Filed Under:Agent Broker, Agency Technology

Cyber Crime: “We are Legion”

A day in the life of an international hacker—and why businesses of all sizes need to protect themselves against a growing and sophisticated underground industry.

By Dean Goodwin, marketing manager, RPS Technology & Cyber

In a small, one-bedroom flat in the working class city of Kharkiv, in the former Soviet Union, Dmytro Kozel was surfing the Internet for universities and colleges in the U.S. As a young student in the Ukraine, Kozel had more than a passing interest in advanced education but he wasn’t interested in enrolling in online classes; tonight, he wanted to break into the network of a large U.S. state university. 

Some recent examples:

  • 3.3 million unencrypted bank account numbers and 3.8 million tax returns were stolen in a phishing attack against the South Carolina Department of Revenue
  • The California Department of Social Services lost the personally identifiable information (PII) of more than 700,000 residents, including names and Social Security numbers, when a package containing microfiche, sent by the U.S. Postal Service, arrived damaged with most of the data missing
  • The health information and PII of more than 780,000 Utah citizens were put at risk when Eastern European hackers broke into a server maintained by the Utah Department of Technology Services this spring.

A Global Perspective

How much money is being lost?

According to the May 2013 benchmark report by the Ponemon Institute, the average total cost of a data breach for a U.S. business was $5,403,644.00. The U.S. experienced the highest total average cost followed by Germany at $4.8 million and then Australia and France at $4.1 and $3.8 million respectively.

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