In an age of technology internet security is something that every company should be thinking about. Not being proactive in regards to the security of databases, websites and confidential information can leave doors open to those looking to steal and sell anything valuable. This is what happened to a long list of people starting in 2006.
An intrusive worm was spread that is believed to have originated through a website that provided free graphics for everything ranging from social media profiles, website graphics and retail product packaging. This worm was unknowingly downloaded into a computer and was virtually undetectable over the course of several years until antivirus software developed a way to detect and remove it.
Thousands of people ended up with horror stories where their identities were stolen and their lives were overturned. Thieves wired money out to overseas bank accounts. Funds were never able to be recovered. Credit card numbers were stolen and sold to people who were able to duplicate that information and print out new cards with the owner’s information. Businesses were opened under stolen identities which resulted in all types of fraud committed.
Advanced security measures were implemented by financial institutions and agencies to prevent long term theft of this nature from occurring and going on as long as it did back in 2006, 2007 and 2008. By 2009 victims and government officials were still cleaning up the mess it caused but had a handle on it spreading. Victims often filed bankruptcy to give them a fresh start.
Web developer Scott Holdman of Big Bay, Michigan says he feels violated and considered changing careers. He states “How do I know that this won’t happen again while I’m working on a website. I develop over 50 websites a year and I could not bare the thought of putting my family through this again. I’m definitely building other projects on the side to fall back on so that I can have an exit strategy.”
Others that were effected opted to stay off of social media. Kelly Hansen of Long Grove, California says “I was addicted to social media and posted multiple times per day on it. After this happened I deleted my account and talk to my friends and family via text and phone. It’s more personable.”
Then there are some that took the experience down a different road such as Marisa Schmidt of Elk Grove Village, IL. “If anything, it made me put the security of my computer my number one priority. Whenever I buy a new computer I always install the best of the best security to prevent this from happening to me again in the future.”
With new laws in place now to protect consumers, victims now have more of a voice and legal options. Maybe one day internet security will be so good that no one will ever have to worry. Until then the moral of the story is to take preventative measures before you do anything online.