Sound Bites: Cybercrime Trends and Stolen Digital Assets

November 12, 2008 — Leave a comment

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:  http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/surveillance/2008-11-11-thieves-cyber-corporate-data_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip – 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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