Sweden a haven for digital identity theft

A full 15 percent of the world's underground economy servers are located in Sweden, according to infrastructure software company Symantec.

The company’s latest Internet Security Threat Report identifies Sweden as a haven for digital identity theft, second only to the USA – where 51 percent of the world’s criminal servers are located.

“Underground economy servers are used by criminals and criminal organizations to sell stolen information, typically for subsequent use in identity theft. This data can include government-issued identity numbers, credit cards, bank cards and personal identification numbers (PINs), user accounts, and email address lists,” according to the Symantec report.

When taken on a per capita basis, the figures mean that Sweden has the highest concentration of online criminal activity in the world.

“Sweden has a well developed infrastructure and we are seeing that many of these servers, where information is stored, are located in Sweden. That is not to say that Swedes are behind this. The people responsible could be anywhere at all in the world,” Symantec’s Per Hellqvist told news agency TT.

Criminals meet up in internet chat rooms to establish contact with servers where they can buy and sell the sensitive data that hackers have successfully acquired.

The company advises organizations to ensure that all sensitive data stored on computers or transmitted over networks is encrypted.

“Carelessness constitutes by far the most common way for details to fall into the wrong hands. 82 percent of everything that is stolen on the internet is a result of the human factor. This may be computer theft, government agencies, companies or healthcare providers lacking sufficient security,” said Hellqvist.