December 8, 2005, 12:00 AM

Increases in keylogging incidents will hurt online retailers

The growing use of keylogging spyware to steal consumers’ passwords and other personal data entered into retail sites will hurt online retailing if left unchecked, says George Waller, co-founder of StrikeForce Technologies.

The growing use of keylogging spyware to steal consumers’ passwords and other personal data entered into retail sites will hurt online retailing if left unchecked, says George Waller, co-founder of StrikeForce Technologies.

Keylog software is often planted in photos or other web content and e-mail attachments. When consumers click the photo or attachments, the software is downloaded onto their computers, allowing the hacker to track consumers’ key strokes.

“Anywhere you go, the bad guys are watching,” Waller says. “When you buy something, you put in your user name and then your credit card number. The second they grab that credit card number, they go out and start to shop themselves.”

The hackers also use the information to open new accounts and sell the numbers to other crooks, Waller says. “Ultimately, this is going to affect the online shopping experience because people are going to stop shopping when they feel violated,” he says, citing recent industry studies.

StrikeForce has developed technology that uses Secure Sockets Layer encryption at the keyboard level to prevent spyware from recording information like passwords as consumers key them into retail sites.

A recent report by iDefense, a cyber security intelligence provider and a VeriSign company, estimates hackers will release a record 6,191 keyloggers in 2005, up 65% from the 3,753 keyloggers released in 2004.

 

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