Over at SF Gate they have an interesting story about data theft that is worth taking a look at. Seems that the victim had software on her computer that was monitoring every move she made. So when she was online in April, purchasing airline tickets, checking on a car loan from Wells Fargo and taking a CNN poll, little did she know that her personal information was being stolen. It wasn’t until the data showed up on a computer in Malaysia, that more information also surfaced about the ID theft.

According to the article it states:

But it was, and months after authorities were alerted to the breach and disabled the server in Malaysia where her data were being stored, the information was still available online – in a Google search.

The woman, who asked not to be named, was shocked to receive a call from a Chronicle reporter asking if she recognized the personal information, which had been crawled and stored by Google as Google caches all unprotected data it finds on the Web.

“Google seems so friendly,” she said. “I don’t understand why they don’t do a better job protecting our data.”

Google spokesman Michael Kirkland said that in general, the search engine doesn’t remove cached data, which disappears automatically at some point after its source is taken down. Google expects Webmasters to remove problem content themselves and provides tools to help them do it.  “Google, like all search engines, is a reflection of the content and information that’s available on the Internet,” he said. “We actively work to keep users informed on how they can stay safe online.”

In this case, however, Google did remove the cached pages, but it took the company two tries to delete them.

Such incidents of data theft have become so common that some cybercrime trackers have given up on contacting Internet users to let them know their personal information has been exposed.

This is kind of scary. There are other stories presented in which others also have become victims of keyloggers and having their identity stolen. One victim also taught classes in identity theft and had his ID stolen. It doesn’t seem that any of us are safe.

Comments welcome.