Monday, May 12, 2008

FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) Report

I was reviewing the latest report from the FBI on internet crime, and found that the disturbing trend of skyrocketing losses continues, despite the number of claims holding relatively steady from it's peak in 2005. This confirms that the cyber-thieves are refining their tactics to focus on extracting more money from every breach or scam. The report includes all types of cyber-crime, but only tallies those that are reported to the IC3, so it's safe to presume that the actual numbers are much higher.

The report calculates that the 206,884 claims received via the IC3 website in 2007 resulted in more than $239 Million in losses. While only a small portion of the cases were specifically cited as 'Identity Theft', all were related to conducting business via criminal websites, email, or auctions. This reinforces the notion that email is a broken system, and that people really do fall for the "Nigerian Letter" scam (1.1% of complaints!). It also demonstrates that the general trust of the internet, websites, and email infrastructure is going to continue to decline, as users discover that there is really no way of knowing the origin of a message, or that they can be sure to visit the website they intend.

Perhaps most disappointing, as a current Florida resident, is the state's #2 position among the top homes for perpetrators. Thankfully I work for a security firm and my home Wi-Fi network is secured (as best as possible); you never know who the internet criminals are.

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