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  1. Police in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar have apprehended 800 Chinese citizens and confiscated hundreds of computers and mobile phone SIM cards as part of an investigation into a cybercrime ring, local security authorities said. The arrests took place after police raided four locations, and followed two months of investigations, Gerel Dorjpalam, the head of the General Intelligence Agency of Mongolia, said at a media briefing. He did not go into specific details of the offences but said they involved illegal gambling, fraud, computer hacking, identity theft and money laundering. "As of this moment we suspect they are linked to money laundering," he said. "We are looking into the matter." All of the 800 Chinese citizens in detention came to Mongolia using 30-day tourist visas. The Chinese Embassy in Ulaanbaatar said in a statement that it would cooperate with the Mongolian police. "The police department of Mongolia has taken the necessary measures in this case and is currently in the process of investigating," it said. "China and Mongolia will have open law enforcement and security cooperation, and the two parties will be working closely together on this matter." A month ago, 324 undocumented Chinese citizens were arrested in the Philippines on charges of running illegal online gaming activities and engaging in cyberfraud, according to a notice by the country's immigration bureau. Mongolia saw about 480,000 foreign tourists enter in the first three quarters of this year, up 10.7%, with Chinese citizens accounting for nearly a third of the total. The landlocked north Asian nation is trying to diversify its economy and ease its dependence on raw materials, but it has traditionally been wary of opening up its economy to China, its giant southern neighbour. Source: Mongolia arrests 800 Chinese citizens in cybercrime probe (via The Star Online)
  2. The suspect, only identified by the initials B.B.A., second from left, is presented at a press conference at the headquarters of the National Police in South Jakarta on Friday. (Antara Photo/Reno Esnir) Police arrested a 21-year-old man in Sleman, Yogyakarta, on Friday for allegedly using malicious software to extort victims and steal financial data for personal gain. Yogyakarta Police spokesman Senior Comr. Yuliyanto said the suspect, only identified by the initials B.B.A., sent phishing emails to at least 500 randomly selected addresses to spread ransomware, or software designed to block access to computer systems until a ransom is paid. The suspect had reportedly been acting alone since 2014 and collected 300 Bitcoins, or equivalent to around Rp 31.5 billion ($2.25 million), Yuliyanto said. He said the investigation started after a tipoff that the suspect had hacked the computer system of a company based in San Antonio, Texas. The suspect allegedly also stole credit card data from internet users for personal gain. The National Police's cybercrime unit is investigating the case. Yuliyanto said the Yogyakarta Police are assisting in the investigation and will forward evidence to the National Police headquarters in Jakarta. "The evidence includes a Harley Davidson motorcycle and several computers. We will send these [to Jakarta]," he said. The suspect has been in custody in Jakarta since his arrest. The suspect lived in a boarding house in Sleman for the past two years, Yuliyanto said, without providing further detail. Senior Comr. Rickynaldo Chairul, head of the police's cybercrime investigation unit, said separately in Jakarta that the suspect had sent emails containing hyperlinks that directed unsuspecting recipients to his webmail server, which would then install ransomware on recipients' computer systems and prevent them from accessing their data. In the case involving the US company, the suspect threatened to delete its data if it failed to pay the ransom within three days. "The suspect demanded the ransom be paid in Bitcoin before restoring access to the victim's mail server," Rickynaldo said. The suspect reportedly used the email address, [email protected], in his communications with victims. He faces up to six years in prison under the Electronic Information and Transactions Law. Source: Police Arrest Yogyakarta Man Who Used Ransomware Attacks to Amass 300 Bitcoins (via Jakarta Globe) p/s: For those who can understand Indonesian language, there's a news reporting on that. https://cyberthreat.id/read/3532/Pertama-Kali-dalam-Sejarah-Polri-Tangkap-Hacker-Ransomware
