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Overcoming Civilized Conditioning - 02/28/10 09:03 PM
What would you do if confronted by a bad guy? How would you respond? Freeze up? Run? Fight? You have been taught all of your life not to hurt another human being and that’s a good thing. From birth we are told to be kind to one another and have manners. This is called ‘civilized conditioning.’ Civilized conditioning is why we don’t walk around smacking each other. This cultural conditioning allows us to get along in a civilized society. However, you know bad things still happens every day. We are all to well aware there are some people out there who (0 comments)
How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft During Tax Season - 02/26/10 03:36 PM
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert Approximately 155 million tax forms are filed annually. People need to understand that thieves are inventing new ways to steal identities each and every day. And since tax time is a key period when we see a spike in identity theft, it’s crucial that we get the word out now and educate people about the latest scams. File Early. It seems crazy to think that someone would actually file taxes in your name, but it’s being done. Once they get a hold of a few W2’s or other tax related documents that give them an idea (3 comments)
Police: Supermarket Owner ‘Specifically Targeted’ in Home Invasion - 02/25/10 10:51 PM
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert Everyday I see dozens of stories on home invasions. And there are unfortunately dozens of ways and reasons why home invasions occur. But one thing they all have in common is violence. Targets of home invasions vary from the homeowner who just happened to be home all the way to the executive and his family who were purposefully targeted. Moneyed individuals need to take additional precautions due to their stature in society and bank accounts. High profile individuals often have access to secure facilities, keys to the safe, passwords to databases and power (1 comments)
Safety and Security on College Campuses - 02/23/10 09:52 PM
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert You’re in high-school and you’ve been having numerous discussions with friends and family about what colleges you want to go to. Maybe you’ve even applied to a few and have been accepted and in some cases rejected. Your search for schools generally involves the type of education you will receive, costs, location and the notoriety of the school. Choices like this weigh heavily on the student and the parent. One of the most overlooked aspects of selecting a school is consideration for its safety and security on campus. When you or your child heads (1 comments)
The $6.75 Million Dollar Laptop - 02/22/10 08:34 AM
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert Dan Yost Chief Technology Officer of MyLaptopGPS brought attention to the Ponemon Institute, with sponsorship from PGP, has released their “Fifth Annual U.S. Cost of Data Breach Study.” As usual, the report is a treasure trove of great data (just like most people’s laptops are). The average cost per breached data record rose $2 in 2009, to $204. That’s actually not too bad. The average cost of a breach was $6.75 million, compared to $6.65 million in 2008. PC World has a good article to summarize, and thanks to lyger at DataLossDB for the pointer. Not (1 comments)
How to Begin the Child Abduction Prevention Conversation - 02/22/10 07:41 AM
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert In the past decade we have witnessed child abductions like never before. One would be led to believe that “times have changed” and abductions are a new phenomena. The reality is child abductions have been going on since the beginning of time. In the 30’s, Charles Lindbergh Jr.’s 20 month old son was abducted and it made huge US media coverage. The media since, especially over the last decade, has deemed this a hot button and seems to have picked up on it. At any given time one can turn the channel and see live coverage (0 comments)
Is Chip and PIN the Future? - 02/21/10 02:06 PM
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert Chip and PIN is the name of a government-backed initiative in the United Kingdom to implement the EMV standard for secure payments. There have been rumblings from Europe over the past year about American based credit cards that solely rely on the magnetic strip not being accepted in the future due to security issues. Australia recently stated they were getting rid of all magnetic strip based cards and going Chip and PIN within the next few years. Meanwhile ZDNet reports “Researchers at Cambridge University have found a fundamental flaw in the EMV — Europay, MasterCard, Visa (1 comments)
We Love Them Dumb Criminals - 02/21/10 12:52 PM
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert Dumb criminals are often just ignorant people who do stupid things for a number of idiotic reasons. But one thing’s for sure, they sure are fun to watch. This kid in Florida used his index or “pointer” finger to hold up a convenient store. The store manager at first thought it was a joke, which in a sense it was, but the kid was serious, and when the cashier confronted the cocked finger, the dude fled. A poor unfortunate lost soul whose drug addiction overtook him, didn’t trust his crack dealers and went to the local (0 comments)
