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Monday, June 11, 2007


I live in Phoenix, Arizona, where drive-by shootings occur on a regular basis. There’s no technology involved except the craftsmanship of the weapons maker. Many of these incidents are deadly, resulting in the deaths, sometime, of innocent victims. Fortunately, the latest drive-by crime doesn’t include murder, but there are innocent victims. An account says there was considerable technology used by the ID thieves in an incident that started in the parking lot of Marshalls’ discount store in St. Paul MN. Still on the loose today, the hackers eavesdropped on wireless communications originating within the store using a directional antenna to gain data allowing them to breach another TJX company, TJ Maxx. They downloaded 45.7 million credit card numbers, but this figure could reach 200 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. This was a clever, two-part theft where the crooks knew what they were stealing, meaning they had use for the data, like stealing your identity. This all took place in two years as TJ Maxx went merrily about their business. Once again, lax security—they were using weak encryption for the wireless network—which further proves my premise that consumers should control their sensitive data with the right to approve any transaction involving their private information. Had this protection been in effect at the time of the breach, it is likely that not one of the TJ Maxx credit card numbers could have been used without the owner’s consent. Think about it. Are you willing to accept this responsibility? If not, are you willing to accept the possibility of losing your identity to the crooks for a potential personal loss of $5,720 plus $535 to clear it up over as many as 6000 hours, depending on the severity of the crime?

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