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Twenty Bucks for a New You

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By David Perera March 20, 2007

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Starting over doesn’t have to be expensive.

“You can become a brand new American,” for as little as $14, Alfred Huger, vice president of the Symantec Security Response, told the San Jose Mercury News.

According to security company Symantec's semiannual Internet Security Threat Report, "an identity, including a U.S. bank account, credit card, date of birth and government issued identification number, was available for between $14 - $18." This latest edition of the security threat report covers the six months from July 1, 2006, to Dec. 31, 2006.

The report concentrates on threats to data confidentiality, integrity and availability from malicious hacks but acknowledges data loss also occurs from the theft and loss of computer hardware, such as downloading the records of 26.5 million vets onto a laptop and carrying it home where it can be stolen in a routine burglary. In fact, most data theft and loss results from employee error. More than 54 percent of companies reported that they lost data or suffered a breach because of an employee error compared with 34 percent of companies reporting that loss data was the result of an outside hacker, according to a Palisade Systems' report and reported on last year by consumeraffairs.com. Another survey, and there are many, conducted by Vontu "concludes that a main reason for corporate data security breaches is that many companies simply don't know where their sensitive or confidential business information resides," CNet reported last year.

Check out our reporting on cybersecurity exercises at WestPoint Academy for an example of how one organization focuses on what most data theft experts agree is the primary vulnerability threat: users.

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