  3. Most Important Methods to Detect and Prevent Identity Theft From Hackers An identity thief can steal your sensitive information to commit fraudulent activities, such as file tax, apply for medical services or credit. Identity theftcan damage your reputation, credit status, and cost your money and time. If you receive mysterious bills or credit card charges without shopping for anything, investigate this matter carefully because you are a victim of identity theft. Sometimes, you may get denials for your loan application, or someone calls you to collect debts for new accounts. All these situations indicate that your identity is stolen and misused. A victim of identity theft may spend over 600 hours in clearing his/her identity. You will need affidavits and reports to prove theft. To protect yourself from this situation, you will need a service such Identity Guard to protect against future theft. Here are some easy tips to decrease the risk of identity theft. Fraud Alert and Security Freeze Contact a credit bureau and put a fraud alert on your credit reports. Duration of a fraud alert may vary between 90 days and seven years. After placing a fraud alert, you will get notifications to verify your identity before taking any action on credit. For a security freeze, you will need a password or PIN to check your credit report. Unlike fraud alerts, you have to pay a fee for a security freeze on credit reports. Obtain Credit Reports You are entitled to a free credit report annually from three credit bureaus. Make sure to order these reports once after every four months to monitor your credit. Unfortunately, you can get a report of one bureau at a time. If your reports don’t show identity theft, you might miss these reports for one year. After using your free annual reports, you can purchase credit reports at $11 to $15. Subscribe to credit monitoring services to get free credit reports. Monitor Online Accounts Get access to online banking to check your bank accounts periodically. In this way, you can keep an eye on your accounts and avoid unauthorized charges. For the security of your online bank account, you should not write down your login information. Moreover, don’t share it with anyone. You have to protect this information from identity thieves. Credit Monitoring Discontinue Pre-Approved Credit Cards A pre-approved card can disclose your personal information. Identity thieves can misuse this information to get new credit cards. Make sure to shred credit cards before throwing them away. Pay online bills because identity thieves can steal your checks from a mailbox. Get the advantage of online payment facilities to prevent attacks of identity thieves. Secure Your Social Security Number Keep your social security number at a safe place. Avoid putting a social security card in your pocket or wallet. You should not write down its number on a random location. Before giving this number to customer service personnel, carefully see around. Potential thieves can note down your number for its misuse. Thieves can get your sensitive information via stolen checks. With your checking account number, an identity thief can make purchases and create checks. Pick up your new checks from the bank instead of getting them in your mailbox. Source
  4. 4iQ is a identity threat intelligence company that monitors the internet for identity records exposed in data breaches and accidental leaks. The latest 4iQ identity breach report indicates that between 2016 and 2017 there was a 182 percent increase in raw identity records discovered by its team. The report, "Identities in the Wild: The Tsunami of Breached Identities Continues", reveals 4iQ's detection of over three billion identity records curated from 8.7 billion raw records in 2017. Extracted from that data, 4iQ analyzed the details of close to 3,000 breaches it discovered--which are within the reach of threat actors. To make matters worse, identity thieves' tactics have become more sophisticated. Forbes recalls that, “in the 1982 sci-fi movie Blade Runner, Deckard, a hard-bitten ex-detective played by Harrison Ford, had to track down replicants — robots who were so lifelike that it was almost impossible to tell man from machine. In the coming years, bankers will need the equivalent of Deckards on their staffs as they deal with one of the most serious problems facing the financial community: synthetic identity fraud.” It’s not a fictional concept anymore, however. Referred to as synthetic identity theft, this type of fraud differs from traditional identity theft in that the perpetrator creates a new synthetic identity instead of stealing an existing one. The process begins with searching for inactive Social Security numbers, which will typically lead to the Social Security numbers of children. Fake addresses are linked to the kids’ Social Security numbers and then over time a credit rating is built for these identities as products and services are purchased on credit. Forbes notes that the threat actors, “eventually rack up debts of $20,000 or more on countless accounts only to disappear without a trace. Synthetic identity fraud is costing banks billions of dollars and countless hours as they chase down people who don’t even exist.” Personal data breaches are the second most common cybercrime, according to the latest annual FBI/IC3 cybercrime report. Corporate data breaches are lower on the list, but some commercial breaches have widespread reach, such as the Equifax breach. Recently, it was