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.: New-look passports - 20th Feb 2005

"High-tech passports are not working. In olden days (before the first world war, that is) the traveller simply pulled his boots on and went. The idea that he might need a piece of paper to prove to foreigners who he was would not have crossed his mind. Alas, things have changed. In the name of security (spies then, terrorists now), travellers have to put up with all sorts of inconvenience when they cross borders. The purpose of that inconvenience is to prove that the passport's bearer is who he says he is.

The original technology for doing this was photography. It proved adequate for many years. But apparently it is no longer enough. They are to be fitted with computer chips that have been loaded with digital photographs of the bearer, digitised fingerprints and even scans of the bearer's irises..."
[Economist]




.: ChoicePoint Identity Theft Fallout Widens - 19th Feb 2005

"ID company says criminals able to obtain almost 140,000 names, addresses and other information. ChoicePoint Inc., a national provider of identification and credential verification services, says it will send an additional 110,000 statements to people informing them of possible identity theft after a group of well-organized criminals was able to obtain personal information on almost 140,000 consumers through the company.

According to a statement on the ChoicePoint Web site, the incident was not the result of its systems being hacked but rather caused by criminals posing as legitimate businesses seeking to gain access to personal information..."
[CNN]




.: RSA: Microsoft on 'rootkits': Be afraid, be very afraid - 18th Feb 2005

"Microsoft Corp. security researchers are warning about a new generation of powerful system-monitoring programs, or "rootkits," that are almost impossible to detect using current security products and could pose a serious risk to corporations and individuals.

The researchers discussed the growing threat posed by kernel rootkits at a session at the RSA Security Conference in San Francisco this week. The malicious snooping programs are becoming more common and could soon be used to create a new generation of mass-distributed spyware and worms. With names like "Hacker Defender," "FU" and "Vanquish," the programs are the latest generation of remote system-monitoring software..."
[ComputerWorld]




.: House Cuts Cookies From SPY ACT - 18th Feb 2005

"With little fuss and no debate, a House subcommittee today amended an anti-spyware bill to clarify that the legislation does not cover third-party cookies. H.R. 29, the Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act (SPY ACT), prohibits unfair or deceptive practices related to spyware and requires an opt-in notice and consent regime for legal software that collects personally identifiable information from consumers.

The spyware practices prohibited by the legislation include phishing, keystroke logging, homepage hijacking and ads that can't be closed except by shutting down a computer..."
[InternetNews]




.: Big ID Theft in California - 17th Feb 2005

"A company that collects consumer data warned thousands of Californians that hackers penetrated the company's computer network and may have stolen credit reports, Social Security numbers and other sensitive information.

ChoicePoint Inc., which sells such data to government agencies and a variety of companies, acknowledged Tuesday that several hackers broke into its computer database and purloined data from as many as 35,000 Californians. Last fall, hackers apparently used stolen identities to create what appeared to be legitimate businesses seeking ChoicePoint accounts, said Chuck Jones, a spokesman for the Georgia-based company. They opened about 50 accounts..."
[Wired]






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