Friday, July 06, 2007

False identities off Internet used to procure equipment in Britain

Today, Friday, July 6, 2007, Brian Krebs has an important story in The Washington Post, the top of page D01, on how accomplices in the recent string of incidents in Britain bought illegal supplies with stolen identities. The story is here.

The article discusses a woman in New Jersey was fooled by a phishing email asking her to update her EBay information. That information was used to purchase supplies under her identity. (Note: I don’t repeat the names of targeted people here, since spiders would pick them up; although the names are still going to picked up from the media sites by search engines.) This could have happened with any financial site, or a social networking site. I note humorously that the plot of the recent hit film “Transformers” is driven by the fact that the EBay page of a teenage boy captures the attention of the bad guys out in outer space (I guess the speed of light is no limit to the reach if the Internet now). The article goes on to discuss (in graphic detail) the way the bad guys use “free speech” to post jihadist propaganda and instructions on the Internet.

One concern, expressed by earlier postings on this blog, is whether anyone has liability if he or she fails to practice proper computer security and as a result others are harmed. There have been prosecutions based on stolen identities, but these prosecutions have not been legally justifiable once the facts are shown – still the experience is horrifying and can cost thousands in defense fees. With some offenses becoming “strict liability” offenses, I wonder what would happen if someone’s computer were hijacked if they didn’t practice proper security.

There are similar stories on page A1 of the July 6, 2007 Washington Times, by Ben McConville (AP) and Audrey Hudson (WT staff). The stories point out that British law on incitement through the Internet may be tougher than US federal and state laws,

Brian Krebs does have a “Security Fix” blog at The Washington Post at this URL:

Remember, newspaper stories often require registration and sometimes require credit card purchase.

Visit my relate blog on consumer identity protection.

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