Economic downturn increases credit card data theft

By UK CreditCards.com

Economic downturn increases card theft

Online criminals are increasingly targeting credit card details as a result of the financial downturn, according to an IT company.

ScanSafe revealed that malware -- malicious software -- increased in volume by 300% between January and December last year.

Many criminals use malware to "harvest" other internet users' data, including their credit card details.

This information can then be used for various purposes, including taking money from the account in question or copying the data to create a fake card.

The largest increase in attacks came at the same time as the credit crunch was at its most devastating, according to ScanSafe.

"We saw a continued acceleration of web-delivered malware in 2008, reaching significant peaks in both October and November. The numbers are staggering," said Mary Landesman, senior security researcher at the company.

"There is a high correlation of increased online crime with the decline in the global economy."

Ms Landesman suggested that increasing economic decline worldwide could be causing some people to turn to online crime.

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Published: 16 March 2009