What is identity theft?

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With so much information online, identity theft is becoming an increasing danger in cyber space.

Identity theft means somebody taking somebody else’s personal information and using it without authorisation for personal gain.

This personal information could include passport numbers, bank details or even information as mundane and seemingly innocuous as a name or date of birth.

Online, data is regularly harvested by cyber criminals through a range of methods. This includes broad brush approaches such as phishing, which can beguile unsuspecting victims into sharing information.

In February, the ThreatMetrix Digital Identity Network was released which analysed over 15 billion transactions in real time over the previous 12 months. It noted a 40 percent increase in fraudulent transactions and cybercrime activity specifically targeting the financial industry.

Part of this activity involves bots, which are software applications that run automated tasks over the internet perform simple and repetitive tasks much quicker than a human could. They are used to take potential user credentials and then repeatedly test them against different accounts, verifying their validity.

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