revealed just how extensive a breach it was. In addition to a huge amount of people impacted, the level of detail is alarming--addresses, dates of birth, social security numbers, genders, phone numbers, driver's license numbers, credit card numbers, tax ID, and the state of driver's licenses exposed. A case in point is an eleven-year-old boy from Kansas whose Social Security number was used to rent a car and open bank accounts and credit cards in Wisconsin. His mother, Wiesje Sammis, said she recently received a perplexing call from a Milwaukee County detective who asked if her son had rented a car. “I was, of course, like, 'Ummm no, he's 11,’" she said. Sammis said her son Terrelle Lewis's identity was stolen and his Social Security number was being used. "I think it's kind of shocking. That you can do that these days," Lewis said. Police were able to locate the culprit at a Walmart in West Milwaukee. When asked for ID he presented a fake driver's license and a Social Security card with Lewis's number on it. The suspect had apparently also rented a car in January, but never returned it. He also opened up several credit card and bank accounts. Lewis's mother said police informed her of the likelihood her son's Social Security number was purchased online. She believes it was acquired during a data breach of his health insurance company four years ago. "'There's no way somebody could take a child's identity. There's just no way' is what I thought," Sammis said, upon recollection. And, now she is concerned that others may have his Social Security Number, as well. "I think this will impact him long term," she said. Parents (and others) who need assistance with an identity theft situation, can visit IdentityTheft.Gov which is administered by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). A credit freeze can also be requested, to prevent new accounts from being opened up. < Here >
  5. A new phishing scheme targets Apple customers Apple customers should pay extra attention to the emails they're getting because there's another wave of phishing taking place right now. In fact, bogus "Welcome to iCloud Mail" scam emails are hitting inboxes as we speak and they should definitely be avoided. According to these messages, published by Hoax Slayer, Apple hasn't been able to confirm your account information and warn that your account has been suspended pending resolution of the problem. The problem, however, can easily be fixed if you'd just click on a link they provide and log into your ID and follow instructions. This, of course, is just an effort to collect all your credentials so they can hack into your account. Clicking on the link provided by the scammers will take you to a fake website that looks like the real Apple sign-in page. There, you have to provide your Apple ID and password. Doing so will not be good for you. The scammers take things a step further and go on and ask for additional details like your credit card details, home address, date of birth, phone number and every other little detail they need to pull off identity theft or to at least credibly impersonate you when they clean out your bank account. At this point, if you've gone through all these steps, criminals can access your Apple account, steal all the information you have stored there, including your private photos stored in the iCloud, buy things in your name, use your Apple email account to send spam and scam messages, use your credit card for whatever they want and, as mentioned, attempt to steal your identity. Prevention is best It's not uncommon to see phishing attacks targeting Apple customers, just like it's not uncommon to see such campaigns targeting other high-profile companies. Make sure to always check where the emails are coming from and never ever follow links provided via email asking you to change your credentials or to log into your account. Just go to the extra trouble of typing in the official address on your own and see if there's any real problem with your account. Source
  6. People who identify as 'tech savvy' are 18 percent more likely to suffer ID theft Identity theft is a growing problem, but who is falling victim to online ID fraud, why is it still happening, and how can you protect yourself? IT training specialist CBT Nuggets has carried out some research among more than 2,000 people in the US to find out, with some intriguing results. They discovered that people who self-identified as 'tech savvy' are 18 percent more likely to be victims of online identity theft than those who didn't. Additionally, respondents with PhDs are more frequently victims than high school graduates. Plus Apple users are 22 percent more likely than Windows users to be victims of ID theft. That flips around with mobiles though, with Android users 4.3 times more likely to suffer ID theft than iOS users. Millennials are less likely to suffer identity theft than baby boomers or generation Xers, but this may be simply because they've been on line for a shorter amount of time and their data