Scam of the day – November 20, 2013 – Dangers posed by hacking of government websites

In November 2nd’s Scam of the day, I told you about the recent arrest of British citizen Lauri Love for hacking into the computers of a number of United Sates Government departments.  In a confidential memorandum, the FBI has recently warned other government agencies about actions of the informal hackers group known as “Anonymous “to also hack various agencies of the United States government. According to the memorandum which was leaked to Reuters, many federal agencies have already been hacked and information stolen from the U.S. Army, the Department of Energy, the Department of Health and Human Services and many more resulting in Anonymous stealing large amounts of personal information contained in the unencrypted computers of these various agencies.  Among the information stolen was personal information on 104,000 employees and contractors of the Department of Energy including bank account information on some of these people.  A common thread between Lauri Love’s hacking and the hacking done by Anonymous is the exploiting of security flaws in Adobe’s Cold Fusion software which is a popular website development software used by many companies and federal agencies.  I have been warning you that this was going to happen since we first became aware of the hacking of Adobe.

So what does it mean to you?

TIPS

Once again, this illustrates that your personal information is only as safe as the place with the weakest security that holds your information.  It is important to limit the places that hold your personal information to as few places as actually need it.  Also, do not leave credit cards on file with online companies with which you shop for your convenience.  Your convenience can lead to your becoming a victim of identity theft if they are hacked.  You should make sure that you monitor your credit reports at least annually to be on the lookout for identity theft and you may wish to consider putting a credit freeze on your credit report to limit the damage if you do become a victim of a hacking.  For more information about credit freezes and getting free copies of your credit reports check out my book “50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age.”