Hackers Use Customers to Steal Thousands of Credit Reports from Credit Bureaus
Financial data continues to be at risk from password-stealing cyber-thieves.
Last year, hackers were able to break through Abilene Telco Federal Credit Union’s cyber-defenses and steal sensitive financial information on more than 847 people. Social Security numbers, birthdates, and detailed financial data from people across the country all fell into the hands of identity thieves. This incident is one of 86 that have been recorded since 2006. To many security experts, this is a definite sign that there are flaws in the methods credit-reporting agencies use to protect their databases. These hackers are using an indirect rout to get to their targets. Instead of attacking the credit-agencies head on, they go through the businesses affiliated with that company such as their banks, auto dealers, or police departments.
Over the past seven years, there have been more than 17,000 credit reports stolen from agencies all around the country. The most recent breaches began not with the agencies, but with the infection of their customers’ computers. Big name credit bureaus like Experian, Equifax Inc., and TransUnion Corp have all been affected by this method of cybertheft. Experian lost over 15,000 credit reports to the hackers.
The U.S. Department of Justice estimated in 2010 that these particular types of attacks would affect over 8.6 million people and cost more than $13.3 billion in direct financial losses. In order to better spot these kinds of attacks, the bureaus have invested in fraud-detection technology which helps to identify suspicious behavior that deviates from a customer’s normal routine. Many of the affected bureaus have also included security audits in order to help protect their customers.
Original article by Jordan Robertson.
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