Tag Archives: phone number

Breach Brief – FBI, DHS

Seal_of_the_United_States_Department_of_Justice.svgThe personal information of nearly 30,000 federal employees, including FBI employees may have been compromised. 

According to Motherboard.com an anonymous hacker used a compromised Department of Justice email account to gain access to the department’s intranet. Using this access the hacker allegedly downloaded the personal information of more than 20,000 FBI employees and roughly 9,000 Department of Homeland Security employees. The hacker is threatening to release the information.

The compromised information includes names, job titles, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers. The attack targeted not only DHS employees, but also individuals listed as agency contractors. Other DHS staffers, such as analysts, special agents, and technicians, were also targeted.

The hacker obtained specific information to access the system by using social engineering methods while pretending to be a new employee needing assistance. The hacker claimed to be a Palestinian sympathizer who wants the U.S. to sever ties with Isreal.

A spokesman for the  Justice Department said the information doesn’t appear to include any sensitive personal details. The agency is investigating potential unauthorized access of one of its systems. A Homeland security spokesman said it’s also looking into the alleged disclosure of employee contact information. There is no statement from the FBI.


Social Media; Putting Your Business in the Street

Courtesy Stuart Miles

Courtesy Stuart Miles

Are you putting your business in the street? Some people cannot help but share and you probably know somebody like that. They tell you where they are and what they are doing. They tell you what they are eating or drinking. And even take pictures of their food and drink. 

If you are a Facebook or social media addict you could be putting yourself, family and friends in serious danger if you are not careful. 

Criminals will do their homework. They study your Facebook page and Google your name. They accumulate as much information about you that they can and one day they attack. They have enough information about you to convince you they are from the IRS or your bank. Soon your money and maybe even your identity are gone. By watching your Facebook postings criminals know you are out of town for the weekend and break into your home.

In Tulsa, OK a teenage girl was murdered while home alone. A few hours before she died, she tweeted, “Have the house to myself everybody gone.” This could be your child on Facebook or Twitter?

Did the killer see her Twitter feed? Who knows. As a parent or social media user you have to keep in mind AACR Internet Rule #3The Internet is your window to the world. You can see out; they can see in. 

You have to consider how dangerous revealing too much online can be for you and your family. Remember sexual predators use the Internet, or cyberstalk, their victims online long before a physical attack.  These predators use every tool at their disposal includingFacebook stalkingtheir victims. Facebook stalkers constantly check their victims profile page. They gather information about their victim’s love interest, their friends and their social life. Facebook stalkers even read the wall of people they don’t know. This can be a highly effective means of information collection.

Have you ever heard of people who collect Facebook friends? Some people may have thousands of Facebook friends. Some people do this for fun. But some are stalkers. They understand the theory of connection, think six degrees of separationThe more people they have as Facebook friends the more likely they can find someone who knows their victim.  They then send a friend request to that person. The victim sees that they have a friend in common and ok’s the friend request. Now the stalker is in their life and has access to everything they put online. That’s why you don’t ‘friend’ the friend of a friend!

Your children could also become the victim of cyberstalking and you need to know the signs. These include;

  • Excessive amounts of time on the computer, especially late at night.
  • Receiving phone calls late at night, or is making calls to numbers you do not recognize.
  • Your child acts suspicious when using the computer closing windows or turning off the computer monitor when you or another parent is nearby.
  • Using an email address that you are not familiar with.
  • Receiving gifts, mail and packages from someone you do not know.
  • Your child becomes withdrawn from family, friends, school, and activities.

These are serious indicators that something is going on in your child’s life. Remember, teenagers are very good at hiding things from parents. Be aware!

The Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports that 2 out of every 5 missing teenagers, ages 15 -17-years-old, are abducted in connection with Internet activity. Pedophiles are very busy online. They are very charming and convincing to a vulnerable teenager.  The most dangerous online predators feel safe and at ease online believing that Internet anonymity  protects them. Pedophiles know how to manipulate children into thinking they are “friends,” and they often succeed in seducing, manipulating, and controlling both children and teenagers.