is less exposed. Yet despite the risks people continue to re-use passwords. Self-identified tech-savvy folk are just over six percent more likely than the non-tech crowd to have unique passwords. Android users are almost 11 percent more likely than iPhone users, Windows users are over 12 percent more likely than those on a Mac, and women are slightly more likely than men. When looked at by generation though, millennials -- the least likely generation to have their identity stolen -- are the least likely to use a unique password. Baby boomers lead the way in this category, with 85 percent reporting using a unique password for their online accounts. When asked why they fail to follow basic security recommendations, 40 percent of Americans say it's because they're too lazy, find it to be too inconvenient, or don't really care. This attitude is strongest among millennials at 53 percent and lowest among baby boomers at 29 percent. "Our goal was to study how Americans' feelings about online information security relate to their self-reported online behavior and attitudes, particularly around the area of identity theft," says Tom Dehnel, the lead project manager at CBT Nuggets. "Our hypothesis was that different demographic groups would experience different rates of identity theft, and would have different levels of knowledge about how to keep their personal information safe online. And when we analyzed the results of our survey of over 2,000 people, we found some interesting and statistically significant differences between groups." You can read more about the results on the CBT Nuggets blog and there's a look at some of the findings in infographic form below.
  7. The internet has your number—among many other deets. Prevent identity theft and doxxing by erasing yourself from aggregator sites like Spokeo and PeekYou It doesn’t matter what you do online: The internet knows a ton about you, and that information is a mouse click away. Search any people finder site—Spokeo, PeekYou, Whitepages, to name a few—and odds are you’ll find a page listing your full name, date of birth, names of family members, current address, and phone number. Depending on the site's aggressiveness, it may offer (for a low membership fee or the price of registering an account) additional details such as past addresses, social media profiles, marital status, employment history, education, court cases such as bankruptcies, hobbies, and even a photo of where you live. Forget the National Security Agency. Aggregator sites such as Intelius, Radaris, and PeopleFinder have data warehouses full of information about you, accessible to people without your permission, and used for purposes you know nothing about. While these sites ostensibly provide background checks and other public services, they also simplify identity theft, stalking, and doxxing (exposing personal information online to encourage harassment), which is both creepy and downright dangerous. Fortunately, most aggregators have an opt-out policy, so you can explicitly order them not to use your information. But for many of them—surprise!—the opt-out process is time consuming if not irritating. It’s also an ongoing project because opt-out requests tend to have a temporary effect. Still up for it? Then let’s begin. Get everything ready Before you start, make sure you have everything you need to fulfill the request. These companies have no interest in easing opt out and tend to give you complicated, very specific instructions. Miss one step and your request may be denied. Some require filling out an internet form; others require a phone call. Some may demand that you fax a driver’s license or another government-issued document to confirm the identity, which is ironic: The goal is to remove your information in the first place, not give them more. If they ask for an ID, after you scan or copy it, black out (in Photoshop or Microsoft Paint or with a marker on paper) your photograph and all identifying information except your name and address (and, if available, your date of birth). As previously noted, eventually, your deets tend to matriculate back to aggregators after you opt out. You don’t want that info to be richer next time. Some aggregators require a cover letter explicitly requesting an opt out along with identification. The letter doesn’t need to be complicated. Try the following: “Dear <name of site> Customer Support: As per your privacy policy, please remove my listing from your databases: a. First name: <value> b. Last name: <value> c. Middle initial: <value> d. Aliases & AKA’s: <value> e. Current address: <value> f. Age: <value> g. DOB: <value> Thank you for your assistance.” Create a template and keep it handy. If you don’t want to deal with this on your own, you can always sign up with a third-party firm that will take care of this for a fee. But buyer beware—some are scammers looking for another way to collect your data. Privacy startup Abine offers a DeleteMe privacy service ($99 to $129 a year) that handles the task of deleting