Catch Me If You Can
One of the famous stories of the World-renowned identity theft expert and subject of the blockbuster motion picture and Broadway play Catch Me If You Can is Frank Abagnale. In the 1960’s, Abagnale managed to elude the police by impersonating no fewer than eight identities, including an airline pilot, a physician, a U.S. Bureau of Prisons agent, and a lawyer all while writing up debt not in his name. Eventually, Abagnale was caught and convicted, but now serves as one of the authorities on privacy law and owns a business fighting the same crimes that made him famous. South Africa faces a similar vulnerability to this type of risk as we look at this month’s headlines that consist of the British High Commission having to notify scores of South Africans to inform them that their UK Visa Applications together with all their supporting documentation was stolen.
A criminal is now sitting with our lives in their hands. Have we planned for this event? What is the true value of your Identity? In recent news an individual was arrested at the Department of Home Affairs in Pretoria for selling illegal South African Identity Books for between R 3000 and R 23 000 each. We can’t put an exact value on our identities but if this gives you an idea we all have a lot to lose.
As we have recently seen with the Ashley Madison hack that the consequence of CyberCrime is Identity theft. Not only do we know cheating on one’s spouse can only end badly but no one imagined to what extent their lives could be affected. How do we protect ourselves? The fact is, if you give your personal information to someone else you are already unsafe. As the millions of subscribers that were linked to Ashley Madison became aware of, nothing online is 100% private and confidential. We have to consider this every time we log onto the world wide web. Not only are these people dealing with the loss of their identities but probability of divorce and destruction of many families. What we must realise as an internet connected society is we are now facing a much bigger risk of losing ourselves. You would not cross a busy highway without looking for oncoming traffic. Why would you go onto the internet and not consider these risks?
Now we are dealing with Cryptolocker with names like Evgeniy Bogachev a Russian man wanted for a wide-spread racketeering enterprise and scheme that installed, without authorization, malicious software known as “Zeus” on victims’ computers. The software was used to capture bank account numbers, passwords, personal identification numbers, and other information. It is believed that
“Zeus” is responsible for more than one million computer infections, resulting in financial losses of more than $100 million.
We have all heard the axiom “We do not negotiate with terrorists.” but when our identities, company files and other personal information are held to ransom what would you do?
He who fails to plan, plans to fail.
Stay Informed and Stay Protected.
The Identity Guard Team.