Fears are growing over the illegal trade in personal data following claims that tens of thousands of people’s identities are for sale on the so-called “dark web” for just under £20 a pop.
Nearly 600,000 UK consumers had their personal details stolen from company databases, as well as Government databases, last year, according to official figures.
Cases of online fraud, which includes ID theft, have reached an all-time high in the UK with the Office for National Statistics estimating there were approximately 5.1 million incidents of fraud in the past 12 months alone; many more claims go unreported it insists.
In a statement to the FT, a Government spokeswoman claimed there were a number of very effective schemes in place to prevent state databases being compromised, as part of its £860m investment in cyber security.
Nevertheless, HM Revenue & Customs and the Department of Work & Pensions data is widely available via illegal sites.
The Government spokeswoman said: “Every company board should be fully aware of the risk from cyber-attack, and be confident that the company has proper security in place.”
While the average cost of personal data online is about £19.60 ($30), personal information from Governmental databases carries a premium price of about £50 ($75) for each record and is referred to as the “crown jewels”.
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