Saturday, January 12, 2019

Darkening of FTC during shutdown increases risk of identity theft



Apparently the Federal Trade Commission is dark during the shutdown, increasing the risk of identity theft from hackers or even pickpockets.  NBC News reports.

Major incidents are already reported.

  
Furthermore, a complaint to the FTC about possible payment processor collusion against some content creators using patronage systems online won’t get started right now.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Experian analyzes the risk to average consumers from data breaches



For the New Year, Experian (aka TRW aka Chilton) has some embeddable charts on “where your personal information is most at risk” from 2018. From data breaches.


Or this one, data records lost by industry

  
Most of these breaches are so massive that the practical risk for any person is very low.  And more of them seem to come from foreign states.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

China, as a state actor, seems to be behind Marriott hack


Mike Pompeo has “accused” Beijing, as a state actor, of hacking the Starwood systems of Marriott hotels, as explained in Politco here.
That could be “good news” for average American consumers who don’t travel abroad to non-western countries.  It is extremely unlikely that the information would be used to create fake identities for normal crime, or that the personal information could be used for financial credit card fraud or for Internet spam or other targeted attacks.  However, in a few cases, people with passports to travel to China or to other authoritarian countries could need to be wary. 

Note how Fox News emphasizes "Communist" China.  How true. 

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

"Deep Fakes" can incriminate people online



CNN has a video explaining the growing problem of “deep fakes” online, which can manipulate videos and make it appear a different person is making an offensive statement or committing some sort of act. (There is a scene in my novel where a defendant in a shoplifting case tries to claim this was done.)

NBC News has a similar recent video on the problem. It cannot be managed by the usual rules involving "revenge porn". 


A company called Truepic is developing counter strategies. 
  
This story is likely to become more important with time.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Marriott Hotels data breach still of unknown consequences for consumers



Marriott has reported that between 300 million and 500 million hotel guests’s personal information could have been compromised by unauthorized access that it had detected in September.

The hacks occurred on the Starwood reservation system, including the Westin, St. Regis and Shearton hotels, for stays within the past four years.

It was unclear whether the second internal degree of encryption had been compromised.
   
The problem may be less serious if over time a customer’s credit cards have replaced by normal expiration.


But it is possible that other PII could have been compromised, facilitating new identities, which might get created overseas without a person’s knowledge.
  
I’ve wondered about emails, apparently spam from “Apple”, claiming I had purchased video games in Jakarta or even Belarus.  Could something turn up if I were to travel overseas (especially to a country like Russia)?

Update: Dec. 4

A New York Times story today by Ron Lieber discusses the threat, however remote, to passport holders who would travel to certain countries.  The article also mentions the "deep fake" technology as a possible complication (see Dec 4 posting on that specifically, above this one). 

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Frequent flyer miles being stolen from PII on the Dark Web



Hackers are stealing and selling frequent flyer miles on the Dark Web, according to Experian, in a story here

The details come from a report by Comparitech. 
  
If miles are stolen, it normally means your PII has been compromised from other sources. 

How many people watch their frequent flyer miles balances?  I don't fly often enough on the same airlines to do this. 
  
   
Experian offers searches of the “dark web” (similar to those offered by Reputation Defender in the past) to look for stolen evidence and now evidence of stolen miles.   It’s not yet clear how airlines will respond.  These could complicate TSA security.

Friday, November 02, 2018

Identity theft used for dating scams



WJLA7 last night reported a scam involving the use of stolen identities in dating apps.
  
I couldn’t find the story last night, but people have found that their identities have been used by others to collect support under false pretenses, where as people sending the financial support have been scammed.

The documentary film “Online Dating Scam” from early 2017 explains how it may happen.

  
I don’t use dating apps, but Economic Invincibility discusses it on YouTube in his channel in May 2018. I like the metaphor “A little minnow about to be devoured by a shark.”  He thinks that the smartphone has destroyed the older online dating world.