Identity Theft Expert Robert Siciliano

We’ve known for some time the long haired, solo, lowly pot smoking, havoc reeking hacker, sitting in his moms basement hacking for fun and fame is no more. He cut his hair and has now graduated into a full criminal-hacker1time professional criminal hacker, hacking for government secrets and financial gain.

His contacts are global, many from Russia and Eastern Europe, and they include brilliant teens, 20 somethings, all the way up to clinical psychologists who are organized international cyber criminals.

We are in the middle of a cold cyber crime war.

Their sole motivation is money and information and they either find ways inside networks due to flaws in the application or they work on their victims psychologically and get them to enter usernames and passwords or click a link.

In a new Verizon report there was a staggering 285 million records compromised in 2008 which exceeds total losses for years 2004-2007 combined. As many as 93 percent of the breaches were targeted hacks occurring at financial institutions.

In a hack at RBS Worldpay, hackers made $10 million by hacking their system, then loading white cards and gift cards, and sending the mules to ATMs. The entire scheme took less than one day to pull off.

Many of these hacks occur due to flaws in the design of web applications and the criminals send out “sniffers” seeking out those flaws. Once found the attack begins. Malware is generally implanted on malware the network and usernames and passwords are extracted. Once the criminals have full access, they use the breached system as their own, storing the stolen data and eventually turning it onto cash.

Meanwhile criminal hackers created approximately 1.6 million security threats according to Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report. 90 percent of these attacks were designed to steal personal information including names, addresses and credit card details. Almost every single American has had their data compromised.

Unsuspecting computer users who do not update their PCs basic security including Windows Updates critical security patches or keeping their anti-virus definitions automatically updated become infected as part of a botnet.

Botnets are used to execute much of the attacks on unprotected networks.

The same study shows computer users were hit by 349 billion spam and phishing messages and many giving up their data in this way. It is phishers1common sense not to plug data into an email that looks like your bank asking to update your account. Attacks directed towards mobile phones are also rising. Phexting is when a phish text message comes in. Just hit delete.

Much of the data stolen is out of your hands. So invest in identity theft protection, and update your anti-virus automatically.

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discussing criminal hackers caught

I’m excited to work with uni-ball in 2009 in a partnership to help raise awareness about the growing threat of identity theft and provide tips for protecting yourself. Check out for more information.

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