The National Security Agency made the news this week after more details on its surveillance activities were reported. Consumers were also warned this week about the prevalence of malware on Android devices, and senior citizens were told about the dangers of medical identity theft. As data threats become more serious, it was also reported this week that companies are investing in cyber insurance to protect against the financial loss that comes with a data breach.

NSA's Surveillance
NSA has the ability to see about 75 percent of all U.S. Internet traffic, including the written content of emails sent between U.S. citizens, CNET reported this week. However, an October 2011 judgment from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court was just declassified this week, making it open to the public. The court ruled that some of the NSA's surveillance activities were unconstitutional and the agency responded by paying million of dollars to internet companies like Google and Yahoo that were involved in the Prism program and incurred costs to meet the certification demands of the court, The Guardian reported.

Malware on Androids
A new report by McAfee shows that 17,000 new Android malware species and 320,000 new samples of ransomware were found in the second quarter of 2013. The amount of ransomware found is more than double than what was detected in the first three months of the year, The Wall Street Journal reported. Ransomware works by holding a computer or other device hostage and forces the owner to pay a fee to free it, McAfee reported. "Not only do criminals make relatively safe money from this scheme, they often do not remove their malware – leaving the poor victim's system as dead as before," the report stated.

Seniors At Risk
A Medicare card may put seniors at a greater risk of identity theft, Newsday reported this week. A Medicare number is the same as a person's Social Security number, and using a Medicare account to fill prescriptions, file a claim or even get medical treatment exposes them to a greater chance of that information getting into the wrong hands, the source said. Medical identity theft can not only cause a financial burden to the victim, but if an ID thief uses a stolen identity to get medical treatment or drugs, it can mess with a person's medical record. "It's a medical harm as well as a financial harm," said Lisa Schifferle, an attorney with the Federal Trade Commission's division of privacy and identity protection.

Cyber Insurance on the Rise
Companies are becoming more aware of the financial loss that comes with a data breach, and many more organization are responding by investing in cyber insurance, CFO reported. A number of surveys showing the growing popularity of cyber insurance are proving this trend, according to the source. On average, companies that experience one or more cyberattack face a financial loss of $9.4 million.

Matt Cullina is chief executive officer of IDentity Theft 911.

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