Feeds

TV channel buys $150 ID for FBI ‘most wanted’ suspect

Get your licence, then drive in from Canada or Mexico, apparently...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Using a fake driver's licence bought via a web site, US TV's NewsChannel 4* fooled ID checking software and got confirmation that the licence could probably be used safely to fly on any commercial airline, rent a car, or cross the border into the US. Although they seem to have wimped out of trying any of these things. Oh, and just to spice things up, NewsChannel 4 had used a picture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a star of the FBI's 22 most wanted list, with a $25 million price on his head.

The producer who bought the licence told the vendor: "He doesn't have a driver's license number (please make one up), and also make up an address." No problem with this, apparently, although he was hesitant about the man's Middle Eastern appearance. "That's a little discriminatory," the producer shot back (we liked that), but they settled on the vendor promising to squeal if the licence really did get involved in a major terrorist incident.

The software 'fooled,' it seems to us, wasn't actually fooled at all. It was a bartender's ID checker from SSE Technologies, presumably this one, which doesn't appear to do anything other than verify a barcode. Which kind of makes one wonder about the utility of age checking in US bars.

Department of Motor Vehicles chief investigator William Devoe however commended the quality of the duplication of the barcode security strips, particularly at the bargain price of $150. And it turns out the vendors, when given the name John Walker, had thoughtfully used the address of a real John Walker, rather than just making one up.

So, US identity theft, access to commercial aircraft, entry to the US, all for $150. In a week where we're talking about facial scanning and fingerprinting for foreigners crossing border and applying for ID documents, it kind of puts things into perspective.

The slickness of the NewsChannel 4 investigation is regrettably not universally matched by the rest of the empire. Check here** for a particular woeful and evidence-free scare story about how you could be funding terrorism by buying counterfeit goods. Hell, you could be funding terrorism by buying any goods. Best get security clearance on the milkman... ®

* Many American readers have written explaining the byzantine intricacies of US TV companies to us, and asking which News Channel 4 it is. No offence, but we don't see the TV knowledge as being a useful life skill for us, so with your permission we'll just admit we don't know what we're talking about. And tell you the particular affiliate is in New York. We think.

** Some of you are having trouble with that link. We think it's a cookie thing, but you can probably get to it if you go in via the wnbc.com front door. But it's really not important.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
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 cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.