Types of Computer Data Theft
Data theft is the illegal access (reading, editing, or coping) of data without the data owners authorization. In other words, if a company’s server has been accessed by a hacker it is a case of data theft and reading the mails of your colleague would also amount to the same in the eyes of the law. It is irrelevant whether you used this data for misdeeds later or not – what counts is that the data that is not yours has been accessed – without prior permission of its authorized user who may also be its creator.
Types of Data Theft
Data can be stolen in many ways. Below are a few examples of the way data theft happens.
Posing: Appearances can be deceiving. The attractive website that has popped up offering you a great holiday treat may actually be a data thief trying to get into your system under the ‘mask’ of a piece of harmless spam. In a case of corporate data theft last year, the thief posed as a potential customer and got entry to a company’s data bank through the computer of an employee who did not suspect anything in his eagerness to catch a potential client.
Podslurpling: Music is now stored in iPods for almost all domestic users. You would usually not suspect an employee rocking to music while working as usual. The thief knows this and is using the iPod to obtain data outputs from the computer where it is plugged in.
Blue Snarfing: Bluetooth devices have become popular in a very short while. Using his or her Bluetooth-enabled cell phone or laptop, the data thief lifts data from a restricted computer in silence and mostly unnoticed.
Who Steals Data:
Possible data thieves are:
95% of the time they are disgruntled employees, employees with technological ego, or employees faced with some kind of disciplinary action.
Corporate espionage is now a specialized ‘blue collar’ occupation.
How to Protect Data :
Installing and maintaining IDS, Antivirus software, firewall, encryption and tracking systems for internal network access.
Granting limited and monitored use of the internet, with policies being reviewed periodically.
Banning USB ports and not allowing Bluetooth-enabled devices within the work area.
Maintaining updated backup.
Dangers Posed by Data Theft to Companies
Loss of business data and accounts is the first step.
The customer database may be stolen and sold. .
Personal information of employees and customers can be compromised.
Research data is another favorite with thieves.
Loss of reputation in the market, police enquiries and negative publicity would follow.