Investor Alert: Identity Theft, Data Breaches and Your Investment Accounts

The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to provide investors with important steps to take regarding their investment accounts if they become victims of identity theft or a data breach.

Investors should always take steps to safeguard their personal financial information (e.g., social security number, financial account numbers, phone number, e-mail address, or usernames and passwords for online financial accounts). However, if identity theft or a data breach compromises your personal financial information, here are some important steps to take immediately.

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Cyber attacks have already targeted critical infrastructure around the world and the U.S. could be next

As the modern world increasingly becomes “wired,” more critical systems and infrastructure are being linked via the Internet. And while that has given rise to incredible new technologies that boost efficiency and capability, it has also meant that countries are more vulnerable to hacking and cyber attack.

Most nations do their best to defend their critical networks against hackers, DDoS (denial of service) attacks and outright cyber assaults. But not all systems are well-protected; some, in fact, are incredibly vulnerable.

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Verizon 2015 Data Breach Investigations Report Finds Cyberthreats Are Increasing in Sophistication

Verizon’s “2015 Data Breach Investigations Report,” reveals that cyberattacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated, but that many criminals still rely on decades-old techniques such as phishing and hacking. According to this year’s report, the bulk of the cyberattacks (70 percent) use a combination of these techniques and involve a secondary victim, adding complexity to a breach.

Another troubling area singled out in this year’s report is that many existing vulnerabilities remain open, primarily because security patches that have long been available were never implemented. In fact, many of the vulnerabilities are traced to 2007 — a gap of almost eight years.

As in prior reports, this year’s findings again pointed out what Verizon researchers call the “detection deficit” — the time that elapses between a breach occurring until it’s discovered. Sadly, in 60 percent of breaches, attackers are able to compromise an organization within minutes.

Yet the report points out that many cyberattacks could be prevented through a more vigilant approach to cybersecurity. “We continue to see sizable gaps in how organizations defend themselves,” said Mike Denning, vice president of global security for Verizon Enterprise Solutions

 

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Visualising the invisible: An invisible but vast war zone created by cyberattacks

Is this where we live?

Every month, it seems, a mammoth cyberattack sponsored by a nation state comes to light. In recent years, more than 20 countries have announced their intent to launch or beef up their offensive cyber capabilities. The result is a burgeoning digital arms race that presents a major threat to the security of our data.

But they are very late to the game…

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How to Freeze a Credit Report to Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft

If your Social Security number gets hacked in any data breaches, including recently hacked T-Mobile, then there’s a way to prevent hackers from misusing your identity (i.e. identity theft).

The solution here is that you can institute a security freeze at each of the three credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, or Transunion. Once frozen, nobody will be allowed to access your credit report, which will prevent any identity thieves from opening new accounts in your name.

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What you should know about the new credit cards. Oh, by the way, they won’t stop data thieves

Banks and credit companies have been sending consumers new cards, which look like their old cards but are fitted with a small metallic high-tech chip known as EMV. That stands for Europay, MasterCard, Visa — the three companies that created the standard. The chip’s goal: keeping thieves from easily accessing consumers’ personal information.

The new cards will NOT defeat data thieves.

Credit card fraud is a growing problem in the U.S. About 31.8 million U.S. consumers had their credit card information stolen last year, more than three times the number of consumers affected in 2013, according to a report published by Javelin, a company that studies customer transactions. According to a report from Barclays earlier this year, almost half of the world’s credit card fraud occurs in the U.S.

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Familiar Fraud: Five Ways to Help Protect Against It

Recent news reports have highlighted how hackers in places like Russia and China accessed the personal information of people in the United States and other countries.
But identity thieves also live closer to home.
Just ask victims of familiar fraud. In this scenario, someone you know—and likely trust—steals your identity.
Familiar fraud is more difficult to prevent because we are typically taught to trust our closest relatives and believe they wouldn’t hurt us.

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Hackers cash out directly from ATMs, don’t need to steal your card first

Hackers looking to steal money from ATMs have targeted your credit cards for years, trying to obtain access to it by hacking online services and retail shops. However, since more and more markets including America are adopting more secure payment methods like chip-and-PIN cards and mobile payments, some talented hackers are adapting their game accordingly.

Rather than trying to steal credit cards, clone them and only then try to obtain cash out of ATMs, some people are simply targeting the machines with malware that makes them spit out cash on command.

This isn’t the first time such ATM malicious programs have been discovered, but the level of sophistication is even higher….

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Careful, that PayPal-paid sale could be a scammer

PayPal and other online payment mechanisms are a target for identity thieves.

On the dark web at present, PayPal accounts are going for as little as 50 cents each, allowing criminals to assume compromised accounts to facilitate buying products from unsuspecting sellers.

Eighteen cases have been reported to iDcare over the past couple of months relating to sellers on eBay, Gumtree and other marketplaces that have fallen victim to a very simple and common scam.

Here’s how it works…

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