The State of Information Security Sucks - 02/20/10 12:21 PM
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert The sheer volume of potential targets coupled with the vast amounts of money to be made has captured the attention of the global criminal hacking community. Enterprise networks are becoming hardened and they are still vulnerable. Some are being penetrated directly while others are accessed through 3rd parities such as their clients or end users. Unprotected networks are being sniffed out and data breaches continue. The organizations that track these breaches are bored, frustrated, hate the industry and offer no good news. Innovation isn’t happening fast enough and new laws and regulations aren’t effective in solving (1 comments)
How to Prevent Home Contractor Fraud - 02/18/10 03:46 PM
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert It’s a scenario played out every day. Harry Homeowner needs a new roof, home security system, or kitchen installed. He does his due diligence searching out reputable contractors who offer fair pricing. He may look in the classified section of the local paper, do a search online, look on Craigslist or make some calls to friends and family who recently had a new roof installed. And in every single scenario Harry can get burnt. Each resource provides their own set of pros and cons, and every resource is used by scammers. The biggest issue consumers face (2 comments)
Fostering Awareness & Improving Security Education - 02/17/10 10:19 PM
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert Financial institutions have the most to lose and the most to gain by improving security education of their clients and employees. A while back I appeared on a local TV show talking about phishing. Amazingly, still, not everyone knows what phishing is. A good friend saw the show and was shocked by what she learned….about her bank. She received a phishing email and didn’t know what it was. The email asked her to update her account. It was confusing so she called her bank. She spent 20 minutes on the phone with a bank rep discussing (1 comments)
Search Engines Link to Malware in Social Media Search - 02/17/10 08:12 PM
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert Now that the 3 major search engines Google, Bing and Yahoo index real-time search for Twitter and other social networks, consumers must be aware that not all relevant search is a safe click. Scammers and identity thieves see this as real-time free advertising for their malware. When news breaks, the social media is now considered a trusted source for cutting edge information. The search engines trust that data and place those keyword search results on page one. A criminal hacker seeing news break begins to multiply that message and embed malware in the links that lead (3 comments)
Diploma Mills Facilitate Identity Theft - 02/17/10 04:53 PM
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert Diploma mills were born along with elearning institutions who are actually legitimate and accredited bodies. Degrees and diplomas issued by diploma mills are frequently used for fraudulent purposes, such as obtaining employment, promotions, raises, or bonuses on false pretenses. They can also be used as a form of fake ID when posing as someone else to gain employment, impersonation of a licensed professional or used to assist as a breeder document leading to “real” fake ID’s. A fake diploma is an effective social engineering tool used to gain access to your corporate networks. From Wikipedia “A (0 comments)
mCrimes Morph Into mBotnets - 02/16/10 08:03 PM
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert Botnets are robot networks of computers connected to the Internet that sit in our homes and offices. A botnet is generally banks of multiple PC’s from the 10’s to 10,000’s to millions. There are no hard numbers on botnets but last figure I saw was somewhere between 3-5 million. Another stat is 25 percent of all US based PC’s are on a botnet. That’s just insane. Botnets PC’s are called Zombies. Zombies all generally share a virus in common that allows for a remote control component. The criminal hacker controls the zombies on the botnet via (1 comments)
Personal Security: Scareware Scares You In To Paying - 02/13/10 09:55 PM
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert Makers of fake anti-virus software force people to buy ’scareware’. If one could have a favorite scam, for me, it would be “scareware.” My reasoning is it’s one of the few scams that actually gets through to me. My computer’s defenses are pretty good, but I still see scareware. They’ve even taken my blog posts and used my name to launch scareware in Google News Alerts. I have some criminal hacker’s attention and he created scareware in honor of lil’ ole me! Web pages may be infected or built to distribute scareware. The goal is to (1 comments)
EFT Point of Sales Hackers Net $50 Million - 02/13/10 08:26 PM
