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Trend Micro debuts dark-web scanning solution to combat identity theft

Trend Micro has today announced the launch of an app-based solution designed to take on identity theft by scanning the dark web for personal data. 

The solution, called ID Security, was born from growing consumer concerns in New Zealand surrounding identity theft – a whopping 78% of Kiwis report concern about being a victim of identity theft, according to Trend Micro’s latest research.

In fact, identity crime is estimated to affect 133,000 Kiwis each year, according to the cybersecurity company, costing the economy over NZ$209 million.

“New Zealanders now consistently see the impact of frequent data breaches, but many don’t actually know how they’ve been personally impacted," says Trend Micro consumer managing director for APAC Tim Falinski. 

“This isn’t because they don’t want to, but [because they] are unsure of how to track it themselves. 

“This is why we have launched ID Security.  With the rise in the exchange of data on the dark web, people’s data can travel further than before and with significant ease for cybercriminals. ID Security helps protect against this and give Kiwis visibility of their data.”

The solution searches the dark web to find which data breaches leaked personal data and which accounts were affected. 

If personally identifiable information relating to the user is found on the dark web, the solution can then send alerts to bring this to the user’s attention.

New Zealanders are getting increasingly paranoid about having their credentials stolen: when Trend Micro surveyed 1,000 Kiwis in 2019 about their concerns about digital identity theft, 54% reported checking their bank accounts at least once a week for ‘suspicious activity’.

“Cybercrime involving the theft of personal data, including identity crime and fraud, can have a significant impact on the lives of everyday New Zealanders,” says Falinski.

“As our lives have moved increasingly online, so too has identity theft. The vast amounts of personal data available online, which often is not protected to an adequate level to keep it secure from cybercriminals, is putting New Zealanders at risk.”

The concern is real for Kiwis – so what are they doing about it?

Not as much as they should, according to Trend Micro’s research.  

Only 29% use identity protection solution, while more continue to share personally identifiable information online. 

In some cases, Kiwis have been giving out address details, dates of birth, passport details and mobile numbers, often on unsecure platforms.

And in the wrong hands, these details could be used to steal people’s identities, and potentially be sold on the dark web to the highest bidder.

“While it’s great to see that Kiwis are concerned about the safety of their personal data and its misuse, many may not realise that their actions are in fact putting this data at risk,” says Falinski.