Monday, January 12, 2009

Happy New Year – but watch your back

Happy New Year all! Hope everyone had a well-rested holiday, and not too upset at the notion of another year of full-scale grind.

Hackers had a field day while the rest of us rested - last week saw Twitter accounts, specifically those belonging to celebrities, being compromised by a hacker. This happened after the weekend’s spate of phishing scams that tried to harvest login and password details from users.

Britney Spears had a certain part of her anatomy insulted, while Barack Obama, Facebook’s Twitter account and Fox News’ also got compromised. This was the first time that Twitter was assaulted, and the fact that it was not only compromised by a hacker, but our fiendish phishers as well, shows that it has officially come under the radar.

Furthermore, this year saw Nokia rendered speechless due to an obscure SMS bug that halted all incoming SMSes arriving after a specially formulated and very malicious text message. Many Nokia users simply felt they had been forgotten over the festive season…

A recent study conducted by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) showed that 35 million data records were exposed last year in the US, in 656 incidents, which is a 47% increase from 2007.

The increase in hacker activity and data breaches remains a growing concern all over the world. Those of your who subjected yourselves to the news in the December, The Saturday Star and IOL Online both ran stories about the local government’s loss to cybercrime – as much as R400 million was reported as stolen as a a result of keyloggers and other dubious means.

This year, make it your priority to be as secure as you can be. Cliché or no, the proof is in the numbers.

Have a good one.

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