Category Archives: identity

RSA Conference Recap

I’m back from the RSA conference and how exhausting. Understandable considering there were 17,000 people at the show—all focused on the security industry.

In case you didn’t see it, we made an announcement during RSA about our partnership with Upek, a biometrics company based in the Bay area. What I find exciting about this partnership is that it shows just how complimentary our solutions are with other authentication technologies. In a whitepaper we published over a year ago we showed a diagram of where identity verification fits in the puzzle and how it is central to other verification tools.

Verification Tools

Biometrics in an online environment falls into this sphere and requires a proofing solution because what good does it do to enroll someone’s fingerprints if the fingerprints aren’t those of the person he/she is claiming to be? This is why we decided to show the power of our two technologies working together through a joint demonstration.

Another observation from RSA is that there continues to be a lot of interest and discussion about age verification and social networks. If you recall, last year there was a panel session called Pandora’s Box discussing child safety and the Internet. Admittedly this year I didn’t attend the sessions as much since we were an exhibitor, but based on the questions and discussions on the show floor, it is clear people are concerned and also aware of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force.

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Filed under Age Verification, authentication, child safety, identity, identity proofing, Identity verification, Internet Security, security, social networking

Putting A Face To Identity Theft

What image comes to your mind when you think about identity thieves?

I would guess it isn’t this couple:

id couples

 

Yet these young 20 something’s are suspected of crimes including ID Theft and forgery. You can read about it here and here.

This story just goes to show that it isn’t only faceless criminals hiding behind computer screens that we need to protect ourselves from it’s also the Joneses living next door.

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Filed under fraud, identity, identity theft, identity theft crime, Internet Safety, Internet Security, keeping up with the joneses, To Catch an ID Thief

Protecting Your Identity During Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Barely giving us time for the turkey to digest, some stores are advertising that they will open their doors at 4:00 a.m. this Friday to kick off the official start of the holiday shopping season. And some online retailers have already gotten a jump start and are offering deals starting today. Check out this site for a list of deals both online and bricks and mortar retailers are offering this year.

Earlier this week Consumer Reports released its annual survey on holiday shopping and the results are interesting:

The survey showed a growing preference for shopping online instead of standing in line. More than two-fifths of adults (42 percent) will shop online this year with more women joining the gift-clicking crowd (41 percent this year vs. 37 percent last year). The main allure, those surveyed said, is convenience (48 percent) but some shoppers say they go online for better selection (12 percent) and better prices (11 percent).

Most online consumers shop from home (95 percent), but among those surveyed who work full-time, 21 percent said they shop from work. Of those, 15 percent admitted to shopping during work hours.

Evenings are the most popular time of day to shop online, especially for males (63 percent) and consumers ages 18 to 34 (64 percent). Three-quarters of online shoppers do not have a day of the week when they typically shop but for those who do, shopping online peaks with 43 percent of respondents shopping the Web on Saturdays, followed by 20 percent on Sundays, 11 percent on Fridays and lesser numbers the rest of the week.

Does shopping online save time? Apparently not. Those with Internet access from home will spend about 11 hours shopping online and that’s about the same amount of time — 10 hours — as the general public.

Regardless of if you are visiting a store or shopping online, one thing still remains – you need to protect your identity! Here are some of those over heard but under heeded tips to follow all year long:

  1. Keep an eye on your credit card every time you use it – whether in a store or in a restaurant, and make sure you get it back as quickly as possible. Try not to let your credit card out of your sight whenever possible.
  2. Don’t use a debit card for online shopping. If there is a problem, a debit card could give phishers or hackers access to your entire checking and/or savings account. Plus, most debit cards don’t have the same protections that credit cards offer. And along those lines, never provide your credit card information on a website that is not a secure site. You can tell if a site is secure because the web address starts with “https:” (s means it’s secure!) For added safety check for a site certificate before submitting information on a secure page. Confirm the owner of the certificate by clicking on the padlock icon at the bottom of most browsers. You should see the owner listed as well as the site address. This address should match the Web site address at the top of the page; if they do not match, you may be at a fraudulent Web site and should not enter personal data.
  3. Check the privacy policy of any website you plan to purchase from. Make sure they have a privacy policy, that your data stays private to the merchant, and that they don’t sell or rent your information to third parties.
  4. Make sure all of your security software is up-to-date before you do your online shopping. That includes anti-virus software, anti-spyware software, and firewalls.
  5. Use a separate email account for your online shopping.
  6. Never enter personal information into a pop-up screen. Unauthorized pop-up screens can be created by identity thieves and the screen may be completely unrelated to the websites you are visiting.
  7. Never respond to emails asking you to “confirm” recent transactions after you shop. These are phishing scams that coincidentally are sent around the time you shop.
  8. Trust your instincts. If you feel something isn’t right, investigate more or buy from another vendor.

