buddy lists, PowerPoint slides, engineering drawings, partnership agreements, price lists, bid proposals, supply contracts, etc. Intellectual property!
  • 5. Who are the buyers? This always comes up as a question…in one case cited in the above linked article; a Chinese entrepreneur was able to take stolen information to build an entire business based on stolen intellectual capital. Duplicating a business that took over ten years to build and millions in R&D, he created a counterfeit business for a fraction of the price. Law enforcement was unsuccessful in stopping him.
  • 6. This is a nine month old trend; Take as much data as possible and then sort through it. Figure out what’s worth money, and then find a buyer.

The fact is most customized applications are built for functionality; they contain little to no security in their design.  This is a giant hole in the security of digital assets.

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