If you discover your child is a victim of cyberstalking there are steps you can take. These include;

  1. Contact the harasser one time to let him/her know that the harassment must cease immediately, or you will take further legal action. Neither you or your child should ever respond to any communication from the stalker after that.
  2. Keep a records of all the cyberstalking including emails and social media postings, text messages etc, in either hard-copy or digital form.
  3. Report the situation to your Internet Service Provider and consider changing ISPs to stop cyberstalking.
  4. Shut down your child’s current email account and open a new one without using their real name. Consider using email filters to block the stalker from contacting them.
  5. Notify the parents of your child’s friends and classmates and school officials of the situation. Cyberstalkers often insert themselves in the child’s circle of friends.
  6. Report the situation to the local police to see what additional action can be taken.
  7. Contact your local FBI Computer Crimes Unit. (A complete list can be found here).
  8. Remove your child’s name from online directories.
  9. Never agree to meet with the cyberstalker for any reason.
  10. Never leave your computer logged in unattended. Perform scans for malware and update anti-virus software.
  11. Make sure your child chooses a good account password and changes it frequently. The password should be at least 7 letters long.
  12. Review your child’s email signature to make sure it does not reveal anything personal.
  13. Review your child’s social media accounts. Make sure you know who your child is communicating with and remove any images of your child. Also make sure that your child’s privacy settings are well engaged and that there is no information revealing your home address, phone numbers or any information that reveals your child’s home address, phone number, school or daily schedule.

Now you know.



RadioShack is Selling Your Information

Radio-Shack-Logo-297x300Remember RadioShack? At one time there was no better place to buy your electronics or electronic equipment. They had it all, from amplifiers to circuit boards. Ahh, those were the good old days.

Now the chain of electronic stores is slowly dying and has filed for bankruptcy. For years, RadioShack asked those strange questions like your name, address and phone number to buy batteries. Now, as part of bankruptcy proceedings, the electronics retailer has auctioned that data to the highest bidder. This database includes names, email addresses and phone numbers of almost anybody who has purchased something at RadioShack. By some estimates that adds up to about 100 million people.

And the winner is; Standard General . A hedge fund and RadioShack’s largest shareholder. But not so fast! Before Standard General can take possession of the data a bankruptcy court has to approve the sale. 

 The problem is that RadioShack has to overcome some legal hurdles before turning over customer data. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is opposing the sale of the data because it would be illegal under Texas law. Texas doesn’t permit companies to sell personal information if it violates that companies own privacy policies. This appears to be exactly what Radio Shack is doing. You can find signs in their stores that clearly state;”We pride ourselves on not selling our private mailing list.” Paxton estimates that this data sale would affect 117 million people.

This case has created some strange bedfellows. AT&T has argued that it wants the data destroyed for its own competitive reasons. AT&T is opposed to the sale because it does not believe RadioShack is entitled to the personal information it collected from wireless sales. AT&T is primarily concerned that the mountain of data might fall into a competitors hands. According to Bloomberg one bidder for the data has suggested that RadioShack become co-branded as Sprint stores.

As with all cases like this the court will decide based on precedent or previous court rulings and this case has precedent that cuts both ways. In 2011, the Federal Trade Commissions decision permitted Borders Books to auction personal data under certain conditions. These are; the buyer has to be in the same business, have the same privacy policy and the data is sold alongside other assets. Standard General is planning to keep some RadioShack stores open and may argue that it’s putting the data to similar uses. 

But again; not so fast. A 2000 FTC lawsuit stopped a bankrupt Toysmart.com from selling its customer database. The database was eventually destroyed.

Breaking It Down

Everyone who has ever bought something from RadioShack needs to be aware of this. I see a problem when it comes to having my name, address and other information sold like any other asset of a bankrupt company and here’s why? First of all its my information and I’m not getting a cut of the pie. I personally think that a lot of information sales would cease if one nasty lawyer decided to file a class action lawsuit demanding a price for information sold from its original collector. The deal would work like this. If I decided to give you my information with the understanding that you have assured me that  you would not sell it then we have an agreement. That is what RadioShack did. Now RadioShack has decided to sell the information violating our agreement. So where is my share of the money? 

If your information is in RadioShack’s database, and there are plenty of black people who shop at “The Shack”, then you need to be concerned. If that data base is sold then you can expect to have an increase in direct mail advertisements, spam, cold calls and everything else that comes with loose information. I guarantee you that once Standard General takes possession of this database they will cut, slice and categorize the information and sell it in chunks to the highest bidder. You get annoyed, they get the cash.