News & Resources

Keystroke hacking a common method of public computer ID theft

Nov 16, 2011 Karen Umpierre

Keystroke hacking a common method of public computer ID theft
Last year, the Federal Trade Commission received more than 250,000 identity theft complaints, WJXT-TV reports. What's more, the majority of the victims weren't aware they were being taken advantage of.
 One growing source of ID theft among unknowing consumers is associated with public computer use. The news source notes that because there aren't any laws that require public computers to be secured against spyware or malware programs, these devices become fair game for potential hackers. "Criminals harvesting personal information off of public computers is an extremely prevalent crime in the United States," Damon Petraglia, a forensic computer investigator, told the news source. Cyber-sleuths typically download key-logging software that can record every keystroke made on public computers. For example, if someone inputs the username and password for their financial institution into a bugged computer, the thief can view the recorded information and commit the crime. The Star-Telegram adds that mobile devices are becoming a hotbed for ID theft as well. The news source notes that accessing email or making purchases using public Wi-Fi leaves consumers open to having their information hacked.