the data and sends over a monitoring report every three months. DeleteMe is one of the few reputable privacy services of this type that I’ve found. Discover yourself First, find out where your data appears. Some of the less scrupulous sites may actually retain information typed into their search boxes, so it’s best to use a search engine: Type your name followed by “site:” and the URL of the people finder service. Next, scrounge around until you find the site’s opt-out policy. BeenVerified BeenVerified’s opt-out policy is easy to find—it’s right in the site footer, as Remove My Info. To opt out, you must find your listing using the search tool at the top of the Remove My Info page, not the site’s main search box. Click on the That’s the One button, enter an email address, and fill out the CAPTCHA challenge. BeenVerified will send a verification email to that address. If you do not click on the link in that email, your request will not be processed, so check your spam folder if the email doesn’t show up. FamilyTreeNow FamilyTreeNow buries its opt-out link in the middle of its privacy policy, under the Opt Out of Living People Records section. From the opt-out link, fill out the CAPTCHA and click on the button Begin Opt Out Procedure. The page will then display a search tool to look for records. As with BeenVerified, if you don’t use the specific search tool on the opt-out page, you can’t send an opt-out request. When you find the actual listing, it will display with a red Opt Out This Record button. (This button will not appear unless you start the search from the opt-out page.) Click on the button to send a removal request. Links throughout the site instruct you to copy and paste the URL containing your information and send it to Customer Service using an online contact form. Don’t bother—those requests will be ignored. Intelius The Intelius Opt-Out online form requires that you upload a file containing a scan of your identification. Acceptable identification includes a driver’s license, a U.S. passport, a military card, a state ID card, or an employee ID card from a state agency. The email address is optional for receiving a confirmation link, but it’s a good idea to provide it since the same address will be used to send a final email after the process is complete. Don’t forget to fill out the CAPTCHA box. Intelius also accepts notarized statements proving identity using its Notarized Identification Verification Form instead of government-issued ID. Requests can also be faxed to 425-974-6194 or mailed to Intelius Consumer Affairs, P.O. Box 4145, Bellevue, WA 98009-4145. Use your cover letter template for either method. Intelius owns or is affiliated with ZabaSearch, PeopleLookup, Public Records, Spock, iSearch, PhonesBook, DateCheck, LookUp, PeopleFinder, and LookupAnyone. Removing yourself from one does not get you off the others—yes, you have to extract yourself from each one individually. ZabaSearch only honors requests by fax, whereas PeopleLookup accepts both postal mail and fax. Neither have online opt-out options. Oddly, the opt-out fax number and mailing address for USSearch is the same as Intelius Customer Service, but you can’t include USSearch as part of the Intelius request. And the only way to submit the opt-out request is by fax. PeekYou PeekYou includes its opt-out link inside the FAQ on the Privacy page. Before you go to the online form, find the listing containing your information. The URL has a string of numbers that acts as a unique identifier. Copy that numeric string from the URL and paste it into the Unique ID field on the online form. Under Actions, select Remove My Entire Listing from the drop-down box, and in the Message box, write: “As per your privacy policy, please remove my listing from PeekYou and all other affiliated people search sites. Thank you for your help with this personal security issue.” There will be an immediate email confirming receipt of the request—and another a few days later after the listing has been deleted. PeopleFinder PeopleFinder looks like an easy opt out, but that’s only a trick. Each listing has an opt-out link toward the bottom of the Get More Detailed Information box, along with an opt-out link toward the bottom of the privacy policy. Click the link in the listing—because that will ensure your information is prepopulated in the fields. The form needs your full name, city, state, ZIP code, and either a phone number or the street address in order to process a removal request (no need to provide the email address). On the page, select a Removal Reason (“general privacy concerns” is appropriate here). Unfortunately, at this point, things stop being easy. I got an error message saying there was no listing associated with the search criteria and I should submit a help request. That’s strange since I had gone directly from the listing page. I then went to the help page and entered my name, email address, and a description of the problem. Then I got an error message saying all fields were required, though