Less than a year after 40 million credit and debit card records were stolen from Target's point of sale systems, the New York Times is reporting
that "a Russian crime ring has amassed the largest known collection of stolen Internet credentials, including 1.2 billion user name and password combinations and more than 500 million email addresses." (Ars Technica
Passweird - Passwords too gross to steal.
This website will create for you a password that is not only secure*, but is also so utterly repulsive that not even the most hardened criminal, identity thief, NSA agent, or jealous boyfriend would ever want to use it. *ish, but probably not. Don't use these for real.
Where a journalist tries to identify TheIneffableSwede
, an online commenter
on the Guardian website and elsewhere online. A journalist from the Guardian adds more context
"Meanwhile, the Ruffs are wondering, too. They want to solve the mystery.
At the very least, they want to be able to tell Blake and Lori’s daughter who her mother was. Yet they worry they’ll find out something terrible, something they wish they had never known." An East Texas woman commits suicide. Her distraught former husband opens the strongbox
she'd forbidden him from accessing. The contents, however, continue to baffle investigators (and the public
) - who are now requesting help
with identifying the woman formerly known
as "Lori Ruff".
may have been the big news, but there were numerous other data breaches in 2010. [more inside]
Calculate the value of your identity on the black market
, based on how you access your financial information, your involvement in social and file-sharing networks, and security software installed. Spoiler: it's less than you imagine, as using the data is riskier than stealing the data
, and the thieves market is polluted by liars
(you can read more in the 12 page Microsoft research PDF
). [more inside]
Imagine you're living in China, trying to work your way out of the family date farming business (which garners approximately $450 annually). You do all the right things. You apply for (and receive) Communist Party membership
. You study literally to the point of collapse, and despite coming from coal-town origins, you score high on your gao kao
("high test," more-or-less the only thing that matters in getting into a Chinese university). Your already-poor family goes deep
into debt to send you to college, and you even manage to come out with a degree. Classic rise-up-by-your-own-bootstraps tale, right? However, finally, when you go to apply for a job—your state-sanctioned educational, occupational, and political records are inexplicably, awfully gone
. What has happened to that plain manila folder (!) that serves as your only legitimate, official history in Chinese society? Probably stolen and sold so a party official's child can get everything you worked so hard for
. And then, of course
, your family is detained by party officials when your parents demand to know where the hell your life went. Of course. [more inside]
FRONTLINE: Ghana - Digital Dumping Ground On the outskirts of Ghana's biggest city sits a smoldering wasteland, a slum carved into the banks of the Korle Lagoon, one of the most polluted bodies of water on earth. The locals call it Sodom and Gomorrah.
One of the biggest fallouts? Identity Theft
These identity thieves don't want your money. They want your quirky sense of humor and your cool taste in music.
Among the 125 million people in the U.S. who visit online dating and social-networking sites are a growing number of dullards who steal personal profiles, life philosophies, even signature poems. Dude u like copied my whole myspace
, posts one aggrieved victim.
Mayor Ken Williams of Centerton, Arkansas, recently resigned over allegations of identity theft
and other weirdness
. He claims that a truth serum injection helped him to recognize that he was formerly The Rev. Don LaRose. He runs a website telling the "amazing story" (in 11 chapters) of his abduction by satan-worshippers
three decades ago.
When Karen Lodrick turned away from ordering her latte at the Starbucks at Church and Market streets, there it was, slung over the arm of the woman behind her... a "beaucoup expensive" light-brown suede coat with faux fur trim at the collar, cuffs and down the middle. The only other time Lodrick had seen that particular coat was on a security camera photo that her bank, Wells Fargo, showed her of the woman who had stolen her identity. The photo was taken as the thief was looting Lodrick's checking account. And thus a foot chase towards justice
began. (via the Consumerist)
The Torn-Up Credit Card Application.
Can you get a credit card with a torn-up application? One citizen puts in the minimal effort to find out.
FTC imposes $10M fine against ChoicePoint for data breach
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has fined ChoicePoint $10 million for a data breach that allowed identity thieves posing as legitimate businesses to steal social security numbers, credit reports, and other data from nearly 140,000 people. This is the largest fine ever levied by the FTC. ChoicePoint also has to set up a 'trust fund' for people victimized by identity thieves. From the article: 'As part of its agreement with the FTC, ChoicePoint will also have to submit to comprehensive security audits every two years for the next 20 years.'" BusinessWeek has additional info.
