Celebrities aren't the only targets of data thieves

12 Mar 2013

By: Byron Acohido, USA Today

The disclosure of celebrities' personally identifiable information, or PII, is grabbing headlines this morning. But it's just another day in the teeming cyberunderground.

Caches of names, addresses, Social Security numbers, date of births and payment card data have long been widely posted on the Internet. Hackers sometimes do it to brag or make a political point. But most often, stolen PII flows into forums and exchanges, and are posted for sale -- for simple criminal profit.

"In most cases, when data is improperly accessed, it is peddled through black market sites," says Adam Levin, chairman of Identity Theft 911. "Oftentimes it is sold and resold."

The average cybercriminal is after quick cash, not military or industrial secrets, says Roel Schouwenberg, senior researcher, Kaspersky Lab.