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Encryption Blog
Showing posts tagged with Identity theft
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Doug McLean | 05 Apr 2010 | 0 comments

That headline is not my assertion, but the conclusion reached by the Department of Justice itself. More specifically it's the conclusion of a report by the Department's Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The OIG's charter as stated on its website is below.

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) conducts independent investigations, audits, inspections, and special reviews of United States Department of Justice personnel and programs to detect and deter waste, fraud, abuse, and misconduct, and to promote integrity, economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in Department of Justice operations.

Typically, the OIG's reports review the finances and activities of each of the Department's nine bureaus.  This particular report, however, reviews the entire Department of Justice's activities around identity theft since President Bush...

Doug McLean | 02 Dec 2009 | 0 comments

The decline in the newspaper business has already killed some major publications, but for some reason has not (yet) killed off the category of publications known simply as "Advertisers." These are the free publications that typically carry three to four local stories each day, a few dozen syndicated features and lots and lots of ads for local businesses.

We have a couple of these publications in my neighborhood including one entitled the "Daily Post." In a cover story today, they reported that local police stopped a car early Sunday morning and in it found:

"...receipts, unopened mail, doctor's bills and checkbooks belonging to residents in Pleasanton, Menlo Park, Fremont, Atherton, Redwood City and Mountain View."

"If that wasn't enough,...

Kevin Albright | 19 May 2009 | 0 comments

Kevin AlbrightA recent data breach at Johns Hopkins Hospital was announced that resulted from a single employee working in patient registration who accessed more than 10,000 pieces of personally identifying information. Reports of fraud started back in January and have been traced to records at Johns Hopkins.

The employee in question has been linked to a larger driver’s license fraud scheme in nearby Virginia. These types of incidents have been appearing more and more; while we protect against attacks coming across the internet with firewalls, and malware...

Doug McLean | 25 Feb 2009 | 0 comments

I wrote about this case in October and thought at the time it represented a case of prosecutorial indulgence. The issue at stake here is whether or not an undocumented immigrant that uses false identification can be charged with identity theft if the data on the false documentation actually belongs to someone else.

To be clear, the case does not address the issues associated with immigrating illegally or using false documents to obtain work or social benefits. Even the defendent's counsel concedes his client is guilty of those infractions. The sole issue in question here is if you create or purchase a fake Social Security card with an I.D. number on it that belongs to someone else, have you in addition committed identity theft.  It seems like a reach to me and  in October the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. Based on this...

Doug McLean | 16 Jan 2009 | 2 comments

Impressive piece by Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway here.

Mr. Conway is clearly one of the more technically savvy law enforcement officers in the U.S.  He is obviously committed to ensuring that the Kentuck criminal code keeps pace with the new forms anti-social behavior that are enabled by the Internet.

Beyond that, however, Mr. Conway is also investing heavily in educational programs to ensure both parents and minors are aware of some of the risks posed by predators hiding behind the anonymity of the 'net.

Finally, his office maintains a very good web site on safe Internet usage that includes topics such as identity theft, cyberstalking, and even safest way to use the burgeoning social networking sites.

Jack Conway is to be commended for his forward thinking ideas on protecting the citizens of Kentucky....

Doug McLean | 20 Oct 2008 | 0 comments

The Supreme Court announced today that they would hear the first case on identity theft to reach the high court. When I first saw the headline I thought great, now maybe we'll get some focus on this issue. Unfortunately, the case itself is only peripherally about identity theft.

The core issue is just how much latitude the court is willing to give prosecutors in pursuing illegal immigration cases. It turns out that one of the legal tactics now being used by prosecutors against those caught in the U.S. illegally is to threaten to charge them with identity theft in order to get them to plead to the lesser charge of entering the country without proper documentation. The case hinges on whether a defendant is aware that the made up social security number or other details they've invented on their fake documents in fact belong to someone else.

It will...

Doug McLean | 03 Sep 2008 | 0 comments

A report out of the Identity Theft Resource Center claims that the number of data breaches in 2008 has already surpassed 2007's total of 446. While it's intuitively obvious that the number of data breaches is increasing, I have a hard time putting much credence in the actual numbers reported by the ITRC or the reasons they cite for the increase.

The first problem with counting data breaches is that we all need to admit that the only statistics we see at all are reported data breaches. Until 2003 when California passed the watershed legislation in this field, SB 1386, very few breaches had to be reported and predictably almost none were. Initially, many global enterprises ignored SB 1386 assuming that if they didn't have a presence in California they weren't subject to it's requirements. It took awhile before most enterprises, particularly those outside of...

Doug McLean | 14 Aug 2008 | 0 comments

It's been said that you shouldn't ever overestimate the intelligence of your basic criminal. One of my favorite cybercrime stories, however, deals with a perpetrator who was clearly smart enough, but was just unlucky...very unlucky.

In June 2004 Sharon Durbin was a small time crook living in Harris County in South Texas. She’d been struggling to find a way to support her lifestyle and thought she’d hit on the perfect solution. Using a stolen bank account number and a fake ID, she started writing checks against the bank account of one Chuck Rosenthal. For a while, her scam worked until one day she got a little greedy and wrote a check for $1,071. When the check cleared, Mr. Rosenthal noted the amount and the payee and determined something was amiss. Mr. Rosenthal, who had some familiarity with the potential loss from identity theft immediately closed the account and notified the Harris County prosecutor’s office. This last step wasn’t difficult...