PHOENIX--You don't need the data on identify theft; you know it's an epidemic. Here at Demo '06, there are two companies trying to combat it directly.
First up is StrikeForce Technologies, which makes a browser plug-in which, when you turn it on, reroutes your keystrokes around the hooks that keyloggers user to capture data like credit card numbers when you type them in. Great idea, but with so many users scared of plug-ins, how will it get installed? I think this type of utility should be built into a browser or OS, even though if it were, it would be a bigger target for keylogger and spyware writers.
Mi5 Networks has an appliance that blocks outbound identity theft activity at the edge of a corporate network. It scans for spyware or identify theft traffic that's leaving a corporate network, and blocks it. CEO Doug Camplejohn revealed that one of his devices had been running on the Demo wireless network, and had picked up confirmed spyware activity coming from three dozen machines. That is a scary fact--among this group of hypergeeks, you'd think the computers would be more secure. It illustrates that even careful, tech-adept people may be infected.
I'm going to tell our security guru, Robert Vamosi of CNET's Security Center, about both these products.