Your entire identity's worth just £80
Your name, your address, your mother’s maiden name, your passport number, the name of your first pet (“fluffles”? seriously?), your credit card numbers, your top five albums, your national insurance number. All that – what security experts call your ‘identity’ in the context of ‘identity theft’ – is worth just £80.
That’s the price that entire packages of data are going for on message boards and websites populated by fraudsters and scammers. A single piece of data can go for as little as £5. The data’s so cheap because there’s so much of it available – nearly half of all UK computer users aren’t using a firewall or security software.
All you’ve gotta do is make sure that your virus scanner stays up-to-date, and that you’ve got the security features in your operating system fully enabled and up-to-date. In fact go run Windows Update now. I’ll wait. Back? Good. Odds-are that you’re now pretty much safe.
Get Safe Online (via BBC)
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I don’t think that the personal computer is the root cause of identity theft any more. Lots of modern setups are sold and ship with tools to combat this out of the box now, but no amount of vulnerability updates or security measures on a local machine can combat a cleverly versed ‘banking email’ or authentic looking website. Even I (a moderate techy) have been taken in by such digital dupery in the past to the point of nearly submitting card details on an unsecure site that WHOIS later informs me is registered to some random scam artist in Venezuela.