According to the SEC (Securities and Exchange commission) – reports of fraud involving online brokerages are on the rise.

MSNBC reports:

The Securities and Exchange Commission said it had received a surge in the number of complaints about online account break-ins by hackers “in the last few months”.

John Stark, chief of the regulator’s office of internal enforcement in existence since 1998 said: “We have had more investigations in this area than we’ve ever had before.”

Asked why the phenomenon had grown, he told the Financial Times: “It’s easier with all the spyware and keystroke logging programmes have become easier to use, and more ubiquitous. More and more people are doing things online as well.”

MSNBC story, here.

Of course, account takeovers are nothing new, criminals have done this for years with credit card, banking and more recently eBay and PayPal accounts.

And keyloggers (which in my opinion should be illegal) continue to be sold (unregulated) on the Internet, see here. Interestingly enough, they are often “touted” as a “do it yourself” investigative tool.

Besides being the inspiration for criminal acts – a lot of people’s privacy is probably being violated with some of these technologies. The recent HP scandal is a good example, where corporate executives and private investigators used similiar technology.

Sadly enough – there is too much (currently legal) technology out there that is being abused – despite the growing number of people being victimized by it.

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