Perhaps there might be hope for individual privacy after all. Let's all keep our fingers crossed.
The Virginia Watchdog "Don't you think if I can get Tom DeLay's Social Security number . . . that some guy in an Internet cafe in Pakistan can, too?"
Virginia activist Betty (BJ) Ostergren puts the Social Security numbers of politicians such as Colin Powell, Porter Goss, Jeb Bush and Tom Delay on her website to show how anyone can become a victim of identity theft
Cops engage in ID thefy - legally!
[sorry - reg. required was all I could find] Cops in Ohio were putting together a sting in a strip club. They paid a 24-year-old informant a $100 a night to work as a stripper in the club (What? After tips?) But in order to carry out the sting, they gave the informant a false identity. Instead of creating a new one, they simply plucked the details off of some poor girl’s drivers license and social security card, such that this girl now has being paid as a stripper on her record. And according to the law, this is PERFECTLY LEGAL — in fact the Ohio police’s right to do this was included as a provision in a new Ohio law that was aimed at stopping ID theft. Which also makes me wonder — was this a commonplace practice in Ohio or anywhere else? Is that why they sought to protect it in the law? Is some guy using my ID to infiltrate NAMBLA right now?
The Credit Card Prank Part 2
Not satisified with the results of an earlier experiment
, John Hargave kicks it up a notch and tries to get someone, anyone
, care about the signature on his credit card receipts.
Blogger moxie.nu acuses another blogger of identity theft
. The other blogger, moxiepop.com
, fires back, saying she got harassed by moxie.nu's readers
and that she had never seen moxie.nu's site before
. Another blogger goes on the offensive and accuses moxiepop of imitating moxie.nu
. Comments start flying on moxie.nu and are ultimately closed by the host. Some other blogs step in, supporting moxiepop (1
) and supporting moxie.nu (1
Tim Blair chimes in
, Andrea Harris has a few words
, Jim Treacher calls for some Moxie Boxing
, and Kevin Parrott adds Rockem Sockem Moxies
. A delightful train wreck for all to see.
So, what does one have do to trigger a security alert?
A suburban Philadelphia lady finds her credit card has been fraudulently charged for a flight to Philadelphia, with a passenger name that sounds Middle Eastern, during the time that President Bush and DHS Secretary Tom Ridge would be in the city. Worried, she tries to report this to various police and security officials. This is her story.
The Yes Men
, impersonators who have dissolved the WTO
, among other stunts, released YesIWill!
last year in response to the WTO's attempt to shut down the gatt.org web site. I was checking in on the program today, and was disappointed to see it hadn't been updated any.
Then I found out it's because it's been renamed: Reamweaver
9/11 Conspirators Stole Identities of Murdered Students:
"HAD FBI agents bothered to ask college lecturers in South Wales about the terrorist bomber they supposedly taught over a decade ago, then security chiefs would have realised how Osama bin Laden had carefully created a generation of impostors . . . his agents stole the identities and life histories of at least a dozen Western-educated young men who were all murdered in 1990, according to a former head of the CIA."
Social Security Numbers and privacy.
I refuse to give my number out whenever possible, but it is getting worse all the time. Thankfully I can still buy batteries and refuse to give Rat Shack my telephone number, and tell Toy R Us where to go when they ask for my zip, but this is frustrating. Wasn't this what people feared about having identification numbers in the first place?
Sippey encourages you 'to inject chaos and anarchy into the post button by hijacking the identities and namesakes of your favorite web "icons."'
Who do you want to be today?
Your phone is you
Before we let cellphones handle everything from opening our medical records to buying a house, we'll need to make sure people can't steal our identities.
Busboy makes good!
Sometimes when your pay is not enough to live on you have to take action to correct things. This guy did. With a computer he didn't even own.
Identity swapping makes life relative
Do any of you do the Safeway Card Shuffle? I think I probably would, but then again the level of tracking where I live is currently negligible, so it isn't yet an issue. How about where you live?
And how does this tie in to online privacy, like advertising cookies and programs like RealPlayer and GoZilla that track and report where you've been and what you've been doing?