Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Biggest Crime in History – In terms of Potential Victims!

The world’s largest “permissions-based” e-mail marketing company, Epsilon, reported late last week that someone hacked into its computer system and stole an unknown number of e-mail addresses and names.

According to Professor Steffen Schmidt, Iowa State University, “This is probably the single largest criminal act in history since this company potentially has compromised the recipients on the 40 BILLION or so e-mails they send out each year.” Schmidt is professor of public policy and has co-written with Michael McCoy two books on identity theft. He is also co-founder of the blog and a developer of the Engineering On Line certification workshop Information Security and Identity Theft Policy

“This is a stunning example of the huge risk anyone using email now faces of being the victim of highly targeted “Spear Phishing” which is a sophisticated form of sending real-looking links to companies the recipient is familiar with (such as a bank or a retailer) and then soliciting “updates” or other information. The unsuspecting person clicks on the link and is routed to a criminal web site where their accounts and even potential their full identity will be stolen,” said Schmidt.

“It will be many, many years of painful and costly trouble for millions of people,” Schmidt said, adding, “someone needs to be sued, convicted, and do serious jail time for such negligence of a huge and sensitive data base.”

Steffen Schmidt, Professor
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