A Texas company is releasing a free mobile app today that will alert people if their personal data has been stolen and makes it into the hands of criminals.
AllClear ID offers identity fraud protection services to consumers when their data has been exposed by an attack on a corporate database or other compromise. For instance, Sony hired the company to help its 75 million PlayStation Network customers after the system was hacked and their names, addresses, e-mail addresses and other information were exposed last April.
While very few of the data breach incidents actually result in harm to consumers, such as stolen credit card numbers used for unauthorized transactions, most of the identity fraud results from phishing e-mails and malware, said Bo Holland, chief executive of AllClear ID. And in those cases, consumers may have no idea they've had data stolen from them until they see a charge that is not theirs on their statement.
Identity fraud overall is rising. Cases increased by 13 percent last year with more than 11.6 million adults in the U.S. becoming victims, according to Javelin.
With the AllClear ID Mobile app for iOS people can get alerts when their data shows up among data that law enforcement, security experts and researchers find on criminal servers and other sources as part of investigations. Various global sources contribute to the data pool, which is coordinated by a public-private partnership called National Cyber Forensics and Training Alliance. AllClear ID has access to that data and helps its customers when their data is detected.
"They're building a clearinghouse for cyber threats and attacks, that tells what computers are sending phishing attacks and driving malware, what information has been gathered," Holland said in an interview.
People can register for the app by providing name, e-mail address and birth date, and can add credit cards and social security numbers if they want for a more comprehensive detection capability when stolen data sources don't include the basic information.
When a customer's data is found to have been stolen, AllClear ID calls the customer to tell them what data was compromised and what they should do. If they don't answer, the service will leave a message, send an e-mail and the app lights up with an alert. There is also general information about privacy problems with apps and mobile devices that is available on the app's home page.
There's a fee-based premium service that offers $1 million in insurance to cover financial losses, credit monitoring and other features.