It looks like blockchain technology isn’t just for digital currency. South African entrepreneur Vinny Lingham, now based in San Francisco, has launched Civic, a startup that employs blockchain for identity theft prevention, as reported in Forbes. The service is free for now and users get $1 million identity theft protection insurance for life at no cost.The concept behind Civic is to prevent identity theft by using two-factor authentication between customers and financial institutions. In other words, your bank can be sure it’s you using your identity and you will know for sure you’re communicating with your bank. Civic is for the U.S. market and works by screening any use of Social Security numbers. Identity thieves used thousands of stolen SSNs to generate IRS e-filing pinsThe advantage of blockchain is all transactions are accounted for. Lingham, a board member of the Bitcoin Foundation, says: “What blockchain does really well is ensures you … [Read more...] about Startup Civic screens use of Social Security numbers to protect against ID theft
Get new social security card
Tim Cook was one of the only Silicon Valley execs to speak at the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection, held on Friday in Palo Alto. Mark Zuckerberg, Marissa Mayer, Larry Page, and Eric Schmidt were invited, but all declined to attend.And President Barack Obama did Apple a solid in return: The White House announced that Apple Pay will soon support federal-payment cards, such as debit cards issued for Social Security and veterans benefits.Why this matters: This is a big deal for Apple. Its rollout of Apple Pay has been a success, and this is tacit to an endorsement from the federal government, which is a mighty big customer. The two payment networks involved in the deal, Direct Express and GSA SmartPay, handle upwards of 87.4 million transactions per year, worth $26.4 billion, according to the General Services Administration, as reported by Bloomberg.Security is one of Apple Pay’s selling points. Cook remarked at the Goldman Sachs Internet Conference earlier … [Read more...] about White House: Apple Pay Will Support Debit Cards for Social Security and Veterans Benefits
When the nine-digit Social Security number (SSN) was first introduced in 1936, the reaction from the public was mixed. Some felt like it was too close to an identification number issued by the government, while others were wary of having some form of imaginary account number tied to their wages and taxes. The earliest known plans for the number, though, clearly stated that the SSN would not be used as an identification number.However, through the years, the allowable legal uses for the SSN have evolved. Your number is now required documentation for things like government benefits, collecting disability or unemployment benefits, SNAP program assistance, opening a credit card or bank account, and much more. There are also “other” uses that are not necessarily legal or illegal; you can refuse to provide your SSN to be used as an identification number at your children’s school or your doctor’s office, for example, and most facilities probably won’t have an … [Read more...] about Getting rid of social security numbers is not the answer
I don't spend a lot of time on Facebook, so when I got an e-mail from the social networking site telling me "you haven't been back to Facebook recently" and here are some messages you missed, it didn't seem odd. I clicked on the link, wondering what one of my friends was doing.Oops. I was a victim of a hacking technique called "clickjacking." If it hadn't been for security measures built into Firefox, I might have been in trouble, because rather than going to Facebook, I was headed for http://sleepingpillsfitnesspills.com.That site might have simply been an ad for cut-rate, Canadian pills - an annoying, but harmless detour. But it also could have been a site loaded with malware, include rogue applications designed to steal key personal information from me and people in my address book.Facebook, with its hundreds of millions of users, has become the target of hackers, spammers, and just plain crooks. They're trying to lure you in via scam surveys, fake applications and poisoned links, … [Read more...] about 5 new online security threats to avoid
Most security organizations have long since lost the fight to keep employees from using social media on work computers; indeed, many people now have to be on Facebook or Twitter as part of their professional duties. The goal now is to help contain any damage from social media attacks—keeping in mind that even an attack via someone's personal account can affect their work lives.To that end, we spoke to some security pros about scams and attack vectors that are springing up on social medial. Here are their tips for avoiding social media scams.Social media accounts aren't a shortcut to riches. The world of con artistry has seen endless variations of the get rich quick scheme. SEO expert Bradley Shaw points to one current example on Twitter, the "Twitter cash starter kit," which promises users that they can hit it rich on the platform in unspecified ways. The key to the scam? "Victims will pay an initial fee for the kit itself by entering their debit or credit card … [Read more...] about New social media scams: Can you tell friend from foe?
