Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"I have Control Over Your Cell Phone"

Read this and be afraid.

Imagine someone watching your every move, hearing everything you say and knowing where you are at every moment. If you have a cell phone, it could happen to you. 13 Investigates explains how your cell phone can be secretly hijacked and used against you - and how to protect yourself.

After four months of harassing phone calls, Courtney Kuykendall was afraid to answer her cell phone.

The Tacoma, Washington, teenager was receiving graphic, violent threats at all hours.

And when she and her family changed their cell phone numbers and got new phones, the calls continued.

Using deep scratchy voices, anonymous stalkers literally took control of the Kuykendall's cell phones, repeatedly threatened Courtney with murder and rape, and began following the family's every move.
This is a frightening situation but for us it raises the greater and ominous problem of how the techniques used to terrify this woman might be used to monitor your cell phone activity and steal your valuable personal information. Here is why we are concerned.
Spyware marketers claim you can tap into someone's calls, read their text messages and track their movements "anywhere, anytime." They say you can "catch a cheating spouse", protect your children from an evil babysitter and "hear what your boss is saying about you." And while you're spying on others, the Spyware companies say "no one will ever know" because it's supposed to be "completely invisible" with "absolutely no trace."

Security experts say it's no internet hoax.
So, be careful and report any suspicious behavior to the authorities.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Your e mail was great!

A friend of mine who works in ID security recently expressed alarm that the US govt is interceting suspicious e-mail messages. He noted that this not only is a privacy concern but it could compromise confidential personal and credit or financial information. So the new story about domestic e-mail surveillance today adds emphasis to that problem. From the NY Times (also see direct link to story in the headline of this blog posting):
"The National Security Agency is facing renewed scrutiny over the extent of its domestic surveillance program, with critics in Congress saying its recent intercepts of the private telephone calls and e-mail messages of Americans are broader than previously acknowledged, current and former officials said."
The New York Times continued by describing the surveillance program (intended to identify potential threats to the United States and terrorist plots that might be brewing out there in Cyber space. The Congressional concern is a report coming from,
" ... the account of a former N.S.A. analyst who, in a series of interviews, described being trained in 2005 for a program in which the agency routinely examined large volumes of Americans’ e-mail messages without court warrants. Two intelligence officials confirmed that the program was still in operation."
So we are still holding our breath that these programs make us safer without violating our privacy and civil liberties.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Security or Privacy, That is The Question.

I talked to a close friend this week who works for a sensitive homeland security related research institute on the East Coast. The "security guys" have put software and protection on all the computers used in this organization. The computers are now practically worthless because to get a high level of security the system slows down to turtle speed thus making it almost useless.

You have probably tried using Microsoft Vista. One (of many) reasons its such a bad operating system is that they tried to compensate for the Swiss-cheese-like security problems in previous Windows systems.

Now comes another and vitally needed effort to lock down cyber security. Here are some comments from the article from the NY Times.

Privacy May Be a Victim in Cyberdefense Plan

June 12, 2009
WASHINGTON — A plan to create a new Pentagon cybercommand is raising significant privacy and diplomatic concerns, as the Obama administration moves ahead on efforts to protect the nation from cyberattack and to prepare for possible offensive operations against adversaries’ computer networks.

As with trying to identify terrorists through the Patriot Act, cyber security cannot be easily separated into "domestic" and "foreign" the way we have traditionally allocated legitimate areas of activity for the military and the CIA.

" ... foreign adversaries often mount their attacks through computer network hubs inside the United States, and military officials and outside experts say that threat confronts the Pentagon and the administration with difficult questions. Military officials say there may be a need to intercept and examine some e-mail messages sent from other countries to guard against computer viruses or potential terrorist action. Advocates say the process could ultimately be accepted as the digital equivalent of customs inspections, in which passengers arriving from overseas consent to have their luggage opened for security, tax and health reasons."

So we now once again face that hard choice of giving up some privacy for security or holding tight on our right not to be snooped on by the government but open ourselves to the risk and certainty of cyber-attacks against our personal identities as well as against civilian and government facilities.

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Ever Wanted to Publish an Article?

Ever wanted to publish an article? Have a interesting identity theft story?

Are you a internet security officer, banker, member of law enforcement or just have a good identity theft story to share?

Write a blog article, limit it to 325 words or less (in word) and submit to If your article is professional, polished, and of the right subject matter we will publish it on blog.

Remember to add your Name, Company and Title at the bottom of your article.

In the body of the email add your phone # so we can verify the source. By emailing us your article you give us full rights to publish your article now or anytime in the future.

Michael McCoy

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