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Data thefts cost firms $2 Million a year

San Francisco: Trade secrets and customer information thefts costed firms an average of $2 million each last year, according to research conducted by security software maker Symantec, reports Bloomberg.

In a survey of 2,100 IT executives worldwide, 75 percent of respondents reported cyber attacks last year. Most intrusions were aimed at stealing a firm’s intellectual property, such as product designs. “We can expect to see companies going out of business because their intellectual property is stolen,” Maureen Kelly, a senior Director of Product Marketing, said in an interview to Bloomberg. “For some, this is a matter of life or death.”

Businesses coped with the recession by trimming staff to handle security, while hackers have become more skillful. Last month, Google said, it and at least 20 other companies had suffered a series of ‘highly sophisticated’ online attacks originating in China.

In many cases, hackers have switched their attentions to stealing trade secrets, according to Symantec. “While hackers are still looking for customer data, such as credit card information, they are now going more for industrial espionage and counterfeiting,” Kelly said in an interview.

“They are also more specialized – with one person to break in, another to get the data, a third to install the software to steal information, and a fourth to encrypt it and distribute it,” she said.

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