Monday, February 23, 2009

Immigration issues and Identity Theft

As I may have said in our class, illegal immigrant workers do not all know that Identity Theft is a crime, or at least they fully understand it.

That point is made in this article by this statement, "In at least hundreds of cases last year, workers accused of immigration violations found themselves facing the more serious identity theft charge as well, without any indication they knew their counterfeit Social Security and other identification numbers belonged to actual people and were not made up."

It also touches on the supply and demand issues and doesn't mention that getting an identity is a problem when they state "..traveled to Chicago and bought numbers from someone who trades in counterfeit IDs." I don't see that they indicated this was a difficult or mystifying process. It is presented as pretty straightforward from the way I read this.

The article is on Yahoo News here:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Payroll cards subject of largest ATM heist,..EVER

NetworkWorld has an article detailing the database breach of RBSWorldPay (one of the largest payroll debit card issuers) & the extremely well co-ordinated effort of a "small army" of people spanning multiple countries that, within 30min, stole approximately 9 million dollars.

Not even Hollywood could dream this one up........

In addition to the theft, 1.5 million people may have had their personal data stolen along w/ 1.1 million social security numbers being breached.

copy & paste this if the link above does not work.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Data Breaches Are More Costly Than Ever

The Washington Post cites a study by the Ponemon Institute about the cost of Identity Theft to businesses. As you may know, this is some of the information Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott wants you to know and which I covered in your training class. Notice that "the company's stock lost 42 percent of its value" after the announcement and that mitigating damages like this are the key reason your employer had me come in to teach your class:

Organizations that experienced a data breach in 2008 paid an average of $6.6 million last year to rebuild their brand image and retain customers, according to a new study.

Ponemon Institute, a Tucson-based research firm, looked at 43 organizations that reported a data breach last year and found that roughly $202 was spent on each consumer record compromised.

Heartland Payment Systems Data Breach has several articles related to the first major data breach of 2009 and the class action lawsuit that followed 7 days later:
The Heartland Payment Systems [HPY] data breach is the first major information security incident of 2009.
Exactly one week after the Heartland Payment Systems (HPY) breach was first announced to the public, the first lawsuit has been filed against the payments processor.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Win a free shredder over at

Lifehacker will be sponsoring a contest in the near future to win a new "Jam-Proof" paper shredder. A paper shredder is always a good thing to have on hand (especially this time of year). Don't forget that once your garbage hits the curb it becomes "public property" & is an open invitation for anyone to have access to your (non-shredded) documents.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Happy (belated) data privacy day !

Even though we forgot write a post about it (whoops). I sure hope that you were able to celebrate data privacy day back on Jan. 28th. The main idea is to devote 1 day a year to actually thinking about & discussing data privacy concerns. Since alot of this data is comprised from databases it fits snuggly side-by-side into the Id Theft concerns we like to discuss.

Intel , Microsoft, Google, along with several other companies are behind this official holiday. Here are a few links that can help in securing your data.

  1. Nothing beats Pre-Paid Legals' Identity Theft Protection
  2. Lifehacker always has good tips.
  3. The IAPP is a worldwide organization dedicated to spreading information about ID privacy .
  4. Here is site for MAC users with some good tips

Free software links to help you keep your computer (& identity) safe:

Commodo Internet Security suite is a well rounded, low system resource package

PC-Tools Antivirus is a decent realtime Antivirus scanner. The same company also created Threatfire to compliment any other (even paid ones like Norton's & McAfee) antivirus scanner. *Caveat* : Threatfire should not be used by itself but to enhance a "library based" scanner that receives nightly updates.

There is no excuse to NOT encrypt your Windows hard drive with the free, "Open Source" Truecrypt.

Don't forget to sign your mail too! There is free software available to integrate with your MS Outlook.

Of course, nothing beats physical security & awareness wherever you are.

What the web knows about you (& tells the world)

In this article by Robert Mitchell ( He writes about performing in depth web searches to see what results were returned. He was surprised to find everything from his SS# to digital signatures posted online. What surprised him most was that most of the guilty parties were the government & other businesses related to financial institutions.

Man to police: I have tons of stolen/forged id's & documents. What should I do ? Police: We don't want it. Throw it in the dumpster.

This guy buys a storage shed at auction. When opened, he discovers the original owners forged ID's, passports, birth certificates & more for a living. In addition to this, they would also break into peoples houses & businesses to obtain some of these items.

Being an honest man, he took the items to the police station. When he asked the officer what he should do with the items, he was shocked when he was told they didn't want it & that he should find the nearest dumpster & toss the items. He decided to go to the nearest TV station instead.


Welcome to my blog. The primary purpose of this Blog is to provide links to source material that I may have quoted in a presentation or training or researched in answer to a question I have been asked.

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