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Wednesday, May 23, 2007


In a recent data breach at the University of Missouri, the hacker was in China or Australia, but was able to steal the Social Security numbers of more than 22,000 current or former students. This was the second attack this year, and proves the fact that technology has given the bad guys all the tools they need to cop your identity from anywhere in the world. According to an MSNBC article, the hacker acquired the information from a temporary or “floating database” that was compiled for a report, but not removed from the computer system after being used. The SS#’s were probably on the black market within the hour. Which brings us to the latest flash on the TJ Maxx data theft of over 45 million personal records that were hijacked and sold to fraudsters. InformationWeek quotes from a Wall Street Journal report that the incident was the result of “wardriving,” which is simply the cyber thieves driving around a mall in a car with a laptop, a telescope antenna and a wireless LAN adapter. They pointed the equipment toward a vulnerable TJ Maxx store which allowed them to penetrate the parent company TJX’s system, and haul off 45.7 million credit card and debit card numbers. did a piece on what this costs companies like TJ Maxx, and at a projected rate of $305 per record lost, the total cost is a staggering $13.9 billion. And considering the $10 million fine levied against ChoicePoint by the FTC, could they hit TJX with something like $100 million? Still, they don’t seem to have lost customers, and the stock price remains steady. The “Apathetics” prevail.

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