Credit: Topseller/Shutterstock In 2011, agents from the Secret Service and the Internal Revenue Service, along with state and local police, launched Operation Rainmaker, a coordinated effort to bust a criminal ring operating in the Tampa, Florida, area.Dozens of people were arrested, some of them well into the following year. Jewelry and luxury cars were seized. Many of the suspects were former drug dealers who'd found a more reliable, less risky way of making money — identity theft.The scheme was simple: Gang members and accomplices obtained strangers' names and Social Security numbers from genealogical websites, medical bills and business records. They electronically filed false tax returns in the victims' names, and collected the tax refunds before the IRS knew what had happened. An estimated $135 million in refunds was stolen. MORE: Best Identity-Theft Protection Services Your Social Security number (SSN) is the linchpin of your identity. It's what … [Read more...] about How to Protect Your Social Security Number
A Social Security number (SSN) is probably the single most important piece of government-issued identification an American citizen can have. It's definitely the most valuable piece of ID that identity thieves can get their hands on, especially when combined with the bearer's name and address. Even by itself, a valid SSN can be sold to undocumented workers or to people trying to hide their identities. Credit: JohnKwan/Shutterstock A stolen SSN lets the thief, or the person he or she sells it to, do almost everything a legitimate SSN holder can do — and more. By assuming a real person's name and SSN, a thief can steal property and money from that person. If an identity-theft victim's name and SSN are used by criminals, it's the victim whom the police will be looking for."You can close a credit card if it is compromised," said Adam Dolby, vice president of business development at Oslo, Norway-based Encap Security, which specializes in … [Read more...] about What to Do If Your Social Security Number Is Stolen
Credit: Dreamstime Let's face it — protecting your identity from thieves gets harder by the day. The moment you give your personal information to another entity — a bank, the DMV or even a medical provider — you give up control over that information and how it might be used.According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 17 million Americans were the victims of some form of identity theft in 2014. Most of those incidents involved fraudulent use of a credit or debit card, but the BJS added that those whose personal information was used to open new accounts were more likely to "experience financial, credit, and relationship problems and severe emotional distress." MORE: Identity Theft Victim? Here's 6 Things You Need to Do"Eventually, these organizations with which you entrust your personal information will be breached," said Denis G. Kelly, a Miami-based identity-theft prevention expert and author of "The Official Identity Theft Prevention … [Read more...] about 7 Easy Ways to Get Your Identity Stolen
The Social Security Administration started issuing Social Security Numbers (SSNs) in the mid-1930s. It took about three months from the start date to issue 25 million numbers. The purpose of the SSN was to identify Social Security accounts. Until the 1980s, Social Security Cards explicitly stated that they were not to be used for identification purposes. Over time, however, the federally maintained database of SSNs has made it convenient to use SSNs and Social Security cards for individual identification, and it was in the 1980s that this prohibitive text was removed from the cards. SSNs have become de facto national identification numbers — a fact that many individualists, libertarians, and privacy advocates find distasteful.The Internet Protocol Suite, often referred to as TCP/IP (for Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol), was developed in the 1960s and 1970s to provide a standardized set of protocols for interaction between computers in a distributed … [Read more...] about Is the IP address the new SSN?
Small businesses are the new big target for cyberattacks. While the large corporations generate a lot of news when their security is breached, cyberattacks can — and do — happen against small and medium businesses (SMBs). While the payoff may not be as great, the growing use of automation by cybercriminals allows them to attack thousands of smaller organizations daily. Cybercriminals are typically looking for customer contact information, which includes emails, credit cards, valuable intellectual or proprietary information or health data. That makes any company with such data a potential target, regardless of its size. Add in the growing trend of using remote devices with apps, commonly referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT), to improve business processes, and there are multiple points of entry for the entrepreneurial cybercriminal. Cybercriminals can attack in a variety of ways. In a blog post for the National Cybersecurity Institute, Carolyn Schrader, founder … [Read more...] about 7 Steps Toward Better Small Business Security