Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Help Wanted!!!!

Hundreds of Identity Theft Services have hit the market in the past few years, and hundreds of others have done so and failed. Still others have launched, floundered, renamed, changed costume, and returned to the stage.

There is one in particular into which I am looking for, and with which I need your help -- Identity Watchdog (formerly ID Rehab), both out of Denver, Colorado. In case it helps, it is my further understanding that the company founders (father/son) also own and operate a credit repair service in the same building.

If any of my readers can fill in the gaps, please add your comments to this thread.

Also, if you have information on any other company (like Identity Experts)which has not made it under one name, and is now doing business under a different name, please send me the names and locations of those as well.

Why rename your business?

Why try to hide your past?

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Your Prescription Has Been Stolen!

Local Prescription Company Being Blackmailed
by Chris Regnier

One of America's largest prescription benefit companies based in North County is targeted by an extortion plot.

It's a plot that could lead to serious identity theft!

'Express Scripts' says it received a letter threatening to release the personal information of many clients unless a payment is made.

Express Scripts say they received the letter about a month ago.

They immediately called in the FBI but say they didn't go public until now because they wanted to let the investigation take its course.

Express Scripts is known for helping companies with prescription benefit plans including generic and mail order drugs.

Company officials say they are angered by the alleged extortion plot.

They say the letter threatens to expose the records of millions of their clients if the extortionists aren't paid off. What's even more troubling is that the letter contained the personal information of 75 Express Scripts clients information that included names, dates of birth, social security numbers and in some cases prescription information.
So now what? This is the type of new ID theft that is frustrating and remarkable because there is no way in hell that individuals can protect themselves from this type of ID theft! The only solution would be to go off the grid and never see a doctor, never use a cell phone, the Internet, get all your money in gold bars or cash and drop out! Not practical for most os us.

One of the companies for which I consult and that handles medical records called me frantic about this.

"What can we do?"

I was at a loss what they could do except to suggest what we normally fall back on.

I told them - "Your customers should have an identity theft insurance program that monitors their credit and helps them with protection and recovery of lost ID information. And, you should run an ID theft risk management training program for all your employees twice a year so they all understand risk behavior and security concerns. "
"Express Scripts also promised members free identity-restoration services if their data is used by the criminals. The company announced that it had contracted with well-known risk-consulting firm Kroll to assist any members that suffer identity theft."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

No Blackberry for YOu!

So the rest of us are exposed to security breaches and nobody is doing anything about that? From the New York Times today.

Sorry, Mr. President. Please surrender your BlackBerry.

The Caucus

Those are seven words President-elect Barack Obama is dreading but expecting to hear, friends and advisers say, when he takes office in 65 days.

For years, like legions of other professionals, Mr. Obama has been all but addicted to his BlackBerry. The device has rarely been far from his side — on most days, it was fastened to his belt — to provide a singular conduit to the outside world as the bubble around him grew tighter and tighter throughout his campaign.

“How about that?” Mr. Obama replied to a friend’s congratulatory e-mail message on the night of his victory.

But before he arrives at the White House, he will probably be forced to sign off. In addition to concerns about e-mail security, he faces the Presidential Records Act, which puts his correspondence in the official record and ultimately up for public review, and the threat of subpoenas. A decision has not been made on whether he could become the first e-mailing president, but aides said that seemed doubtful.
Now, I know that we are all aware that our e-mail and our wireless phone conversations can easily be intercepted and used for evil. And, I know that all of YOU use only encrypted e-mail and DO NOT EVER give out information such as Social Security numbers on a wireless phone (and only use a hard wired land line to do that).

So just remember that as part of your "safe communicating" in your job and in your personal activities. Even Obama cannot Blackberry at will.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Watch out! Here comes the massive attack!

"Attackers bent on shutting down large Web sites — even the operators that run the backbone of the Internet — are arming themselves with what are effectively vast digital fire hoses capable of overwhelming the world’s largest networks, according to a new report on online security."
Well now we are in a pickle! It looks like our dear friends in the IT industry including those "big shots" that tell us how they own the world are almost giving up on Internet security. Of course! Why not. The banks, mortgage compnaies, insurance companies, auto Industry and securities firms also did not give a damn about the consumer.

Why should the computer and IT industry care any more than these bastions of American business.

So where do we go from here?

"Personal responsibility" according to one of my Republican friends. It's all "our" fault not "their" fault. Buyer beware.

November 10, 2008, The New York Times .

Internet Attacks Grow More Potent

SAN FRANCISCO — Attackers bent on shutting down large Web sites — even the operators that run the backbone of the Internet — are arming themselves with what are effectively vast digital fire hoses capable of overwhelming the world’s largest networks, according to a new report on online security.