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert Readers of these posts are familiar with ATM skimming. ATM skimming is a billion dollar problem and growing. A relatively new scam over the past few years is electronic funds transfers at the point of sale (EFTPOS ) skimming. People commonly swipe both credit and debit cards through the in-store machines to pay for goods and services at these outlets. In Australia, Fast-food, convenience and specialist clothing stores are bearing the brunt of the crime. McDonald’s is among the outlets whose EFTPOS machines have been targeted. Last year, legitimate EFTPOS devices at McDonald’s outlets across Perth (0 comments)
Police Battle Break-in Trend - 02/13/10 06:46 PM
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert Belmont Massachusetts is right near Boston. This is not too far from my house and it’s where people “Pahk the Cahh in Hahvad Yahd.” Police are fighting a battle that has its residents all shook up over more than a dozen home burglaries in recent weeks. Many of the victims came home to broken windows and kicked in doors. Among the missing items were jewelry, coins and electronics which are common resalable items fenced on the streets and in pawnshops. In at least 2 cases plasma TVs were taken. “Police say the number of break-ins is (0 comments)
Citizens Need to be More Involved in Cybersecurity - 02/13/10 01:42 PM
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert In the University of Cincinnati’s Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the authors write “The general population must be engaged as active security providers, not simply beneficiaries of security policy, because their practices often create the threats to which government responds.” Somebody is saying to take personal responsibility and start doing things securely opposed to expecting it to all be done for you. What a revelation! Just because everyone has access to the Internet, doesn’t mean they are using it securely. If a person decides to login, they should take some basic courses or read (0 comments)
How Banks Fail to Provide Effective Online Security - 02/11/10 06:38 PM
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert A Texas bank is suing one of its customers who was hit by an $800,000 online bank theft that could determine who is to be held responsible for protecting their online accounts from fraud. Computerworld reports Romanian and Italian based criminal hackers launched numerous wire transfers out of the client’s back account. The bank recovered $600,000 of the $800,000. The victim wanted all its money back and sued the bank to be reimbursed of the $200,000. The bank in turn filed a lawsuit requesting the bank certify it had adequate security that was considered “commercially reasonable”. (1 comments)
Targeted Injection Attacks on the Rise - 02/09/10 08:09 PM
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert In the latter half of 2009, criminal hackers went from mass SQL injection campaigns to targeted attacks. SQL is abbreviation of Structured Query Language. Pronounced ”Ess Que El” or ”Sequel”. The attackers shift in strategy focused on targeting high-profile websites, concluded Websense’s State of Internet Security report for the third and fourth quarter of 2009. SQL injections have evolved in their purpose and sophistication. Originally meant as a tool to attack a merchant’s database and steal data. The attack was reconfigured last summer to install viruses on users’ computers that contain a remote control component. Matt (1 comments)
Family Starts Rebuilding After Home Invasion - 02/09/10 05:36 PM
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert Imagine you’ve lived at your home for a number of years, but it doesn’t feel like home anymore. It used to be a place that was comforting and soothing; a place of security where you didn’t have to “worry.” But then your home is burglarized. Your home is ransacked; your home life has been violated. The sense of home security is gone. This is what happened to the Bastyr family. “I hear every little noise,” Colleen Bastyr said. “I’m always looking through the windows to see if someone is there. When someone knocks at the door (0 comments)
3 Nabbed in Massachusetts ATM Skimming Ring - 02/07/10 05:56 PM
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert Police believe they may have uncovered an international ATM “skimming” ring responsible for stealing money from hundreds of local accounts. Izaylo Hristov, 28, of Ontario, Canada, a Bulgarian citizen, was arrested at an ATM in the Boston area along with Viadiclav Vladevo and Anton Venkov. Venkov had $99,100 in $20 bills in his car when he was arrested. One of them had Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards and American Express cards with post-it notes that had “PIN’’ and various numbers written on them. These cards were used to write the stolen data on, and then used to (0 comments)
10 Ways to Manage Your Online Social Media Reputation - 02/07/10 05:42 PM
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert The Internet has made our personal and professional lives very transparent. We now live in the fishbowl. Despite what many will argue, your privacy is no longer fully in your control. Your online identity is also something that others can control, and you need to do your best to manage it. Managing your online reputation and protecting it is equivalent to marketing your personal brand, YOU.
