Identity Theft Expert and Speaker on Personal Security Urges Holiday Shoppers to Beware of Malicious, Continually Growing Online Threats to Computer Security

(BOSTON, Mass. – Nov. 29, 2007 – Reports during November indicated that online threats such as spyware continue to increase in frequency and maliciousness. Robert Siciliano, a widely televised and quoted personal security and identity theft expert, said that even though computer users may hear more about computer threats during the shopping season, they must always exercise caution online.

“As the holiday shopping season sets into full swing,” said Siciliano, “news of dangers to online consumers will increase. This is a good thing; everyone needs a constant reminder of the security threats that lurk on the Web. But the vigilance must also be constant, evident throughout the year, and not just between Thanksgiving and the New Year.”

CEO of and a member of the Bank Fraud & IT Security Report’s editorial board, Siciliano leads Fortune 500 companies and their clients in workshops that explore consumer education solutions for security issues. An experienced identity theft speaker and author of “The Safety Minute: 01,” he has discussed data security and consumer protection on CNBC, on NBC’s “Today Show,” FOX News, and elsewhere.

As reported by darkREADING on Nov. 27, the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) surveyed 1,070 organizations and found that 55 percent had experienced an increase in spyware over the past year.

Also on Nov. 27, the SANS (short for “SysAdmin, Audit, Network, Security”) Institute, a self-described cooperative research and education organization, posted in a news release its picks for the “Top 20 Internet Security Risks of 2007.” One of the scenarios that SANS cited was a type of phishing attack known as spear phishing, which, by targeting specific individuals using company machines, infects those machines. This transforms the compromised machines to portals that give hackers access into organizations’ entire networks. (Keyloggers, zombies, and other threats with similarly exotic-sounding names also made SANS’ list.)

One new threat, reported in SC Magazine on Nov. 7, has masqueraded itself as a solution. According to the article, a banner ad prompts those who click on it to purchase putative anti-spyware software. But the landing page instead collects victims’ money and credit card information in exchange for a program that downloads a virus that collects the personal information from the infected computer over time.

Bogus sites with URLs similar to presidential campaigners’ have been reported as well. A Nov. 1st news release from Webroot Software, Inc. urged Internet users to use caution when searching online for information on presidential candidates. According to the release, the company has detected links to malicious software downloads from spoofed presidential candidate Websites.

Spoofed Websites, just as the term implies, are bogus. The same day of Webroot’s announcement, a ComputerWorld article speculated that hackers might use the fake sites to obtain a portion of campaign contributions, which increasingly take place online.

“Just as predicted, hackers are getting more and more sophisticated and clever,” said Siciliano. “Computer users can install all the antispyware, antivirus, and other software they want — and they should. But the ingredient really needed is common sense. Just because a computer has the latest, greatest protection installed doesn’t render it untouchable; a smart user does.”

Readers may view YouTube video below of Siciliano on “FOX News,” explaining how the ubiquity of Social Security numbers as universal identifiers helps thieves online and off-line. Those wishing to learn how to protect themselves against identity theft, a major concern for anyone who has fallen prey to online scammers, may view video of Siciliano at VideoJug.


Identity theft affects us all. Robert Siciliano, CEO of and member of the Bank Fraud & IT Security Report’s editorial board, makes it his mission to provide consumer education solutions on identity theft to Fortune 500 companies and their clients.

A leader of personal safety and security seminars nationwide, Siciliano has been featured on “The Today Show,” CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, “FOX News,” “The Suze Orman Show,” “The Montel Williams Show,” “Maury Povich,” “Sally Jesse Raphael,” “The Howard Stern Show,” and “Inside Edition.” The Privacy Learning Institute features him on its Website. Numerous magazines, print news outlets, and wire services have turned to him, as well, for expert commentary on personal security and identity theft. These include Forbes, USA Today, Entrepreneur, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, United Press International, Reuters, and others.

Visit Siciliano’s Web site, blog, and YouTube page.

The media are encouraged to get in touch with Siciliano directly:

Robert Siciliano, Personal Security Expert
CEO of
PHONE: 888-SICILIANO (742-4542)
FAX: 877-2-FAX-NOW (232-9669)

The media may also contact:

Brent W. Skinner
President & CEO of STETrevisions
PHONE: 617-875-4859
FAX: 866-663-6557