there were no other fields on the form. It appears to be a bug in the JavaScript validation. I turned off JavaScript in the browser and submitted my info successfully. PeopleFinders No, that’s not a typo: PeopleFinders (plural) is totally different from PeopleFinder and buries its opt-out link deep, deep in the site. It took me four clicks from the main page to get to the privacy policy, the help page, and the FAQ page before finally landing on the opt-out page. Enter your information in the search tool and click on the This Is Me button next to the correct listing. The listing page has two buttons: Keep Showing My Info and Opt Out My Info. Click on the blue opt-out button (make sure to turn on JavaScript if you recently finished with PeopleFinder) and check off the agreement that PeopleFinders will block the record from being displayed. Fill out the CAPTCHA and click on the Continue button. You’ll be asked if you’d like to buy a copy of your report before it disappears forever—you can skip that offer. PeopleSmart Opting out of PeopleSmart is straightforward. Go to the opt-out page and search for your listing. When you click on the That’s The One button to select your listing, you will be asked who is opting out: yourself, family member, or other. PeopleSmart also needs your email address to send a verification link, so don’t forget to click on the link in that email. I was able to opt out myself and family members this way. Easy! PrivateEye At least PrivateEye doesn’t require that you find a fax machine. Instead, you need to fill in this opt-out PDF form, print it, and send it via snail mail. Make sure you fill out only those fields for which PrivateEye already has info about you; no need to provide additional details the company can use to create a new record. The address to send the form: Opt-Out/PrivateEye.com, P.O. Box 110850, Naples, FL 34108 PublicRecords360 With PublicRecords360, it’s really difficult to submit a valid request. According to the instructions, you must first send a scan of your identification to the email address [email protected] (If you created a notarized statement for Intelius or other sites, you can use it for PublicRecords360 as well.) After you email your proof of identity, complete the online form—actually a GoogleForm—with the name and the URL of your listing. In Information To Be Removed, I selected All Information. Radaris Radaris publishes opt-out instructions on its removal page, but the goal here is to make the process so annoying that people will give up. The first step is to find your listing. Next to the name, there’s an orange Get Report button, and next to that is a grey downward-pointing arrow button. Click on that and a menu will open with the option to Control Information. Select that option and you’ll go to a page with three links: Claim This Profile, Radar Updates, and Remove Information. Clicking on the latter opens up a window that says in order to proceed, you must create an account. After you’ve created that account, you can remove all the fields, but to save the changes, you have to enter your phone number so that you can receive a verification code via SMS. Spokeo To remove your info from Spokeo, you have to find your listing and copy the URL first. Then go to Spokeo’s opt-out page and paste the URL into the form. You need to provide an email address to receive the confirmation link and complete the CAPTCHA challenge. Make sure to click on that link in the email! You’ll get a second email once the process is complete. Unfortunately, if your phone number shows up under Spokeo, that’s going to stay. I managed to remove my name from Spokeo, but a reverse lookup of my mobile phone number brings up my name and address. USA People Search Fill out the search criteria form to find your public profile. Click on That’s The One, at which point the site will tell you your IP address. Fill out the CAPTCHA and check off the agreement. So nice and easy! Whitepages Whitepages is perhaps the most annoying service of all, because to remove information, you have to register with the service. That’s right: To get off Whitepages, you need to become a member. Search for your information using first name, last name, city, and state, and copy the URL of the listing that contains your information. Then log in to the site, either by creating a new account (feel free to use a throwaway email address) or logging into an existing one. Then click on the Remove From Directory link in the page footer to get sent to the Opt out of Whitepages page. If you aren’t logged in, you’ll be prompted before you can access the opt-out page. Paste in the URL of the listing to remove on this page and confirm by clicking on the Remove button. You can also get an automated phone call to verify the removal. The call can go to the phone number included in your listing or to a number you provide. Pressing 1 verifies that you want your listing removed. But all this effort removes you from only the free search. Whitepages Premium users (paid subscribers) will