Happy Tuesday my security savvy friends!
Christmas is in 6 days, which means we have only 11 days left for 2011. Around the holidays, it is always nice for us security types to enjoy a win. And on December 16, we got a nice win. A New York City identity theft ring was busted, snagging 55 people.
We are beginning to see more and more theft rings busted by law enforcement these days, but every bust, every investigation, is showing us something new! Looking at the typical identity thief, they are white collar criminals, with maybe a parking ticket or two, but not much else. This bust did not follow the norm when it comes to the demographics of the group. Yes, there was the token white collar guy who probably trained folks on how to carry out the master plan, but there was a unique group mixed in… members from street gangs! Yes indeed, identity theft has turned into such a booming business that even the street gangs are taking it up as a new revenue stream. “Jonathan, what are the meat and potatoes of this case?” I am glad you ask! Over an 18 month investigation, 55 people were arrested for their parts in the crime. What is nice about this bust, other than shedding light on the street gangs movement into the digital crime world, was the use of insiders to assist. Three JP Morgan Chase employees were arrested, some others came from the United Jewish Appeal charity, a car salesman, and a compliance officer from a property management company, are a few of the 55 arrested.
Can you imagine the approach on this one? A blood or a crypt gang member approaches you in a coffee shop, asks to speak to you private, and then tells you about a plan to rip off hundreds of people… Now as you read this, you are probably thinking, “Jonathan, I think you may be embellishing a little!” I wish I could have made that one up. I mean I have a great imagination, and my mental image of the gang member “rollin up” to the Starbucks in his ’64 Impala, getting out, and talking to some suit… Really?
I digress, my apologies! Where was I? Oh yes, according to the reports about this group, I found that they stole “at least” $2 Million from customers!
How the Scam Worked:
These crooks were quite smart in how they did all of this. They would use their inside connections to alter personal details of customers, order new credit cards, have them shipped to new addresses, have those cards intercepted by a criminal that was working with UPS, who would then sell them to another group, who would purchase high dollar items, which would then be fenced by another group… Take a breath… Did you follow all of that?
All joking aside, this group is going to jail, and the security industry learned some new lessons from this. This is a case where the people did nothing wrong, and their private information was stolen. I hope you see how important it is to protect your data!
Thanks for reading!
Protect your information, protect yourself; The coffee is brewing people, it is time to wake up!!!
Good Afternoon folks!
I must apologize for my delay in getting today’s post out, I ran into some writer’s block this morning, and I had to take care of some items at work that were quite pressing. So, do you know where your data is?
That is a broad question isn’t it?
We all must answer the question with a very simple “no!” Today’s post is on the destruction of data. When we are done with our computers, what is done with it? Do you throw it away? Do you pass it down to the kiddos? The reason I ask these crazy questions is to demonstrate that you have no idea where your data is!
“What am I supposed to do with my computers when I am done with it then?” I am glad you asked!
If you are planning on recycling the computer to let your kids use it, simply find your “recovery” disc, blow all the dust off of it, and wipe out all of the data from your computer, and start over. If you want to truly get rid of the data, you can download a free tool from www.diskwipe.org that will zero out your hard drive. Zero out? So, you have heard that all data is simply 1’s and 0’s right? When you “zero out” a hard drive, it turns every 1 into a 0 on the disk. This is the only way to make your data go completely away… not even someone with computer forensic tools can retrieve it! Once this is done, you can install a new version of Windows, and give your kids a clean, virus free, and personal data free, computer!
When computers become obsolete, and people decide to get new ones, they often times throw their old computers out… eventually! The data stored on that old computer is still there, and if you toss out the computer, then someone could steal your information. Your personal information doesn’t have an expiration date. So, if you are looking to throw out an old computer, use the wipe tool before you throw it out! Another option is to take your hard drive to the shooting range, (get permission first, or go to a friend’s field) and get some target practice with the drive! One more option, one for those who have some built up frustration, take your hard drive out to the garage, take out a hammer, and beat the drive into a thousand little pieces. It would be wise to wear safety glasses if you are doing this!
Ladies and Gentlemen, have a great remainder of the day, and remember:
Protect your information, protect yourself; Coffee is brewing people, it is time to wake up!!!