McAfee, a large anti-virus company, has published a report called “Inside the Password Stealing Business: the Who and How of Identity Theft”. It goes into the details of password stealing programs and explains the “industry” driving it.
It’s quite detailed and at 17 pages it won’t take too long to read – it’s not very technical.
Password stealing is when a program gets installed on your PC that catches every stroke of your keyboard and sends it back to a criminal. The idea is that it’ll record all your passwords as you type them, no matter how strong they are. It’s a sophisticated piece of technology and a very large problem worldwide. If you’re not constantly upgrading your anti-virus software, web browser and OS then you’re at high risk.
These passwords are then sold off and used to steal money from your bank account or to commit other crimes. Even if you don’t use online banking you still have something to lose – someone can apply for a credit card under your name and use it to make expensive purchases, then you’re left to deal with the credit card company and convince them it wasn’t you (this happens every day).
So click on this link and have a read of the report.