A colleague of mine is an adjunct professor of writing and communications at Boston University. He’s very intelligent and excellent at what he does. However if you were (3 comments)
Woman Captures Alleged Theft on Video - 02/07/10 05:17 PM
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert If I’ve said this a bazillion times I’ll say it again, video rules! Being able to access video footage of the day’s or evening’s “goings on” provides a tremendous amount of security. The UK has always been the leader in introducing video surveillance in public. “Public video surveillance in the UK began very unassumingly in 1986, on a single square mile industrial estate outside the English town of King’s Lynn. Three CCTV video surveillance cameras were used and their impact was immediate. In the years before the cameras were installed, there had been 58 crimes (mostly (0 comments)
Attorney General Leads Senior Anti-Crime University - 02/07/10 05:00 PM
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses” was written in a poem as part of a declaration that we, in the United States, protect those who need protecting. It’s an unfortunate statement about society that the weakest are often the most vulnerable, as opposed to the most protected. Even today, the elderly are often targeted by ruthless and heartless criminals who have no remorse.
“Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard leads a team of experts in consumer scams, investment fraud, personal safety, elder abuse, financial exploitation and other issues affecting seniors. The Senior Anti-Crime (0 comments)
A recent study by Dutch investigation firm Ultrascan shows we are half as smart (or twice as dumb) as we were in 2008 as advanced fee scams doubled in losses to over $9 billion. 419 Advance Fee Fraud Statistics 2009 (PDF)
It is believed that while the scams are known to be Nigerian in nature, coined after the 419 Nigerian code making them illegal, scams were launched from 69 other countries in 2009. The reason for the jump in the amount of victims is due to a broader reach of the scammer. Scammers aren’t (0 comments)
Police Initiative Targets Home Invasions - 02/04/10 01:03 PM
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert Detroit Police Department cracks down on home invasions across Detroit. There are few crimes as horrific as a home invasion. When a bad guy forces their way into your home and uses violence on your and your family to get what they want, all sense of security is gone. Apparently this is a significant issue in Detroit, but it is happening all over the country, and the world for that matter. “More than 20 people have been arrested in the Detroit Police Department’s targeting of home invaders. The initiative, called “Home Sweet Home,” is aimed (3 comments)
Criminal Hackers Buying and Selling Hacked Accounts - 02/03/10 09:59 PM
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert Malicious software designed to gather usernames and passwords has been a boon for the criminal hacking community. Spyware as it’s commonly known records almost everything a user does on their PC. The most damaging spyware records all electronic communications via a web browser. That’s where the most damage can be done and the money is made. Recent study shows there are as many as 70,000 variations of these keystroke sniffing programs which is double what was discovered in 2008. Criminals have become proficient at hacking databases containing millions of credit card numbers but now have (0 comments)
Top 8 Worst Twitter Social Media Hacks - 02/03/10 11:33 AM
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert In the past year our use of Twitter has increased dramatically. And so has the criminal hacker’s attention to the opportunity to use it for illicit gain. Jacked Twitter Accounts: Numerous Twitter (and Facebook) accounts including those of President Obama, Britney Spears, Fox News and others were taken over and used to make fun of, ridicule, harass or commit fraud. Social Media Identity Theft: Hundreds of imposter accounts are set up every day. Sarah Palin, St Louis Cardinals Coach Tony LaRussa, Kanye West, Huffington Post and many others have had Twitter accounts opened in their (1 comments)
Security Breach Threatens Soldiers’ & Civilians’ Personal Information - 02/02/10 08:22 PM
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert Burglars tend to go after high ticket items that can be immediately turned into cash. They may include electronics such as TVs, computers, game consoles or various kinds of stereo equipment. Jewelry has always been the favorite of the thief, and they know most women keep their jewelry box on their dresser or in the top or bottom drawer. What many are beginning to realize is that the information on the computers or laptops that are stolen is worth much more than the hardware itself. The money today is in the data that is stolen (0 comments)
My Identity Thief Loves Me (PTI) - 02/02/10 04:20 PM
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert I have a very weird job. I explore aspects of society that people read about but would never consider exploring themselves. I go places where others may be led to because they didn’t know any better. And I like too expose the flaws in the system that make us vulnerable. Much of my “research” or “antics” as some would call it is prompted by my desire to learn more about the scumbags of society or predators that prey on other people. My research has taken me down a dark seedy road into online dating scams, where (0 comments)
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