Dec 16, 2013 Dave King
Since the dawn of time, thieves have been highly opportunistic in nature, looking for vulnerabilities that can be capitalized on through relatively rudimentary tactics. This same characteristic is shared by the modern digital criminals who threaten corporate data integrity and financial stability, as hackers tend to prey on the weakest businesses and consumers to efficiently steal information and identities.
Identity theft has been cited by many economists, public sector officials and analysts as one of the most devastating threats to financial stability in the United States, and remains the most highly complained about crime on a national level. Businesses are responsible for keeping sensitive corporate, employee and consumer information out of the grasps of these crafty criminals, and this can be a difficult achievement to sustain.
However, companies can leverage more advanced network monitoring, data security and records management solutions to take control of information governance and ID verification. Additionally, corporate decision-makers should remember that physical records are still a favorite target of identity thieves, and must be managed in such a way that aligns with compliance requirements and industry-recognized best practices.
Common threats to security in December
The holiday shopping season seems to be the most wonderful time of the year for cybercriminals and consumers alike. USA Today recently listed the five most common scams that tend to take place in November and December, asserting that consumers and businesses need to be on high alert to avoid falling victim to these risks.
According to the news provider, retailer ID theft plots have become increasingly popular in recent years, as criminals have found ways to log keystrokes, skim credit cards and trick individuals into clicking on links in phishing emails. As such, businesses within this sector, as well as virtually any organization that handles financial information, should ensure that all employees know the signs of such scams and are capable of stopping them at a moment's notice.
The source added that child identity theft, charity scams and gift card fraud are also become more weighty and apparent risks to corporate financial stability and trust. Consumers are the most common targets of these attacks, but business leaders need to remember that employees will likely be more active in the online shopping arena this year, and that it poses an internal risk.
Studies indicate that the most common cause of data breach in the U.S., as well as abroad, is employee error. This is a clear indication that organizations are simply not doing enough to strengthen their knowledge of threats and the best practices to avoid them.
USA Today added that travel-related identity theft can also impact consumers, especially as hackers can use public networks to breach an individual's device. With so many workers traveling this holiday season, their smartphones and tablets, especially when used for work functions in bring your own device (BYOD)-related situations, must be secured.
Physical defense buffer
Robert Siciliano, an expert in identity theft and personal security writing for The Huffington Post, recently suggested several ways in which individuals and businesses can better manage shredding activities. Thieves have not yet stopped diving into dumpsters to find records that contain sensitive information, and they do not seem to have any intention of doing so soon.
As such, the author stated that businesses should categorize documents that need to be shredded in accordance with their levels of sensitivity, account for storage devices in the related policies and consider digitizing some information to streamline security responsibilities. Businesses and consumers alike can start to fight against the identity theft epidemic by partaking in proven ID verification practices.