proXPN VPN: Online Identity Theft Spikes 300% In Two Years

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BBC News: Experian releases report showing online identity theft increasing 300% between 2010 and 2012 due to users having more online accounts with fewer unique passwords.

Today, anyone with a laptop or mobile device, an open Wi-Fi hotspot, and a motive can easily “sniff” your passwords right out of the air.

A recent report by one of the three major credit bureaus, Experian, has found that online identity theft increased by 300% during the past two years as evidenced by a sample taken between January and April of 2010 and the same period during 2012. The report, referenced by the BBC, identifies one of the primary causes of online identity theft as easily-guessed or otherwise weak passwords in conjunction with the average online user having 26 accounts with only 5 unique passwords between them. The result is a three-fold increase in compromised personal data leading to fraudulent acts.

“Online services are becoming increasingly easy to sign up for, especially due to tighter integration with social networks such as Facebook through their Open Graph platform. It may only require someone gaining access to your Facebook account to see or manipulate sensitive data that’s linked to it. That and the fact that most people use the same password for many different services makes it too easy for those that intend to commit these acts. If one account is compromised, that’s the ballgame for a lot of people,” says Kevin Cook, President & CEO of proXPN, an industry leader in virtual private networking (VPN) technologies and an advocate for online privacy.

The problem is being exacerbated by organized hackers acquiring and subsequently dumping large amounts of customer account data onto the general internet. For example, Google, Yahoo!, and South Korea’s KT Corporation have all recently suffered security breaches that have left millions of consumers’ personal data open for all to see. Hackers also leverage software-based exploits called “malware,” which are usually installed inadvertently and run as a background process on a victim’s computer without their knowledge. These programs have a wide range of capabilities from logging a user’s keystrokes to taking control of the computer’s operating system.

Aside from common sense measures such as using a different password for each individual account, changing them regularly, and utilizing either built-in or third-party anti-virus and anti-malware programs, consumers have several options at their disposal to further mitigate the risk of their personal information turning up in the wrong hands. One such widely-accepted line of defense to strengthen your Internet connection and prevent hackers from capturing your passwords and other sensitive data over a Wi-Fi network is the use of a VPN (virtual private network). A VPN service encrypts your Internet connection with a government-grade security layer, making the data that you send and receive – including passwords, banking details, and even instant messages - completely inaccessible to hackers. proXPN is one such provider and is ranked amongst the best in the world with some of the most advanced VPN technology on the market.

“Hackers can be anyone these days. Ten years ago, hackers were defined by a unique and rare skill set. Today, anyone with a laptop or mobile device, an open Wi-Fi hotspot, and a motive can easily “sniff” your passwords right out of the air. This happens most often at hotels, coffee shops, and airport gates – places where you’d find yourself on a communal wireless network. If you’re on such a network without protection, you’re asking for problems,” says Cook.

For more information about proXPN and online security, privacy, and freedom, visit http://www.proxpn.com.

About proXPN
Since 2009, proXPN has secured the internet connections of more than 1 million people worldwide on both desktop and mobile devices. Using industry-leading 512-bit encryption, proXPN prevents governments, hackers, and even internet service providers from monitoring, intercepting, or logging its user’s online activity. proXPN is offered completely free with functionality restrictions or for a low monthly fee inclusive of a more robust feature set.

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Ashley Halberstadt
BLASTmedia
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