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.
The little-known Littlewood’s Law states that individuals can expect a miracle to happen to them at the rate of about one per month. The reasoning is that a miracle is a one-in-a-million event, and a human experiences things at the rate of about one a second for about 8 hours a day. There are approximately a million seconds in 35 days’ worth of 8 hours, so the average person can expect a miracle about once a month.
That probably explains why I win the African National Lottery, or am contacted by a Nigerian prince on at least a daily basis, promising me riches beyond my wildest dreams. Microsoft, Yahoo!, Western Union and the African Development Bank are here to rain on my parade, however, because they’ve formed a coalition dedicated to stopping people winning fabulous prizes, because they think they’re scams…