Archive for September, 2011

By Matt Cullina,

The email below popped into my inbox this morning—and it was suspicious from the start.

What immediately caught my eye: a partially listed credit card number, a request to download information, and a threat that my card would be blocked if I didn’t input requested information correctly.


By Ondrej Krehel,

What has been done will be done again, the old saying goes. There is nothing new under the sun.

That applies to a, a new website that has turned hacking into a game of sorts. Hackers submit details of their latest attacks so that members can award points for their complexity or difficulty. The main page is a simple leaderboard of registered members and their point totals. More than 700 members have joined the site since it opened in July, according to The New York Times.


By Brian McGinley,

We have moved from being a computer-assisted society to one that is computer-dependent. Controlling that dependence is critical to maintaining a secure operation. Admittedly, that requires assistance from technical experts. But good control begins with a company’s employees, an area you can’t afford to ignore, and which I covered in an earlier post.


By Dick Hudak,

The criminals were good. They almost got away with the most complex data breach and identity theft scam I’d seen in all my years as an FBI agent and hotel security director.

The victim was a nationally branded hotel in Annapolis, Maryland. A mob of thieves from Baltimore infiltrated the hotel in 2004. An associate had applied for a front desk position, got it, and soon had access to the guest and accounting system.

The gang incorporated several businesses and opened bank accounts using previously stolen identities. They chose a bank based in New Mexico, certain that no one would fly 2,000 miles to check on a fake mailing address. Over the course of a few weeks, the group charged $850,000 to credit cards lifted from the hotel’s accounting records. Charges ranged from $10,000 to $18,000 each.

Foster youth are often denied access to adequate educational and residential programs that meet their unique needs within a supportive environment. The cruel and damaging effects of growing up in foster care without those needs met are staggering: high rates of young parenthood, unemployment, homelessness, inadequate health insurance, reliance on public assistance, severe mental illness and incarceration. Foster youth often emerge as young adults from our “system” without possessing the basic skills to survive. Less than 2% of Foster Youth (one twentieth of the proportion of the general population) benefit from a college education, arguably their best ladder out of challenging childhoods to worthwhile adult lives.


By Matt Cullina,

The Jersey Shore cast may be more relevant than you think—and it’s not the way they beat up the beat, stay fresh with GTL, or liberally apply hair gel.

Experts say that most people remember passwords when they associate them with something they do often. So if Jersey Shore is one of your shows, then Snooki, with some numbers and symbols added, may be your gal.

Creating strong passwords is key to protecting personal information. But this can be a challenge given the many websites and devices that need our protection. Think of all the places where we store sensitive information online: on websites tied to banking, financial planning, health insurance, social networks, email, and online shopping. Then there are files we keep on work and home computers, smartphones and iPads. (more…)

When you hear about identity theft, you might be skeptical of just how bad it could be, or think it could never happen to you. On this week’s show, our guest Mark that took over his life when someone stole his identity—which led to him being arrested and held overnight in jail.  He faced what seemed like an unwinnable situation…but his homeowners insurance policy carried an often overlooked service that gave him a lifeline out of the nightmare. Debbie Quinlivan of MetLife also joins us to discuss how consumers can take advantage of identity theft resolution services that some homeowners insurance policies offer.

By Brian McGinley, Identity Theft 911

In my last post, we established a foundation of control with the first seven steps to smarter security. This is the base on which we can build sound management practices, which is what we’ll cover in Steps 8 through 14.

8.    Set up a How-to Plan for Managing an Information Breach

When a breach happens it’s imperative to:

•    Identify it and escalate to the appropriate management and subject matter expert resources within the organization to initiate the launch of a deliberate breach response plan.

By Betty Chan-Bauza,

For many of us who thought we had left cringe-worthy moments behind in middle school, social media has revived that old pit-of-the-stomach “What did I just do?” feeling.

That’s because, while we would never intentionally expose a friend to embarrassment, identity fraud, or worse, it’s shockingly easy to commit these five common online blunders: (more…)

By Ondrej Krehel,

News of Osama bin Laden’s death wasn’t a day old before hackers moved in.

They flooded social networking sites like Facebook with spam—links that promised images of the al-Qaeda leader but that led to corrupted Flash plug-ins that disrupted Google search results.

This week’s 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks  will be no different. The Department of Homeland Security to be on the lookout for email scams related to Hurricane Irene and 9/11. Already, there have been reports of a commemorative 9/11 coin scam.