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Thread: Risk of Identity Thief from Social Networking websites

  1. Default Risk of Identity Thief from Social Networking websites

    The big news today in cyberspace is a recent discovery by Carnegy Mellon researchers that Social Security Numbers can be guessed easily using information that can be obtained off standard questions social network sites ask you when you sign up and allow to be displayed on your profile.

    Based off this news, I highly suggest that if any of you post your full name (first and surname) on any website, make sure your date of birth and birthplace are not easily discovered by a web search.

    To protect yourselves, friends or loved ones, do not be ashamed to put the wrong year of birth into websites that don't need it, change the letters in your surname slightly or leave fields including locations blank or vague (USA, not Maryland and certainly not Baltimore, Maryland).

    Details on the discovery:

    To quote the Arstechnica article:

    "Given these numbers, the authors estimate that even a moderate-sized botnet of 10,000 machines could successfully obtain identity verifications for younger residents of West Virginia at a rate of 47 a minute."

    On a tangent, if you're worried about your credit report, the following website was setup by the federal government to allow every citizen one chance a year to read their reports from the three major credit bureaus.

    There are many other websites (including a few advertised on TV) that offer the same thing, but trick you into signing up for monthly services. This is the only website authorized by the Federal Trade Commission to offer the free credit reports.

    Our world is being pushed more and more online, and much of our personal information is all over the place. Please consider this when signing up for websites or filling out online forms.

    I apologize for spamming this to everyone, but the danger seems warranted.

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    I have some friends at CMU and I would appreciate it if you could spell Carnegie Mellon properly.

    That is all thanks.

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    LOL! It's spelled right in the email. My multi-language spellchecker in Firefox must have changed it.

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    cool... i always leave my Bday at 12/25/1985 .. the year is no where near my true bday.. and my name is always spelled backwards

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    Nameew? My long lost brother! No wonder I couldn't find you.

    The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.

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