Recent disclosures of massive data leaks at information brokers, banks and retailers have prompted Congress to once again consider tightening access to Social Security numbers, which have evolved into dangerous master keys for fraudsters.
But Social Security numbers already have come under a hodgepodge of restrictions over the years, and many experts question whether the new proposals would truly hinder identity theft. In fact, reducing some companies' access to Social Security numbers could even worsen the situation.
Secret codes enbedded into pages printed by some colour laser printers pose a risk to personal privacy, according to the Electronic Frontier Fundation. The US privacy group warns the approach - ostensibly only designed to identify counterfeiters - has become a tool for government surveillance, unchecked by laws to prevent abuse.
Phil Zimmermann hopes that his secure Net phone-calling efforts will be as successful as his Pretty Good Privacy e-mail encryption program.
Zimmermann has developed a prototype of an Internet telephony application that encrypts calls to prevent eavesdropping. He plans to unveil the prototype on Thursday at the Black Hat Briefings security industry conference in Las Vegas.
The eavesdropping scandal involving the nation’s spy agency is raising concerns about the violation of human rights and privacy, with legal experts calling for stricter guidelines to control surveillance activities.
"The recent incident revealed that the National Intelligence Service has gathered a large amount of information on individuals without going through proper legal procedures,’’ said lawyer Jang Kyung-uk, a member of the activist group Lawyers for a Democratic Society.
Instead of trying to crash corporate, government and university computers, hackers are focusing on stealing personal information such as your Social Security or credit card numbers from them, a new survey says.
Figures from the Computer Security Institute, an organization of information-security professionals, and the FBI show that more computer systems are better prepared to identify and fend off computer attacks. Yet the report also concludes that profit-minded hackers are targeting enterprises with large customer and employee databases.