In these attacks, computer networks are hijacked to form so-called botnets that spray random packets of data in huge streams over the Internet. The deluge of data is meant to bring down Web sites and entire corporate networks. Known as distributed denial of service, or D.D.O.S., attacks, such cyberweapons are now routinely used during political and military conflicts, as in Estonia in 2007 during a political fight with Russia, and in the Georgian-Russian war last summer. Such attacks are also being used in blackmail schemes and political conflicts, as well as for general malicious mischief.

A survey of 70 of the largest Internet operators in North America, South America, Europe and Asia found that malicious attacks were rising sharply and that the individual attacks were growing more powerful and sophisticated, according to the Worldwide Infrastructure Security Report. This report is produced annually by Arbor Networks, a company in Lexington, Mass., that provides tools for monitoring the performance of networks.

The report, which will be released Tuesday, shows that the largest attacks have grown steadily in size to over 40 gigabits, from less than half a megabit, over the last seven years. The largest network connections generally available today carry 10 gigabits of data, meaning that they can be overwhelmed by the most powerful attackers.

The Arbor Networks researchers said a 40-gigabit attack took place this year when two rival criminal cybergangs began quarreling over control of an online Ponzi scheme. “This was, initially, criminal-on-criminal crime though obviously the greatest damage was inflicted on the infrastructure used by the criminals,” the network operator wrote in a note on the attack.

The attack employed a method called reflective amplification, which allowed a relatively small number of attack computers to generate a huge stream of data toward a victim. The technique has been in use since 2006.

“We’re definitely seeing more targeted attacks toward e-commerce sites,” said Danny McPherson, chief security officer for Arbor Networks. “Most enterprises are connected to the Internet with a one-gigabit connection or less. Even a two-gigabit D.D.O.S. attack will take them offline.”

Large network operators that run the backbone of the Internet have tried to avoid the problem by building excess capacity into their networks, said Edward G. Amoroso, the chief security officer of AT&T. He likened the approach to a large shock absorber, but said he still worried about the growing scale of the attacks.

“We have a big shock absorber,” he said. “It works, but it’s not going to work if there’s some Pearl Harbor event.”

Over all, the operators reported they were growing more able to respond to D.D.O.S. attacks because of improved collaboration among service providers.

According to the Arbor Networks report, the network operators said the largest botnets — which in some cases encompass millions of “zombie” computers — continue to “outpace containment efforts and infrastructure investment.”

Despite a drastic increase in the number of attacks, the percentage referred to law enforcement authorities declined. The report said 58 percent of the Internet service providers had referred no instances to law enforcement in the last 12 months. When asked why there were so few referrals, 29 percent said law enforcement had limited capabilities, 26 percent said they expected their customers to report illegal activities and 17 percent said there was “little or no utility” in reporting attacks.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Passport Identity Theft? NO comment!

Click for full State Department page on this.

Washington, D.C., October 31, 2008 - The U.S. State Department has notified several hundred citizens awaiting passports that their personal information may have been compromised, warning them that they could be the victims of credit or identity theft.

"To date, we have notified 383 individuals whose records may have been assessed... for illicit purposes," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters during a daily briefing. "To the best of our knowledge, most of these individuals have not experienced identity theft. Law enforcement officials are still investigating this case, so... I can't say that 383 is going to be the final number. There may be - along the way, we find that there are more people." AHN News

The Washington Times reported how this may have happened.

"The Washington Times reported in April that a State Department employee who was not identified in documents filed in U.S. District Court was implicated in a credit-card fraud scheme after 24-year-old Leiutenant Quarles Harris Jr. told federal authorities he obtained "passport information from a co-conspirator who works for the U.S. Department of State."

The investigation began after police on March 25 pulled over Mr. Harris in Southeast on suspicion that the windows of his vehicle were tinted too darkly.

Upon questioning by agents from the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Postal Service and State Department, Mr. Harris "admitted he obtained the passport information" from a State Department employee, court documents say.

Mr. Harris also said the fraud ring submitted credit-card applications using the names and "identifying information" of the persons listed on the passport applications, and that a Postal Service employee then would intercept the cards before they were delivered to residences.


Saturday, November 01, 2008

No Free Lunch for Older Folks - Watch out!

Please read this item from Business Week and the AARP.

We need to run some focused workshops for older Americans and for retired folks because I have heard some unconfirmed stories about people giving their Social Security # and birth place/date to these free lunchers. That of course is an invitation to identity theft.


IF you have any retired folks warn them of these scams please. We are all in this fight together.

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