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Filed under black friday safety, cyber monday safety, holiday shopping safety, identity, identity theft, Internet Safety, Internet Security, marketing, protecting your credit, stolen identity

Trolling the Identity Blogs

I do realize that my dedication to posting has been rather sporadic lately. What can I say; it is a busy time of year.

I spent some time this week catching up on what others have been blogging about lately and there are some good posts I want to point out for you.

First, Kim Cameron is back in high gear commenting on identity happenings of late. Be sure to read Ready or Not: Barbie becoming an identity provider which is based on an article by Kevin Poulsen on Wired’s Threat Level last week. You also need to check out Massive breach could involve 94 million credit cards which discusses the update to the TJX breach that happened almost a year ago; Breached which describes the most recent hack to Kim’s blog; and That Elusive Privacy which is a funny look at Kim’s self proclaimed “digital birthday” by Craig Burton and why it couldn’t survive social networking sites. By the way, I also see that Kim was named No 33 on the Top 50 Agenda Setters for 2007. Congratulations.

While you could get lost reading lots of good stuff in/from Kim’s blog there are some more items you should check out elsewhere, including Valleywag’s post about the bank intern who got busted by Facebook. He missed work for a “family emergency” and then posted a picture of himself at a Halloween party in NYC (dressed as a fairy) on his Facebook profile. You might also want to read InformationWeek’s Richard Martin’s post titled Facebook, Feds, Close In On Online Privacy discussing online privacy issues, Google’s OpenSocial and Facebook Ads. Finally, Mark Dixon’s synopsis from Mobile Internet World which took place in Boston this week provides some good insight into the mobile market in general.

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Filed under consumer privacy, data breach, Facebook, fraud, identity, Identity verification, kim cameron, Mark Dixon

Baby Steps Toward Identity 2.0

What a month. I’ve been back from DIDW for (almost) three weeks and I still haven’t had a chance to blog about the show (or anything else for that matter).

Overall I thought the show was good. I was very pleased to see that there are a lot of smart people at smart companies focused on the issues of identity and working together to take steps toward a solution. Granted Id 2.0 has some hurdles still to overcome (like finding the right economic model for everyone!) but it is good to see that progress is being made because the identity issues we are facing are not going to just go away.

It was nice to finally put a face with some of the names in the identity space too. I’ve added a new name to my suggested links –Doc Searls – who was one of the keynote speakers the first day and very good (both in content and in style).

Since I’ve been back, I’ve been buried with work so I’m keeping this blog post short. I hope to post again soon.

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Filed under Digital ID World, Digital identity, identity, Identity 2.0, identity management, identity proofing

Spotting a Fake ID with Identity Proofing

A reporter at the Arizona Republic recently wrote a great article about the booming fake document market in Arizona, illegal immigrants, identity theft and how business is about to get even bigger. 

The State’s new employer-sanctions law requires verification of worker eligibility through a federal system called the Basic Pilot Program.  The system works to weed out made-up social security numbers but it won’t detect when someone is using a stolen identity. 

This program makes it kind of hard to comply with the new law I blogged about last week and how employers risk prosecution if they don’t fire workers whose names and social security numbers don’t match.  The agency that manages the program is rolling out a new feature soon which will match photos on green cards with photos stored in a government database. 

It sounds cumbersome especially when there is a much easier way for employers (and the government!) to spot a fake id that won’t break the bank or slow down the process.

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Filed under e-verify, employment fraud, id theft and illigal immigrants, identity, identity proofing, identity theft, social security numbers

Punishments for Identity Fraud Crime

The AJC reports today that an Atlanta man has pled guilty for stealing $1.5 million in credit from 225 people. He was sentenced to 3 ½ years in the federal penitentiary.

I commend the officers involved in catching this man, especially because his capture led to the uncovering of a multi-national scam. Many of the cards issued were from foreign banks so the true credit limit available to him couldn’t be tracked.

Some other interesting cases going on are in Kansas where a few Mexican nationals attempted to transfer Social Security funds acquired under fake identities to their other real, or fake, identities. One person has already been convicted and will hear sentencing in September. He faces up to 10 years in jail for fraud of documents and a minimum of 2 years for identity theft of 7 different people. In the other cases, the people pled not guilty and will go to trial but the dates have not been set yet.

About to go before the U.S. Congress is a bill designed to help deter identity theft by putting tighter restrictions on the use of social security numbers. In it, there are tougher punishments for those convicted of misuse of social security numbers. Specifically it will

Impose criminal penalties up to five years in prison and $250,000 and civil sanctions up to $25,000 per incident for misuse of Social Security numbers. Repeat offenders could get 10 years, and use of the numbers in drug trafficking or violent acts would carry sentences up to 20 years in prison.

The bill has already passed the Ways and Means Committee, 38-0. Now it’s on to the House.

Since the South is already in “back to school” mode, here’s a reminder on “How A Bill Becomes A Law” from Schoolhouse Rock


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Filed under fraud, identity, identity theft, identity theft crime, protecting your credit, social security numbers, stolen identity