In recently months, we have seen an increasing number of security breaches concerning banks, credit card issuers and merchants. This has raise concern among consumers that necessary precautions are not being taken to protect personal data.
One of the largest issues is that a large number of computer hackers are operating out of Eastern European countries like Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Romania. Many argue that companies cannot exert much control over computer hackers outside of Europe.
Statistics show that an ever increasing number of sophisticated forums dedicated to cyber crime are operating in Russia. Two of the largest known of these sites are HackZone which has over 58,000 members and Xakep which has over 13,300 users currently registered on the site.
These members use the website to buy stolen credit card details and personal information. Some sites will resell credit card details over and over adding to the cost of fraud. One site, HackZone boasts that they sell details only once, which makes the information more valuable.
Despite the fact that most security breaches organize from outside of the United States of America, consumers and credit card holders expect U.S. Companies to ensure that their security measures cannot be breached. Consumer advocacy groups have been urging banks and other financial institutions to look at their security measures more closely after the recent spate of high profile security breaches which have compromised the personal details of so many credit and debit card holders.
Some of the companies who have come under fire for the way they handled recent security breaches include Citibank, Bank of America, Sony Playstation Network, and Michaels Stores.
Law enforcement agencies are also working to improve how they handle hackers from outside of America. A number of United States law authorities have combined their efforts in their fight against international fraud by establishing a number of global headquarters. The Secret Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are working together to establish operations throughout Europe. The Secret Service has recently established offices in Estonia and Tallinn to support its already well established operation in the Ukraine. The FBI has also teamed up with law enforcement in Australia, Germany and the United Kingdom. They also have operations in the Netherlands, Estonia, Ukraine, and Romania.
The Secret Service and the FBI are faced with fighting a highly organized crime wave which is hard to combat using traditional methods. They are urging businesses to do what they can to ensure they protect their own systems. Pablo Martinez, head of cybercrime efforts at the Secret Service said,
Given enough money, time and resources, an adversary will be able to access any system. Companies need to understand that.