still be able to find your listing. To remove your data from the Premium search, you have to submit a support ticket via the Premium Help Page. Click on the blue Help button (not green as the FAQ states), select Information Removal Request from the Ticket Type menu, and submit your full name and address along with the URL of the premium listing. Note that Whitepages doesn’t say it will remove or delete your information, but will “suppress” it. That’s because the information remains available for Pro subscribers, which are typically companies that pay for a business subscription to automatically verify information about customers to prevent fraud. Opt out? Why would you do that? Sadly, many sites won’t let you opt out at all. There are more than 200 brokers listed on the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse database, and the vast majority fails to offer a method to remove your information. Some sites don’t even pretend to care. The aggregator Pipl, for example, simply states, “As a search engine, we are not the publisher of the information; we simply find and index what is already publicly available to anyone on the internet.” Pipl doesn’t even offer a selection to filter out information from search results as other sites do. The aggregator MyLife goes a step further: Its business model seems to rest on fooling privacy-conscious users. Though there’s an Edit/Remove My Info button right on top of the listing page, that page doesn’t lead to an opt-out process, even after you create an account. The Remove Your Public Profiles text under Services in the page footer is not an active link. According to the privacy policy, none of the information can be removed, but if you sign up for a Premium account, you can “hide” the information from showing up in public searches. Going the distance Opting out is not a one-time process. Aggregators regularly hoover up new data, which means information may get added back at any time. Whitepages explains this up front: “Whitepages continuously discovers new information, so please check back regularly to make sure your information is shown correctly.” Or not shown, as the case may be. Vigilance is important. In this day of doxxing and identity theft, making it harder to find information about you is a good thing. But if you prefer to pay a privacy service like DeleteMe to handle it, no one would blame you. Ref: < http://www.infoworld.com/article/3168318/security/how-to-scrub-your-private-data-from-people-finder-sites.html >
  8. Federal authorities unsealed a 22-count indictment last week that serves as a prime example of the challenges of managing and securing third-party access to corporate networks. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, eight people in Florida have been charged in connection with the theft of information on customers of AT&T. The indictment names: Chouman Emily Syrilien, 25, of Lauderdale Lakes; Arrington Basil Segu, 28, of Miami; Carlos Antonio Alexander, 24, of Orlando; Angel Arcos, 23, of Pompano Beach; Shantegra La’Shae Godfrey, 23, of Deerfield Beach; and Monique Smith, 31, of Pompano Beach as conspirators in the case. According to the charges, Syrilien was an employee of Interactive Response Technologies (IRT), which provides staffing for call centers to handle direct sales and customer inquiries for AT&T. The indictment alleges that Syrilien provided a co-conspirator with personal identifying information from multiple AT&T customer files, as did Segu. The criminals added Alexander, Godfrey and Smith as 'authorized users' on victims’ credit or debit card accounts. Once a co-conspirator’s name was added as an authorized user, the bank and or credit card company was directed to mail additional debit or credit cards bearing the names of these newly-added authorized users to their addresses or addresses under their control. According to authorities, the defendants then used these credit and debit cards to make purchases or obtain money. Alexander, Smith and Godfrey are each accused of making both retail purchases as well as cash advances in excess of $24,000, $12,000 and $8,200, respectively. "Keeping a close eye on who has access to what is a seriously difficult undertaking, and fully vetting and monitoring all staff requiring access to personal info is likely to be all but impossible, even when all those staff are in-house," blogged John Hawes on Sophos' Naked Security blog. "Firms that entrust data to third parties need to ensure that assurances they receive regarding auditing and vetting are backed up by concrete evidence that their data is properly secured," he added. If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum of 30 years in prison for the conspiracy charge, a maximum of 10 years in prison for the access device fraud charge and a mandatory term of two years in prison for each aggravated identity theft charge - at least one of which must be served consecutive to any other term in prison. Source
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