SANTA CLARA, Calif., Jan. 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ McAfee, Inc. (NYSE: MFE) today announced the availability of a white paper from McAfee® Avert® Labs highlighting global identity theft trends, including a dramatic increase in online and computer-based identity theft. According to the report, the number of keyloggers - malicious software code that tracks typing activity to capture passwords and other private information - has increased by 250 percent between January 2004 and May 2006. Additional findings show that the number of phishing alerts tracked by the Anti-Phishing Working Group has multiplied 100-fold over the same period of time. The report also provides practical guidelines that minimize the risk of identity theft to help readers protect themselves and prevent this increasingly common crime. The white paper, titled, "Identity Theft," is available for download at http://www.mcafee.com/us/threat_center/white_paper.html
"Identity theft is a global phenomenon that threatens all of us, which means we all need to become more aware, more vigilant and less trusting to protect ourselves," said Jeff Green, senior vice president of McAfee Avert Labs. "By learning where we are vulnerable, and how and why criminals engage in identity theft, we can then take the necessary precautions to avoid being victimized."
The study shows that identity theft exacts a high toll on national economies around the world. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the annual cost for consumers and businesses in the United States alone reaches $50 billion annually(1). In the United Kingdom, the Home Office has calculated the cost of identity theft to the British economy at $3.2 billion during the last three years(2) and some estimates from the Australian Centre for Policing Research place the cost of identity theft at $3 billion each year(3).
The white paper reviews identity theft techniques, from non-technical approaches like dumpster diving to sophisticated keyloggers that monitor computer keyboard keystrokes to steal online usernames and passwords. The report presents high-profile examples of identity theft cases from around the world along with an overview of the types of criminals and organizations that engage in identity theft for profit or to facilitate terrorist acts.
The McAfee Avert Labs white paper concludes with practical guidelines for preventing identity theft and minimizing the risks of being victimized. Key prevention tips for computer users include:
The white paper also includes tips for businesses to protect employees from being victimized. To learn more about cyber threats that can lead to identity theft, visit the McAfee Threat Center: http://www.mcafee.com/us/threat_center/default.asp
McAfee Inc., the leading dedicated security technology company, headquartered in Santa Clara, California, delivers proactive and proven solutions and services that secure systems and networks around the world. With its unmatched security expertise and commitment to innovation, McAfee empowers home users, businesses, the public sector, and service providers with the ability to block attacks, prevent disruptions, and continuously track and improve their security. www.mcafee.com
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(1) "Putting an End to Account-Hijacking Identity Theft": http://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/idtheftstudy/identity_theft.pdf
(2) Home Office Identity Fraud Steering Committee, "Identity Theft, Don't Become a Victim": http://www.identitytheft.org.uk/
(3) Australasian Centre for Policing Research, "Identity Crime Research and Coordination": http://www.acpr.gov.au/research_idcrime.asp
SOURCE McAfee, Inc.