With data theft and loss constantly in the news, one security company is stressing the implications of unsecured computer files.
McAfee, the CA-based software best known for its consumer anti-virus offerings, is trying to get consumers, corporations and government organizations to take data security more seriously. According to the software maker, malware increased by a staggering 400 percent in 2008.
"This was a very insidious type of malware that was designed either to steal your data, steal your identity, steal your money, and in many cases the scale as well as the sophistication was very alarming," said McAfee CEO David DeWalt during the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. According to McAfee's international security survey of over 800 companies, 80 percent of said business claimed that malware found on their systems had the intention of maliciously gathering financial information.
Traditionally, malware is created for the purpose of stealing financial data, in contrast to viruses and trojans, which cause more general damage to a system. In the same survey, 42 percent of the same businesses claimed that fired or laid off personnel were the primary security concern. Furthermore, those companies surveyed have an average of $12 million in data stored outside of their home country.
The largest data debacle to make headlines in recent years was that of retailer TJX, which agreed to pay Mastercard $24 million after the company had a security breach that exposed millions of its customers. Last week, a second-hand MP3 player purchased in Oklahoma was found to contain sensitive U.S. military data. With flash drives and MP3 players becoming so inexpensive and dispensable, the security of private data is now more difficult to maintain than ever.