Feeds

Chinese hackers turn to identity theft

To exploit the 'faceless society' on line is glorious

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Organised Chinese fraud rings on the mainland and overseas are more likely to hack databases to compromise credit and identity details than ply the more traditional avenues of bribing bank employees favoured by their Nigerian counterparts, a federal investigator claims. "The Chinese gangs have moved into the electronic age where they're using hacking techniques and Internet theft," US Secret Service Special Agent Gregory Regan explained in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism and Government Information Tuesday. Identity theft is an increasingly easy scam now that so much information is available on line, Regan warned. "The Internet makes it unnecessary for criminals to obtain identity documents," he said. The Net is creating a "faceless society" where it's easy for an identity fraudster, even one overseas, to open a credit account on line, sometimes with nothing but his victim's name and social security number, Regan observed. There were 1,147 cases of identity theft resulting in 644 convictions reported in the US during 1999 alone. The US Social Security Administration reports that over 81 percent of social security number misuse involves ID theft. Most incidents are part of some larger, organised criminal enterprise. Committee Chairman Jon Kyl (Republican, Arizona) sponsored the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act, which became law in 1998. He convened Tuesday's hearing to review the act's success and seek suggestions for its improvement. The act requires the Federal Trade Commission to assist ID theft victims, which it now does, in part, via a Web page here. In spite of recent efforts to address the problem, victims often find that recovering their identity is immensely more difficult than losing it. Witness Maureen Mitchell recalled a seemingly endless series of difficulties in sorting out her records after being vicitmised by fraudsters who ran up US $110,000 in bogus charges in her and her husband's name. Her suggestion for amending the bill would require merchants and credit agencies to develop a single, unified protocol for victim notification. "We had to submit handwriting samples to twenty different merchants; we had to submit notarised documents and affidavits. It's like filling out your tax return twenty times with twenty different sets of instructions," she observed dryly. Having considerable personal experience with filling out American tax returns, we can say without hesitation that the victim is being punished quite severely here, and can only offer our hope that the criminals might suffer half as much. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.