Sunday, January 20, 2008

Banks mail secondary tokens to consumers; could help protect identity

A story by Chris Emery in the Baltimore Sun, Jan. 19, 2008. ““Steps to protect teens online: Attorneys general, Myspace work on ID technology,” link here, could provide another important clue as to protect consumer personal identities altogether. This has to do with the idea of banks, brokerages and even PayPal (the last of which is so often spoofed by spammers) mailing consumers “a plastic token that randomly generates a second password” to be entered to log in. Bank of America has a “site key” which must be verified on every computer. If such a token had to be mailed to a “preferred address” as discussed earlier on this blog (Sept. 25, 2006), consumer identity might be further secured if a transaction could not be completed without receipt of this token.

Protection of consumer identities is potentially important for other reasons, to prevent “framing” of computer users for the acts of others, although this is has been uncommon outside of the workplace. I recall when working for a credit reporting company (Chilton, in Dallas, Texas) in the 1980s that we were told to always log off from the mainframe when away from our desks because we were absolutely responsible for anything done with our accounts. In those days, people had CMS (for DOS) passwords that were replaced by Roscoe and MVS in the early 1980s. Another rule even then to protect identity and security was zero tolerance of use of company computers for personal use.

While I’m at it, let me recommend a couple of films: “Identity Theft: The Michelle Brown Story" (2004) and “Identity” (2003).

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