If cybercriminals can defraud our national government, they can easily hit our local government, too
CLEARWATER, FL (PRWEB) December 17, 2012
An alarming statistic has recently prompted cybercrime expert, Stu Sjouwerman, to speak up. According to the Federal Trade Commission, Florida has the highest rate of identity theft in the country, with 178 complaints per 100,000 residents last year (1). KnowBe4, a security awareness training firm, believes that both national and local governments can prevent identity theft by learning how to prevent cybercrime.
In a recent case of cybercrime, one group of criminals were charged with filing phony 2010 tax returns in the names of 5,000 people, nearly all of whom were no longer living. Investigators suspect that they obtained the information from online databases such as Ancestry.com, which now have placed restrictions on access to Social Security numbers, according to the Miami Herald.
The reason that these cybercriminals target people who are not alive is to avoid having the Internal Revenue Service detect duplicate filings. That strategic scam, coupled with the outright theft of everyday people’s IDs—which are then used to file phony tax returns—has robbed the U.S. government of billions of dollars yearly since the crime began to proliferate in 2008, stated by the Treasury Department report (1).
“It’s unacceptable that our government is being raided of billions of dollars, using data from websites inside the U.S.,” commented Stu Sjouwerman, CEO of KnowBe4. “If cybercriminals can defraud our national government, they can easily hit our local government, too.”
Sjouwerman believes that proper training for businesses and employees is a necessary precaution in order to ensure understanding of how to manage their secure information that, when stolen, can be used in harmful way. Many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) underestimate their susceptibility to Internet security breaches, since it’s usually the big companies that make the headlines. Moreover, SMEs keep as much private information about their clients as a government would, and the protection of that confidential data is paramount.
Although there are a number of precautions that can help thwart hackers, Sjouwerman notes that there is vulnerability that many companies overlook—their employees. As cybercriminals’ attacks become more sophisticated, employees are often manipulated into clicking on links or open malicious attachments that bypass multiple layers of security and provide direct access to the company network.
In a more advanced cybercrime that led to the theft of 3.8 million tax returns, Social Security numbers of 1.9 million people, access to data on 699,900 business tax returns and 3.3 million bank accounts, an employee was yet again the weakest link. An international hacker sent South Carolina Department of Revenue employees an email containing an embedded link to a website infected with malware. Unfortunately, one employee unknowingly clicked on the link (2). From that one click, the cybercriminal was able to steal the employee’s “secure” user name and password. For weeks after, the cybercriminal started copying large amounts of information and transferring them onto zip files that were transferred outside of the system.
KnowBe4 is committed to protecting businesses and local governments against cybercrime. Its latest efforts have been accomplished through a partnership with security consultant Kevin Mitnick (“The World’s Most Wanted Hacker”), wherein they developed Kevin Mitnick Security Training. The training is interactive and web-based, and includes case studies, live demonstration videos and short tests. KnowBe4 uses knowledge of the latest cybercrime tactics in real-time to train its clients’ employees, ranging from credit unions to hospitals and insurance corporations.
For more information on how KnowBe4 can protect the healthcare industry against cybercrime, visit http://www.knowbe4.com/products/kevin-mitnick-security-awareness-training/.
About Stu Sjouwerman and KnowBe4
Stu Sjouwerman is the founder and CEO of KnowBe4, LLC, which provides web-based Internet Security Awareness Training (ISAT) to small and medium-sized enterprises. A data security expert with more than 30 years in the IT industry, Sjouwerman was the co founder of Inc. 500 company Sunbelt Software, an award-winning anti-malware software company that he and his partner sold to GFI Software in 2010. Realizing that the human element of security was being seriously neglected, Sjouwerman decided to help entrepreneurs tackle cybercrime tactics through advanced security awareness training. He and his colleagues work with companies in many different industries, including highly-regulated fields such as healthcare, finance and insurance. Sjouwerman is the author of four books, with his latest being Cyberheist: The Biggest Financial Threat Facing American Businesses Since the Meltdown of 2008. Visit http://www.knowbe4.com or http://www.knowbe4.com/cyberheist-the-book/.
(1) Weaver, Jay. Miamiherald.com, October 20, 2012. “ID theft fuels ‘tsunami’ of tax fraud in South Florida.” http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/10/20/3058313/id-theft-fuels-tsunami-of-tax.html#storylink=cpy#storylink=cpy
(2) Isikoff, Michael. NBCnews.com, November 20, 2012. “One email exposes millions of people to data theft in South Carolina,” openchannel.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/11/20/15313720-one-email-exposes-