Data privacy and security took center stage in the news this week when it was announced five men had been indicted in what could be the largest-known data breach scheme in the United States. A report announced by McAfee this week also shined a light on just how expensive cybercriminal activity costs U.S. companies every year: around $100 billion. An Internet scam targeting the birth of the royal baby in Britain and identity theft fears from U.S. veterans also made news this week.

Cybercrime Is Expensive
Companies were reminded how important it is to have proper data breach protection solutions in place when McAfee release a report conducted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies that showed the economic impact of a data breach to a business ranges from $20 billion to $140 billion a year. This is equivalent to about 508,000 lost jobs, the report said. The estimates are even lower than other reports, CNBC reported this week.

Five Men Charged in Largest Data Breach in U.S. History
Five men – four Russians and a Ukrainian – were indicted after U.S. prosecutors say they hacked into more than a dozen company networks and stole more than 160 million credit card numbers, causing the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars. The men, who range in age from 26 to 32, started the scheme in 2005 and hacked into databases of companies including J.C. Penney, 7-Eleven and JetBlue, The New York Times reported. They were able to access systems by using a SQL Injection attack, which specifically targeted vulnerable databases, according to PC Mag. The men then placed malware into the system, allowing them to repeatedly gain access to it.

Scammers Use News of Royal Baby to Lure Consumers Into Identity Theft Scheme 
As news emerged this week of the birth of the royal baby, so did an increased number of online scams. Scammers lured Internet users to click on a link by promising images and videos of His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge. However, once they arrived at the site, the user was asked to download the video player (which was actually malware) or "register" to the site (a phishing scam), PC Mag reported. One spam-blocking service reported seeing more than a million scam emails of this sort.

Vet Worries About Sharing Too Much Personal Information Online
Tropp ID and SheerID are services that offer military veterans and their spouses special deals and discounts. However, one retired Army lieutenant colonel recently wrote into the Navy Times saying these sites were asking for what he believed was too much personal information. These sites were asking for vets' to provide a date of birth and the last four digits of their Social Security numbers, among other information. Blake Hall, CEO of Troop ID, responded, saying the company only asks for the minimum information for the site to verify a person did in fact serve in the military. SheerID also tried to reassure users that retailers cannot view personal verification information and SheerID cannot see payment information, Navy Times reported.

Matt Cullina is chief executive officer of IDentity Theft 911.

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