McAfee have released a white paper offering statistics about the rising threat of ‘phishing’ and identity theft, what techniques are used, plus practical advice about the best ways to avoid falling victim to these attacks.
The Home Office has calculated that the cost of identity theft over the past 3 years alone is around £6bn. The US Federal Trade Commission puts the US total at a scary $50bn each year, and it’s rising.
The white paper reviews identity theft techniques, from non-technical approaches like raiding the bins, to sophisticated keyloggers that monitor computer keyboard keystrokes to steal online usernames and passwords.
It also offers some practical advice for preventing ID theft, including:
* watching out for phishing attacks,
* not clicking on email links to visit web sites, but manually typing the address into the browser,
* installing security software such as anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall protection, and keep it up to date,
* being wary of email attachments,
* thoroughly erasing the hard drives of old computers before disposal,
* choosing strong passwords,
* ensuring web sites are secure,
* exercising caution when using instant messaging,
All fairly standard, but vital, advice for minimising the risk of identity fraud.