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Summary

The threats individuals face through illegal means of compromising their personal information is greater today than it has ever been. The most obvious threat consumers face is from hackers. If you had asked a typical consumer 10 years ago what a hacker was, the odds of getting a clear answer would have been pretty slim. Today, though, consumers have been educated the hard way in understanding how the online world threatens them at the same time that it benefits them. With the increased functionality of the online community, hackers have numerous new access points to consumer information and methods of attacking consumers. The news stories of how thousands of credit cards get stolen or some inventive way a hacker stole and used someone's identity have brought awareness of technological crime into every household. A CIO KnowPulse poll of 450 chief information officers (CIOs) conducted in late 2001 found that most (88%) of the CIOs of major companies did not think existing security measures of government entities are skilled enough to handle cybercrime. Many believe better training and exclusive organizations dedicated to combating cybercrime are needed.

For consumers, the difficult threats to understand are how businesses can use the online world to illegally compromise your privacy. The legal means to exploit you on the Internet that were discussed in Chapter 4 might make it seem as if illegal access was not needed to your data, but businesses can further exploit you by taking advantage of technology and the lack of laws to find more inventive ways of using your information. The fraud capability that has developed with the Internet has expanded the reach of a small company that seeks to deceive people with some scam in a local community to anyone around the world. The ability of businesses to come and go on the Internet after they have collected consumer information and money is easy with the anonymity inherent in the online world.


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